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Summer Program Blog

Summer Program Blog

Below is part two of our introductions to the 2020 Summer Program prefects for Thomas Aquinas College, New England! 

Jean Guerreiro (’22) Jean Guerreiro (’22)Jean Guerreiro (’22), who hails from Brazil, is an expert at taking risks. Upon moving over 5,000 miles to begin his studies at Thomas Aquinas College, New England, Jean commented, “I’m just taking a risk, as I did when I left my country, my family, my friends, and came here. Every life worth living requires taking some risk.” Praise God, that risk paid off! Now, with two Summer Programs (one as an attendee and one as a prefect) and two years of education at the College under his belt, Jean heartily recommends that this year’s attendees similarly take a risk and fully commit to their time at the Summer Program. “If you trust the order of the program, and live intensely every second of your time here,” he says, “you will see that the spiritual life, classes, and outdoor activities work together so neatly that it will be hard for these not to be the best two weeks of your life.” 

Meg Murphy (’22) Meg Murphy (’22)After working as a prefect on last year’s first New England Summer Program, Meg Murphy (’22) is eager to keep the tradition going for this second year in a row. “Working last year’s program at the New England Campus was truly a privilege!, she says. “I really enjoyed hanging out with the students and getting to know them, as well as discussing some of the material with them outside of class.” After spending her time in quarantine running, hiking, drawing, and gardening from her home in Cheshire, Connecticut, Meg is ready to start making memories with this year’s Summer Program students!

Joseph Guinee (’21) Joseph Guinee (’21)A rising senior on the California campus, Joseph Guinee (’21) from North Andover, Massachusetts, can’t wait to see the High School Summer Program come to his home state for the second time. “If I was to give one piece of advice to students, it would be to get as much sleep as you can,” Joe comments. “That way, you will have the energy to do all the awesome activities we have planned for you guys.” He must be getting plenty of sleep himself, because fellow prefect Meg Murphy shares that Joe “has been a complete blast to work with, and the enthusiasm he shows for the curriculum is so encouraging.” She also shares that Joe is great at cooking — always a plus! 

Mary O’Reilly (‘22) Mary O’Reilly (‘22)“This will be my first time working the Summer Program as a prefect and I’m really looking forward to it!” shares Mary O’Reilly (‘22). Although she comes from Santa Paula, California, (the location of the California campus), Mary chose to study at the College’s New England campus, and writes that she is very “excited to help introduce the high school students to the campus and community that I am so fond of.” Fellow prefect Simone Kelly reports that Mary is a huge lover of both coffee and tennis; and is always down to pick up a racquet and play a game. 

Daniel Selmeczy (’08) Daniel Selmeczy (’08)Best known for turning complete newbies into amazing swing dancers (or as close as they can get in just two weeks), Daniel Selmeczy (’08) is always a yearly favorite for the students on the Summer Program — both on and off the dance floor. Now a teacher at St. Monica Academy in Pasadena, California, Dan marvels at how he originally came to attend Thomas Aquinas College. “I was an atheist and was accepted to study marine biology at UC Santa Barbara when I first visited TAC,” he recalls. “During that visit, I fell in love with the program and was accepted to attend as a freshman that same year. Within a year I had converted to Catholicism, which to this day has been the single greatest blessing of my entire life.”

Kathleen Pfeiffer (’23) Kathleen Pfeiffer (’23)Kathleen Pfeiffer (’23) is honestly the person we need to bring enthusiasm to this program,” writes fellow prefect John Metilly. “She is very cheerful and enthusiastic; you will always find her smiling.” After spending her quarantine at home in Waterford, Wisconsin, Kathleen is excited to leave zoom classes and indoor activities behind in place of this year’s Summer Program. Like our attendees, Kate shares that “I have not done the summer program before, either as a student or as an attendee, but it always looked like so much fun and I really wanted to attend!” This year, her wish is coming true, and she can’t wait to meet the 2020 Summer Program students come July 26!

Tanner Sheffield (’23) Tanner Sheffield (’23)Tanner Sheffield (’23) — a sophomore at Thomas Aquinas College, New England — is also experiencing the Great Books Summer Program for the first time this year! Hailing from Yuba City, California, he has spent most of his summer volunteering at his local parish, reading, and playing the guitar. (Fellow prefect Irene Collins tells us he’s an amazing guitarist!) He advises programmers to bring this kind of balance into their two weeks at Thomas Aquinas College. “Come with an open mind,” Tanner recommends. “Study hard and play hard.” He looks forward to making new friends and new memories on his beloved New England campus.

Kevin Murphy (’22) Kevin Murphy (’22)This is the second Summer Program for Kevin Murphy (’22) of Des Peres, Missouri, is serving as a prefect. An avid rock climber, Kevin has spent as much time as possible outdoors this summer, and he is especially looking forward to the kayaking trip on the Connecticut River! Beyond the outdoor activities, though, Kevin wants to remind programmers to take their studies seriously during their two weeks on campus. “More than anything else, Thomas Aquinas College is distinguished by its curriculum and the way we pursue it,” he says. “Take advantage of the chance to test it out and discover if you enjoy it!”

