2011 Graduate Profiles

| May 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

Reflections about the past and future, written by graduating seniors selected by their Catholic schools and parishes


Christian Glanville
De La Salle High School, Minneapolis

Christian Glanville plans to attend the University of Minnesota. He is the son of Peter and Karin Glanville and is a member of the Upper Room in St. Louis Park.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
Work harder than the next person. My grandpa taught me this when I worked for his construction company.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school?
I am proud to be a National Merit Scholar. . . hard work pays off.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
My mission every day is to bring smiles to weary faces . . . that is the most meaningful way to impact lives on a daily basis.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
In my sophomore year, I was in the musical “Les Misérables.” Our cast bonded together over the 150-year-old story. It was truly ethereal to connect on such a deep level with a beautiful story of compassion and redemption.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“Letters from a Skeptic” by Greg Boyd changed the way that I approach my faith. [It] was the inspiration I needed to begin growing in my own faith.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
I would have a conversation with the famous Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. . . . I would ask about his struggle to reconcile his involvement in violent attempts on Adolf Hitler’s life with his faith.

——

Victoria Blackstone
St. Agnes High School, St. Paul

Victoria Blackstone plans to attend Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. She is the daughter of J. Robert and Virginia Blackstone and is a parishioner at St. Mark in St. Paul.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
Humility. I learned that just because I thought something was right did not make it right, and I was not in control. God was.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
Volunteering.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
My great-grandfather passed away. At first, I was angry with God for not letting me travel to where he lived to say goodbye. Then, I realized that God wanted me to be there to help my family, who was also grieving.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
The Autobiography of Malcolm X” helped me to realize the importance of closely examining the prejudices I may have toward others.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
Strive to keep us educated in our faith.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Che Guevara. I have always been fascinated by his revolutionary ideas and amazed by his dedication to serve the least of the people.

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
To serve to the best of my ability, to find the path God intends for me, and, a bit more random and indulgent, own a cow.

——

Miriam Aragon
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Minneapolis

Miriam Aragon plans to attend St. Mary’s University in Winona. She is the daughter of Martina Aquilar and Marcial Aragon and attends Sagrado Corazón in Minneapolis.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
Continue your education no matter what! It’s essential for getting a good job.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school?
I am proud I was accepted to my first choice for college.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
A couple years ago, I was Catholic, but not very into practicing the religion. Then, I went to Mexico and spent time with my uncle who, at the time, was training to become a priest. He helped me strengthen my faith.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“I Am the Messenger” by Markus Zusak taught me that everyone has a mission. Even the most ordinary person has something to accomplish in life.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Jesus. I would have so many questions to ask.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
Lack of religion, lack of faith. We need to give God a moment more often.

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
Bring my grandparents to the United States. Graduate from college. Take my mom to Rome and Jerusalem to see firsthand where Jesus lived.

——

Erin Pfarr
Le Sueur High School, Le Sueur

Erin Pfarr plans to attend the University of Minnesota. She is the daughter of David and Robyn Pfarr and attends St. Anne in Le Sueur.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
I learned that setting my goals high and working to achieve them is worth the effort.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school?
I am proud of the growth I have made as a visual artist.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
I was a role model and mentor to a sixth-grade volleyball player this fall. I encouraged her in her pursuits on and off the court.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
I always feel close to God when cantoring at church.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen changed the way I thought about novels. It opened my eyes to the merits of challenging, classical literature.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
Church youth groups are a great way for young adults to stay connected.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
Feeding a growing world population. Agricultural technology has the answer.

If you could go back in time five years, what advice would you give yourself?
I would tell myself to follow my passions and not be afraid to try new things.

——

Connor Harlander
Roseville Area High School, Roseville

Connor Harlander plans to  attend Loyola University in Chicago. He is the son of Dan and Meghan Harlander and is a parishioner at St. Cecilia in St. Paul.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
To take advantage of opportunities to explore new things.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
One thing I am proud of accomplishing in high school is being nominated for the MSHSL Triple “A” Award for excellence in Academics, Arts and Athletics.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
Community service. Volunteerism is something that is important to me and I  worked to get more students involved in giving back to their community.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
Realizing it is OK to be open about my faith and explore and discuss it with others, and also realizing the abundance of support that exists around me.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
The books that most changed the way I think are “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and “Sophie’s World” by Jostein Gaarder. “The Alchemist” changed my perspective of the world and how I change, of crisis, and of moments of success. “Sophie’s World” helped me integrate the worlds of science, philosophy and religion, provided me with insight and helped me form my personal faith.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
Provide a community where young adults feel welcomed but also viewed as equals with valuable insight.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Alexander the Great, to figure out the secret to leading and inspiring people.

