#1StudentNWI: Bishop Noll finds ways to stay connected

#1StudentNWI: Bishop Noll finds ways to stay connected
By: Mary Buksa Last Updated: April 23, 2020

What happened?

Bishop Noll Institute hosted a Virtual Spirit Week on April 13-16. The student council came up with this idea to get students excited for online classes over Zoom. Bishop Noll has online classes Monday through Thursdays.

On Monday, the theme was “Wish I were __.” Students were able to put a background for their screen showing where they wanted to be at this very moment. Some students had pictures of beaches in Punta Cana, while other students had pictures of them at a BTS concert. On Tuesday, the theme was “Sports.” Several students put their favorite jerseys on and had pictures of stadiums in the background. On Wednesday, the theme was “Disney.” Students chose backgrounds of movies such as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Coco,” and “The Little Mermaid.” Finally, on Thursday, the theme was “Essential Workers.” Students showed support for all front line workers, especially nurses and doctors. Students had background pictures of hospitals and of medical staff.

Overall, the virtual spirit week was fun and students truly enjoyed it. 

Bishop Noll Institute student posing in pink prom dress on a Zoom call

What’s coming up? 

Bishop Noll Campus Ministry and the Student Council are trying to keep the school connected through Christ. Every Monday and Wednesday, they host Chapel. Chapel consists of different Bishop Noll teachers or staff members giving a talk about how they are dealing with this unfortunate situation and how they are finding God through it. There is a song played before and after the talk so that everyone can peacefully reflect on their day. On Fridays, they host Intercessory Prayer. Student and adult leaders guide everyone in attendance through the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Throughout the prayer, the leaders read intentions that Bishop Noll students, staff, and faculty have submitted through Google Forms every week. The Bishop Noll Campus Ministry and Student Council will host these events through the Zoom app every week until the school year is done. 

Student Spotlight

Senior Giovanni Komyatte is a student who represents all three categories of Bishop Noll’s motto, “Mind, Body, and Soul.” He was recently named Bishop Noll’s Valedictorian of the Class of 2020. He is a three-sport varsity athlete and a retreat leader.

Throughout his four years at Bishop Noll, Komyatte participated in many clubs and activities. The academic clubs he participated in were Academic Super Bowl, Spell Bowl, Science Olympiad, Biology Club, and the National Honor Society, for which he served as president. Other clubs and activities he participated in were Student Ambassadors, Speech and Debate, Campus Ministry, and RICHER. 

“Science Olympiad has been my favorite because of how interesting it is. Each year is different and fun in its own way. Our competitions are the best because it is a bunch of kids who are passionate about science competing in something we all love,” Komyatte said.

Throughout his four years at Bishop Noll, Komyatte participated in three sports. He was on the varsity tennis, swim, and volleyball teams. He helped lead his team to three consecutive tennis sectional championship titles. In swimming, he helped lead his team to conference runner-ups this year. He also placed 7th overall at this year’s swim sectionals in both the 400 yard relay and the 200 medley relay. 

“Swimming has been my favorite because I get to clear my head. School takes a toll, but swimming pushes me hard enough that I am forced to completely forget about all of it and relax,” Komyatte said. 

After graduation, Komyatte plans to attend University of Norte Dame in the fall. He plans on majoring in Biochemistry with Neuroscience. 

The Bishop Noll Family is extremely proud of Komyatte and wishes him the very best in his future. 

Administration Spotlight

Mrs. Mary Ellen O’Neill is Bishop Noll’s Director of Advancement. She has been working at Bishop Noll for the past nine years. Throughout those nine years, she has witnessed many positive changes and developments with, most recently, the STREAM Lab as well as the 1:1 iPad program. Bishop Noll has been a part of her life for a while because her husband and two children all graduated from Bishop Noll. 

“It goes without saying that Bishop Noll is a family.  I have the utmost respect for our faculty and staff. They are kind, compassionate and extremely talented people who are dedicated to the mission of Bishop Noll and its students,” O’Neill said.

Mary Ellen O'Neill, director of advancement for Bishop Noll Institute

As Director of Advancement, O’Neill does a lot of “behind the scenes” tasks. The main purpose of the Advancement Office is to raise money so that Bishop Noll can advance. She helps organize the Annual Fund which runs from September to June every year. She also helps with other fundraisers such as “The Big Event,” the Alumni Tailgate Party, the Fall Raffle, and the annual BNI Golf Outing. She also helps with BNI class reunions. Finally, her office is in charge of communications and brand development such as the Bishop Noll Website, Noll Today alumni magazine, and social media. In the Advancement Office, she works with a very dedicated team, a few of whom are Bishop Noll alumni—Juli Sandoval ‘82, Sue Anglin ‘89, and Nancy Bock ‘76, and Jen Florek—that help her with events, communications, and campaign projects. 

Along with being the Director of Advancement, O’Neill is a Kairos adult leader. Kairos is a retreat for Bishop Noll juniors. She has been a leader on six retreats. The majority of the time, the adult leaders are teachers, so she always tries to volunteer so that one less teacher will be out of the classroom.

“Seeing the profound effect the Kairos retreat has on our students, I feel it is a privilege to be a witness to it,” O’Neill said. 

When O’Neill is not working she likes to read and garden. She also loves to travel with her husband and try new restaurants in Chicago. The Bishop Noll Family is very thankful for everything that O’Neill has done for the school and continues to do for the school.