No Folly for Foley
by Cate Murway
“TV Guy” Shawn William Foley, CEC ’09 conspicuously displays the countless skills of leadership, self-motivation, public speaking and teamwork experience he has already begun to accrue.
Blessed with a plethora of creative expression, Shawn, [the variant of Sean that is an Irish variant of John means God is gracious; gift from God], earned a full scholarship to Conwell- Egan Catholic High School in Fairless Hills as the first and only St. Mark student to win the Neumann Scholarship. He represents some of the highest performing students in each of Philadelphia's 20 Archdiocesan high schools who were recognized and rewarded for their academic excellence in the parish elementary schools. As an eligible eighth grader, he was tested with an independently administered scholastic examination and as a Neumann Scholar awardee, he is required to maintain a GPA of 90 or better or current class rank within the top ten percent. Shawn has earned 1st honors his entire life! He is one of the only 2 juniors taking 3 AP courses, including U.S. history, Language & Composition, and Biology.
His parents, Highland Park section resident, Meryl Lee [Orlove] NHS ‘72/BCCC [criminal justice] and Kenwood section resident, John William BE ‘67/ retired U.S.P.S. supervisor of the bulk mail center met through friends and have happily raised their family in the Borough on Pine Street for almost 28 years. Shawn’s twin sisters are registered Nurses, Jaymi Lee [Abington Hospital] & Raechel Sara [Jefferson Hospital], CEC ’02. His older brother, Patrick James  and his wife Krista own an Asian décor Internet business.
His answer to the essay of “Why he wanted to go to an Archdiocese school” helped clinch the scholarship but it was an easy answer for Shawn. His dad and his sisters are
Conwell-Egan grads and he grew up knowing his choice from an early age. He felt very confident of earning a good education and he quickly made extra-curricular choices
that clearly fit his innate creative ability, imagination and artistic talents.
Responsible, reliable Shawn is one of the anchors of the WCEC news station and he thoroughly enjoys making his video commercial presentations for the announcements.
His original intent was to join as a volunteer for the TV station, planning on doing the technical end. But Moderators, Physical Science and frosh/soph biology teacher, Mr. Allen R. Emmons, Austin Preparatory School, Reading, MA/ Saint Francis University Loretto, PA, and Chair of the English Department, Mr. William [Bill] Walter advocated that “everyone needs to do everyone’s job at least once”. Shawn is no ordinary person. He is full of imagination and originality and hungers for new experiences and he was more than ready to try it all! According to Allen Emmons, “He’s 2nd in command! It’s always a pleasure to talk about Shawn. He’s known as ‘TV Guy’ and he learned how to run all the equipment. He starts the announcements with ‘Gooooood Morning, Conwell-Egan.’ He’s bubbly and happy and quite well known!”
Bill Walter also has shared his confidence; “I have worked with and taught Shawn for three years. He is incredibly bright and motivated and a quick study as well as being creative. With young men like Shawn, the future is in good hands.”
P.S. Shawn shares his birthday with Arthur [Art] Buchwald (1925 - 2007) the American humorist best known for his long-running column that he wrote in The Washington Post, which in turn was carried as a syndicated column in many other newspapers. His column focused on political satire and commentary and he received the Pulitzer Prize for Outstanding Commentary in 1982.
As a grade school student, Shawn dabbled in various activities, Cub Scouts, T-ball, CYO basketball for 1 year, and he excelled in Mathletes as part of the spirited group of St. Mark students who competed against other schools in a battle of math minds. He won the spelling bee in 6th grade, [sapphire is spelled with 2 p’s], assisted the priests as altar server, and played flute for the Conwell-Egan junior band and the Archdiocese Honor Band [03-04] for Festival Director and Percussion organizer, Sonny Joseph Facenda, BE ’67 football linebacker and high hurdler/pole vaulter / St. Mary’s University, MN/Trenton State College ’75. Sonny acknowledged, “ Shawn played a very good flute and picked it up very quickly. He showed real potential.”
Actually, he really wanted to play the violin. He tried the flute, the reedless wind instrument that is dated to prehistoric times that produces a fantastically pure sound and he played for 3 or 4 years.
Music and Drama is high on his list of creative education. Shawn performed in the 1 act plays his frosh & soph years in “Table 18”, written by a senior student, portraying Philip R. Whitmore and as one of the townsmen in “The Lottery”. His musical endeavors include “You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown” [chorus member], although he would much rather act! In the scenes of the quaint, little 1950’s town “gaga over the visit of rock star Conrad Birdie”, in “Bye Bye Birdie”, he played the nerdy Harvey Johnson, and in the ‘totally awesome musical’ “Back to the 80’s”, he brought dynamics and expressionism to the supremely intelligent school geek, Feargal McFerrin III, whose best friend is his computer.