The second annual High School Summer Program for Thomas Aquinas College, New England, is right around the corner! The prefects for this year’s program —  all students and recent graduates of Thomas Aquinas College — cannot wait to get to meet this year’s attendees. Until then, you can now “meet” them, virtually, through the following profiles (part one of two):

Irene Collins (’23) Irene Collins (’23) The strong friendships that women’s co-head prefect Irene Collins (’23) from Ojai, California, built at Thomas Aquinas College were what helped her through what has been a challenging spring and summer. “Especially after coming home early to finish the year online, I have become so aware of what a gift this community is,” Irene remarks, “and what good it can do to make solid, lasting friendships the way we do here.” As July 26 draws near, Irene encourages students not to worry about their college decision, but rather to focus their two weeks on forging those close friendships that are unique to Thomas Aquinas College. “God will give you the direction you need if you ask Him for it,” she advises. “Then the best you can do is enjoy the ride!” 

Maggie Dillon (’21) Maggie Dillon (’21)After working four Summer Programs as a prefect, as well as attending one of her own, Maggie Dillon (’21) from Lunenburg, Massachusetts, is so excited to jointly serve with Irene Collins (below) as one of this Summer Program’s head female prefects. “My favorite thing about working on the program is getting to know so many great people and having such good conversations with everyone,” Maggie comments, “as well as just being crazy and having fun!” Head male prefect Andrew Rossi tells us that Maggie is “filled with faith and fire, and she is one of the most competitive people you will meet.” Sporty fun-loving Maggie is always ready for a little competition — whether it’s on the athletic field or in a friendly debate! 

Andrew Rossi (’13) Andrew Rossi (’13)It’s been many years since Andrew Rossi (’13) first attended the Great Books Summer Program as a student in 2008. Twelve years and eight Summer Programs as a prefect later, Rossi (as everyone calls him) still looks forward to it and encourages students to detach from electronics and social media in order to truly avail themselves of the opportunity. “Leave your cell phone in your room and don’t touch it for the two weeks,” he recommends. “It will allow you to fully commit yourself to the program and get to know so many great people who could become friends for the rest of your life.” When he’s not serving as the head male prefect of the Summer Program, Rossi teaches logic, geometry, history, and chemistry at St. Augustine Academy in Ventura, California. 

Rebecca Sheurer (’23) Rebecca Sheurer (’23)“Enjoy wholeheartedly everything this program offers, from the books, to the classes, the activities, the people you will meet, and so much more!” Rebecca Sheurer (’23) counsels. “It might change your life!” Fellow prefect and freshman classmate Irene Collins shares that “Becca has a way of quickly and deservedly earning respect from her peers and is frequently organizing events and outings for the students, keeping the dorm life fun, and playing a key role in study groups.” A New England native and rising sophomore at the College’s East Coast campus, Rebecca is especially looking forward to kayaking along the Connecticut River at this year’s Summer Program. 

John Metilly (’23) John Metilly (’23)Determined to “give everyone the biggest bang for their buck as far as fun goes,” rising sophomore John Metilly (’23) from Paxton, Massachusetts, can’t wait to begin his first-ever Summer Program as a prefect. “Try to really do your best to participate in everything we offer at the Summer Program,” he encourages. “Work hard, play hard, and make a lot of friends!” Although he’s enjoyed some aspects of life in quarantine, John admits that he misses his friends at Thomas Aquinas College very much, and is especially looking forward to making new friends with this year’s New England Summer Program students. 

Simone Kelly (’22) Simone Kelly (’22)Although Simone Kelly (’22) is a native of Santa Paula, California, she made the adventurous decision during her freshman year on the College’s California campus to switch to its New England campus. Now a rising junior, this will be Simone’s second time working as a New England Summer Program prefect, and she can’t wait to share the unique beauty of the College’s East Coast campus with this year’s students. She says she is “excited about getting other people excited, showing the students what our academic program is all about, and helping to spread the word about our new campus.”

Jonahs Chavez (‘22) Jonahs Chavez (‘22)“One of my favorite memories from the Summer Program,” recalls Jonahs Chavez (‘22), “was when we sat out on the grass one night toward the end of the two weeks and sang songs together — it really cemented some of the bonds that we were forming over the program.” Now a rising junior on the College’s New England campus, Jonahs remembers his own Summer Program experience on the California campus in 2017 as “the most fun two weeks of my life, but also a time that really influenced me afterwards.” Fellow prefect Irene Collins tells us that Jonahs, who hails from Chowchilla, California, is “phenomenal at pretty much all sports,” but also a gifted leader and a lover of meaningful conversation. 

Niamh McCann (’23) Niamh McCann (’23)Niamh McCann (’23), who comes to us from Shirley, Massachusetts, shares that she spent most of her quarantine, “honing my skills in homemade food, collages, and zoom calls, but also gushing with [fellow prefect] Maggie Dillon about how much fun we’re going to have at this year’s Summer Program.” Although she attended the program on the California campus in 2018, Niamh has since completed her Freshman Year on the New England campus, and can’t wait to show it off to this year’s Summer Program students. “Niamh McCann is a girl with a plan to make this an amazing Summer Program,” fellow prefect Tanner Sheffield writes. “She also knows Massachusetts really well, so she’s great to go to for questions about living in New England.”