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​Archbishop’s Award recipients live out Church’s priorities as their own

July 10, 2020 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: Catholic Schools, Hope for the Future

Archbishop’s Award recipients live out Church’s priorities as their own

Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, and Superintendent of Catholic Schools Marti West presented nine high school graduates with the Archbishop’s Medallion at a small reception at Our Lady’s Chapel at Assumption Seminary on May 15.

The administration from each high school selects a student that has demonstrated commitment to assist the school, their parish and the community to encounter the Gospel of Jesus Christ promoting Catholic teachings and values. The medallion features the archbishop’s coat-of-arms and crest and is the highest honor a Catholic High School senior can receive. The students are recognized for embodying and living the fruits of Catholic School education ... those of faith, service, community, and academic excellence.

The honorees are usually recognized at their high school graduation ceremonies, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and various graduation plans for schools, the mid-May event was the primary way in which the graduating seniors received their award this year.

Honorees are:

Antonian College Preparatory High School

Stephen Navarro is the type of young person who authentically lives his Christian faith every day of his life.

Stephen is an active member of St. Luke Church, where he has immersed himself in a wide variety of activities. Whether as an altar server, a percussionist in the choir, or a participant in Stations of the Cross, Stephen can be counted on as a role model in his parish community. One of his passions is Teen ACTS, in which he has participated for the last four years. He was recently selected to be the director of the St. Luke’s summer Teen ACTS retreat prior to the changes that the COVID-19 outbreak has caused in this important youth ministry.

In the broader San Antonio community, Stephen supports efforts to ensure that families have enough to eat. During his junior year, he channeled his efforts to supporting the food pantries of Catholic Charities.

At Antonian, Stephen is quick to give of his time to bring his fellow Apaches closer to God. He has been a team member for IHS (In His Service) retreats in his sophomore, junior, and senior year, serving as a co-director for the fall 2019 retreat. He was one of the team members for our 2019 Kairos retreat, a special spiritual experience for seniors. In his role as an Apache LIFE team member, he embraces the opportunity to help his fellow students see God in their daily lives. Even when not directly connected to a Campus Ministry program, Stephen is a friendly face and supportive friend in his roles as a captain of the varsity football team, a member of the Antonian Chess Club, and a Student Ambassador.

Central Catholic High School

Service to your parish, school, and community takes on many different forms. When an individual understands the gifts that God gives him and uses them to serve the church, true glory and stewardship are given to God.

Francisco Fabregat, this year’s Archbishop’s Medallion Award recipient, has demonstrated this level of service maturity for much of his high school career. At his parish, he helped as an altar server and mentor at the school.

In addition to regularly volunteering at Guardian Angel Service projects, Francisco sought out opportunities to share his unique talents with others. He has used his time and talents to help in areas where others may not be able to. At the parish school, he inspired middle school students to develop their own gifts and helped them achieve great success. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he went to work to help support the design and manufacturing of respirators.

Holy Cross of San Antonio

This year’s Holy Cross of San Antonio Archbishop’s Medallion recipient, Richard Moreno, is an active and inspiring member of his church and school communities.

In his parish life, he is an active altar server for eight years, a member of Youth Ministry, and a dedicated volunteer at the Christ the King food pantry named Cristo Rey of Hope. When asked of his participation in these ministries, his fellow parishioners recount that his dedication to the different ministries he serves is inspirational and a true reflection of God’s love.

One of the highlights of his spiritual experience with his church was attending a pilgrimage to Italy. Those who also attended said that Richard’s spiritual presence and kindness to the poor that they encountered was inspirational. He, himself, was so moved by the trip and all of his spiritual experiences there, that he has become a strong advocate for others to push their spiritual boundaries by participating in the trip themselves.

In his school life, his steady hand and deep faith inspire many. Richard has been a faithful altar server since the sixth grade and in that capacity he has trained many to serve with him at our school Masses and those of special events. He is also instrumental in helping to organize and implement school spiritual activities like picking and delivering morning prayer, helping setup and take down the setup for Masses and prayer services, and instituting prayer before all student events like pep rallies and sporting events. Through all of these activities he exudes a quiet but formidable spiritual presence that others seem to want in their life.

Holy Cross is proud to have had this Richard since sixth grade and will miss his spiritual leadership and willingness to serve his school community. However, we know that his future is bright and that all who come into contact with him will be better people because of the love of Christ that flows through him.

Incarnate Word High School

Sydney Pearson has demonstrated true leadership through Incarnate Word High School’s core values of service, compassion, integrity, stewardship, community of faith, and academic excellence.

During her high school career, she has completed over 300 community service hours with various organizations which include: The San Antonio Food Bank, Catholic Charities, San Antonio Battered Women’s Shelter, Guadalupe Community Center, St. Gregory’s Church Guild and The Village at Incarnate Word. Sydney is a parishioner at St. Mark the Evangelist Church, where she is actively involved in the parish community. At St. Mark’s, she serves as a lector and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. She has also served in leadership roles in Life Teen, Teen Acts, Spring Retreat programs and Life Teen conferences.

Sydney has been involved in all aspects of Campus Ministry at Incarnate Word High School. As a junior, she served as a member of the Peer Ministry team for the school community. The Peer Ministry team works with the director of Campus Ministry in the development of class retreats, liturgies, and spiritual formation of the school. This year, she was the director of the 2019-2020 Peer Ministry team. She faithfully led her team and worked alongside them to make visible the Incarnate Word of God to our community.

