Graduation Post Ceremony

Marist High School held its 51st annual commencement exercises Thursday, May 18, 2017, sending off an accomplished class of 401 young men and women to make Jesus Christ known and loved, while pursuing higher education and life.


At the heart of their Marist experience was spiritual growth. Members of the class participated in retreats and liturgy planning. Three groups participated in mission trips to Louisiana and South Carolina. Students also planned and executed countless service projects and fundraisers, including spearheading the Relay for Life which raised $55,000 for the American Cancer Society, and running a yearlong tutoring program for local grade school students. Also, more than 100 members of the class were enrolled in the senior service program, providing community service Monday through Friday to more than 18 area organizations, including Little Company of Mary Hospital, Elim Christian Services, and several nearby Catholic grammar schools. Another 143 seniors provided daily academic support to students through the peer leadership program. 

These students made an excellent academic reputation for themselves at Marist. They sent out more than 2,000 college applications, and were accepted to colleges and universities across the country. Graduates will be on the campuses of Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Yale University, University of Illinois, Marquette, Loyola, and St. Louis University, to name a few. They were awarded more than $45 million in scholarship monies, including three Chick Evans Scholarships. There were two National Merit Finalists and three National Merit Commended students and 61 Illinois State Scholars. Marist seniors were leaders on the math team, which finished fifth in state overall and as the top Catholic school. The language department offered exchange programs with international Marist schools, allowing students to host students from and travel to Spain, Italy, and France. Seniors also were pioneers in the school’s business curriculum, culminating in three student companies receiving funding. Numerous students were named ACT scholars, Advanced Placement Scholars, and received prestigious awards and scholarships. 

Athletically, individuals and teams were strong performers. Individuals and teams garnered conference, local, regional and state success. Forty-two graduates have committed to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level with programs coast to coast.

After the bell rang each day, these seniors participated in clubs and activities, sharing their leadership and expertise with the school community. The speech team advanced to the National Catholic Forensic League Grand Tournament in Kentucky. Members of the school newspaper advanced and placed in the IHSA journalism finals. Student council members planned a variety of events and activities throughout the year. The theater guild produced a fall drama and spring musical to the delight of audiences. The band and chorus performed at various sites around Disney World and New York City, respectively.

Ninety-nine percent of the class will attend college in the fall. Four students will join the military, while a few will enter the workforce immediately. If the class’s accomplishments at Marist are any indication of their future success, the end of this chapter is just the beginning for them.  

Check out a recap video from graduation. 

First Last Award Grade School
Jack Golden Valedictorian OLHMS
Maryclare  Leonard Salutatorian Cardinal Bernardin
Becca Valek Salutatorian St. Barnabas
Becca Valek National Merit Finalist St. Barnabas
Monica Viz National Merit Finalist SS. Cyril & Methodius
Brendan Boyle National Merit Commended Student Mt. Greenwood
Kyle Kelly National Merit Commended Student St. Damian
Shannon  Landers National Merit Commended Student Independence
Keagan Lenz Br. Pat Magee Award St. Germaine
Becca Valek Br. Pat Magee Award St. Barnabas
Luke  Bullington Br. Vito Aresto Award St Christina
Isabella Flores Br. Vito Aresto Award St. Catherine
Keagan Lenz Chick Evans Scholarship St. Germaine
Mackenize Lim Chick Evans Scholarship St. Damian
Michael Martino Chick Evans Scholarship St. Michael
Shane  Brannigan ESCC Academic All-Conference, Baseball Century Jr High
Robert Hawkinson ESCC Academic All-Conference, Basketball Hickory Creek Middle School
Alexandra Cipriani ESCC Academic All-Conference, Bowling St. Christina
Karina Journet-Brizuela ESCC Academic All-Conference, Bowling St. Nicholas 
Maria Arreola ESCC Academic All-Conference, Cross Country Kerr Middle School
Roisin McMahon ESCC Academic All-Conference, Cross Country OLHMS
Hope Orsi ESCC Academic All-Conference, Cross Country St. John Fisher
Monica Viz ESCC Academic All-Conference, Cross Country SS. Cyril & Methodius
Claire Murphy ESCC Academic All-Conference, Cross Country/Track Cardinal Bernardin
Maryclare  Leonard ESCC Academic All-Conference, Cross Country/Track Cardinal Bernardin
Jack  Berglind ESCC Academic All-Conference, Football and Volleyball Mt. Greenwood
Kyle Kelly ESCC Academic All-Conference, Golf St. Damian
Jeffrey  Reidy ESCC Academic All-Conference, Golf and Volleyball Independence
John  Kruse ESCC Academic All-Conference, Soccer Incarnation
David Rafacz ESCC Academic All-Conference, Soccer Simmons
Jillian Zwierz ESCC Academic All-Conference, Soccer St. Alexander
Matt  Brannigan ESCC Academic All-Conference, Soccer and Football Keller
Zachary  Meeker ESCC Academic All-Conference, Tennis Palos South
Anthony DeFelippis ESCC Academic All-Conference, Track and Field Cardinal Bernardin
Madeline Dunterman ESCC Academic All-Conference, Volleyball Finley Jr High
Jack Roche Jack Callahan Spirit Award St. Catherine
Kaitlyn Bowe Kevin Dowling Scholarship Morgan Park Academy
Jack Golden Kevin Lehnert Award OLHMS
Justin Brown Paul Simmons Jr. Foundation Award Memorial Jr High 
Maria Arreola Perfect Attendance Kerr Middle School
MiKaela Dismukes Perfect Attendance Wendell Green School
Ciara Johnson Perfect Attendance St. Bede
Renee Nealis Perfect Attendance St. Cajetan
Michael Principe Perfect Attendance St. Al/St. Pat
Gavin Wollenberg Perfect Attendance St. Al/St. Pat


