Catholic Schools Week 2020 – Celebrating the contributions of Catholic school graduates!

JoAnn Tier, Superintendent of Catholic Schools

A message from JoAnn Tier

Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Catholic schools are schools of distinction.  They provide education in the Catholic faith with Catholic values rooted in the mission of each school.  Students are exposed to academic rigor underscored with interdisciplinary application.  They enjoy extracurricular activities and the personal discovery of talents and interests.

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton have been recognized for their achievements by the U.S. Department of Education as National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence and Green Ribbon Schools.  The National Catholic Educational Association has recognized the talents and contributions of Catholic school educators as distinguished principals and teachers.  The innovation and commitment of the Parent Teacher Associations have been recognized by NCEA throughout the years.

In the competitive global arena, how do Catholic school students fare upon graduation?

A brief compilation of the journeys of Catholic school alums is highlighted below.  The graduates are achieving their dreams in a wide variety of achievements and endeavors.   

Christian Brothers Academy

  • Frank Deblasi – founder of charitable organization, “Ballsfest” which identifies children battling cancer; the organization brings positive energy into their lives through a variety of programs
  • Joe Rooney – teacher at Monroe High School teamed with Mikey Nichols, a paraplegic, in the NYC Reeve Foundation Marathon; the pair finished three hours and 51 minutes or a pace of eight minutes and 50 seconds per mile; the Reeve Foundation focuses on “today’s care and tomorrow’s cure”
  • Tom Willkens – Olympic medal winner in swimming at the Sydney 2000 Olympics; bronze medal winner in individual medley; winner of world title in the 2002 World Championship in Moscow
  • Father Christopher Dayton – newly ordained priest in the Class of 2018 serves as parochial vicar at St. Rose in Belmar
  • Father Michael DeSaye – newly ordained priest in the Class of 2018 serves as parochial vicar at St. Joan of Arc Parish, Marlton
  • Father Nicholas Dolan – newly ordained priest in the Class of 2018 and parochial vicar at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Red Bank is part of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, a religious group of priests and brothers who live, pray and serve together

Donovan Catholic High School

  • Morgan Woolf – research assistant in Princeton University’s Lewis Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
  • Chrystopher Mulligan – associate producer of Neil Cavuto’s “Coast to Coast” on Fox Business Channel
  • Jimmy Vicari – researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital working with compounds that reduce inflammation in the context of Alzheimer’s Disease, hemorrhagic stroke and Parkinson’s Disease
  • Logan Jones — featured dancer in “Sponge Bob”
  • ChrisHaberl– Broadway keyboardist playing in “Jersey Boys,” “Anastasia,” “Sponge Bob” and “The Lion King”
  • Steve Galgon — author of the novel, “The Circle”
  • Daniel Kochis – Senior Policy Analyst in European affairs in Washington DC

Notre Dame High School

  • Father Kevin Kimtis – ordained priest working as a diplomat representing the Holy See; currently serving as the Secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in the Republics of Benin and Togo
  • Michael Procaccino – accomplished writer, director, actor, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright; most recent play, “Man in the Ring”
  • Camille West Hymes – Regional vice-president for Starbucks Coffee Company leading corporate operations in the Mid-Atlantic Region
  • ENS David Liedtka, III – ranked first in class academically in 2018 at the U.S. Naval Academy; pursuing master’s degree in computer science with a primary specialization in artificial intelligence
  • Jennifer O’Connor Piepszak – Chief Financial Officer for JP Morgan and Chase; member of its Operating Committee; served as Controller for Global Equities and Prime Services

Red Bank Catholic High School

  • John McCarthy – Political Strategist with expertise ranging from Capitol Hill to presidential campaigns; the youngest Chief of Staff in the U.S. Congress
  • Brianne Reed – professional soccer player drafted to FC Kansas City in the National Women’s Soccer League in 2016; playing for FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark
  • Sean Bell – professional actor for over a decade performing in New York, regional theaters and on national tours; completed the First National Tour of “A Bronx Tale: The Musical”; actor in a one man play, “Fully Committed”, playing a total of 40 characters
  • Chris Spahr – Vice-President on the Synthetic Product Group Team at Goldman; member of the Board of Associates for the Ronald McDonald House Foundation in New York

St. John Vianney High School

  • Paul Bliss – President and Chief Executive of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America
  • Bill Carey – Executive Vice-President and General Counsel, TIAA Commercial Finance, Inc.; 5th round NBA draft pick
  • Dr. Seth Cable – Assistant Professor of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; PhD, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
  • Dr. Joseph Deroba – Chief Technical Engineer, Radar Systems and Identification Division RDECOM  CERDEC 12WD
  • Glenn Ficarra – Film/TV writer, director, producer – “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “I Love You Phillip Morris,” “Bad News Bears” and “ This Is Us”
  • Dr. Jeanine Genkinger – Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University

St. Rose High School

  • F. Scott Moody – invented the technology behind Apple i touch identification which was sold to Apple for $400M; co-founder and CEO of K4Connect, a mission-centered company that integrates the latest advances in technology to serve and empower older adults and those living with disabilities
  • Debra Castellano Lubov – Senior Vatican and Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of “The Other Francis”; NBC & MSNBC Vatican analyst; contributor to the National Catholic Register
  • Doreen Bogdan-Martin – the first woman to be elected to the executive leadership team of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union; leads the development arm working to advance connectivity to all of the world’s inhabitants, particularly the vulnerable and most marginalized
  • James Murray – the 26th Director of the U.S. Secret Service; leads the largest Secret Service work force comprising more than 7,000 special agents, uniformed division officers, technical law enforcement officers, administrative, professional, and technical personnel
  • Brigadier General Guy Walsh – former strategist with U.S. Cyber Command; Founding Executive Director of the National Security Collaboration Center; over 20 years of executive level management in National Defense and Domestic Operations including cyber, counter-insurgency and disaster relief leadership roles
  • Lt. Jason Martin – Retired U.S. Naval Academy Seal; Strategic Account Manager at Penumbra, Inc, a global healthcare company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets innovative products that address challenging medical conditions; iron man and marathon athlete; bone marrow donor

Trenton Catholic Academy

  • ChenoahPorter-Blountfounder of Stacey Blount Rising Stars – focused on girl empowerment and designed for girls who think they do not have hope; Miss New Jersey, 2018  
  • Jamayrah Moore – founder of My Life Movement – encourages and motivates individuals in Trenton through action while creating positive change
  • La’Keisha Sutton — member of the Harlem Globetrotters, “Swish”; motivational speaker and author
  • Frantz Massenat — professional international basketball player; contributes a scholarship to students at TCA
  • Sally Kamara – founder of Rooted Radiant Brand; motivational speaker and mentor

The graduates listed above are but a few whose profiles were submitted by the high schools. Please visit the school websites for more detailed alumni information.

It is important to note the positive impact that the Catholic schools have had in influencing the lives of graduates. The alums credited their teachers with teaching them how to live their faith. They learned self-discipline, teamwork, selfless service and commitment to a cause. They recognize the importance of being part of something bigger, which helps the individual, the community and the global society.

Sincere thanks are conveyed to Bishop M. David O’Connell, C.M., and the clergy for their support of students attending Catholic schools.  Gratitude is extended to Catholic school administrators, faculty and staff for their daily investment in students. Appreciation and thanks surround the individuals, foundations and parishioners who support today’s youth. Parents recognize the value of a Catholic school education and continue to be staunch supporters.  As seen in the lives of the alumni, the investment in the future of a student has wide-reaching implications for a better and kinder world.  It is a pleasure to salute our alumni and the community of learners and leaders who make Catholic schools vibrant and vital to our global society.

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