On May 28, 2017 Nazareth Academy held a Graduation Mass and Commencement at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace for the 190 graduates of the Class of 2017. These graduates will attend 87 colleges across 25 states. They have earned $28 million in merit-based scholarships and awards. The Class of 2017 boasts a National Merit Scholar Finalist, 3 National Merit Commended Scholars, a National Merit Hispanic Scholar, 37 Illinois State Scholars and a Chick Evans Scholars. The class has one appointment to the United States Coast Guard Academy.
Students from the Class of 2017 were accepted to over 230 colleges and universities, including such prestigious institutions as Boston College, Fordham University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, Syracuse University, Tufts University, University of California Los Angeles, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, Vanderbilt University and Yale.
Father Johnpaul Cafiero, a familiar Mass presider at Nazareth, served as Homilist, delivering the Baccalaureate Address on behalf of the school’s faculty and staff, encouraging the Class of 2017 to go forth in life keep themselves open to change and growth, making good choices and keeping faith at the center of their lives. “Don’t ever forget that each of you is one of God’s greatest gifts. The world is waiting so say good-bye and get to work.”
Margaret Roache, Valedictorian, gave the Graduation Address. She spoke of the unique ways the Class of 2017 has created their own paths at Nazareth Academy. “We each found our own path at Naz, and it was by no means easy, but in the end it is worthwhile when you look back at all we have accomplished.” She highlighted many academic, athletic and service milestones before reminding all present that, “we also created a legacy in the smaller, everyday actions. In the passing smiles and waves between friends in the hallways, in the friendships that formed between students, athletes and performers who would only see each other as competitors at most other schools, but not at Naz.” Sr. Oliver Donlin Service Award
Sister Oliver Donlin gave 35 years of her life to Nazareth Academy as teacher and principal. Through her influence, Nazareth created the philosophy of developing the whole person, challenging each student to reach his or her potential, and then using their knowledge, skills and gifts to bring about a better world, a world of unity and peace. Each year, in her memory, the faculty and staff are asked to nominate a senior who has given outstanding service to Nazareth Academy. This is the very highest service award that can be earned by a graduating senior and the only award given out on the day of Graduation.
Congratulations to the 2017 Oliver Donlin Service Award Recipient, Mayalin Vondrasek.
Much to the point of this award, Maya has upheld Nazareth’s pillars of scholarship, service, spirit and unity and has accepted the challenge of striving to reach her potential by developing the whole person. She was a leader throughout her high school years as a member of Student Council, Youth Initiative and NSET. Maya was a Service Team leader, a FISH Prom leader and a member of multiple academic honor societies. She participated in the life of Nazareth Academy as student ambassador in the Roadrunner Club and in the Campus Ministry program, serving as a Retreat leader for both Kairos and class retreats.
Each student also received a medal of St. Joseph “On the Journey,” designed by Mary Southard, CSJ, Nazareth Class of 1954, for the graduates of the three Congregation of Saint Joseph sister schools. Graduation brings each class to a new journey in a world that hungers for generous leadership. The medal serves as a reminder for graduates to value their Catholic education at Nazareth Academy. Click here to see more photos from graduation.