By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
The Diocese of Davenport’s five Catholic high schools celebrated 245 graduates this academic year.
“President Joe Biden often refers to high school and college graduates as the ‘what’s next’ generation,” said Lee Morrison, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools. “With the energy and spirit of adventure that you possess, what is next for you, what new ideas will you share, what will you do to help your community wherever you land? What problems will you solve, what might you eventually do to make life easier? I look forward to what is next from the class of 2021.”
Morrison told the graduates, “The church depends on you. We need your lively faith, your energy and your love. Know that God loves you unconditionally and is with you wherever you go. This June I personally end a career spanning 47 years in education. I will not worry one single day about the future of our nation. We are adding classes of graduating seniors all across the country with the energy to solve most challenges before us. Congratulations graduates, parents, grandparents and teachers for a job well done!”
Burlington — Notre Dame Catholic Schools
Thirty-two students graduated May 30 at the school. Molly Johnson was valedictorian and Jacob Kamrath was salutatorian.
Johnson, the daughter of Natalie and Tyler Blindt and Ryan and Ashley Johnson of Gladstone, Illinois, is a member of Divine Mercy Parish in Burlington. She plans to attend Illinois Wesleyan University to major in biology with a minor in pre-medicine before applying to medical school to study reconstructive plastic surgery.
“I plan to always be a part of serving my church community. I recognize and understand the importance of faith during each of our successes, so giving back to my church would be a great way for me to show my gratitude. I plan to be a very active member in donating, attending and participating in activities put on by the church to help keep it up and running,” she said. “I believe the biggest way we can give back to our church community is to help (others) find the light of Christ, which we are all called to do.” Being a teacher of the Lord “is my favorite part of living through God, and I plan to always uphold my responsibility.”
Kamrath, the son of Max and Nicole Kamrath of Burlington, is a member of Divine Mercy Parish. He plans to attend Iowa State University to study computer engineering. After college, he would like to work hands-on with computers. He also plans to serve the church leading by example and “allowing my moral compass to guide my decisions. By allowing my conscience to dictate how I live my life, I can consciously make decisions that will guide me toward a better future. As I live my daily life and I form myself into a better person, I hope to influence others around me to live the same way. This way I am not physically present in the church, but the church is present in me and others.”
Clinton — Prince of Peace Catholic School
Sixteen students graduated May 23 at Prince of Peace Church. Anabel Blount was valedictorian and Isabel Hansen was salutatorian.
Blount, the daughter of Nathan and Lisa Blount of Clinton, is a member of Prince of Peace Parish. She plans to attend the University of Iowa with hopes of becoming a speech or forensic pathologist. “I plan to not only attend Mass, but be involved and participate. I plan to volunteer through the church and bring my children up in the church in the future.”
Hansen, the daughter of Jennifer Hansen of Clinton, is a member of Prince of Peace Parish. She plans to study at the University of Iowa to major in business. “I plan to serve the church by spreading the word of God.”
Davenport — Assumption High School
One hundred twenty-two students graduated from Assumption on May 30 in the school’s large gymnasium. Tyler Maro was president of the National Honor Society and Matthew Tallman was senior class president.
Maro, the son of Randy and Gwen Maro of Davenport, is a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport. He plans to study engineering at Iowa State University and to serve “my new parish in college by becoming a lector or eucharistic minister. I also would like to take a few mission trips that are focused on helping those in poverty.”
Tallman, the son of David and Colleen Tallman of Davenport, is a member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish. He plans to study biology at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. “My parents have done a tremendous job teaching and instilling the necessary Catholic values I need in order to keep God in my life. Although I am looking forward to becoming my own person while away at college, I plan to serve the church through service in the Philadelphia area and embodying the human necessity of treating others kindly.” The main entrance to the campus leads to “the steps of the beautiful St. Thomas of Villanova Church. For me, this symbol of faith is indicative of how I want my future in the Catholic Church to unfold.”
Fort Madison — Holy Trinity Catholic School
Twenty-four students graduated May 23 at the high school. Ava Peitz was valedictorian and Claire Pothitakis was salutatorian.
Peitz, the daughter of Wesley and Jessica Peitz of Fort Madison, is a member of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison. She plans to attend the University of Iowa to major in nursing. She also plans to build on her faith life in college by finding others who hold similar values. She enjoys listening to Christian podcasts and serving others.
Pothitakis, the daughter of Dr. Mark and Kara Pothitakis of Fort Madison, is a member of Holy Family Parish. She plans to attend the University of Iowa to study health and human physiology. She also plans to follow her beliefs in Jesus Christ and meet weekly in worship.
Iowa City — Regina Catholic Education Center
Fifty-one students graduated from Regina on May 23 in the high school gym. Sophia Thomsen was valedictorian and Shenyan “Peter” Chen was salutatorian.
Thomsen, the daughter of David and Peg Thomsen of Iowa City, is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City. She plans to attend the University of Iowa to major in pre-medicine. Post high school, she plans to attend church every Sunday. “I also plan to volunteer in different ways as opportunities present themselves in college and beyond — maybe joining the choir.”
Chen is from Fuzhou, Fujian province, China. His parents are Mei Qing and Chen Qingxiang. His host parents were Sam and Ellen Abusada of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Iowa City. He plans to attend the University of California in San Diego to major in molecular and cellular biology. He may pursue further studies after that. Although not Catholic, Chen plans to aid the church through community service.