As one of the smartest, brightest, and technology-savvy students around, NHS student Shawn proudly participates in the student-centered program E.A.S.T. [Environmental & Spatial Technologies]. This is a dynamic, performance-based learning environment, integrated with advanced technological applications for community service. Shawn will be documenting the Borough Oral History Project using VT4 and FinalCut Pro editing production tool programs. It is recognized as an innovative, relevant, and successful approach to education as a coordinated attempt to provide students with insight into their abilities to acquire and use information, solve problems, and gain valuable experience on their way to becoming life-long learners. From humble beginnings, E.A.S.T. has grown to be one of the great American educational success stories. CEC is the 1st participating school in PA, the 1st school east of the Mississippi, and the 1st private Catholic school involved in E.A.S.T.
Loretta M. Vasso, M.S., CAC, Community Mobilizer of the Bristol Borough Community Partnership, effused only accolades for Shawn, “What happened was that the CEC teachers were not able to attend the Oral History Project training with co-author of “The Oral History Project, Connecting Students to Their Community”, Richard E. [Dick] Heyler. They said that Shawn could transmit any information to them since he was such a responsible student. They fully trusted him to be able to attend the training and bring the information back to them. I feel that Shawn has done an exemplary job at representing CEC and the E.A.S.T. Program in the Oral History Project. We are looking forward to working with Shawn and the students he has recruited to handle the technological aspects of the project.”
E.A.S.T. Facilitator, Mr. Kenneth Hupka, nominated Distinguished Scholar Shawn, along with another CEC student, Nicole Kuropatwa, to be 2008 Student Welcoming Team student speakers during the E.A.S.T. Partnership Conference Opening Plenary session on Tuesday, February 19th in the Hot Springs Convention Center in Arkansas.
Per Assistant Principal Mr. Michael A. Marano, Father Judge H.S. '92, “Shawn is well recognized in our community by students and faculty as the "student voice" of CEC because of his responsibilities on our morning TV production, but he is so much more. In addition to being an outstanding student academically, Shawn is heavily involved in our Drama Club, our E.A.S.T. Initiative, Spirit Night and many other activities. Shawn spends countless hours after school enjoying his various pursuits. Shawn is always willing to give of his time to assist the school.”
Shawn is humble about his accomplishments and gives credit where credit is due.
“Outside of my family, the three most influential people in my life are: Mr. Bill Walter, a CEC teacher, with whom I've worked on several projects in the TV Studio, Mrs. Rita Tomlinson, whom I've spoken to a number of times about my future, and Mr. Kenneth Hupka, my E.A.S.T. Facilitator who is always willing to help his students in any way, and to talk to them.”
For his senior project, Shawn is contemplating the possibility of doing a documentary “idea of the school throughout the years”, on the school’s 50 year history after speaking with graduates that includes the principal, Mrs. Maryjane McHugh; Ms. Donna McGinley '64, English Department and the STAR [Students and Teachers Achieving Results] Program Director, and Mr. Robert Hileman '72, of the Mathematics Department. He intends to keep a journal and present a DVD to Mrs. Margaret Blanco, Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs.
Shawn enjoys Literature as a hobby but is seriously looking at sciences as a career.
He is set on nuclear biomedical engineering that uses traditional engineering expertise to analyze and solve problems in biology and medicine, providing an overall enhancement of health care. This field could possibly present opportunities to design instruments, devices, and software, to bring together knowledge from many technical sources to develop new procedures, or to conduct research needed to solve clinical problems.
Shawn had contemplated teaching but shared that, “Mrs. Tomlinson, my AP Biology teacher was the one who told me, "Well Shawn, I don't think I should really be saying this but, you have too much potential to just go back into the classroom and become a teacher. Go out and do something great, then if you still want to, then become a teacher”."
It takes vision, faith and determination, patience and commitment, and good old-fashioned hard work to produce in today's economy. Saturday’s child Shawn seems to have clinched these success strategies.
To recommend a Bristol borough youth to be spotlighted: e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
As I'm sure you know I'm now a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Biochemistry. I'm writing on behalf of a suite (hallway) wide community service project at the Hill House Dormitory.
Together we are raising money for the Alzheimer's Association and walking in the 2009 Alzheimer's Memory Walk. This project will help to raise money for Alzheimer's research and awareness.
Alzheimer's Disease currently affects 5.3 million Americans, but that number is on a steady rise. Most people who live to the age of eighty will be afflicted by this disease. Your grandparents, your parents, and even you are susceptible to this disease. We are trying to help raise money for research so that Alzheimer's may be better understood and hopefully one day cured.
Anything that you could donate to this fundraising efforts would be appreciated, nothing is too small. We will be having further fundraising events throughout Hill House, including a movie and pizza night this Sunday, October 25th at 7:00pm. If you are interested please let me know.
Thank you for taking the time to help us in this endeavor. Below are two links, either of which can be used to make the donation on a completely SECURE website.
Thank you again for your help, it truly is appreciated.
University of Pennsylvania
Class of 2013