If you could go back in time five years, what advice would you give yourself?
You will make mistakes. The trick is to not dwell on them or regret them.

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
I want to change the world by giving back and inspiring others to do the same. I want to travel and I want to be able to say I lived a meaningful life.

——

Rebecca DeNio
Academy of Holy Angels, Richfield

Rebecca DeNio plans to attend the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph. She is the daughter of Denny and Christine DeNio and is a parishioner at St. Peter in Richfield.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
I learned how to interact with my peers and elders. . . . To respect other students and teachers, and gain others’ respect in return.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
I am most proud of being a Scholar of Distinction, while being involved in school activities, like the dance team, the spring musical and campus ministry team.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
My role as a dance team captain allowed me to have one-on-one time with girls that needed help, whether it be with dance itself or advice on how to excel in high school, in general, and be the best person you can be.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
My most significant faith experience was participating in the presentation of the Passion of the Christ with Campus Ministry Team.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini made me realize that I will never understand the extent to which people suffer all around the world.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
Help make it possible financially for students of all income levels and backgrounds to attend Catholic schools and universities.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Martin Luther King Jr. I would like to have heard his famous speech in person and ask him what made him so determined.

What is your favorite quote? Include the author.
“Do you really think all this is an accident? We were brought here for a purpose, for a reason, all of us. Each one of us was brought here for a reason.”
— John Locke, “Lost”

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
To excel in nursing in college, have a family and continue to improve myself.

——

Colin Gallaher
Benilde-St. Margaret’s, St. Louis Park

Colin Gallaher plans to attend the University of Wisconsin — Madison. He is the son of Dan and Susan Gallaher and is a parishioner at Our Lady of Grace in Edina.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
It is extremely important to always work hard and do your best, especially during challenging times.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
I am proud of being able to find a balance between athletics and academics.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
The most meaningful way I have helped other students is through an organization that helps incoming freshmen adjust to high school.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
I had my most significant faith experience at a class retreat my senior year. It was easy for me to feel God’s presence during the course of this weekend with my classmates and retreat leaders.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell. This book really shows the extent of the sacrifices that some members of our military are willing to make. It also taught me how much our media and society focus on unimportant headlines.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
I think it is important that the church is able to connect with young adults via technology because I think the church will find this is a great way to communicate with them.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
George Washington because he was a respected leader and man of character, and he was one of the many people who was able to lay the foundation for our country.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
The lack of good education because it often leads to many more problems. I think that organizations need to focus on building schools in poor countries, and teachers need to volunteer to help as well.

What is your favorite quote?
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” — Vince Lombardi

If you could go back in time five years, what advice would you give yourself?
Always be open to branching out and experiencing new things.

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
Serve our country; become a leader in my community; and strengthen my relationship with God.

——

Danielle (Dani) Blaschko
Le Center High School, Le Center

Danielle Blaschko plans to attend the University of Minnesota Rochester. She is the daughter of Scott and Carol Blaschko and is a parishioner at St. Mary and St. Henry, Le Center.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
I learned how to manage my time well. I was busy my senior year with school, homework, work, volunteering and fun. I learned how to prioritize.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
I will be graduating at the top of my class, as valedictorian.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
For one hour of every day, I lead a reading group in a second-grade classroom. Learning in elementary school is very important because it is the stepping stone into high school.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
I really enjoy teaching Children’s Liturgy of the Word on Sundays. Working with these preschool children is very rewarding, as I know that I am helping them become better Christians.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“In the Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez is about three sisters who fight for their rights in communist Cuba. The book taught me to fight for what I believe in because my opinion matters.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
My parish has many fun activities that require volunteers. The annual Christmas fair, the annual summer festival, children’s Liturgy of the Word, faith formation classes and various other activities are really enjoyable and get young adults involved in the church.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Rosa Parks because: 1) she is a woman who fought for her beliefs; 2) she fought for the rights of her race. I would like to tell Rosa that I look up to her.

What is your favorite quote? Include the author.
“Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.”               — Ronald Reagan

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
Have a family. Be a well-known doctor. Get to know multiple cultures.