Faculty Award Winner Maryclare Leonard David O'Neil
Faculty Award Nominee Emily Bober Matthew Finn
Faculty Award Nominee Gabriella Marino John Golden
Faculty Award Nominee Elizabeth Travnik Bryson Lewis
Faculty Award Nominee Rebecca Valek John Roche
Faculty Award Nominee Monica Viz  
Medal of Excellence English Rebecca Valek
Next in Merit English Alexis Kolp
Medal of Excellence Fine Arts Christopher Murphy
Next in Merit Fine Arts Emily Bober
Medal of Excellence Mathematics Rebecca Valek
Next in Merit Mathematics Michael Mallon
Medal of Excellence Performing Arts Elizabeth Travnik
Next in Merit Performing Arts Bridget Ryan
Medal of Excellence Religious Studies Gabriella Marino
Next in Merit Religious Studies Emily Bober
Medal of Excellence Science Victoria Krummick
Next in Merit Science Rebecca Valek
Medal of Excellence Social Studies Claire Stillman
Next in Merit Social Studies Ricardo Suarez
Medal of Excellence Technology Maryclare Leonard
Next in Merit Technology Christopher Murphy
Medal of Excellence World Language Liam Duignan
Next in Merit World Language Maria Arreola



First Last BLOCK M AWARD Grade School
Ed Kawczysnki Academic Team Hamlin Jr High 
Vita Ionadi Anime Club OLHMS
Mackenize Lim Art Club St. Damian
Griffin Kemp Band Sutherland
Matt  Donahue Baseball Independence
Emily Bober Bass Fishing St. Christina
Griffin Kemp Billiards Sutherland
Robert Hawkinson Boys Basketball Hickory Creek Middle School
Nicholas Bigott Boys Bowling St. Christina
Matt  Wagner Boys Cross Country St. Alexander
Perry Chong Boys Golf Bridgeport Catholic 
David O'Neil Boys Lacrosse St. Damian
Christian Cunningham Boys Soccer Incarnation
Andrew Reif Boys Tennis Park School
Lenell  Navarre Boys Track & Field St. Kieran
Mike Coogan Boys Volleyball St. Alexander
Keagan Lenz Br. Pat Magee Award St. Germaine
Becca Valek Br. Pat Magee Award St. Barnabas
Luke  Bullington Br. Vito Aresto Award St Christina
Isabella Flores Br. Vito Aresto Award St. Catherine
Meagan Stoffle Cheerleading St. Michael
Brendan Boyle Chess Team Mt. Greenwood
Caelah Borkovec Chorus St. Barnabas
Clare Pitlick Cooking Club St. Christina
Katherine Maloney Debate Team Independence
Becca Valek Drama Club St. Barnabas
Jennifer Moore Ecology Club St. Barnabas
Griffin Kemp Fencing Club Sutherland
David  O'Neil Fine Arts & Literary Club St. Damian
Matt  Finn Football St. Michael
Mychaela Paetow French Club Independence
Leyla Razo French National Honor Society Morgan Park Academy
Claire Austin Girls Basketball St Christina
Abigail Conrad Girls Bowling St Michael
Maryclare  Leonard Girls Cross Country Cardinal Bernardin
Margaret Mahoney Girls Golf St. Cajetan
Sarah Thompson Girls Lacrosse St. John Fisher
Cara Donegan Girls Soccer St. Michael
Kaitlyn Bowe Girls Tennis Morgan Park Academy
Bria Davis Girls Track & Field St. Ethelreda
Megan Krasowski Girls Volleyball St. Catherine
Zachary  Meeker Hockey Palos South
Megan Costello Liturgy Committee Prairie Jr High
Caelah Borkovec Marist Youth St. Barnabas
Becca Valek Math Team St. Barnabas
David O'Neil Model UN St. Damian
Dana Kelly National Honor Society Arbor Park Middle School
Caitlyn Lange One Book, One Marist St. Michael
Rachael Dorsch Poms Prairie Jr High
Victoria Carreon Pro-Life Club St. Bede
Brendan Watson Rugby St. Catherine
Marina Mosquera Sentinel  St. Nicholas 
Alexis Rogers Softball St. Damian
Sarah Thompson Spanish Club St. John Fisher
Katya Macias Spanish National Honor Society Independence
Jake Listowski Stage Crew OLHMS
Jack Carmody Student Ambassadors St. Catherine
Tom Englehart Student Council Palos South
Leah Hood Swimming  Southwest Chicago Christian
Elijah Morris Technology Club St. Barnabas
Diata  Drayton Wrestling Prairie Hills
Ellie Marino Yearbook Cardinal Bernardin