Catholic high schools: top of the class

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

Five Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Davenport said farewell last month to a total of 229 seniors who graduated and now move on to new challenges in their lives.

Diocesan Superintendent of Schools Lee Morrison said he reminded the graduates that “they leave our high schools with two sources of unconditional love — God and their parents. Both will follow them into the next phase of their life with wisdom and mercy. Know they are always there for you.”

He also thanked parents for choosing a diocesan high school for their child’s education. “We have been blessed to share in the formation of your sons and daughters.”

At Burlington Notre Dame, 32 students graduated May 27. Valedictorian Abigail (Abby) Crowner is the daughter of Jeff and Annette Crowner of Burlington. They are members of Divine Mercy Parish in Burlington-West Burlington. Abby plans to attend St. Ambrose University in Davenport and major in chemistry. She hopes to become a pharmaceutical scientist. “I desire to work in the pharmaceutical field to help improve current medications and discover new drug therapies that can better the lives of those who need them.” While attending St. Ambrose, she plans to be involved in church and join organizations dedicated to service and helping others. “I hope to go on a mission trip in my future, as well as join Habitat for Humanity to help others … near my community or in another country.”

Salutatorian Ashley Lohmann is the daughter of Scott and Kim Lohmann of Sperry. They are members of St. Mary Parish in Dodgeville. Ashley plans to attend Southeastern Community College and study biology while dancing on the SCC dance team. After earning her associate’s degree, Ashley plans to attend Iowa State University and eventually study veterinary medicine. “My goal is to practice veterinary medicine so I can make a difference in the lives of animals and the people who love and care for them.”

She also hopes to “make a positive impact on every person I meet and to inspire them to see their importance as individuals.” At St. Mary’s she teaches religious education, shares her faith and helps students grow in their faith. “I also offer my musical abilities to the Mass and serve as a eucharistic minister. I will continue to serve the church in the same ways, and share my faith in my community because it gives me the opportunity to help others to strive to be the best that they can be on their journey in life.”

At Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, 11 students graduated May 19. Valedictorian Sydney Kaup is the daughter of Brad and Nikki Kaup of Clinton and a member of Prince of Peace Parish. She plans to attend Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to major in secondary education. She would like to become a middle school English and language arts teacher in the Cedar Rapids area or the Coralville/Iowa City area. While in college, Sydney plans to attend Mass and in the future to join a parish wherever she settles.

Salutatorian Emma Kitteringham is the daughter of Daniel and Janelle Kitteringham of Clinton. They are members of Prince of Peace Parish. Emma plans to attend Creighton University in Omaha. While she hasn’t decided on a major, “I am considering going on to law school following college.” At Creighton she plans to continue her involvement in the church. “I was accepted into the Freshman Leadership Program at Creighton, which will give me many opportunities to volunteer in the Catholic Church. I also plan to continue attending weekend Masses at college. I am also considering joining the campus ministry at Creighton in the following years.”

At Assumption High School in Davenport, 100 students graduated May 27. Student Council President Karly Britt is the daughter of Lisa and Peter Britt of Davenport. They are members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf. Karly plans to attend Ohio State University and major in health sciences. “I have been part of the church my entire life and plan on continuing that involvement throughout my life.” She enjoys serving as a eucharistic minister because “It is a great way to continue involvement in church. In the future, I will continue to serve the church in whatever opportunities may arise to help my community.”

National Honor Society President Kale Hyder is the son of Mo and Marcy Hyder of Davenport. They are members of Holy Family Parish in Davenport. Kale will attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “I am very intrigued by an electrical engineering or biophysics major.” In the future, he hopes to attend either medical school to become a neurologist or graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. “My greatest aspiration is to create novel devices that help paralyzed individuals recover from their injuries or illnesses. “

Regarding the church, Kale said, “My faith is very important to me. After suffering a spinal cord injury three years ago, my relationship with God has immensely grown, and he has become a large part of my life. When I arrive in Baltimore this fall, I plan to become involved in one of the Catholic churches close to the university. Also, I hope to show my peers the way of Christ. My faith is a major part of my identity, and I hope that it will continue to grow for the rest of my life.”

At Holy Trinity Catholic School in Fort Madison, 18 students graduated May 27. Valedictorian Ben Abolt is the son of Maggie and Craig Abolt of Fort Madison. They are members of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison. Ben plans to attend the University of Iowa and major in health or engineering. Attending Mass and serving as eucharistic minister are also priorities. “I also plan to be involved with the community by helping organizations that benefit the church. I will inspire others to follow their faith.” Down the road he hopes to marry and raise his children in the Catholic faith and “inspire the next generation of Catholics.”

Salutatorian Maya Rashid is the daughter of Canda and Joe Rashid of Fort Madison.

The Rashids are members of Holy Family Parish. Maya plans to attend St. Louis University to study nursing and become a nurse practitioner. She also plans to serve the church through her actions, choices and personality and to participate in community service and to attend student Masses. “Being a symbol of the church is one of the best ways a Catholic can serve the church.”

At Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City, 68 students graduated May 27. Valedictorian Ryan Matthew Bonthius is the son of Dan and Nancy Bonthius of Iowa City. They are members of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City. Ryan plans to attend Wartburg College, major in biology, and then attend medical school and ultimately become a cardiologist. While in college, Ryan plans to volunteer at Waverly Health Center and serve on mission trips through Wartburg College. “I am going to follow the church’s teachings of helping the less fortunate by hopefully attending medical school and becoming a doctor. This will allow me to provide healthcare to those in need. When I have a family of my own, I plan to raise my children as Catholics and to continue my faith tradition.”

Salutatorian Mary Crompton is the daughter of Terry and Betsy Crompton of Iowa City. They are members of St. Mary Parish in Iowa City. Mary plans to attend Illinois State University to play basketball and major in biological sciences with a focus on physiology, neuroscience and behavior. She also plans to minor in Spanish. “On my first week on campus in my new home in Normal, Ill., I plan to visit the John Paul II Newman Center. I would like to continue my service as a eucharistic minister as I enjoyed this position while attending St. Mary’s. I am excited to participate in the Newman Center’s Wednesday worship ceremonies and Thursday night Bible study sessions. Along with continuing to be an active member in the church, I plan to spread the Good News to my new town and to love and care for those who are most vulnerable in the community.”

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