Solid work by local Catholic organizations and students at Catholic schools have recently garnered the following awards:

  • HOPE Award — The Gladney Center for Adoption will formally bestow it upon 1st Way of Maricopa County and Aid to Women Center in Tempe April 19. Read about 1st Way’s adoption services and download and ‘options’ worksheet.
  • Homeless Provider of the Year — The City of Phoenix, in celebration of National Community Development Week, named the DIGNITY, the comprehensive prostitution diversion program of Catholic Charities, as the Homeless Service Provider of the Year April 4. Full list of recipients.
  • Governor’s Volunteer Service Award — Two volunteer interns with Catholic Charities’ EmpowerU program received a certificate of appreciation  earlier this month from the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism. Awards were based on need, action, innovation and impact.
  • Student honors
    CJ Slater
    CJ Slater

    (scholar) CJ Slater, a senior at Brophy College Preparatory, will be the first recipient ever of a scholarship from the Jackie Robinson Foundation. He was also recognized as the MLB All-Star Arizona Diamondbacks Branch Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year at a pre-game ceremony April 16.

    (volunteers) Xavier College Preparatory seniors Erin Bratton, Jessica Pedroza and Kassidy Schmidt were reportedly honored with the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award recognizes volunteers of all ages who dedicated significant amounts of time to serving the local and national community. Schmidt also received a Spirit of Community Certificate of Excellence for her efforts.

    (science) Sarah Sakha, a junior at Xavier, was among 10 recipients of the United States Navy and Marine Corps Naval Science Award, among 10 recipients of the Grand Prize and first place in Microbiology at the state science and engineering fair for the second year in a row (full list of winners). Her project expanded research and testing of the viability and marketability of an alternative potential Emergency Food Product that she designed for emergency food rations in the Middle East and Africa. Watch her interview with FOX 10. The international science fair is in Phoenix next month.

    (scholar) Cody Kazmierczak, a seventh-grader at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale and this year’s diocesan Spelling Bee champion, continued to show his grasp of language. He earned a perfect score on the ACT English section earning him the title of Duke Talent Identification Program 2013 Bevan Scholar. Only 41 seventh-graders nationwide earned the title last year. More than 64,000 seventh-graders nationwide took the college entrance exam this school year.

    Notre Dame scholars
    Notre Dame scholars

    (scholar) Exactly 42 of Notre Dame Catholic Preparatory’s graduating class, most of them pictured above, were recognized April 8 for their success in the Summa Cum Laude and Honors course of study for the school year. The Summa Cum Laude program requires a semester GPA of at least 3.75 in 14 Honors and Advanced Placement courses while the Honors program requires a semester GPA of at least 3.5 in 13 similar courses.
    Additionally, eight students performed well in the 2014 national Merit Scholarship Program: Rachel Blackbourn, Erin Bradford, Allison Heredia, Bridget Maguire, Evelyn Medai, Maya Patel, Mckayla Tully, and Grant Zaro
    Zach Stossel at Bourgade Catholic High School was named a Commended Student in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. He is one of 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation being recognized for his exceptional academic promise by placing in the top 5% of PSAT test-takers.

    (journalism) Julian De Ocampo, a senior at Brophy, won the Journalism Education Association/Arizona Interscholastic Press Association’s “Arizona Journalist of the Year” Award.

    (geography) Eighth-graders Chad Woods at St. Theresa Catholic School and Devin McManimon McNally at Ss. Simon and Jude, competed in the Arizona Geographic Bee April 5 in Tucson. Both qualified after winning the school-level bee then scoring in the top 100 on a written National Geographic test. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the national bee and the second appearance at the Arizona Bee for Woods. He finished in the top 10 last year and fifth this year.

  • Phoenix’s Young Men/Women of the Year(District 1) Jose Pardo, a senior at Camelback High School.
    Many outstanding Phoenix youth volunteer their time here.
    Many outstanding Phoenix youth volunteer their time here.

    Jose volunteers weekly with St. Vincent de Paul doing intake interviews for families struggling with financial stability.  In the future, Jose plans on traveling the world to educate people on the values of different cultures and ethnicities.

    (District 4) Erika Banuelos, a junior at North High School.  Among other things, Erika volunteers at St. Vincent de Paul, serving meals, conducting intake interviews and helping in the Dream Center, an area for children to play and complete their homework.  Erika plans to study aeronautical/aerospace engineering in college.

    (District 6)  Zoe Berk, a junior at Xavier College Preparatory School. Every Monday for the past three years, Zoe has volunteered at Andre House, which serves meals six nights a week to homeless guests.  She also donates her time at St. Vincent de Paul Society. In the future, Zoe sees herself working a field that involves math and/or computer science and also running a nonprofit organization benefiting the homeless in her community.

    (District 7) Maria Rico Rodriguez, a senior at Trevor Browne High School.  Maria was born in a small village in Mexico, where education was not a possibility for her. Since coming to the United States, Maria has committed herself to her education as well as giving back to her community. She is active at St. Augustine Parish.  After earning her degree with a double major in criminal justice and psychology, Maria plans to pursue a career in law enforcement.

  • Athletics(varsity) Eight of Notre Dame’s varsity teams are on the Arizona Interscholastic Association Honor Roll which means their GPA has a composite of 3.5 or above. Additionally, two club teams have earned a similar achievement. Essentially every varsity team at Notre Dame reportedly had a composite GPA of 3.0 or above this school year.
    (athletics program) Xavier won the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s 2013 Tony Komadina Award for Outstanding Girls’ Athletic Program, which means the school did an exemplary job advocating progress in girls’ athletics. Xavier also earned the inaugural award in 1989 and again in 1996.

    Photo Credit: Duke Photography
    Photo Credit: Duke Photography

    (sand volleyball) Xavier took home its second straight state title in sand volleyball. Four teams debuted the sport at the high school level in Arizona and the nation last year. Eight competed this year.
    (Spiritline) Xavier’s Pom team won first place at the USA Spirit nationals in March and cheer won second place
    (Basketball) Curtis Ekmark, coach of the championship Lady Knights varsity team at St. Mary’s High School, was named 2013 Russell Athletic/WBCA National High School Coach of the Year.