Saint Joseph High School
Valedictorian Margaret Patricia Dosch is tremendously thankful for what she feels she received by getting a Catholic education, especially during her four years at Saint Joseph High School.
“I feel overwhelmingly grateful. One of my favorite aspects of the Catholic identity at Saint Joe High School is the sense of focus and familial atmosphere. Looking back at these past four years, I realize I have learned so much. I also fully recognize that I would not have been able to learn half as much as I did without the help of my Saint Joe family — teachers and classmates alike.”
“My Saint Joe experience has allowed me to exercise my faith through retreats and retreat team, community service and being a member of the Catholic Identity Committee. Some of my most inspiring faith moments at Saint Joe were giving a speech at one of the retreats my junior year, and participating in Work for Saint Joe every year. These experiences have allowed me to cultivate my own personal faith journey and hopefully have inspired others’ faith lives.”
Some of my her most treasured memories include: “Saint Joe’s chaplain, Father Terry, scaring me by holding a handful of stinkbugs near my face; witnessing Mr. Kostielney teach one of his theology classes while wearing a ‘Transformers’ helmet; and getting to spend time with Mrs. McKew during our last year together at Saint Joe.”
While attaining a GPA of 4.6038, Margaret also took time to participate in all the theatrical productions put on by St. Joseph High School during the four years she attended, noting “it was a blast!” She also was a member of the Art Club, German Club, National German Honors Society and the National Honor Society. She served as Student Council secretary her freshman, sophomore and junior year, and her senior year served as Student Body secretary.
“I learned a lot from these experiences and am grateful for having such constructive opportunities with fellow classmates,” said Margaret.
Aside from drama productions, one of the other activities she enjoyed was being part of a curling team at Notre Dame with her dad. She also enjoys kayaking and hiking, as well as and drawing and painting.
Margaret is pleased to note she has been hired at Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and is “thrilled at the prospect of continuing the atmosphere of focus and family from Saint Joe” as she transitions to Notre Dame as a student next year.
Her college major choice has not been made yet, but possible choices she noted are architecture, fine arts and industrial design.
Leo Romanetz thinks he would not have had the opportunities he found at Saint Joseph High School if he had attended another high school.
“Helping those less fortunate than I am, I was given full strength by my high school experience. This definitely would have been harder to encounter at most other high schools,” said Leo, who is salutatorian for the Class of 2017 and has a GPA of 4.4541.
A resident of Niles, Mich., the senior plans to attend Saint Lawrence University, majoring in chemistry.
While Leo is not a member of the Catholic Church, he feels he can “definitely speak to the fact that Catholic education has had value in my life and educational process. Moreover, my theology classes and teachers often happened to be my favorite classes and teachers.
“Theology classes, like morality, taught a view on Catholic religion that was founded on both faith and reason, which was essential for me to coming to the realization that the route to truth in all aspects of life relies on these foundational principles,” he said.
Outside of the classroom, Leo was a varsity tennis team member and an Economics Challenge team member. He also taught tennis basics to children ages 7-12 at the South Bend Racquet Club. “This impacted me by teaching me the values of leadership and mentorship which made a positive impact in my school environment.”
Leo said that during high school he often took a leadership role in group activities, and learned to help people one-on-one in tutoring groups such as National Honor Society.
His hobbies include reading comic books and playing the banjo and disc golf.
Treasured memories for Leo include times spent as a member of the St. Joseph tennis team, “bringing the ‘spoon’ game to St. Joe my freshman year,” and most of all, “making lifelong friendships.”
Bishop Dwenger High School
Putting his faith into action “through numerous service opportunities” and having the sacraments available on a regular basis, James Joseph Shea, valedictorian of Bishop Dwenger’s Class of 2017, said he knows his Catholic high school experience has given him so much for his future.
“My Catholic education has taught me meaningful life lessons, and instilled values in me that will help me succeed in college and in life and stay true in my faith,” said James.
He will graduate with a 4.524 GPA. A member of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Fort Wayne, he plans to attend Purdue University in West Lafayette, majoring in actuarial science.
During his time at Bishop Dwenger he played baseball all four years, participated in Spanish Club and was part of the National Honor Society.
