Celebrating the Class of 2015
June 16, 2015
HOUSTON and GALVESTON — Henry David Thoreau once said, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." For the Class of 2015, graduation is the beginning of a new stage in life. Everything begins to change, and the dreams they've had as children and teens of having a career and independence move a step closer to reality. For the seniors in nine of the 10 Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese (Frassati High School does not yet have a senior class), the event marks the beginning of young adulthood.
The following is a glimpse at the next phase in the lives of the valedictorians and salutatorians of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston's Catholic high schools — those who went above and beyond their call of duty to excel in their academics and serve in their community.
Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory
Samina Dunbar, recognized as an outstanding student at the Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston, doesn't let her past define her future.
After losing everything they had to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, her famiiy evacuated the flooded city, eventually finding a home in Houston. The Houston firefighters who helped Dunbar's family recover saw her walk across the stage at her graduation, one one marked with stellar achievements.
In addition to garnering nine college admissions, Dunbar made history in becoming the school's first Ivy League acceptance.
Thrilled and honored to be admitted to Cornell University, Dunbar ultimately chose to attend Stanford University on full scholarship. She also spent all four of her work-study years at one employer, Fretz Construction.
Samina's goal is to pursue a path in international relations.
George Revuelta was a nervous freshman when he walked into Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School of Houston four years ago.
Revuelta also made school history by becoming the school's first collegiate athletic scholar.
Revuelta is excited to be going to Austin's Concordia University in the fall after earning a full soccer scholarship.
In a testament to Revuelta's character, when the scholarship fell short, his four-year employer Eagle Rock Energy generously covered the difference, with the employees raising an additional amount to help the student.
Revuelta's head soccer coach Antonio Raddi has spent countless hours coaching the honor student.
"He is a great kid," Raddi said.
Duschesne Academy of the Sacred Heart
Amy Nguyen is Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart's Valedictorian for 2015. She will attend Johns Hopkins University in the fall and plans to study biomedical engineering.
Nguyen was a National Merit Scholar and a Phi Beta Kappa Scholar. She attends St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Houston.
Audrey Novak is Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart's Salutatorian for 2015. She will attend the University of St. Thomas where she plans to major in marketing and literature. Novak attends St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Houston.
St. Agnes Academy
Carla Vilardo was named Valedictorian of the St. Agnes Academy Class of 2015. She will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, and plans to pursue becoming a doctor.
At St. Agnes, Vilardo was a member of the Tiger Girls dance team and a number of clubs and organizations on campus, including speech and debate, the UNICEF club and the National Honor Society.
For her senior service project, Vilardo traveled to Peru on a mission trip to build a community garden.
Margaret Berno was named Salutatorian of the St. Agnes Academy Class of 2015. She will be attending thethe University of Texas, Austin, in the fall, where she will major in business.
Berno is a National Merit commended scholar, an AP Scholar with honors and she is the first St. Agnes student to win top honors every year in the highest level mathematics courses. She is also a leader on the Dominican Preaching Team, a varsity member of the Speech and Debate Team, a singer in the choir, and she even earned the prestigious Gold Award with the Girl Scouts.
Incarnate Word Academy
Monica Da Jose, the 2015 Valedictorian at Incarnate Word Academy (IWA), will be studying Health Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas in the fall while earning teacher certification.
She served her school community in a variety of ways, most notably through her involvement in music ministry and in organizing the annual Sewfest event at IWA, an all-school event dedicated to sewing dresses for girls in need around the world. Outside of school she participated in the Muscular Dystrophy Association summer camp and the joint mission trip with St. Thomas High School to the Rio Grande Valley.
At school, she was involved in choir, handbell choir and the Young Leaders Program. In the future, she hopes to be a doctor, but ultimately she wants to go wherever God calls her — wherever that may be — to achieve her simple goal of helping others.
The IWA 2015 Salutatorian, Lauren Badger, will attend Colorado School of Mines this fall majoring in Petroleum Engineering.