——

Katie Moran
Convent of the Visitation School, Mendota Heights

Katie Moran plans to attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. She is the daughter of Dan and Sheryl Moran and is a parishioner at Our Lady of Grace in Edina.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
It’s important to set goals but not be limited by expectations.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
By reassuring underclassmen that they will get through the hard times in high school and encouraging them to be the best young women that they can be.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
Attending Salesian Leadership Camp with a group from Visitation. It was inspiring to see student leaders, nationwide, who are excited about their faith.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
The entire “Mark of the Lion” series by Francine Rivers taught me the value of living out my faith in even the most insignificant of moments.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
Personally reach out to them. Family friends that are priests have had a positive impact on my faith and character. Without that personal contact, the church can begin to feel like a vague and distant structure.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Pope John Paul II. I admire his ability to spread God’s love to the entire world.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
That people don’t connect with one another as much anymore — kids play video games instead of running around the neighborhood together or watch movies in the car instead of talking with their families. This can be solved by people unplugging and just being with one another.

What is your favorite quote? Include the author.
“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.”
— St. Francis de Sales

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
3) Run the Boston Marathon. 2) Raise a large, faith-filled family. 1) Learn to fully abandon myself to God.

——

Camille Santrach
Hill-Murray School, Maplewood

Camille Santrach plans to attend the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. She is the daughter of Peter and Melissa Santrach and is a parishioner at St. Odilia in Shoreview.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
Llife itself is one big lesson. Every day we face new challenges, and our ability to be successful is determined by how we react to those challenges. Mistakes are merely opportunities to learn and grow.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
I am very proud of being invited to speak on the student panel at the AdvancED Fall Conference, which focused on improving education.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
I try to always be there to listen to my friends and support them when they need someone to talk to.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
Serving a meal to the homeless and visiting with them at Simpson’s Shelter. I was reluctant to go that night because I would get home late and still have hours of homework. . . . I was reminded that I had opportunities that many of the men at the shelter will never experience. I left Simpson’s Shelter thanking God that I got to go home and do homework.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“When Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Rabbi Harold Kushner . . . helped me understand that not everything happens for a reason. I came to the understanding that God does not, as Rabbi Kushner says, “send” us the problem; he gives us the strength to cope with the randomness of the universe.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
Create more opportunities for youth to learn about the traditions of the church. . . . If youth were to know the meaning behind the traditions, I think they would find Catholicism more interesting and become more involved in their faith.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Maria Montessori. Her method of education fascinates me. I would love to be able to hear from her what her vision of education for the world is.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
The lack of quality education for a large number of children. Although it will take many different solutions, I believe that one way is for teachers to adopt new methods of instruction that involve “brain-based learning.”

What is your favorite quote? Include the author.
“Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”                                      — Matthew 6:34

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
I hope to become a Montessori teacher, make a significant contribution to education reform, and become a mom.

——

Anthony Barrett
Roseville Area High School, Roseville

Anthony Barrett plans to attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. He is the son of John and Amy Barrett and a parishioner at Corpus Christi in Roseville.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
Decisions affect your future. More often than not, the good decisions are rewarded and the bad decisions have consequences.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
I have been the captain of the swimming and diving team for two years and the lacrosse team for one year. It means a lot that my friends look up to me enough to vote me a captain.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
This year, I am serving as a youth human rights commissioner for Roseville High School. I give back by advocating for students and helping secure their rights.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
After a very rough and competitive varsity football game against our main rival, Mounds View, the opposing captains came over to our huddle and invited us to pray with them at midfield. A Mounds View captain led the prayer, in which he gave thanks for our safety, and asked that we remember to always make room for God in our lives. It amazed me that prayer could bring us together.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“A Separate Peace” by John Knowles made me realize that life is precious.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
Set up retreats that kids can go on. . . . My own confirmation retreats were what led me to become active in my church.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
John F. Kennedy. I would ask him how he balanced his faith and public duty.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
International relations. . . . I hope that this problem can be solved by public advocating, compassionate leadership and guidance from God.

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
I want to become a doctor; write music as a hobby; and work with youth as a coach or youth group leader.

——

Christina Gutierrez
Cretin-Derham Hall, St. Paul

Christina Gutierrez plans to attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. She is the daughter of Karen and Rafael Gutierrez and is a parishioner at St. Thomas More in St. Paul.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
Not giving up on my commitment to both academics and extra-curriculars paid off!

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
I hope I’ve helped some students feel better about themselves just by always being myself. . . . I try to show through my actions that you can be happy and lead a successful life by being yourself, no matter how different you are.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
My brother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma during my junior year, and I found myself asking questions about God and the reason things happen in the world. I found a lot of consolation in becoming closer to my brother.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan influenced the way I think about and choose the foods I want to eat.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
Plan Masses that involve more youth. Young people will become the adults of the church, but if they’re turned off by what the church is doing, they won’t continue to live faithful lives with the church and continue to attend Mass. Mass should be made more relevant, more accepting and more engaging.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
John Lewis and all the members of the SCLC (a student non-violent committee during the Civil Rights era). I would talk to them about the actions they took and the thoughts they had while changing the history of America.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
Environmental degradation and scarcity of good food. I see them as being related, and I believe they can be fixed together. By finding more sustainable ways of planting nutritious foods that don’t degrade the environment, we can reduce the amount of waste and pollutants.