In his spare time, he enjoys “working out, playing video games and playing sports,” as well as reading and watching documentaries.
Looking back on his high school experience, James noted that his most treasured memories are the four baseball seasons he was able to spend with his teammates, “and the friendships I’ve nurtured over the years at Bishop Dwenger.”
Kyle Weingartner, salutatorian of the Bishop Dwenger High School Class of 2017, said that while some people choose not to discuss such topics as religion with friends and family, he thinks that such talks bring everyone strength.
“Challenging, even uncomfortable discussions and debates are important for one’s formation in faith, and they have empowered me to defend my church and my faith to a sometimes-hostile society,” said Kyle.
He noted that attending a Catholic high school helped him in so many ways.
“Catholic school provides an environment for a close community, united by a common cause. We share more than a mascot — our faith is what drives us together,” he said, adding “my faith and my worldview have been shaped through my theology classes.”
In addition to earning a 4.503 GPA, Kyle was part of the Bishop Dwenger tennis team, the Academic Team Science Olympiad and National Honor Society.
Outside of academics he enjoys playing piano, “though I don’t play as much as I should.” He also enjoys playing video games and is a “pretty big tennis fan.”
Some of his most memorable times were spent on “hot and humid days on the tennis courts; then there were our post-match dinners!” he said enthusiastically.
Kyle will attend the University of Notre Dame, majoring in math.
Marian High School
The Catholic school experience gives a person so much more than some may realize, said Alex Kokot, co-valedictorian for the Marian High School Class of 2017.
“So many schools provide a great education, but in Catholic schools in particular you are invited to share what you learn in a way that benefits those around you,” noted Alex, who will graduate with a 4.598 GPA. He said he loves helping others. “Being able to share what I know about mathematics has not only been a great experience to teach people who are so willing to learn, but has also helped me to develop too.” Alex also held a paid position outside school as a Mathnasium tutor, where he helped teach students with pre-algebra to calculus levels of ability.
Besides his tutoring job and school Alex worked with the Burns Research Group, researching actinide chemistry; as a volunteer, which he plans to also do over the summer.
Other extracurricular activities included serving as a St. Pius Mass instrumentalist, South Bend Symphony Orchestra trombonist and being part of the Marian mock trial and soccer programs. He remembers with happiness one particular memory from a pre-game moment his junior year, as a soccer defender, that will be hard to forget.
“The field was lit-up under the big lights, the first snow of the season just started coming down and we played not only our best game of the season, but against one of the toughest teams we had faced,” he noted.
In spare moments, Alex said that he enjoys “always keeping a close eye on soccer, particularly on the teams across the country.”
He is enthusiastically looking forward to attending Notre Dame, and what that experience will bring as a mathematics and engineering major.
“Looking towards the future, there is so much still to learn; and no matter how exciting yet terrifying that may sound, I know that I can grow to become somebody who can do so much more than I can today,” he said.
Abigale Wood, co-valedictorian of the Class of 2017 at Marian High School, Mishawaka, plans to attend Notre Dame as a pre-professional science major with plans of later attending pharmacy school as a graduate student, to become a pharmacist.
Her interests and activities include indoor and sand volleyball, drawing and keeping up with fashions trends, as well as “searching for the perfect caramel latte.”
While at Marian she participated in volleyball, track and Network Volleyball her freshman year; her sophomore year she was part of the 2015 regional champions Marian volleyball team as well as track and Network Volleyball. Her junior year, Abigale was on the Marian volleyball team again as well as the Irish Select Volleyball team, which was 2016 MVA Spring Kick-Off champion. Her senior year she kept busy not only with studies, but was again part of Marian volleyball and Irish Select volleyball. During the year she was co-captain for Marian volleyball as well as a 2017 Coaches Award recipient and the IHSAA Academic All-State Northern Indiana All-Star champion; second team All-NIC and Penn Station Athlete of the Year. She was part of the All-Diocesan Team, 2017 school regional champions, NIC South champions and St. Joe Tournament champions.
