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Nazareth Welcomes Class of 2021
Published on: Aug 18, 2017
Class of 2017 Graduates​
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.

Published on: May 31, 2017
4th FISH Prom is a wonderful success
Nazareth’s fourth FISH Prom for Teens with Disabilities was a wonderful night on March 11. "This is always such a special and cornerstone event for us at Naz. There is no doubt that these particular efforts embody the heart and soul of our mission," says Mr. Tracy. Enormous thanks to our steering committee - Brooke, Maggie, Maya, Monika and Mary Clare, all of our 100+ student volunteers, our adult helpers and Sara Hawkins Pendergrass '07 for offering helpful advice to our volunteers.

It was, without question, a celebration of our "dear neighbor" and an example of "lighting our world, that all may be one."

Maya Vondrasek ‘17 is a co-leader of the Helping Hand service team and was a FISH Prom buddy in 2015. “I absolutely loved the experience of being a buddy and wanted to get more involved this year. I am devoted to this service project because I believe it truly lives out the Congregation of St. Joseph's mission.”

“Through this Prom and the FISH program overall, I have found my passion for working with those with disabilities and will pursue a physical or occupational therapy degree in college,” says Mary Clare Harrington ‘17 who was also a 2015 buddy. “I hope our guests had a wonderful night and that they felt special.”

Capitalizing on the St. Patrick’s Day theme, guests entered Springer Hall down a “green” carpet. They danced the night away to our DJ’s tunes, snacked on a wide array of refreshments, played games with Naz students and posed for funny pictures in the SMILE-sponsored photo booth.

“Everything about that night is focused around our guests and that is what really makes it special,” explains Maggie Reynolds ‘17. “Our guests deserve a fantastic night. Prom is a rite of passage and every high schooler should have the opportunity to experience a night of their very own.”

Anthony Gonzalez, a Nazareth Social Studies teacher who has been involved with all of Nazareth’s FISH Proms, finds the experience invaluable. “I was raised in education because my mother taught special education for almost 35 years. I always wanted to continue to develop meaningful connections to a community that enriched my life over the years. Service is not something I ever get tired of. That night, when I see our students come together with our community in such a special way, I like to take a step back and just absorb the moment. Their excitement to experience what everyone should reminds me of why I am in education and why I love being involved at Nazareth. No one does it better than we do.”
Published on: Feb 21, 2017

Nazareth Spotlight

Nazareth Celebrates Closing School Mass
On May 18, 2017, Nazareth celebrated our final School Mass with our beloved Class of 2017. The student body, faculty and staff, parents and many alumni came together in the Walsh Gym in prayer to witness the many ways Jesus has been present at Nazareth in 2016-2017. Christian Sampleton represented the Class of 2017 in a reflection which spoke to the ways these young and men have grown and changed in their time at Nazareth. He encouraged all present to, “Step up to the plate and swing until your time is complete,” and reminded his classmates, “We as a class have shown we can do anything we put our minds to. We must continue to rely on God, and He will light the path for us.” We send our seniors out to ends of the world, confident they will change the face of the world with the faith of their hearts. May the road rise up to meet them.

For a full album of photos, please click here
Published on: May 22, 2017
Brooke Gawel receives Chick Evans Scholarship
Congratulations to Brooke Gawel ‘17, who has earned the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship. The Evans Scholarship is a full tuition and housing college scholarship for golf caddies that is renewable for up to four years. Recipients must display a strong caddie record, excellent grades and outstanding character.
Published on: Jan 09, 2017