She has been an altar server at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church since middle school and volunteered at DECATS the past two years. Badgerhas also served the IWA community as the IWA Altar Serving Ministry Co-Head this year. Additionally, she excelled in extracurricular activities through National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, St. Thomas High School Band as a flutist, St. Thomas High School Theatre, and varsity volleyball and golf.
Badger also represented the school as a Falcon Ambassador.
She hopes to return to The Woodlands to raise a family, remain involved at St. Anthony of Padua, and work for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. after graduating college.
O'Connell College Preparatory School
Smythe Mullikin is the 2015 Valedictorian at O'Connell College Preparatory School. He plans to attend Southern Methodist University in the fall and major in mechanical engineering.
In high school, he has served as student body president, class president, National Honor Society Secretary and Treasurer, drama club president, head athletic trainer, lead guitar in music class, member of the varsity baseball team and member of the school's chapter of the Friends of Rachel club.
In the community, he has volunteered for numerous events through National Honor Society and Student Council, while also serving as Galveston's Families, Children, and Youth Board (FCYB) youth representative. This year, he founded the For Youth By Youth Initiative to highlight youth-led service projects throughout the community.
Since he was two years old, Mullikin always had a dream to work for NASA. His goal is to work full-time for NASA or in the aerospace industry after he graduates from college.
Eric Lu is the 2015 Salutatorian at O'Connell College Preparatory School. He plans to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio in the fall.
In Galveston, Lu was president of the National Honor Society and led various volunteer opportunities that were available. He participated in a worship band playing piano for each of the Masses at the school.
This was similar to his community service project. Throughout this school year, Lu raised about $3,200 in order to buy a new piano for the high school. Through 12 years of Catholic education, Lu said he learned that with some faith, he can achieve success through God's assistance.
He participated in Student Council, National Honor Society, Varsity Basketball and Baseball. He hopes to major in biology or a science related field so that he may go on to dental school and become an orthodontist.
St. John XXIII College Preparatory
Delia M. Weber, 2015 Valedictorian at St. John XXIII College Preparatory, will be attending the University of Houston in the fall. She will be a member of the Cougar swim team, and plans to major in psychology.
During her time at St. John XXIII College Preparatory, she participated in many school organizations, including National Spanish Honor Society serving as president her senior year. Weber was also a member of National Honor Society, National Science Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and the Science Bowl team.
She was captain of the Sea Lion swim team her senior year and team MVP both junior and senior years. She completed more than 200 hours of community service at the Cinco Ranch Alzheimer's Clinic and St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, where she taught a kindergarten CCE class.
Weber hopes to attend graduate school for sports psychology, and participate in research in the field of sports psychology.
Kevin M. Perilla, 2015 Salutatorian at St. John XXIII College Preparatory, will be attending the University of Texas at Austin, studying electrical and computer engineering.
During his time at St. John XXIII College Preparatory, Perilla was active in National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, serving as vice president, Mu Alpha Theta, Science National Honor Society and the Technology Student Association, where he served as treasurer.
He was co-captain of the drum line and competed with the band at the state and regional level earning several superior ratings in ensemble and soloist (percussion).
He is active in his parish, Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pattison, where he has been an altar server for 10 years and volunteered for various parish projects and events. In addition to his parish, his community service has included the Houston Food Bank, clean-up weekends at Olivewood Cemetery and summer volunteer at the Westview School.
His dream is to find a way to combine his love of music with his passion for engineering.
St. Pius X High School
Ashley Marie Holt is St. Pius X High School's 2015 Valedictorian. She will be attending Texas A&M University in the fall where she plans to major in biomedical engineering.
Holt was president of National Honor Society, president of Campus Singers and vice president of Honor Board. She was also a member of the student council, district and state qualifier for Academic Team, state qualifier for handbell choir, part of Theater SPX, International Thespian Society, Spring Football Athletic Trainer, girls soccer, International Club and Best Buddies.