School activities and clubs she took part in her freshman year included Vincentians, Latin Club, Art Club, Ambassadors Club and the Mayor’s Youth Council, and she was an altar server at St. Bavo Church. Her sophomore year Abigale took part in all the same groups; she also was an advisor for the Art Club. The following year she was secretary for the Art Club, a position she held again her senior year; she acted as chairwoman of special events for the Mayor’s Youth Council, became a student researcher at the Harper Cancer Research Center at Notre Dame, was a Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership participant and part of the National Honor Society.
Her senior year, she again participated in the Vincentians, Ambassadors Club and Latin Club; she became Mayor’s Youth Council president, was the National Honors Society treasurer and a server at her church.
Out of all of Abigale’s experiences at Marian, one stands out vividly.
“My best memory of Marian was my senior night for volleyball. It was such a special moment, being surrounded by my family and all the friends I have made at Marian while playing the sport that I love so much. “
Her favorite quote about education comes from Aristotle: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
Following her graduation from Marian High School in Mishawaka this month, Salutatorian Kathryn Meyers is headed to Purdue University. She plans to major in environmental or civil engineering.
With a GPA totaling 4.565, Kathryn ranks second in her class. During her high school career she was involved in a variety of activities, including forming part of the theater stage crew, mock trial team and liturgical choir. She also tutored, helped with Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and held the role of neighborhood pet sitter.
Her involvement in high school activities led to many fond memories, she said, mainly because of the friends she met through that involvement.
“I think my most treasured memories of high school all surround the amazing friends I have met here. They made these memories, and my time in high school, amazing.”
Kathryn believes that a Catholic education contributed to her comprehensive formation.
“I think Catholic education lends more focus on a holistic formation of the student. You’re not just your GPA or the number on the back of your jersey,” she said. “You’re a person deeply cared about by your teachers, coaches and chaplain. It’s so evident they are rooting for you and want you to succeed.”
In her free time Kathryn enjoys drawing, reading, spending time with her family and friends, and walks.
Bishop Luers High School
Having a job while attending high school at Bishop Luers High School for all four years was worth it for what it brought her for the future, said Bishop Luers Valedictorian Vanessa Schwieterman, who will study at Indiana University as a biology major. She plans to go on to study medicine.
“It (working) helped me to hone my time management skills and strengthen my work ethic,” she noted, referring to her experience working at two different restaurants as a waitress. She currently works at The Country Post in Huntington and attends St. Joseph Church, Roanoke.
Vanessa not only worked and kept up a good GPA, but was also was involved in extracurricular activities including Journalism, the World Culture Club, student council, the Future Business Leaders of America and National Honors Society.
Favorite memories from her four years at high school include bake-off tournaments in journalism, school dances and football games.
Hobbies and interests that she found time for include reading, watching sports and movies, writing, swimming, “hanging out with friends,” shopping, laser tag and fish-keeping.
The 4.3606-GPA senior said that attending a Catholic high school allowed her to grow “not only academically, but also allowed me to practice and strengthen my relationship with Christ.”
“My high school experience allowed me to put my faith into action by offering so many opportunities for service, both in school and in the community,” said Vanessa.
Bishop Luers High School Salutatorian Abby Nicole Ulman, who has a 4.3401 GPA, thinks attending a Catholic school can gives a person much more than just academics.
“The values that are reinforced in every classroom promote self-confidence, compassion and respect within each student,” Abby said, adding that Catholic schools also help to “emphasize leadership in students” in many ways.
“Whether it is leading prayer in class or ministering at Mass, high school has allowed me to practice my faith,” she added.
At Bishop Luers she was part of the National Honors Society, acting as treasurer; and also served as treasurer for the FBLA. Abby also comprised part of the tennis and soccer programs, was in Key Club, World Culture Club and Academic Super Bowl. Outside of school she was a server, extraordinary minister of holy Communion and proclaimer of the Word at St. Joseph-Hessen Cassel Church, Fort Wayne.
“I especially enjoy hanging out with my friends and gardening,” said Abby, who also loves to travel and has dreams to do more traveling during college and after.
She will attend Purdue University as a biomedical engineering and political science double major; she plans to go on to either medical school or law school after getting her undergraduate degree.
New Haven High School
New Haven High School Valedictorian Hannah Summers is extremely grateful that she kept her faith at the forefront, no matter where she went to school or what she was doing.
