PARARE Fall 2019

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PARARE

Fall 2019

Congratulations Class of 2019


Upcoming Dates

OCTOBER

11 SJ23 Feast Day

11 Raffle Begins

14 Middle School Fine Arts Frenzy

16 PSAT Testing

17 Art Coffee House

30-31 Parent/Teacher Conferences

NOVEMBER

10 Prospective Families Open House

11 Veterans’ and Grandparents’ Day Mass

20 Raffle Drawing

25-29 Thanksgiving Holiday

Administration

JOSEPH NOONAN

Interim Principal

REV. JONATHAN MITCHICAN

Chaplain

BRIAN MULLIGAN

Dean of Students

MATT OELKERS

Assistant Principal, Administration

ANDREA SMITH

Assistant Principal, Academics

DECEMBER

4 Advent Penance Service

10 Admissions Information Night

11 Christmas Concert

12 Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass

16 Fall Semester Exams Begin

20 Christmas Holiday Begins

28 Alumni Social

JANUARY 2020

8 Classes Resume

15 New Student Applications Due

20 MLK Holiday | No Classes

School Board

Bill Neeson, Chairman

Amy Alexander

Robert Bruns

Butch Callegari

Martin Doublesin

Candace Freed

Fr. Tom Lam

Joel Matthews

Dean Schnitzler

John Steffes

* Dates subject to change.

PARARE is a production of St. John XXIII College Preparatory. All material herein is the copyright and product of the school unless otherwise

noted. All rights reserved. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or for general correspondence, please send a message to news@sj23lions.org.


Contents

From the Interim Principal

Congratulations Class of 2019

College Prep at its Best

Valedictorians/Salutatorian

2019 Star Athletes

Roncalli Cup

Class Notes: Alumni Updates

Campus Ministry Program

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

12


From the Interim Principal

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Friends,

Thank you for making my arrival at St. John XXIII

College Preparatory so welcoming. This is a

wonderful school, and I am honored to be a part

of the community and look forward to meeting as

many parents, alumni, and friends during this year

as possible. During my orientation over the past

month, one descriptor of SJ23 shines above the

others - family.

Our team of dedicated teachers, staff, and

administration worked very hard, and worked

together, ensuring a positive and enthusiastic return

from summer for our students. Despite the fluidity

that accompanies the start of any school year, and

especially the uncertainty around this particular

launch, I recognize - as I am sure that you have,

too - our faculty are committed to our Lions, past,

present, and future.

Over the next few months, I invite you to provide

your feedback, input, and ideas. In order to develop

a deeper understanding of the St. John XXIII

community, I recognize that your experience of SJ23

can help inform our shared future.

As I read this issue of the Parare, I am reminded in

the class of 2019, that we only have four short years

to make an impact on each young person. This task,

while daunting, is certainly achievable. Our twelve

graduating classes and their alumni updates are a

testament to that fact.

Every program, every class, every competition,

every endeavor of St. John XXIII College Prep plays

a pivotal role in the education and formation of our

future graduates, and is important to our mission –

We prepare the hearts and minds of our students to

serve God and others. As I write to you today, I am

most thankful to be a part of this community’s efforts

to fulfill that mission.

Yours in Christ,

Joseph Noonan

Interim Principal

4 | PARAREFall 2019


Congratulations

CLass of 2019

PARAREFall 2019 | 5


College Prep at its Best

7.5 Million 101

70%

534

Total Scholarships

Offered to the Class

Graduates

Graduates Received

Scholarships

Total Applications to 176

different Colleges/Universities

42 Instate Schools

134 Out-of-State Schools

4

2

1

3

National Hispanic

Scholars

Commended National

Merit Commended

Scholars

National Merit Finalist

Students Signed to Play

Athletics

List of Schools 2019 Graduates Attend

Baylor University

Benedictine College

Blinn College

Brigham Young University, Idaho

Colorado School of Mines

Colorado State University

DePaul University

Florida International University

Franciscan University of Steubenville

High Point University

Houston Baptist University

Houston Community College

Indiana University at Bloomington

Lone Star College

Louisiana State University

Massachusetts Institute of

Technology

Ohio University

Rice University

Saint Louis University

Saint Mary’s College

Sam Houston State University

Southern Methodist University

Southwestern University

St. Edward’s University

Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi

Texas A&M University, Galveston

Texas A&M University, Kingsville

Texas Southern University

Texas State University

Texas Tech University

The University of Arizona

The University of Texas, Arlington

The University of Texas, Austin

The University of Texas, Dallas

The University of Texas, El Paso

The University of Texas, San Antonio

Trinity University

University of Houston

University of Houston, Downtown

University of Kansas

University of Missouri Columbia

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

University of North Texas

University of Notre Dame

University of St. Thomas

University of Tennessee

University of the Incarnate Word

West Texas A&M University

Wharton County Junior College

Wyoming Catholic College

Xavier University

6 | PARAREFall 2019


2019 Valedictorians

Abigail Faye Hollmann

Abigail Faye Hollmann, one of the St. John XXIII Valedictorians, will continue to pursue

academic excellence at Rice University while double majoring in environmental science

and biochemistry specializing in molecular biology. Abigail has a kind and friendly

manner about her that makes other people feel comfortable. She has a beautiful

heart and a strong spirit. Helping others comes naturally to her and she strives to

contribute to the expansion of a better world and future generation. While at St. John