Sydney has served as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and lector for school liturgies and coordinated reconciliation and rosary for the school. She was on team for the 2018-2019 Grace Retreat and was selected as Co- Director for the 2019-2020 Grace Retreat. She has shown through her actions that she fully embraces her faith and stands as a model of our core values to our community.

Sydney is diligent and dedicated to her work. She has maintained her academically strong record while also participating and excelling in her extra-curricular activities at Incarnate Word High School.

She truly understands, at the core of her heart, the power of service and the desire for mercy.

Our Lady of the Hills Regional Catholic High School

The profile of an OLH graduate is someone who is open to growth, intellectually competent, mature in faith, loving to others, and committed to social justice.

Jake Chapman models these attributes. He is resilient, good natured, and self-confident, even in chaotic or stressful times, a steady and dependable individual.

Jake is will now pursue his dream of a degree in Rangeland Ecology or a degree in the medical field.

With Christian maturity and quiet leadership in service to his school and parish, serving as bearer of the Crucifix or altar server at the Celebration of the Mass, Jake represents our best, both at school and at Notre Dame Church.

His unfailing kindness toward others and his unassuming manner leads to him being well liked by his peers and by his faculty — a young man well-rounded in all ways.

Through proven and trusted leadership as an Eagle Scout and as captain of his football team, Jake has been steadfast in his achievements, borne from a deep sense of commitment to OLH and our communities as a person, as a classmate, as a teammate wearing the proud Chapman #40, and a good fellow friend to us all, a young man of integrity.

Providence Catholic School

Abigail Driskill truly encounters school, parish and community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as her guide. Even though our community is devastated by “shelter-in-place” mandates, she accepted the responsibility of directing a teen ACTS retreat electronically. The director of religious education at her parish confirms, as the lead youth facilitator, Abigail is very much qualified for this honor.

Contributions to Providence Catholic School by Abigail run deep. She was an altar server in middle school and continues to serve as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion as a senior. Providence Catholic School athletics benefited from her leadership on the softball, and volleyball teams. She participated in Rotary Interact, Providence Ambassadors, and Student Council.

Abigail is also a member of National Honor Society. She accumulated more than the minimum 400 community service hours during her tenure at Providence. Lastly, she was one of the youth leaders in planning and helping to organize the Youth Spectacular: Walking in the Way of Love, the archdiocese’s major annual gathering for and with youth.

St. John Paul II Catholic High School

Through her four years at JPII, Alexa Harper has exemplified the school’s core virtues of humility, faith, courage, and love.

Alexa carries herself with great humility. She is respectful of all, and everyone can see that in all that she does, she cares. Her intelligence and academic success are amazing and set her far apart from her peers, but that would never be seen in her actions or words. Alexa has a bearing about her, that attracts others to her, for lots of reasons, but mostly because of the care she has for all.

In faith, she has contributed much to the school’s faith formation activities, including leading Solidarity teams and retreats. Her morning school-wide prayers are touched with insight and grace.

She is a key member of the Totus Tuus Music Ministry, playing piano and the harp. She also served as part of the music team on the freshman retreat this year, helping set the tone for students to find their true identity in Christ.

In courage, Alexa has led the school’s pro-life efforts, organizing the groups to pray in front of clinics, marching in Austin, and being a role model to her peers. She is serious about her pro-life work, always with great love and care. She has also taken many high-level classes, including AP and Dual Credit classes, which required not only hard work, but the courage to try and learn more, even in subjects that were not her favorites.

Finally, in love Alexa is sincere and compassionate toward all she encounters. She willingly helps out where there is a need without being asked, and gives so much more than she receives. In her years serving the student body through Student Council, she has exemplified a servant leader, always taking the jobs that needed completing, no matter what they required. It would be hard to list all the hours, events, and programs that Alexa has served, always with a fullness of heart and mind.

St. Anthony Catholic High School

Kaitlyn Michelle Narvaiz is a remarkable young godly woman who strives for excellence in all she does, especially in her service. She is ranked in the top 5 percent of her class.

In addition to the commitment to her academics, Kaitlyn has an extraordinary commitment to using the gifts and talents she was given. She is a member of the National Honor Society and serves as President, National English Honor Society, the Volleyball and Softball Captain, Student Council Secretary and Yearbook editor. She is also the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society President. This involvement requires model citizenship with high grades which she has been able to achieve.

Kaitlyn has completed over 700 community service hours while attending St. Anthony Catholic High School. She has served as the Salve Retreat director, Teen ACTS director at her parish (St. Paul Church), archdiocesan Youth Ambassador, and she serves as the Youth Confirmation leader assisting other students to understand the sacrament of confirmation.

She has dedicated much time to serving and staying involved in the Mission and Ministry Department, which entails giving back to the community in various ways.

St. Gerard Catholic High School

Leo Ojeda is a great leader who is not afraid to initiative in many projects and ideas. He is able to encourage and motivate students. Leo leads many of the programs at St. Gerard has. Leo initiated the Student Advisory Council to the superintendent. HE has worked relentlessly to unite all the students from the different Catholic schools to work together and share ideas. Leo is a true leader and an individual that is very devoted to the Catholic faith. Leo leads by example. He has represented St. Gerard with great pride, class and respect.

Leo has been elected Student Body president two years in a row and has also held roles as St. Gerard Loyal Royal Captain (A student Cheer Section group), and a Royal Ambassador.

Leo has also been a two-year member of the PALs organization, a selective leadership and mentoring group on campus.

He has served as a volunteer many places throughout the community, such as with the San Antonio Food Bank, the Khaki and Plaid Gala, and within the St. Gerard community. He is enrolled in Dual Credit classes through St. Philip’s and plans to major in Business and Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.