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Sean Smith was born in 1990, into a working-class Irish-Catholic family from Charlestown, Massachusetts. From a young age, his family has defined who he is. In the eighteen years of his life, he has shared a triple-decker with his mother, his grandmother, and his great-uncle. He also grew up close to his aunts, uncles, and cousins, who never seemed too far away.
His great-uncle Bernard Doherty helped spark a deep interest in American History. A World War II veteran, he was never shy about sharing a war story about following General George Patton through Italy, or reminding him about how important getting a decent education was. As a young child, talk about how important education is went in one ear and out the other; only now is this lesson getting through. All his life, he has dedicated himself to his family, working hard so that succeeding generations can have a better life. This is what lured countless families to America., and education is the key. The reason Sean has had countless opportunities is because of the dreams and hard work of generations before him. Although he has passed on after a tragic accident when Sean was nine years old, the lessons of how a true gentleman carries himself, being quick to help out those in need, or sharing a laugh or a meal with family and friends, will live on forever.
Sean’s grandmother also was an important part of his life. The strong-willed Irish Nana lived the idealized Christian life, and is the best role model anyone could ever ask for. To her, the words we heard together in Church every Sunday did not stay in Church- she incorporated those teachings into her everyday life. She always gave to charity, always helped her community, and was always there for her family. When most grandparents dream of moving to Florida to relax, she helped raise Sean from an infant to a teenager. She suffered countless tragedies in her life, but the inner-strength and immense faith packed in her barely five foot frame got her through the toughest of times. Sean is proud to have inherited her steadfastness, some may say stubbornness. As he strives to become a better person, he looks to her as an example of how to live a righteous, caring life. She passed on in December of 2008, but will always remain the foundation of Sean’s life.
Sean lived a sheltered childhood with his family, but it helped him to discover the most important things in life- family, faith, and community. He attended the Warren-Prescott Elementary School right up the street from his house. The tight-knit school is famous for its strong sense of community and volunteering, and Sean was quick to help out with numerous fundraisers. It was quite the culture shock from the small, tight-knit school to the comparatively huge Boston Latin School, however Sean eventually found his place. To help make ends meet at home, in tenth grade Sean took a job at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square checking out and shelving books, earning him the nickname “The Librarian.” He worked hard to balance work with his increasingly tumultuous life at home, where his grandmother’s health started to decline, and his seemingly never-ending load of school work added up. Despite all this, Sean is proud of his accomplishments as a student, although he will always expect better from himself.
Sean will be attending Boston University this fall. He is excited about these new opportunities, although he will miss the memories left behind at Boston Latin. He is eager to improve more as a student. He hopes to study U.S. History, and attend law school. Down the line, Sean also wants to be a teacher and pass the passion of America’s great history, which he inherited from his great-uncle, down to a new generation. Sean is working this summer for Corporation Counsel William Sinnott at the City of Boston Law Department, where he hopes to get a deeper understanding of the law.