XXIII, Hollmann exhibited outstanding leadership qualities full of genuine kindness

and selflessness. She tutored children at Neighborhood Kidz and worked with Katy

Christian Ministries in their resale store. Other accomplishments include being accepted

for NASA’s High School Aerospace Scholars program, being a National Merit Finalist,

and being president of Science Bowl and Academic Bowl. Additionally, she served as

NHS President and was a member of Science National Honor Society, Spanish Honor

Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and competed in both TAPPS Academic and TAPPS Art

competitions. Ms. Hollmann exemplifies positivity and brilliance. Abigail Hollmann is

quite an inspiration and makes the world a better place.

Caitlyn Louise Cano

Upon first meeting Ms. Cano, you are drawn to her optimism and authenticity. Her

bright smile and willingness to help others are a testament to her outstanding character.

She excels as a soloist in liturgical and performance choirs and acted in leading roles

in school theatrical productions. She inspires, encourages, and leads her teammates

as a team captain of the varsity girls’ cross-country team. Caitlyn has the ability to

empathize and connect with others. Since her freshman year, she felt called to serve

the special-needs population by volunteering at Brookwood Community Center. Last

summer, she expanded on her experiences and served as a mentor for a 22-year old

special needs camper at Camp Blessing. She is a freshman at the University of Notre

Dame studying chemical engineering and minoring in musical theater.

2019 Salutatorian

Adley Grace Marsh

With an interest in applied mathematical sciences, Ms. Marsh is attending Texas A&M

University, College Station. At St. John XXIII, she carried a challenging course load

of advanced classes, but made time to tutor fellow students before and after school

in math and volunteer in the community. Adley served more than 600 hours in the

community and greater Houston area through St. John XXIII Works of Mercy program

and the National Charity League Ladybird Chapter, serving as president among other

board roles. Her favorite Philanthropy is the Ballard House. Achievements include

membership in National Honor Society, National Science Honor Society, and Mu Alpha

Theta. Adley received academic all-state for swimming, served as captain of the swim

team for multiple years, and was a member of the State Championship Swim Team.

Adley was in National Spanish Honor Society and represented St. John XXIII at Texas

Girls State. She also served as a Lion Ambassador and Link Crew participant; these

two appointments enabled her to be an advocate for St. John XXIII and assist freshmen

as they adjusted to campus life.

PARAREFall 2019 | 7


2019Star Athletes

Congratulations to these accomplished athletes who

will Compete in collegiate athletic programs.

OMOZUSI GUOBADIA

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Track & Field

SABRINA HILLYER

The University of Arizona

Soccer

LYNDIE SWANSON

Houston Baptist University

Softball

8 | PARAREFall 2019


Roncalli Cup

Awarded to Lisieux House

Each year, the five Houses compete for the prized Roncalli Cup. This year, Lisieux fought for this win, striving

to do their best at every academic and athletic competition, coming together as a team to lift and build each

other up. They hosted an amazing opportunity for our school to join in at Steps for Students, and they went

to other house events in support of their school community. Lisieux never failed to wear the green, chant for

St. Therese, and sport their buffalo caps as they showed House Spirit. Congratulations to Clare Rady and

Will Glueck for being enthusiastic role models for their House and to Mrs. Elizabeth Dronet for always giving

support and encouragement to her students. Congratulations to the Roncalli Cup Winner – Lisieux House!

5th place: Borromeo House – 280 points

4th place: Loreto House – 340 points

3rd place: Aquinas House – 440 points

2th place: Neri House – 450 points

1st place: Lisieux House – 520 points

PARAREFall 2019 | 9


Class Notes

Alumni Updates

Andrew Bruce, 2008 Zachary Hearn, 2012

A member of the

first graduating

class, Andrew

Bruce received

his law degree

from South Texas

College of Law in

December 2018.

He recently sat

for and passed

the bar. He is on

staff at Murrah &

Killough, PLLC.

Zachary Hearn resides

in Kansas City, Missouri

where he is a Trainmaster

for BNSF Railway. In 2017,

he graduated with honors

from Texas Tech University

with a degree in Energy

Commerce and a degree in

Supply Chain Management.

