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Class of 2017 Valedictorian, Co-Salutatorians, Co-Woman of Peace and Principal's Leadership Award Recipients
Each year, the students at Queen of Peace High School are recognized and celebrated for their accomplishments in the areas of academics, all school honors and athletics. Queen of Peace acknowledges how these girls individual talents create a rich, vibrant community and learning environment for themselves and others that further exemplify our Dominican values. The awards assembly allows us to honor the proud, capable, confident and committed women of Peace. On May 4, 2017, five seniors were awarded the highest recognition for the school as valedictorian, co-salutatorians, Principal’s Leadership Award and Co-Woman of Peace.
Kelly Fitzgerald was named valedictorian based on her grade point average, rigor of schedule and academic achievement. She has excelled both academically and in co-curricular activities. Kelly is an Illinois State Scholar, member of the National Honor Society, French National Honors Society and Mu Alpha Theta (Mathematics Honor Society). Kelly was a member of the varsity bowling team where she was the recipient of the GCAC Varsity Student Athlete Award for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. Kelly has been active in the French club and theater program throughout her four years at Peace. Kelly is committed to service through her participation in Habitat for Humanity and the work she does in her parish, Our Lady of the Ridge, that included a summer mission trip to a poverty stricken area.
Kathryn Cerven and Natalie Jurcik were named co-salutatorians, also based on their grade point average, rigor of schedule and academic achievements. The difference between the valedictorian and the co-salutatorians is measured in hundredths.
Kathryn Cerven is an Illinois State Scholar, has participated in National Honor Society, French National Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta. She has also been an active member of the Math Team, French Club and participated in the Habitat for Humanity trip. In addition, Kathryn is a St. Catherine of Siena Scholar, a member Peace Ambassadors, and committed herself to playing volleyball all four years.
Natalie Jurcik is an Illinois State Scholar, has been a member of the Peace Theater Company and Student Council for the past four years. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. In additional, Natalie joined the Peace Dance Company this past year. Her service to Queen of Peace includes open houses, fun nights, and the St. James Project.
Kara Shimko received the Principal’s Leadership Award, given to the individual who is living the out the Queen of Peace mission and inspiring academic excellence through collaboration, moral and ethical leadership, service and a passion for peace and justice. Kara is a mature, capable young woman with both high expectations and high standards and a strong commitment to the Dominican values. She is an Illinois State Scholar, has accepted leadership roles in multiple organizations and activities and serves through her involvement in our community. Her spirit at retreats is uplifting and she has an engaging politeness and warmth. Kara is well-rounded, gracious, humble and confident. She considers the needs of others and extends herself to help other students, as well as helping faculty and staff when asked. She is a vital member of the Peace community.
For the second time in school history there was a tie for the Woman of Peace award. This award recognizes a senior who emulates all of the qualities and characteristics that we hope are at the core of each and every graduate, but stands out truly as a Woman of Peace. Patricia Fox and Natalie Jurcik are the 2017 Co-Woman of Peace.
Patricia Fox has been a presence since the day she stepped foot inside Queen of Peace, and her love for the school is undeniable. It is evident that she has dedicated herself to building community within the Queen of Peace walls. She is QOP and lives the Dominican values each and every day. She brings a positive spirit and energy through inclusion and partnership, and because of this, has truly made an impact on the lives of those around her.
Her teachers note that her compassion for her classmates and all other students is truly remarkable. She speaks the truth for herself and for others, even when it is difficult. Others have witnessed her continuously providing support to everyone around her, like hugging a sophomore student and reminding her that “we bring Peace with us”, and reminding everyone that we are family. She is a genuine leader, a positive role model, and truly a Woman of Peace.
Natalie Jurcik embodies everything Queen of Peace. She is kind-hearted, loving, and admired by her peers across the board. She is involved and invested in Peace from her academics to her extra-curricular activities. In addition, she is described as faith-filled and God-centered person who treats students and teachers with the utmost respect. She strives to excel in all she does, always putting academics first, but balancing well-roundedness with grace and true humility. Natalie takes Peace and the Dominican Values wherever she goes, even in Costa Rica, where she led prayer in front of a locked church by kneeling. What makes her unique is her ability to enhance the gifts of all those around her. Natalie is also a true Woman of Peace.
Congratulations to these women and all the other students that were recognized for their accomplishments during this ceremony.