Faith is an integral focus of education at Bishop Dwenger High School, said 2021 class valedictorian Grayson Gabet. Helping others in this capacity was a positive push for him to leave his comfort zone.
“I was able to see what we learn Sunday at Mass and in every theology class: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mk 12:31)
In addition to theology classes, Bishop Dwenger students are required to do service work in the community as a part of their grade. Gabet volunteered at the Franciscan Center Family Thrift store in Fort Wayne for two months in 2018 and two months in 2019, cleaning and organizing the storefront, sorting donated items and helping elsewhere when needed.
A member of St. Jude Parish, he became involved with the St. Jude Youth Ministry Mission Trip in 2017, 2018 and 2019, also lending a hand at various organizations, small parishes and charities in the Fort Wayne and South Bend areas.
“My experiences of helping others allowed me to put my faith and my Catholic education into action. These opportunities that I had showed me that I would like to carry my Catholic identity into my next level of education and into my career as well,” he said, looking back.
“Helping others has a wonderful, two-sided benefit that is often overlooked,” he explained. “We give our help to others, but in turn, we are able to help ourselves by remaining humble and keeping Jesus’ words close at heart as we help all of our neighbors. I’m seeking a higher education at the University of Notre Dame to further my Catholic education and to nurture a Christian worldview that I can take to my future jobs, remembering to do good in the world and actually live the teachings that we hear.”
His favorite memories of high school come from being in classes with teachers who made the day fun. “Many of my teachers have great personalities, which makes each day engaging.”
Additionally, the school’s annual Tournament Day has been a source of fond memories for Gabet. On that day, students take a break from studies and enjoy time with friends, play games and watch each other compete in tournaments.
At Bishop Dwenger, Gabet excelled at extracurricular activities. Freshman year, he joined Key Club. By graduation, he had been a four-year member of the Social Studies Team. He joined Scrabble Club, acting as president this year, Future Business Leaders of America and Spanish Club. During his junior and senior years he served on the student council and participated in National Honor Society. This year, he served as senior class vice president and director of attendance and participated on the Math Team.
In his free time, he likes to practice the trumpet, play video games, read fiction and nonfiction, go on bike rides, hang out with friends and study foreign languages.
Gabet intends to study business analytics and international business at the University of Notre Dame this fall.
Benjamin Hoffman, salutatorian of this year’s senior class at Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne, has worked hard during high school to prepare for a higher education path in finance. He will study at Villanova University this fall.
A St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School graduate, Hoffman said that after attending Bishop Dwenger — and especially through the theology classes he took every semester — his knowledge of the Catholic faith and beliefs has grown tremendously.
“At Bishop Dwenger, we are collectively known as Citizens of Two Worlds, acting both as students in modern society as well as children of God. My faith has allowed me to grow and acknowledge that my education will benefit others outside of myself; this will hopefully be seen through my future endeavors.”
He said he feels he has been blessed with the opportunity to pray before each and every class, partake in the sacrament of reconciliation regularly and grow in faith with his peers. “Without the Catholic identity that permeates throughout this building, I am not sure where I would be as a person, much less as a scholar.”
As a way of living out his faith, Hoffman volunteered at the Ave Maria Shelter for all four years of high school. “I have always been involved in this organization, at least since elementary school, enjoying the relationships I developed as well as the experience of making and serving food and being the Easter Bunny, among other activities,” he said.
After school, Hoffman was involved in several clubs and sports. During a year with Future Business Leaders of America, he became the No. 2 Krispy Kreme doughnut seller and placed in several competitions at the State Leadership Conference in Indianapolis. In Apologetics Club, he attended a weekly discussion where he learned more about the defenses of the Catholic faith. Being invited to join National Honor Society, in which he participated for two years and served as treasurer for one, was “a tremendous honor.”
Hoffman played basketball at Bishop Dwenger for two years on the freshman and junior varsity teams. He played varsity tennis for one year, becoming sectional champion. He was Academic All-State Host at Casa Ristoranti during his junior and senior years as well. And while he spent a good amount of time studying, outside of school, he said he still enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, dabbling in sports memorabilia and some videogames and binge-watching of TV shows.
He will take away from high school memories of his experience playing basketball his freshman and sophomore years, as well as his senior tennis experience.
“The chicken wraps offered every day in the cafeteria definitely will also always permeate throughout my recollection of high school,” he added. He said he will also remember “the tremendous academic experience, along with the marvelous teachers that I was so blessed to have all four years.”
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