This year’s annual Bishop Noll Institute (BNI) Thanksgiving food drive was the best it has ever been. Within a few short weeks, Bishop Noll students, teachers, and staff collected over 10,000 canned goods, which was double the amount of cans donated last year. The cans were then donated to Saint Joseph Soup Kitchen in Hammond.
Students were rewarded for their abundant donations. Anyone who brought ten or more cans received a “comfy day.” This entitled them to wear comfy clothes to school. Students who brought 25 or more cans had both a “comfy day” and a movie day. They were called down to the auditorium and got to watch Shrek. The top few students who brought in the most cans got to drop them off at the food bank.
What’s coming up?
Bishop Noll’s STREAM lab is officially open for classes. The STREAM lab’s grand opening was in November but will officially be open for classes starting the first week back to school. Classes that will be in the lab are the STEM classes for the 8th graders and the freshmen engineering classes. Other classes are also welcomed to use the facility. After-school programs, such as robotics club and Science Olympiad, will use the lab for meetings.
The $1.45 million STREAM lab is a great addition to Bishop Noll. Students will be able to use this new space to learn and improve their science, technology, engineering, and math skills, as well as skills exploring religion and the arts, two of the school’s curricular hallmarks.
Miss Stacia Bolakowski, Bishop Noll’s campus minister, has been working in education for 31 years. Prior to becoming the campus minister, she taught 25 years in the following departments: English, Speech, Journalism, and Theology. She has also been a youth minister for 23 years.
One of the numerous things Bolakowski does at Bishop Noll is lead retreats. Every year, she puts together the freshmen retreat, El Camino for sophomores, Kairos for juniors, and the senior service retreat.
“I have a special place in my heart for the Kairos program. But I really love to lead the El Camino retreats for sophomores. Why? Because the retreat was developed for BNI students by BNI students,” Bolakowski said.
Bolakowski also sets up mass once a month for BNI students to attend, as well as chapel services after school. She and the campus ministry team organize different service projects such as Adopt-A-Friend and Catholic Schools Week. Adopt-A-Friend is a service project in which each BNI homeroom receives the name of a person who is in need of something for Christmas. The homeroom then brings in money and shops for toys, clothes, and other gifts for their person.
This year, Bolakowski is also the National Honor Society Advisor. She is in charge of overseeing the members, meetings, and NHS sponsored blood drives.
“I simply enjoy working with students committed to their education and making Bishop Noll the best it can be,” Bolakowski said.
In Bolakowski’s free time, she likes to read, go to the movies, and spend time with her friends and family. Bishop Noll is so lucky to have Bolakowski as part of their school family.
Freshman Luke Buksa is all about trying new things at Bishop Noll. Over this past summer, he decided he was going to play football at Noll. He had never played football before but with hard work and dedication he quickly learned the ins and outs. He ended up receiving his varsity letter at the end of the season.
“My favorite part of this football season was all the game days because there is nothing like Friday night lights,'' Buksa said.
Along with football, Buksa joined the swim team. He hadn’t swam competitively since he was in 3rd grade. On the swim team, he swims the backstroke and freestyle.
“My favorite part of swimming are the meets because we get to see all of our hard work pay off,” Buksa said.
In the spring, Buksa plans on running track and getting more involved in campus ministry at BNI.
Buksa continues the Bishop Noll legacy as being the fifth member in his immediate family to attend Noll. Buksa also has numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins who are BNI alumni. Buksa has a sister who is a junior at BNI and has another sister who will be joining the BNI family next school year.
“My favorite part of BNI is the family atmosphere. Everyone knows everyone,” Buksa said.
When Buksa isn’t playing football, swimming, or running, he likes to watch TV, hang out with friends, and cook.