#1StudentNWI: Blazers Embrace Their Catholic Roots in February

#1StudentNWI: Blazers Embrace Their Catholic Roots in February
By: Rory Neary Last Updated: March 1, 2018

What’s Happened?

Being at Marquette Catholic High School means sharing in the faith of Jesus Christ and teaching His message. It also means recognizing the school’s Catholic heritage during Catholic Schools Week.

Catholic Schools Week took place on January 28 through February 2. To celebrate their school spirit, Marquette students dressed in costumes and participated in school games. Some of the games they played throughout the week were Name that Tune and Teacher Trivia. Looking back on the week, Bri Moyer joked that she “might start preparing for Name That Tune (for) next year.”

In addition, on Wednesday many students participated in the Talent Show, on which Kennedy Lynn commented, “My favorite part of Catholic Schools Week would probably have to be the talent show. It is fun and enjoyable to watch all the talented students show all the skills that you wouldn’t see on a normal school day.”

The highlight of the week was on Thursday when students from local Catholic grade schools gathered at Marquette to celebrate Mass with Bishop Donald Hying of the Diocese of Gary. It was amazing to bring everyone together to share their faith.

Caleb Sheets, a senior who participated in the Mass, said, “There is no better feeling than being able to embrace and practice your faith with people who are on a journey similar to yours.”

In addition to all the fun activities, each grade participated in service projects such as donating food to the Sacred Heart Food Pantry, school supplies to Wentworth Elementary School, and winter gear for our sister school, Sacred Heart School in New Jersey. Juniors also facilitated a 50-50 raffle for the St. Vincent DePaul Society in Chicago to purchase bus passes for the homeless there. Amidst the fun, Blazers still took the time to help those in need.

Teacher Spotlight: Tracy Wagner

What does it take to plan a fun-filled week for an entire school of teens? Ask Tracy Wagner, who was the brains behind all of it.

Wagner is a first-year teacher here at MQT and a pro at coming up with exciting activities during Catholic Schools Week.

Wagner said, “I work closely with our Class Sponsors and Campus Minister to come up with a schedule of activities that allows us to be together in fun ways and reflect on what we can do together as a school. I think we succeed in showcasing the best in our students.”

Wagner’s favorite part of Catholic Schools Week was Teacher Trivia because “it was always important to me to create opportunities of connection between our students and staff.”

Being a teacher herself, Wagner asked a few unknown trivia questions about herself during the event- who knew she always wore red boots? Aside from planning, Wagner has a busy agenda.

In the morning she has “the opportunity to work on details for the University Program, track our freshmen, support those on Academic Probation, check in with Transfers or International Students, facilitate our Tutoring Program, and meet with Academic Advising on various topics.”

During lunch, her favorite part of the day, she assists in the Deli. It is her favorite part because “it allows me to catch up with students.”

In the afternoon she teaches Ivy Success 111 and facilitates a study hall.

Speaking about her students, Wagner said, “It’s my job to let them know that I care deeply about their future and respect them as individuals. When they understand that, I believe there’s more participation and productivity in class.”

Her goals for the future include seeing the success of the University Program.

“My main focus is seeing these kids succeed and graduate with both their diploma and Associate’s degree. It remains a goal to constantly build pride in the fact that adults are lucky to work here and students are lucky to attend. We could all use a reminder or two sometimes,” said Wagner.

Student Spotlight

Connor Donaldson has grown up participating in Catholic Schools Week. Donaldson is a senior at Marquette and enjoys Spirit Week immensely.

“My favorite part of Catholic Schools Week is seeing how much spirit each class has during the Spirit Week events,” said Donaldson.

He participated in the following events as well: Teacher Trivia, the class vs. class basketball game, and the Bishop’s Mass. Donaldson is active in his church and community as an altar server and Eucharistic minister during Mass, and he said that “it is a good way to get involved in the church community and gives me good bonds with many people involved with the church. Faith plays a big part in my life. I have a very personal relationship with Jesus, and the role faith has in my life is very prominent.”

Donaldson also plays multiple sports: soccer, baseball, and basketball. Accordingly, Jimmy Butler, a professional basketball player, is his role model because of his humble upbringing.

“He grew up homeless, poor, and on the dangerous streets of Chicago, and is now an NBA all-star. His drive to be better and to continue working to achieve his goals are good qualities to have,” said Donaldson.

Looking to his future, Donaldson has not yet decided on college plans but is thinking of double majoring in Elementary Education and Child Psychology or studying business. Marquette has impacted his life immensely.

“My years at Marquette have changed my life for the better. Without Marquette, I would not have had the opportunities to travel the world like I have done here. The friendships and connections I have made here will last forever,” said Donaldson.

What’s Coming Up?

In keeping with the theme of Christianity, the liturgical season of Lent is approaching. Lent is the time to prepare for Jesus’ death and Resurrection.

Aidan Bartnicki, a freshman, said, “For me the season of Lent means a chance to reflect on things that I could improve about myself. It also gives me a chance to focus on something I could be doing for others. My favorite thing that it represents, though, is that it is a chance to eat a lot of fish and pierogies!”

At Marquette, there will be an Ash Wednesday service to begin the season and opportunities to go to the sacrament of Reconciliation before Holy Week. Traditionally, Christians give up something they do not need or decide to do something for the less fortunate.

“Lent means preparing for Jesus to give Himself for us and sacrificing as He has sacrificed,” said Haley Sheets.

Cormack Bardol agreed by saying, “What the season of Lent means to me is that it is a time to sacrifice something for the greater good of ourselves.”

It is a good time for change.