Peter Thorseth, 2014 Cameron McHugh, 2014

Peter Thorseth is at the University of St. Thomas and on

the golf team. He has won three tournaments this year.

At St. John XXIII, Cameron

McHugh was ranked the

second-best swimmer in Texas

and the 74th best swimmer

in the country, according to

collegeswimming.com. After

earning her degree in biomedical

engineering from The University

of Arizona, where she received

All-American Honors in the 800

free relay and named a CSCAA

Scholar All-America honoree,

she is attending Stanford for her

master’s degree in mechanical

engineering with an emphasis in

product design. She would like

to work as a design engineer at a sports production company to

combine two of her passions: athletics and engineering. McHugh

ended her senior year in the Engineering Design Program,

working with the University of Arizona Center on Aging and a

team of fellow students to develop the UA Balance App. The app

is designed to help older adults improve their balance, posture

and neuromuscular control, reducing their risk of falling and

serious injury. MedPage Today, an online resource for health care

professionals and physicians, named it a “Must-Have Medical

App.” McHugh said it was rewarding to see the hard work and

research the team put into their project pay off. “I really enjoyed

working on a project that can have an effect on people’s everyday

life,” she said. “Engineering is pointless if it cannot be used to help

people and in some way improve their lives.”

10 | PARAREFall 2019


Philip Nijoka, 2015 Taylor Chojecki, 2015

Golfer Philip Nijoka had a great year playing

for Loyola University and recently graduated.

Taylor Chojecki will graduate from Texas A&M, College

Station this December with a Bachelor of Science in

Visualization and with a minor in game design and

development. Spring semester 2018, she participated in

an exchange student program with Victoria University in

Wellington, New Zealand. She lived and studied animation and

design while sight-seeing for nearly five months. The majority

of her time was spent in Wellington; she did travel to both the

north and the south island, hiked Mount Ngauruhoe, which is

Mount Doom in the Lord of the Ring and Hobbit movies, scuba

dived off the Wellington coast, kayaked and camped in the

New Zealand Countryside, saw and photographed a wild seal

at Red Rocks near Wellington, felt her first earthquake, bungy

jumped, luged, saw kiwis and mudpools and lots of gysers!

Torrey Knobelock, 2016

Dana Alexander, 2018

Earlier this year, Torrey Knobelock won the title of

USA National Miss Lone Star State 2019. She writes,

“St. John XXIII truly shaped me into the young woman

I am today and there is nothing I want more than to

share that with everyone.”

Dana Alexander is currently a sophmore at The University of

Notre Dame where she is a member of the cheerleading team.

PARAREFall 2019 | 11


Campus Ministry Program

the Heart and Soul of St. John XXIII

We prepare the hearts and minds of our students to serve

God and others.

That is not only our mission statement, but the philosophy

that we weave into each day at St. John XXIII. Challenging

academics, a robust athletics department, student clubs

and organizations, and a remarkable fine arts program

are attributes of any great high school. However, we offer

our students a unique experience that mirrors our mission

statement.

Under the direction of Mrs. Sheri DeMois, The Our Lady of

Guadalupe Center for New Evangelization (OLG Center),

houses both our Retreat program and the Works of Mercy

program. The OLG Center, established in 2015, focuses on

providing opportunities for an encounter with Jesus Christ

by inviting every member of our school community into

a deeper relationship of love for Him. As St. John Paul II

reminds us, “the most beautiful and stirring adventure that

can happen to you is the personal meeting with Jesus, who

is the only one who gives real meaning to our lives.” The

work of the OLG Center focuses on assisting our students

to face the changing and increasing challenges of a culture

which is oftentimes hostile to the Christian faith. As the

source and summit of our faith, the Eucharist is the focal

point of our evangelization efforts with opportunities for daily

Mass and weekly Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. We

also have the Sacrament of Reconciliation available every

single day to allow our students to encounter the gift of the

Lord’s mercy and forgiveness.

Our retreat program is a natural opportunity for us to

continue our mission. Each year, all students attend a oneday

grade-level retreat. One of the most touching aspects

at these retreats is watching students pray over each other.

Often students return to campus with a renewed awareness

of Christ’s love.

Building on the required grade-level retreats, freshmen and

sophomores are presented with an optional three-day, twonight

retreat called Quest. Originating in the winter of 1977

in Quincy, Illinois, Quest means “searching for” or “journey.”

The program is centered around the three circles of love –

love of self, love of others, and love of God. As with most

retreats, sacraments are an integral component of Quest

and include daily Mass, reconciliation, and adoration of the

Blessed Sacrament. In addition, students participate in a

12 | PARAREFall 2019


variety of prayer experiences, small-group work, and praise

and worship. To the delight of all, each morning begins with

a dance party. The patron saint of our Quest retreats is St.

