#1studentNWI: Bishop Noll Institute celebrates Catholic Schools Week and Graduates with Distinction

#1studentNWI: Bishop Noll Institute celebrates Catholic Schools Week and Graduates with Distinction

Due to hazardous weather conditions not once, but twice this winter, Catholic Schools Week took place February 22 - 26. Monday through Wednesday, Bishop Noll Institute (BNI) students were remote learning, but still had fun activities to do. Two Google Forms quizzes were sent out to both students and staff to participate in. One was based on the history of BNI, while the other was based on random facts about BNI staff. Those who received a 100% on the quiz, were entered in a drawing to win a gift card.

On February 17 was Ash Wednesday, so the BNI Intercessory Prayer Group held a virtual Divine Mercy Chaplet over RingCentral. Seniors Mary Buksa, Alejandra Castellanos, Ariana Ferreira, and Carmelina Komyatte led the prayer service as well as read the readings for Ash Wednesday. Thursday was Charity and Teacher/Staff/Administration Day. Students were encouraged to dress up as tourists and donate $2 to Sojourner Truth House in Gary, Indiana. Faculty, staff, and administration were treated to lunch and were given gifts courtesy of Campus Ministry.

On Friday, it was Student Appreciation Day. Students were able to have a free comfy day. Students also received warm cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate in the morning.

girls with porttrait

In the early afternoon, students watched the movie Soul in their respective classrooms and received essential movie snacks including popcorn, candy, fruit snacks, and a drink. Weeks prior, Bishop Robert McClory presided over the all-school mass. Representatives from nearby feeder schools and a few representatives from each grade level were able to attend mass in the field house. The rest of the students and feeder school students were able to attend mass virtual via Livestream on YouTube.

At the mass, Sister Michelle Dvorak from the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ was also present and helped unveil Bishop Noll’s official Patron Saint: Saint Maria Katharina Kasper. The idea of having a patron saint came from BNI’s Diocesan Youth Representatives junior Abigail Wojtaszek and sophomore Sophia Mendez.

“My favorite part of Catholic Schools Week was watching the movie because it was nice to have a break from schoolwork,” said freshman Grace Buksa. 

In other school news, Principal Lorenza Pastrick along with Director of Admission, Jeff Stur, have started a new BNI tradition: Feel Good Fridays. Every Friday, there will be some sort of surprise for students to keep their spirits up and grow closer as a family. Some Feel Good Fridays that have happened include a free comfy day with Valentine's Day candies and a painting canvas session at the end of the day in each respective classroom. 

In athletics, seniors Courtney Blakely and Makayla Fuentes were nominated for the 2021 McDonald’s All-American Game. Only two other basketball players in Northwest Indiana were nominated for the prestigious game. Blakely and Fuentes were recently named first-team for the Greater South Shore Conference, while teammates freshman Kennedy Blakely and sophomore Lauren Drexler were named the second team.

Fuentes also surpassed the 1000-point mark in her high school career, while junior Omar Lopez qualified for Regionals in wrestling. Spring sports conditioning officially started for baseball, softball, tennis, and track and field. All of the teams hope to have a successful season. The first baseball game is set to take place on March 29 at Munster High School. The first softball game is set to take place on March 30 at Gavit High School. The first tennis match is scheduled for April 14 at home against Illiana Christian High School. Finally, the first boys and girls track meet is scheduled for April 6 at Griffith High School. 

girls smiling

“I’m most looking forward to the sense of normalcy that softball season will bring. It feels great to condition as a team again since we did not have a season last spring. It is fun to see everyone again and pick up right where we all left off,” said senior Alejandra Castellanos. 

In academics, the class of 2021 Graduates with Distinction were announced. Carmelina Komyatte was named valedictorian, following her brother’s footsteps, Franco ‘19, and Giovanni ‘20, who were also named valedictorians. Jacqueline Vazquez was named salutatorian. Olivia Baczkowski, Alayna Biro, Mary Buksa, Alejandra Castellanos, Abigail Kawalec, Everett Lamberson, Ruby Meza, Noah Reid, Riley Reid, Aclynn Rodgers, Alejandro Rodriguez, Emma Short, Jose Suarez, Andrew Vazquez, Jacob Wichlinski, and Bruno Zamora were the graduates with distinction.