What is your favorite quote? Include the author.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Gandhi

——

Julia Banasikowski
Prior Lake High School, Savage

Julia Banasikowski plan to attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. She is the daughter of Ewa and Richard Banasikowski and is a parishioner of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Minneapolis.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
Self-discipline. I had to balance my free time with my responsibilities. I had to take care of my priorities.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
I am proud of maintaining a high GPA while being involved in extracurricular activities, church, sports and good relationships with my friends and family.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
If I saw that someone needed help with schoolwork, I dedicated some of my time to them. If they didn’t understand a certain class, I would make sure they got help either from me or another student. I also volunteered with the National Honor Society and an English mentoring program for seventh-grade students.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
I spent much of my sophomore year in high school preparing for my confirmation in spring 2010. . . . Being confirmed that year gave me an even greater responsibility as a Catholic and made me a role model for younger members of the church.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery . . . proved to me that there is a child inside of every one of us . . . that represents innocence and awe.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
If the church encouraged youth groups and emphasized that the future belongs to us, hopefully more young adults will be drawn to it.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Pope John Paul II. His work during his pontificate made a big impact on the world. . . . He was a faithful and forgiving man who I look up to.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
I believe that as time progresses, people become less influenced by the importance of religion and are more drawn to questionable lifestyles. I hope that people can one day see the beauty of leading a moral life.

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
Pursue some kind of career that involves visiting different areas of the world and understanding various cultures.
I also hope to stay connected with my Polish heritage that I have been raised with, as well as my Catholic faith.

——

Erin Steiner
Holy Family Catholic High School, Victoria

Erin Steiner plans to attend Saint Louis University, St. Louis. She is the daughter of Mary and Owen Steiner and is a parishioner at St. Hubert Church in Chanhassen.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
Everything that’s worthwhile requires hard work and dedication.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
Being a captain for my sports teams.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
Being a part of Campus Ministry class and leading retreats and school events.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
My mission trip to South Carolina for Catholic Heart Work Camp.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“The Help” by Kathryn Stockett taught me to never let anyone stop you from reaching your goals.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Winston Churchill. He was a strong and inspirational leader in a difficult time.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
Homelessness is one of the biggest issues that we face. . . . We need more affordable housing for low-income families, along with health insurance that is accessible and realistically priced for people with limited financial means.

——

Michael Coleman
Anoka High School, Anoka

Michael Coleman plans to attend the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He is the son of Pat and Nancy Coleman and is a parishioner at St. Stephen Church in Anoka.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
I have learned that nothing meaningful comes without challenges.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
I am proud to have been voted captain for both the wrestling and football teams.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
I have tried to set an example for others to follow.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
My most significant faith experience was going on a NET retreat.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“My American Journey,” by Colin Powell, taught me about service and hard work.

What is your favorite quote? Include the author.
”Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
— Vince Lombardi

If you could go back in time five years, what advice would you give yourself?
I would tell myself to enjoy the ride.

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
I hope to make my family proud, serve others and be a good person.

——

Nicholas DeVetter
St. Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights

Nicholas DeVetter plans to attend St. John’s University in Collegeville. He is the son of Carol and Michael DeVetter and a parishioner at Annunciation in Minneapolis.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
The Cadet award is given to a wrestler that  most exemplifies the values of St. Thomas Academy on and off the mat. I was extremely proud and humbled to have been voted by my teammates to receive this award all three years that I wrestled for St. Thomas Academy.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
By helping to lead and being a good example for the students on the wrestling, soccer and lacrosse teams.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
In the winter of my freshman year my dad was diagnosed with leukemia. The experience that has followed has transformed and strengthened my faith in ways that I would never have imagined. This experience has brought my entire family closer together, and closer to God, and for that blessing we are all truly grateful.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“The Things they Carried” by Tim O’Brien . . . helped me become more aware of the great sacrifices that soldiers make . . . as well as the evil and foolishness of war.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
By allowing them to be more involved in initiatives to help others such as raising money for those in need. Also, by supporting youth groups that go out and make a positive impact on the community.

What is your favorite quote? Include the author.
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” — Mark Twain.