John Paul II because his love for the youth made him largely

responsible for the revival in the young church. Retreatants

leave with a St. John Paul II medal and are invited to be

student leaders at future Quest retreats. To be a student

leader requires weekly meetings of preparation with Mrs.

DeMois. Only 10-12 students are selected to be leaders.

Juniors and seniors may participate in the Kairos retreat,

a four-day, three-night retreat that explores the core

values of the Gospel - authenticity, integrity, courage, love,

forgiveness, hope, healing, service and justice. Kairos

means “time with God” and students explore their present

relationship with God and how they will live their Christian

vocation in the secular world. Student leaders, faculty,

and staff provide talks and spiritual experiences that are

grounded and centered around the revelation of God’s love

to all through the people each of us meet. As with our Quest

retreats, sacraments are essential to the Kairos experience

and include daily Mass, reconciliation, and adoration.

Students also participate in a variety of prayer experiences,

small-group work, and praise and worship. Participants

are invited to be student leaders at future Kairos retreats

which requires a weekly commitment for preparation.

Approximately 16 students may be leaders at each Kairos

retreat.

“I came to St. John XXIII as a cradle

Catholic who knew a lot about Jesus,

but I didn’t really know Jesus. The

retreat program here completely

changed that. I went on my first retreat

during my sophomore year and was

infused with love for God, both in the

altar before me and in the people beside

me. This love grew and deepened when

I attended Kairos a year later and it was

molded and shaped at Beach Retreat a

few months after. Through the campus

ministry program, I have been given a

passion for my faith and a fire for Christ

that I had only thought was reserved for

priests and sisters. I learned how and

why I should live as a disciple of Christ

and I’ve seen the impact this holiness

has had on my friends. It has changed

us for the better and for the good.”

– Loran Morello, Class of 2019

The weekend beach retreat, a retreat for any juniors and

seniors who have attended a Kairos retreat, is a favorite.

Students are able to enjoy a walking rosary on the beach,

stations of the cross by moonlight, and plenty of time to

simply meet the Lord in the silence - all with the ocean as a

backdrop.

So what happens after these retreats? As is typical, upon

returning everyone is on a natural retreat high. Students

continue to grow in faith through our daily prayers and

weekly all-school Mass serving as cantors, musicians,

altar servers, lectors, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy

Communion. Last year, Rise – a weekly student-led Bible

PARAREFall 2019 | 13


“When I first started attending SJ23, I

didn’t have much of a faith life. I went

through the motions of going to mass,

taking CCE classes, etc. but I had virtually

no real relationship with God. I heard one

day during my sophomore year, that there

was going to be a retreat called Quest and

I thought I’d sign up just for the heck of

it. Little did I know how that retreat would

completely change me and my faith life.

Quest introduced me to God for the first

time and I’ve been growing closer to him

ever since. I even got to lead on another

Quest retreat, giving others the opportunity

to meet Christ and set fire to their faith.”

– Lizette O’Quinn, Class of 2020

study – was born after a Quest retreat. Rise participants

select a scripture reading and from there a discussion

ensues. It is not uncommon to see 30 or more students

working together in faith at Rise on a Friday morning. You

may also find a group of students singing the Divine Mercy

Chaplet, to the sound of a ukulele, on Friday afternoons.

The other component of Our Lady of Guadalupe Center

for New Evangelization is the Works of Mercy program

that cultivates service hours for each of our students and

encourages a life dedicated to service. Unlike other schools,

our program is based on the Corporal and Spiritual Works

of Mercy as identified in the Gospel of Matthew. Focus areas

are assigned to each grade level and students are given

approved venues in which to complete hours; 100 service

hours are required for graduation from St. John XXIII. The

freshmen must earn 15 hours in the areas of feeding the

hungry, tending to the needs of the homeless, and caring

for the elderly or disabled. Sophomores are required to earn

20 hours in the same areas as the freshmen. As a junior, 30

hours must be completed by teaching the disadvantaged, or

caring for an elderly or disabled person. With more flexibility,

seniors complete 35 hours in an area of their choice.

Through our program, many students discover their gifts for

a particular service opportunity and even choose a college

major based on their Works of Mercy experience.

14 | PARAREFall 2019


“I am so thankful for the opportunity to lead retreats at St. John XXIII. From grade-level retreats, to Quest,

to Kairos, I have learned that I am called to be a servant leader to my community here at school and

in the future. I know that this is where Christ is calling me to serve and love Him. Leading retreats has

encouraged me to pursue discerning the priesthood. I feel joy from God, as well as from others, and for

that I am ever grateful.”

– Riley O’Sullivan, Class of 2019

PARAREFall 2019 | 15


sj23.org | 1800 W. Grand Parkway N., Katy, TX 77449 | 281.693.1000

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