She is very involved in church activities, including SHINE Catholic Work Camp, which is a week of volunteer service with her church youth; Dominican Sisters Summer Camp at Circle Lake, which is a camp counselor for six girls for a week; altar server at her home parish, St. Martha Catholic Church; and an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at the high school her senior year.
Holt said she dreams of making a medical discovery. However, whether through medical research or community involvement, she wants to make a positive impact on other people's lives.
Jennifer Marie Sheeren is St. Pius X High School's 2015 Salutatorian. She will be attending Vanderbilt University in the fall where she plans to major in special education.
She is the founder and president of the Best Buddies Chapter at St. Pius X, is also involved with Science Club, Energy Team, Honor Board, Rugby, student council, National Honor Society, Triathlon Club, Retreat Team and was the school mascot, Beppo.
In the community, Sheeren volunteers extensively at Avondale House, a school for children and adults with severe autism. She also volunteered with Camp Blessing Texas for 200 hours.
She said she hopes to help improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and to be happy.
St. Thomas High School
The St. Thomas High School Valedictorian for the class of 2015 is William Anthony Krizak. Krizak will attend the Mississippi State University and major in chemical engineering.
He was a member of the National Honor Society and a National Merit Commended Student.
He received a St. Thomas Language Achievement Award in AP Spanish IV, and a Social Studies Achievement Award in Advanced Economics/AP U.S. Government.
Krizak was part of Columbian Squires for five years, which is the largest St. Thomas High School club on campus and largest Circle in Texas. Krizak said, "...really brought me closer to the community and made my overall St. Thomas experience more meaningful. I followed my brother (Daniel '12) into the program and really enjoyed the bond with my classmates."
The St. Thomas High School Salutatorian for the class of 2015 is Jonathan Theodore Polasek. He will be attending the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas, Austin, where he will major in radio-television-film with the intent to enter sports broadcast journalism.
He was a member of the National Honor Society and a National Hispanic Scholar.
He received a St. Thomas Science Achievement Award in physics and health, and a College Board Recognition Award Scholarship. Polasek also received a St. Edward's University President's Excellence Award, a University of Arizona National Scholar Award and a University of Nebraska Lincoln Chancellor's Scholarship.
The community service project which meant the most to him was youth counselor at his home parish, St. Michael Catholic Church.
His dream career would be to be the radio voice of the Houston Texans. "My immediate goals are finding the right internships and connections to successfully navigate that path and journey. I can't wait to get started," he said.
Strake College Preparatory
The Strake Jesuit College Preparatory Class of 2015 Valedictorian is Blake Bordelon. He will continue his education at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., where he plans to study biomedical engineering and physics.
While at Jesuit, Bordelon was active in community service tutoring at Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary, volunteering at Atria Nursing Home and with Jesuit's Higher Achievement Program. He was also active at Jesuit in extra-curriculars serving as president of the National Honor Society, as class representative on the student council, team captain of the varsity Cross Country Team and as a member of the Track Leadership Council.
He also served as a member of the school's Discipline Board and the Crusader Crew.
Bordelon hopes to one day run a 100-mile ultra marathon, go into scientific research and to have a family.
Blaise Bucey has been selected as the Salutatorian of the Strake Jesuit College Preparatory Class of 2015. After graduation, Bucey will be attending the University of Texas where he will major in business/finance.
A member of the National Honor Society at Jesuit, Bucey participated in many school service projects. He helped run the track summer camp for two years, led freshmen as a member of the school's Crusader Crew, volunteered at the school's Open House, and participated in many different clubs.
Outside of school, he volunteered at the Houston Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Down Syndrome Association and the Transplant Olympics. He was also a member of the Junior Rodeo Committee for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Bucey was a two-year letterman on the school's football team, a three-year letterman on the track and field team while also serving on the Key Club, Athletes in Action and Medical Club.
He plans to eventually attend medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon.
Best wishes to these high school graduates and their classmates!