Tinley Park teen does it all — except whistle
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent June 15, 2012 3:42PM
Dominic Sanfilippo, a recent graduate and president of the student council, holds school mascot Charlie Celtic at Providence Catholic High School at 1800 W. Lincoln Highway in New Lenox. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 19, 2012 6:00AM
Graduation day at Providence Catholic High School on May 31 was a sad day for Dominic Sanfilippo.
Sure, he has a future at the University of Dayton (Ohio), but he said he was reluctant to end his high school career.
“As I leave Providence, I’ll be taking with me many things,” Sanfilippo, 18, said. “When I came to Providence, it was on a whim in junior high. From the first moment I walked into the building, I’ve enjoyed it. I feel very blessed to have everyone at Providence in my life, and wherever I go throughout life, Providence will always be my home.”
Sanfilippo certainly has a lot to miss. As a senior, he was student council president, vice president of National Honor Society, vice president of Habitat for Humanity, captain of the varsity scholastic bowl team and a member of the golf team. He also participated in the Augustinian Youth Ministry, a service organization; the book club and Celtic Nation, a fan club for sporting events. He also worked as a sacristan at all-school Masses and was the announcer for many spirit assemblies.
As captain of the scholastic bowl team, he recently competed in the Illinois High School Association Class AA state finals in Peoria, where the team finished eighth.
“We never won a regional championship prior to this. We were proud of making it there and proud to be a state finalist and being in the ranks of the top eight in the state,” Sanfilippo said.
The most fun he had, however, was working with student council and galvanizing student spirit for the school.
“That’s where I have most of my memories,” he said. “We do so many events throughout the year. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too. We worked on school spirit events and there were so many awesome things we’ve done all four years.
“A lot of it isn’t very glamorous, like working six hours a day before a dance decorating the gym. But we did it all ourselves, and when you step back and look at what you’ve done, it is very awesome.”
Sanfilippo said his parents, Dino and Maria Sanfilippo, of Tinley Park, are his mentors.
“They say the world is a classroom, and since I was a small child, they have been very supportive. I have a very close-knit bond with them. I am very grateful for all they’ve done to help me,” he said.
He also credits the faculty and administrators at Providence for making his high school career so memorable.
“There are so many people who help me, but I look up to Father John Merkelis, the pastoral director at Providence. Most would agree with me when they say he is a life force behind the school,” he said. “He is a very, very kind, generous and amazing man. I’ve learned a lot from him that I hope to take with me wherever I go.”
At the University of Dayton, he said, he would like to pursue a double major in English and human rights or international relations.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer because I like to read,” he said. “Now I’m 18 and I know I want to travel and help people. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up working in education or for a nonprofit of some sort. I want to work with people and bring more love into the world.
“The people in my life motivate me. I cannot get by without my friends and family,” he said.
Does he have any regrets leaving high school?
“Yes,” he said. “I can’t whistle.”