Marist administrators Br. Hank Hammer, fms, and Larry Tucker '79 presented the school's esteemed Champagnat Educator Award to religion teacher Tom Samonski, college counselor Kim Myers, and Fr. Tom Hurley '85 during the last all-school mass of the year on Thursday, May 3. The award recognizes those who share similar traits with St. Marcellin Champagnat, the founder of the Marist Brothers.
Tom Samonski taught for six years at Maria High School before joining the religion department at Marist. During his 39 years at the school he was also involved in the intramural program and served as the head boys bowling coach for many years. He and his wife Donna have two daughters and enjoy time with their grandchildren. Tom announced his retirement at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, and celebrated with colleagues, family, and friends in mid-May. "He is a good and kind man of great faith who loves to share his thoughts and experiences," Br. Hank said. "He has spent 45 years ministering to young people in an effort to make Jesus Christ known and loved in the spirit of Marcellin Champagnat whether it is in the classroom or on retreats."
Kim Myers has been a South Side girl all her life. She spent 21 years in college admissions, eventually becoming the department director at St. Xavier University. She then joined Marist 19 years ago. She also taught religion for a time while at Marist. Married to John, their son, Dan, is a 2010 Marist alum.
Fr. Tom Hurley '85 celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination May 23. He has served as Marist's "pastor," celebrating Mass with the school community almost monthly for nearly 20 years. He has served at Most Holy Redeemer and St. Cajetan, and is currently the pastor at Old St. Patrick's Church in Chicago. Fr. Hurley has also served as a member of the school board and at countless Advancement Department events.
Br. Hank explained that the recipients see what they do as vocation as much as occupation, they believe that Catholic schools are vital to our community, and they know that to make Jesus Christ known and loved that they first have to know and love Jesus Christ themselves. To be eligible to receive this award, the recipients must have worked at least 10 years at Marist Chicago. The winners are determined by the nomination and votes of the past years’ Champagnat Educator Award recipients.
Previous recipients are Mr. Vince Andiorio, the late Br. Vito Aresto, Fr. Ed Barrett, Mr. Don Barwacz, the late Mr. Al Brazen, Mrs. Alex Brown, Mrs. Cathy Chambers, Mr. Randy Coe, Mrs. Holly Cox, Mrs. Theresa Coy, Mr. Mark Gervais, Mr. Owen Glennon, Brother Rich Grenier, Br. Hank Hammer, Mr. Patrick Hennessy, Mr. John Hyland, Mr. Joe Inzinga '77, Mr. Denis Kazelas, Mr. Mike Leahy, Mrs. Bonnie Littleton, Mr. Frank Manna, Mr. Larry Malito, Mrs. Ruth Maloney, Mr. Sean Maxwell, Br. Patrick McNamara, Br. Kevin Moran, Deacon Andy Neu '78, Mrs. Mimi O'Keefe, Mr. Larry Ormond, Mr. Don Pirkle '77, Mr. Patrick Quinn, Mr. Don Richardson '77, Sr. Margot Schueneman, RSM, Mr. Tom Seputis, Mr. Jerry Sullivan, and Mr. Larry Tucker.