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John P. Phillips

(St. Francis Xavier - Wilmette)
Captain of the varsity soccer team. Dumbach scholar. Student Council secretary. Any one of these three distinctions would be an achievement in its own right and enough to keep most high school students busy. But for John P. Phillips, this is just the beginning. John was nominated by his peers to serve on Loyola Academy’s first Hope Squad, a peer-to-peer suicide prevention program for students. "It has been so powerful to learn more about mental health and even more so to try and work with my classmates to promote a positive school culture," he says. Indeed, a deep compassion and care for others has clearly emerged as an underlying current in many of John's activities. "My Catholic faith is the most important thing in my life, and I want to develop and share that with others," he explains. During his sophomore year, he was a founding member of Loyola Academy's Dignity of Life Club and traveled to Washington, DC, for the annual March for Life. Last year, he worked with Campus Minister Rev. Stanislaw Czarnecki, SJ, to found Loyola’s Christian Life Community, which seeks to build relationships with God and with one another. "I love learning about and studying Catholic theology and philosophy," he says. "My brothers and I read and talk about all things theology and the Catholic faith. This has grown beyond just a hobby or interest to become the fundamental viewpoint from which I see the world." John says learning about social justice issues and the different circumstances people on the margins of society live with through Campus Ministry's Pax Christi programming has taught him how to manifest love in deeds more than words. He fondly recalls time spent volunteering at Sunrise Senior Living, where he had a lengthy conversation about the art of the Northern Renaissance with a resident who had been an art historian. When asked about his favorite classes at LA, John highlights AP European History with Mr. Bill Brandstrader '88. "The combination of interesting course material and incredible class energy has made AP Euro a fantastic class. Mr. Brandstrader never fails to bring incredible energy that makes the already exciting content even more inviting." John is passionate about the humanities and sees himself studying history, theology and philosophy in college. And while he’s not sure what profession that may lead him to, he is certain of this: “I want to be out in the world bringing joy and light to other people’ lives. In a world so often obscured in suffering, I want to bring God’s love and hope to each person I come in contact with.”

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