Stang students exemplify Catholic education

By Becky Aubut, Anchor Staff

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NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. — Rooted in a Spiritual community, Bishop Stang High School is one of five Catholic high schools in the Fall River Diocese, and is dedicated to spreading the message of Jesus Christ by handing down the teachings of the Catholic Church and the charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to its diverse student population by providing a disciplined and nurturing environment that encourages academic excellence with Christian values. As the school year progresses, here are but a few Bishop Stang students who have earned recognition on a local and national scale.

Senior Addison Landry was named a finalist for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the Wendy’s High School Heisman competition. The Falmouth resident was one of 10 senior women, along with 10 senior men, selected for the state and is the first Bishop Stang student to be recognized at this level.

According to its website, since 1994 the Wendy’s High School Heisman Program has honored more than 395,000 of the nation’s most esteemed high school seniors in partnership with the Heisman Memorial Trophy® Committee. The leadership award-honorees are well-rounded young men and women who excel in learning, performing, and leading in the classroom, on the field and in the community. Like the Heisman Memorial Trophy, the Wendy’s program believes in the pursuit of athletic and academic excellence with integrity.

“In a very academically-gifted and talented class, Addison currently ranks in the top 15 percent,” said Janice Foley, director for advancement at the high school, “but takes as challenging of a course load as any. She is a top athlete in the school, earning eight varsity letters to date, holds school leadership positions, and is committed to service in her community. 

“Addison has had an equally decorated athletic career. She has been a standout player on the school’s varsity soccer and softball teams since her freshman year. She switched from basketball to winter track for her junior year, and ended up placing sixth in the state championship meet. Addison also places heavy importance on making sure she puts in time to give back to others who are less fortunate. She has far exceeded her community service requirement for the school, as a regular volunteer at My Brother’s Keeper, a Christian ministry dedicated to collecting and donating furniture to impoverished families. She has also been an annual participant in Operation Christmas Child, and helped with the Thanksgiving Food Drive. Addison is also an accomplished pianist. She volunteers her time to entertain and share her talents with the elderly at local nursing homes, who really enjoy hearing her play.”

Foley added that Landry has been accepted into “several great schools” that would best fit her desire to pursue physical therapy and to ultimately earn a doctoral degree and work as a physical therapist. Her future is bright, said Foley, and “most admirably amongst the litany of honors and achievements, Addison is a genuine and humble” young lady. 

Senior Sarah Friedman was recently nominated to compete in the National Honor Society Scholarship program; students self-nominate by handing in a resume to the chapter advisor, who then call in those candidates to a review meeting with five members of the faculty council. Freidman was selected as the local winner and received a $150 award and an official certificate of recognition from Sister Teresa Trayers and the NHS chapter on senior class night.

“I am so proud of Sarah. I have learned quite a bit about Sarah during the two consecutive years in which she was a student in my history class, and can say with confidence she is a role model exemplifying the four pillars of the National Honor Society,” said Donna McDougal, Bishop Stang National Honor Society advisor and history teacher. “I am impressed with her commitment to her studies. She takes on a tremendous academic workload, taking several advanced placement courses, and still manages to live out the mission of Bishop Stang High School by helping others with her extensive volunteering projects.”

For the past 70 years, the National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed local nominees in the running for one of 250 national scholarships of $1,000 or more, with one national winner winning $13,000. Friedman will find out in late May if she has won.

Senior Andrea Desilets has been named one of the candidates for the 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars program, a program where the candidates are selected from nearly 3.4 million graduating seniors.

Based on Scholastic Aptitude Test and American College Testing scores, Desilets’ SAT scores automatically nominated her by meeting the requirement for the state of Rhode Island. The Little Compton resident is one of 3,000 candidates selected for their exceptional performance for either the SAT or ACT assessments. Based on their outstanding results, each chief state school officer was invited to nominate three males and three female students, who then submitted essays, self-assessments, descriptions of activities, school recommendations and school transcripts. 

One young man and one young woman will be selected from each state with 15 students-at-large and up to 20 students from creative and performing arts. The U.S. Department of Education will announce the scholars in May.

“At Stang, Andrea is a member of the National Honor Society, Pro-Life Club, and Lit Wits,” said Foley. “Music is her most important hobby outside of school. She has been playing the saxophone and piano for more than eight years. In addition to being a member of the Stang band and jazz band, she participates in many music activities outside of school including playing the piano at Mass and participating in the East Bay Summer Wind Ensemble.”

She has received multiple acceptances from colleges, and the president/principal of Stang, Peter Shaughnessy, isn’t surprised: “Andrea Desilets is an excellent role model and student. She has consistently demonstrated exceptional academic performance, co-curricular involvement and character during her time at Bishop Stang, and exemplifies the very attributes of a U.S. Presidential Scholar.”

Ultimately, a Catholic education should prepare students to be good stewards of God’s gifts and active people of faith who serve others, make a difference in the world, and participate in their faith and civic communities; upcoming Anchor issues will continue to highlight Catholic high schools students and their accomplishments.

© 2017 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing  †  Fall River, Massachusetts