Marist High School held its 55th annual commencement exercises on Friday, May 21, 2021, sending off an accomplished class of 376 young men and women.
The class valedictorian was National Merit Finalist Colin Dillon who addressed the class. The salutatorian was Caitlin McGrath, who offered the opening prayer. Learn more about the two graduates here. Thomas Kavanaugh was also a National Merit Finalist and IHSA All Academic Team member while Jack Vulich was a National Merit Commended student. Marist boasted 50 Illinois State Scholars, representing the top 10% of seniors in the state. Numerous students were named ACT scholars, Advanced Placement Scholars, and received prestigious awards and scholarships.
The graduates continued to build Marist’s strong academic reputation. They sent out 2,393 college applications to 354 colleges and universities across the country. Graduates will be on the campuses of Princeton University, University of Notre Dame, Marquette University, Loyola University, and the University of Illinois at Champaign, The Ohio State University, University of Iowa, University of California, and University of Kansas to name a few.
The Faculty Award, which is voted on by Marist teachers, honors students who embody the ideals of a Marist graduate in faith, service, and academics, and was given to Kaylen Baker, Jack Harmon, and Sarah Hughes.
Sarah Hughes, Cesar Gaona, Daniel Gillerlain, Josiah Harris, and Ryan Rosenberg were awarded the Chick Evans Scholarship. Class members garnered more than $51 million in college scholarships.
Class members Nick Vallie and Ed Carroll will enlist in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines, respectively.
At the heart of their Marist experience was spiritual growth. While some programs were curtailed due to the pandemic, the class participated in grade level retreats throughout their four years, service projects, and liturgical celebrations and Sacraments.
Athletically, individuals and teams were strong performers. Teams garnered conference, regional, sectional, and state titles. Forty-three students will continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
After the bell rang each day, these seniors participated in clubs and activities, sharing their leadership and expertise with the school community. Marist seniors were leaders on the math team, which finished seventh in state overall. Members of the school newspaper advanced and placed in the IHSA journalism finals, with PJ Cunningham being named Marist's first state champion journalist. 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, even when they had to go virtual. The band performed and chorus continued to perform despite the challenges and produced their latest spring concert.
Check out photos from graduation.