McKay Teacher Biography:
Mr. Michael Shaughnessy


Mr. Shaughnessy was born in Chicago, attended St. Brendan elementary school and St. Rita High School.
He received his Bachelorís Degree from Chicago State University and his Masters Degree in Education
from Governors State University. He was also a Navy pilot.

Here are his answers to some questions on a recent questionnaire:

Three memorable things, people or events from your days at McKay?:
1) The kids at McKay. You are the reason I chose to continue teaching after I got out of the Navy.
I never intended to teach for a living. My plan was to learn how to fly in the Navy and then go to
the airlines and make lots of money and meet lots of cute flight attendants. I realized in the Navy
how much I enjoyed teaching and how much I missed all of you that when I came out I called
Mr. Zelazek and he got me a position at McKay, until teachers on a waiting list for 15 years found out
and I got bumped. Itís because of the graduating class of Ď72 (which I student-taught, 8th grade
Ms. Otlewisís class), the class of Ď73 (which I had the pleasure of teaching in September and
October until I went into the service), and the class of Ď74 (which I student-taught 6th grade
Mr. Houlihanís class) that I never became a Captain in the Airlines making the big bucks and
meeting all those cute young flight attendants. Thanks, thanks a lot!!!

2) The class of Ď73 sneaking into my coat pocket and stealing my car keys the last day I was there.
Iíll never forget it. I said my goodbyes and went out to my green Volkswagen and it was filled with
balloons, goodbye letters, and a big sign taped to the back of my car that read, ďGood Luck
Mr. Shaughnessy in the Navy - We will miss you!Ē I had tears rolling down my cheeks all the way home.

3) Again the class of Ď73. Iíll always remember it. The boys were going to play football at
Marquette Park and they invited me to play with them. I met them and just remember coming
home with my sweater all ripped to threads. They forgot to mention it was going to be Tackle football!
We had a lot of laughs. And the girls singing ďLeaving on a Jet PlaneĒ but they changed the words to it
to fit with me leaving for the military.

Favorite current hobby?:
Many hobbies, my favorite is flying. I built an ultralight airplane in my living room and did the
final assembly up in Wisconsin. I fly it up there for the summer to my summer place which is
on a lake up in the north woods. I put floats on the plane and land it right on the lake. In the Fall,
I fly it back and keep it on a horse ranch in Peotone. I fly it all year round.

Favorite book?:
Iím embarrassed to say this but I love the Harry Potter books.

Favorite television show?:
Seinfeld (still watching the reruns)

Favorite magazine?:
Theyíre all home built flying magazines.

Vacation trip you enjoyed the most?:
Colorado with my family. We camped in the mountains next to rivers and rode our air mattresses down
these strong rivers.

In your opinion, the primary difference(s) between elementary school students in 1973 and elementary
school students now?
Iíve been teaching now for almost 30 years, and have taught in every part of the city, every race,
from Marquette Park to a Spanish district, then to the projects on Cottage Grove and now at
Mt. Greenwood, and kids are kids. I donít care where you go, whether itís a rich area or poor, white,
black or yellow, green or blue skin. Kids are kids. They are all beautiful. I havenít been in a school yet
or have met a child yet that I didnít truly enjoy. I wouldnít trade one year of my teaching experience
for all the money in the world. Okay that might be stretching it! No, I really mean it.
Thank you to all of you who went to McKay and that I had the pleasure of teaching.
You are the reason I am teaching today.

Any additional info or random comments/thoughts/memories to share?
Yes, if you ever do decide to have a reunion would you mind very much if I drop by?
I would love to see you. I have only seen one of you since those great McKay days and
thatís Tom Horton. What a nice surprise to run into him! I was surprised that he remembered me.
Iím sure he doesnít realize nor do the rest of you what a key role you played in my life and how I
wouldnít trade it with anyone.

You asked for a picture of my homebuilt aircraft. I'm attaching a picture of me right after
I took it up for the first time. What a great feeling. I remember being a little worried that it
would actually fly okay but soon overcame that when I took my hand off the controls and
it flew straight and level and was perfectly balanced. Since then I've flown it over 500 hours
and it still flies the same now as it did the first day. I remember my neighbors dropping by
every few days when I was building it to see how the plane was coming along. They couldn't
believe I was actually building this in my living room. Now that I have it done and out of the
living room, my room looks so empty. I think I'm ready for another project!