Senior Awards Day Highlights Accomplishments of Class of ’23


Cassi Garrison, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

On Tuesday, May 16, Notre Dame’s student body gathered in the auditorium for the annual presentation of NDA’s Senior Awards.

The assembly is designed to honor the class of ‘23, highlight their many outstanding accomplishments and inspire underclassmen to follow in their footsteps.

The presentation opened with remarks from NDA’s President Tom Keily, who talked about the tradition of honoring seniors and the particular importance of that to Catholic schools.

Afterwards, student body president Jacob VanOoyen led the assembly in a prayer for the strength of seniors, especially as they enter college, and the awards ceremony started.

The first honors were presented by Principal Andrea Hearden to seniors Joel Ortega, who will be serving the country in the Marine Corps, and Ethan Haase, who will be serving in the US Air Force ROTC. The Smith family, whose son Jarrett graduated from NDA and serves in the military, presented these students with American flags to honor their commitment.

The next award was presented by a military official Joseph Gallegos and guidance counselor Becky Bain. The US Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award was presented to Eli Bieker and Abigail Flaten.

Athletic Director Matthew Koening presented the American Legion Athletic Award to Isaac Nowak and Hope Barrington, and the WIAA Scholar Award to Jaqueline Zacharias and Federrico Aurrichio. 

Next, campus minister Daniel Kreigl presented awards to Mia Lemkuil, Cody Huss, Olivia Prosser and Delaney Gallagher for their commitment to service. 

Father Jordan honored Barbara Inciarte with the Our Lady of the Baie Award for her dedication to Catholic discipleship.

After this, the full IB Seniors were honored by IB Director Matthew Schultz, who explained that less than 90,000 students globally earn a Full IB Diploma, and it is a huge accomplishment. 

“In addition to taking six IB classes annually, full IB students must write a 4,000 word extended essay and take a Theory of Knowledge class starting at 7:15 a.m. for at least one semester,” said Schultz. The students will be given special cords at graduation to honor their work.

Principal Hearden then presented the students with the ten best GPA’s in the class of ‘23.

These students were, in order, Valedictorian Simon Weid, Salutatorian Emmett Lawton, Ethan Crane, Mia Lemkuil, Maria Nolle and Madeline Tricarico, who tied for fifth, Lauren Conway, Emma Skaletski, Grace Del Frate, Morgan Eberhardt and Joseph Hackl. 

Next, Personal and Professional Skills teacher Christian Dory honored the Seniors that were a part of the Youth Apprenticeship Program, and Mr. Koening presented Emmett Lawton with the US Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Award.

The next awards were presented by Student Government Lead Adviser Jen Laaksonen to Maralys Garza and Jacob VanOoyen for exceptional leadership; Band Director Steve Johnson presented awards to Madeline Tricarico, Hannah Beals-Romero, Cierra Maes and Camden Chrudimsky for their musical achievements.

Principal Hearden presented awards to Brenedyn Barajas, Alexandria Zaragoza and Dulce De Jesus for perseverance and leadership, and the Journalism Award was presented to the Tritonian’s Editor-in-Chief Riley Guyette by English teacher and newspaper adviser Carolyn Brown.

A vocal award was presented to Pahyton Simpson by choir teacher Christine Salerno, and the Ann Hollenbach Science Award was presented to Camden Chrumdimsky by science teacher Joy Mayer. Math awards were given to Simon Wied and Barbara Inciarte by math teacher Doug Guyette.

Drama awards, presented by Mrs. Andrea Gilson, were won by Addie Wiess and Emily Hoeppner, and art awards were won by Gianna Farone, Charlotte Benner and Alex Reif.

National Merit Scholarship finalists Ethan Crane and James Shade were recognized, as well as Addie Weiss, who was commended, and Simon Wied, who won the scholarship.

Connor Albrecht, Camden Chrudimsky, Cody Huss, Emmett Lawton, Tommy Phillips, Joe Stumpf and William Vincent were given red, white and blue cords to wear at graduation in recognition of being Eagle Scouts.

A new award was also given out at the ceremony: the Excellence in Education Award. 

“Every adult in this building is an educator,” said Hearden. “Recognizing their excellence adds to our school.”

Joe Micksch then presented Mr. Greg Geiser this award, calling him “the best teacher he’s ever had,” and Eli Bieker gave Mrs. Kirschling an award for the kindness and positivity she brings to NDA.

The final award, the Outstanding Senior award, went to a senior that represents all of the values of NDA: Julian Greendeer.  Senior class members vote and select the one person they feel best represents the Class of 2023.

Closing remarks were made by valedictorian Simon Wied, who reminded seniors and the whole student body that success comes in different forms, and each student is successful regardless of what awards they receive.