Samuel Hall, valedictorian of this year’s graduating class at Bishop Luers High School, Fort Wayne, tried to immerse himself in academic and extracurricular activities as much as possible during his time in high school.
Hall played soccer for four years and was a captain his senior year; basketball for two years, “despite being the smallest in the grade”; he swam for two years and played baseball for one year, golf his senior year. He was involved as a senator in student government for two years, National Honor Society for three years, a student ambassador for four years, Academic Super Bowl for three years and went to state for the interdisciplinary team.
He was a leader his senior year of Sodalitas, the school’s community-building program. Outside of school, Hall played travel soccer, earned his Eagle Scout badge and worked at his father’s restaurant.
St. John the Baptist was Hall’s grade school. Now, after graduating from high school with a 4.486 GPA, he will head to Purdue University to study mechanical engineering.
What he will remember most about high school are the friendships he has made, he said.
“Hanging out on the weekends, going to get food, just having fun inside and out of school are the times I won’t forget. And thinking back to four years ago, I didn’t know most of them. So, my most treasured memories of high school are the relationships I’ve made, and the good times I’ve had with all of them.”
Attending a Catholic high school provides different opportunities to express one’s faith than are present in a public high school, Hall reflected: Monthly Mass, confession and adoration and religion class were the obvious ones, and not things to be taken for granted.
“Experiencing your faith in school, especially with your peers is a powerful concept too. However, the faith lived throughout the classroom setting is what most influenced me. Catholic values are shared among many students and teachers, making everyone a friend and someone who is open to talk with. This idea of a ‘community’ and ‘family’ environment is created by a shared Catholic faith.
“My faith has contributed to and grown from my High School experience, and I wouldn’t have designed it any other way,” he shared.
Hall’s hobbies and interests are concentrated in the area of music: piano and guitar, mainly. He also loves playing soccer with his siblings. He enjoys building things, a hobby he said was “foreshadowed by my obsession with Legos as a kid, leading me into a career where I can build more stuff — engineering.”
Growing up at SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Huntington, Lillian Holzinger learned that her academic education and her faith went hand in hand. She attended Huntington Catholic School before moving on to Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne four years ago, and at both schools grew in wisdom and in the Spirit.
Holzinger is this year’s school salutatorian, having achieved a 4.452 GPA. She plans to major in biochemistry at Villanova University in the fall.
“Attending a Catholic school, I feel as though I have been able to grow closer to God through my education, which is something I could not have experienced anywhere else,” she said. “I can freely talk about my faith with other people at school and have meaningful connections with them through God. I believe my high school experience has allowed me to grow in my faith through my service to others and has enabled me to grow as a person in general. My faith has been influenced by my high school experience and my high school experience has also been influenced by my faith: I have always strived to take God’s path for me throughout my school years.”
She enjoys music, especially singing and playing the piano. Participating in a variety of different choirs has always been important to her. Holzinger has been involved in the choir and served as a cantor at SS. Peter and Paul for the past six years, and she participated in the Community Choirs of Huntington County for 10 years.
At Bishop Luers she joined the cross-country team her sophomore year and was named a captain her senior year: In addition to running cross-country, she was a member of the track team her sophomore and junior years. She became a member of the National Honor Society her junior year and was elected to serve as the secretary as a senior. She joined Knight Stars, the show choir girls’ group, her sophomore and junior years, and joined a mixed group, the Minstrels, her senior year. She participated in Academic Super Bowl for three years and was a member of the Math Team in 10th and 11th grade, the English Team in 11th and 12th grade and the Science Team in 12th grade.
“I love to explore my artistic side and create drawings, paintings, and other art projects in my free time,” she shared. “I enjoy running as well and hope to be able to continue running recreationally in college.”
She has created many memories throughout high school that she will carry with her forever, she said.
“Over the years, my teammates and choirmates have become some of my closest friends. I will always remember the experience of going to semi-state as a cross-country team, and how much fun we had running together.”
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