221 students graduate from diocesan Catholic high schools


Each year, The Catholic Messenger publishes an article about outstanding students graduating from the Diocese of Davenport’s Catholic high schools. Here you will read about the plans of the Class of 2013 valedictorians and salutatorians whose names have been provided by their schools.



Twenty-six students graduated from Notre Dame High School on May 19. Co-valedictorians are MaryKatherine Ann Brueck and Sarah Ann Kottenstette. Salutatorian is Madison Zahn.
MaryKatherine, daughter of Ken and Teresa Brueck of Burlington, belongs to Ss. Mary & Patrick Parish in West Burlington. MaryKatherine plans to attend Loyola University in Chicago to study law. She hopes to become a lawyer specializing in health law and medical ethics. “In this profession I will encounter several controversial matters that are coming to the forefront of health care debates,” she wrote. “I am driven to work in this field so that I can assist in protecting the dignity and the undeniable rights of a person.”


Sarah is the daughter of Peter and Carol Kottenstette of Burlington and member of Ss. Mary & Patrick Parish. This fall Sarah plans to study pre-med at Creighton University in Omaha. She said she plans to continue to fulfill her desire to serve God and others. “Serving others is how I put my faith into action and wherever this may take me, it is God’s will.”


Madison is the daughter of Chad Zahn and Esther Murphy of Burlington. She is a member of Ss. John & Paul Parish in Burlington. Madison plans to attend the University of Northern Iowa to study nursing.

Thirteen students graduated from Prince of Peace Catholic School on May 19. Valedictorian is Paige Whitney and salutatorian is Anna Yackshaw.
Paige is the daughter of Missy Whitney and the late Randy Whitney of Albany, Ill.


Paige plans to attend Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., and major in English. Her goal is to become an English teacher in a foreign country. “One of the things I learned is that it is important to use your talents to serve others. That is something I will do throughout my life.”


Anna is the daughter of Mike and Kathy Yackshaw of Clinton, and member of Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish. She plans to attend the University of Dubuque to study flight operations and flight management. She hopes to work in the future as a flight instructor, obtain her required flight hours and then work for a corporation. She also plans to join a parish near her school. “I am currently a Eucharistic minister and will continue this at my new church. Through my family, church and school, I have developed a strong belief in service to others.”

Ninety-three students graduated from Assumption High School on May 19. Valedictorians are Hannah McAfoos and Mary Kate Phillips.


Hannah is the daughter of Bill and Deb McAfoos of Davenport and member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport. This fall she plans to attend St. Ambrose University in Davenport where she will major in biology. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree in physician assistant studies. She also plans to continue serving the Church as a Eucharistic minister. “I will serve God and the Church by serving others through service projects and through my future career. I will serve the Church by spreading the Gospel and by living out God’s word.”


Mary Kate is the daughter of Timothy and Erin Phillips of Davenport and a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf. This fall Mary Kate plans to attend Loras College in Dubuque and will major in neuroscience and minor in Spanish. She also plans to continue to serve as a Eucharistic minister. “I also hope to become involved with many service projects while I am in college. Attending a Catholic college will allow me to continue to serve the Church on a daily basis. I will become involved with all that the Loras campus ministry has to offer and more. In addition to serving the Church as much as I physically can, I will continue to try my best to embody Christ’s teachings to spread the Gospel and to be a positive and uplifting influence.”

Fort Madison
Tweny-five students graduated from Holy Trinity Catholic School on May 26.
Valedictorian is Emily Brennan Tinguely. Co-salutatorians are Jacquelyn Knustrom and Brittany Watznauer.


Emily is the daughter of Roy and Debbie Tinguely of Fort Madison and a member of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison. This fall Emily plans to attend Iowa State University to study chemistry. She also plans to be involved in various service projects, such as clothing and food drives. “I would also like to go on mission trips with my church to help people in other countries.”


Jacquelyn is the daughter of Michael and Sally Knustrom of Fort Madison and a member of Holy Family Parish. This fall Jacquelyn plans to attend the University of Northern Iowa to major in communicative disorders. She would like to become a speech-language pathologist. In the future, she plans to be active in the Catholic Church. “I will continue to serve as a Eucharistic minister and will look for other opportunities to serve my parish. I plan to join the Altar & Rosary Society and possibly other church organizations. I will contribute a portion of my salary to the parish and participate in events that raise money for (the parish) and promote it. I hope that God will bless me with a successful marriage and children. I will raise my children in the Catholic faith, sending them to Catholic school and encouraging them to be good people.”


Brittany is the daughter of Tim and Renee Watznauer of West Point and a member of St. Mary Parish in West Point. Brittany plans to attend Drake University in Des Moines and study pre-pharmacy. In the future she plans to serve the Church by volunteering at St. Mary’s fall festival, continue her service as a Eucharistic minister and volunteer at numerous church functions and fundraisers. “In addition to donating money, time and energy to assist my church and other members, I want to help the Church complete its mission of helping others.”

Iowa City
Sixty-four students graduated from Regina Junior/Senior High School in Iowa City on May 26.  Valedictorian is Natalie Bonthius. Salutatorian is Katherine Rapp.


Natalie is the daughter of Nancy and Dan Bonthius of Iowa City and a member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City. Natalie plans to attend Truman State University, Kirksville, Mo., to major in biological sciences and then attend medical school. She also plans to volunteer to serve others in need. “While enrolled at Truman State University, I plan to volunteer at the community hospital, tutor in area schools and work with the local Habitat for Humanity program. Additionally, I will participate in service and medical mission trips to impoverished or disaster-struck areas, both domestically and abroad.  I look forward to seeking out many opportunities to help others in need throughout college and beyond.”


Katherine is the daughter of Jim and Colleen Rapp of Iowa City and a member of St. Patrick Parish. This fall Katherine plans to attend Iowa State University to study kinesiology, pre-medicine and Spanish. “I plan to then attend medical school and become a doctor.” She noted that “being raised as a Catholic has had a huge impact on my life. My faith and spirituality is very important to my family and to me. Since I was in fourth grade, I have enjoyed serving the Church by being an altar server. In college next year, I plan to become very involved in the parish on campus to continue my service to the Church.” She noted that “being part of a Catholic community provides me with endless opportunities to help better the lives of others.”

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