“I’m so glad to have received a Catholic education starting at a young age, because it has helped me keep God at the center of my life and made my faith the most important part of my life. Even as I went on to a public high school, the things I learned in a Catholic grade school stuck with me,” said Hannah, who is a parishioner at St. John the Baptist in New Haven.
Ranking first out of 185 students, with a 4.0 GPA, Hannah was very busy not only with her studies, but she was also involved in extracurricular activities. She was a Key Club member, Student Council representative and yearbook editor, and also served as vice president for Students Against Drunk Driving and National Honor Society. Outside of school, she took time to volunteer with the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission.
She immensely enjoyed all the work she was able to do with so many faith-filled people, she commented.
“Through things like Key Club I have been able to volunteer throughout the school and our community, to help those in need. I also have surrounded myself with a great group of friends who share the same love for God as me. We pray together at lunch and talk about our faith together,” said Hannah.
Of her high school experience memories, she most loved “being with all my friends and going to all the Friday night football games,” she said with a smile.
Hannah plans to attend Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne with an intended major of nursing.
While she hasn’t held a paid, part-time work position during her high school years, Hannah did help care for her mother.
“My mom became sick with cancer shortly before my senior year, so I’ve spent a lot of this year helping take care of her, “said Hannah. Her mother is currently holding her own against the disease.
North Manchester Junior-Senior High School
North Manchester Junior-Senior High School Valedictorian Hallie Sorg, a member of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, said that looking back, school trips definitely had to be “one of my favorite things from high school.”
“Two such trips that stand out to me are the physics class trip to Disneyland and the AP environmental science trip to the Everglades in Florida,” said Hallie, who will graduate with a 4.2609 GPA.
In order to put her faith into action during high school, Hallie participated in many service activities such as Sharing and Caring events during Christmas, volunteering at the Harvest Festival petting zoo, and her favorite, making tie blankets for Riley Children’s Hospital.
Her extracurricular activities included soccer, volleyball, softball, track, Student Council, FFA, Key Club, Spanish Club and Science Olympiad. She was a member of the St. Bellarmine choir, was an orientation mentor and a member of Youth for Christ and the St. Robert’s Catholic Church Youth Group. Hallie was on the Crossroads Bank junior board of directors; she was a member of the honor society, studied at the Terri Eckert School of Dance and participated in the CIVIC Volleyball Club, Summit City Stealth Travel Softball Team and FunFest 5K.
Outside of those groups and activities, Hallie enjoys reading, playing games outside with her siblings and neighbors, doing crafts and learning about other cultures.
Working as a housekeeper at Oakwood Resort taught her to work well with others, she said, explaining that she worked with adults who were in the U.S. on a work visa from another country. She also babysat to earn money, adding that the experience taught her “to always be prepared, and how to be flexible and patient with changing situations.”
Hallie plans to major in biology and chemistry, with a focus in pre-medicine, at Manchester University.
Indiana Academy of Science, Mathmatics and Humanities
Senior Justin James Rudecki, salutatorian at the Indiana Academy of Science, Mathematics and Humanities in Muncie and a member of St. Patrick Church, Walkerton, thinks that while some experiences in life, particularly during the high school years, may be hard, they help shape, mold and strengthen students as individuals.
“High school has given me many indispensable experiences that, though they were not all kind and gentle, have put me in a much better place than I would have been without them,” he said.
Justin will graduate with a 4.11 GPA. He also found time to be a member of the JROTC, Rifle Team, Cyber Patriots and Raider Corps at Culver Military Academy during his first two years of high school.
His fun memories from high school were made from “simple tales of hanging around with the other men at the military academy,” he said. He also enjoyed hobbies including include drawing, building personal computers, playing video games and cards with friends, and strumming on his guitar.
During the summer, Justin had a job at Triple J Machining. There, he learned the “life and work of a typical machine shop,” he said, explaining further that he “mostly ran machines and did menial labor; but it was a very valuable experience.”
Having knowledge of the Catholic faith is a necessity for life, he expressed. “How it effects every aspect of our lives is just invaluable, and absolutely necessary for a faithful life,” said Justin. He plans to attend Purdue University and major in mechanical engineering.
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