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February 24, 2024

Model and athlete-turned-priest to speak at new Augie conference series

Leah Darrow, former America’s Top Model contestant, gives a talk to the women participants at the student conference during the breakout session. Photo by Maria Do.

On May 26, Augie Catholic will host a Student Conference organized by Father Jeremy Freehill who said, “[it] will be a short but intentional afternoon for students to gather together to hear the life stories of two dynamic individuals.”

The keynote speaker is Leah Darrow, a former contestant on America’s Next Top Model and now a a nationally known speaker.

Joseph Freedy, a former starting quarterback at the State University of New York at Buffalo, will also be speaking. Freedy arned a masters degree in philosophy at Duquesne University and studied theology in Rome.

“[Darrow and Freedy had dreams] to pursue a career in fashion through modeling and a dream to play college football,” said Freehill. “However, as they will share, while achieving their individual dream, each felt a longing for something more.”

Father Freehill hopes that students will relate to the speakers’ dreams and find their life stories fascinating.

Andrew Garcia, an Augustana senior accounting and business administration and finance major, will be a student leader at the conference.  “I met Father Jeremy this fall before a mass and have been friends ever since,” Garcia said. “I’ve invited him to my football games and he has met my family.”

Garcia is excited about the conference and thinks that “it would be nice to meet people outside of the Augustana community to listen to their experiences and thoughts.” He believes this event is a good way to meet other people that share the same faith.

Garcia also added that “even if they don’t share the Catholic faith, I think it is a good way to listen and learn from the experience of others. Also, there’s live music and free food, what more could you ask for?”

The conference will be held in the Olin Auditorium and doors will open at 1:15 p.m., with live music from Kevin Carton beginning soon after. After Leah Darrow delivers her keynote address, she and Father Joe will offer talks within a breakout session.  The conference will be followed by a free Hungry Hobo Dinner and a Catholic mass in Ascension Chapel.

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Model and athlete-turned-priest to speak at new Augie conference series