——

Andrew Weiler
Totino-Grace High School, Fridley

Andrew Weiler plans to attend Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. He is the son of Dan and Carol Weiler and is a parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo in St. Anthony.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
When I was with a group of Totino-Grace students in Guatemala last summer, I learned the importance of taking time to simply be with others.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
I am especially proud of the work that the missions group of student ministry did this year with Common Hope, an agency promoting education in Guatemala.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
My hope is that by leading chapel, serving at a school Mass, or participating in a service project, I encourage students in my school to live out their faith.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
In my “Philosophy of God” class during junior year, we looked at fundamental questions like the existence of God, and I grew in faith because I was better able to give reasons for beliefs that I had long just accepted as true.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
In “Crime and Punishment,” I was intrigued by Dostoevsky’s recurring reference to the biblical story of Lazarus during the main character’s own resurrection. . . . I  learned that, through fiction, authors can illuminate truths about humanity.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
Provide role models who live out their faith in everything they do. The adults in our lives have a powerful impact.

——

Paul Hillen Jr.
Providence Academy, Plymouth

Paul Hillen Jr. plans to attend Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. He is the son of Karen and Paul Hillen and attends St. Anne in Hamel.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
Hard work can bring you a long way.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
I am proud of the overall personal change from when I stepped in the doors in ninth grade to when I will graduate this June.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
I believe I have been able to do the greatest good by being a house leader, mentoring younger students and planning activities that help students from various grades and interests get to know each other better.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
The Theology Classics course I am taking this year. This class . . . allowed me to understand my faith . . . accept the faith on an intellectual level and it has given me tools to defend Christianity and Catholicism in years to come.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
The Catholic Church has to stay relevant without compromising core dogma to get kids to “buy in” and stay engaged.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Abraham Lincoln. I strive to be an autodidact just as he was and follow his impressive character. He led the charge to bring down, arguably, our country’s greatest evil and stood for what was right.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
The immorality of popular culture and the effect this has on young people. It’s tough when we, as young people, are constantly bombarded with these messages at a time in our life when we need moral formation.

What is your favorite quote? Include the author.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
— Aristotle

If you could go back in time five years, what advice would you give yourself?
If I could go back to before freshman year, I would have studied more and worked much harder at sports. It does sound cliché, but now I appreciate the importance and benefit of hard work in every aspect of life, especially academics and athletics. However, I’m thankful I figured that out now and not 10  years down the road.

——

Macdaniel Malecha
Bethlehem Academy, Faribault

Macdaniel (Mac) Malecha plans to attend Minnesota State University, Mankato to study law enforcement. He is the son of Bruce and Gina Malecha and is a parishioner at Divine Mercy in Faribault.

What is the greatest lesson you learned in high school?
Don’t be afraid to stand out.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school.
I was student council president for my junior and senior years.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
I have always been open to talk with and advise underclassmen.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
I was invited to have dinner with Archbishop John Nienstedt and we spoke on topics regarding the seminary.

What can the Catholic Church do to keep you and other young adults engaged in the life of the church?
Youth groups and retreats. NET Ministries is a great thing to keep kids interested.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
Abortion — the simple solution would be to make it illegal.

What is your favorite quote? Include the author.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt

If you could go back in time five years, what advice would you give yourself?
Everything I went through has made me the well-rounded man I am today.

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
Graduate college in the top 10 of my class; work as a law enforcement officer in my home community; and have a loving family.

——

Dan Green
Hastings High School, Hastings

Dan Green plans to attend St. John’s University in Collegeville. He is the son of James and Karla Green and is a parishioner at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hastings.

Name one thing you are proud of accomplishing in high school?
Becoming the captain of my soccer team.

What is the most meaningful way you have helped another student or students in your school?
The most meaningful way I have helped a friend was by introducing him to the faith.

Describe the most significant faith experience you have had during high school.
Watching the same friend get baptized, confirmed and receive the Eucharist this Easter. It was one of the the most joyful moments of my life.

What book did you read in high school that most changed the way you think and why?
“The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis opened up the way that I think about living every day of my life.

If you could have a conversation with a historical figure, who would it be and why?
Pope John Paul II. He has been a model of what a true human being should be.

What problem in the world most concerns you? How do you think it can be solved?
The problem that concerns me most is the labels that society gives people. Cliques divide and take people away from their identities as children of God.

What is your favorite quote? Include the author.
“The future starts today, not tomorrow.” — Pope John Paul II

What are the top three things that you hope to accomplish in your life?
Travel to the Vatican, get married, and make one person’s life a little easier.

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Category: Graduation, Spotlight