SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – Just back from a seven month United States Navy deployment in the Persian Gulf, St. Mary School alumnus LT John R. O’Neill ‘99 visited his alma mater where he spoke to a full school assembly. The Naval Aviator shared stories of his work piloting his E-2C Hawkeye. “You could have heard a pin drop as John talked about launching and landing his 54,000 pound twin-turboprop jet aboard the USS John Stennis. The children were completely captivated as he described in detail the impact the human body takes from such speed and power, as well as the challenges of landing an airplane onto a moving aircraft carrier, often in the pitch black of night.” said the school’s Alumni Relations Director Sira Naras
Beyond LT O’Neill’s stories of high-seas and air-borne adventure, the school’s alumnus spoke candidly and seriously about the importance of working hard and trying your absolute best in school. “It may seem difficult now” he told the students “but embrace the hard work and learning you experience here at St. Mary’s. It is all part of the process that will help you succeed, and one day allow you to do something you love to do” said O’Neill.
When asked about returning to St. Mary School, O’Neill said “being back in the school was awesome. It was extremely cool for me to be back in the classrooms where I once strived to get to the job that I have and love today. I thought – wow, this is where it all started, and it couldn’t have worked out any better. To be in a forum where I could talk to the students about what I do, when it wasn’t that long ago I sat in those very seats, was a real privilege.”
LT O’Neill’s visit was part of the St. Mary School Alumni Re-connect campaign.