Because of their proximity in the alphabet, Jillian Hickey and Nolan Hucek became fast friends during their freshman year at Joliet Catholic Academy. The passage of time only strengthened that bond.
On Tuesday night, May 15, JCA held its Baccalaureate Mass for the Class of 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Raymond. Eight different categories of awards were recognized, plus medals and certificates of honor. The Class of 2012 earned nearly $9 million in scholarships for college.
The highlight, however, always has been JCA’s naming of the Angel of the Year and the Hillman of the Year — part of the special school awards that are voted on by the teachers. And the winners are …
Hickey and Hucek.
“It’s a great honor,” Hucek said. “We worked all year long as seniors. We worked really hard together for all four years and it pays off. I never would have imagined having the honor of Hillman of the Year.”
“I’m just so happy I got the award,” Hickey said, “with my best friend.”
Among the special school awards, Katelyn Gannon and Austin Kairis received the JCA Spirit Award and Nicholas Collofello and Rachelle Sartori received the JCA Scholar-Athlete Award. Ten seniors were cited for outstanding leadership, five for being outstanding scholars and 11 for their outstanding service.
Stephanie Demos, Nicole Formhals, Rachel Jelinek, Malin Jones, Sarah Morimoto, Alaina Ragusa, Lauren Randich, Daniel Rabulinski, Anne Schmig and Carley Serena earned the leadership awards; Stacy Bedore, Nicholas Fedosenko, Nicholas Humbles, Alexander Rubocki and Alessa Smith earned the scholar awards; and Vincenzio Aguilera, Kelsie Chasten, Kelsey Fenske, Ariba Hasan, Michelle LaViola, Julia Malinowski, Christopher Millerin, Andrew Pultorak, Anne Thuot, Myra Villas and Antwanette Ysaguirre were service.
Formhals and Morimoto were honored for highest grade-point average and as valedictorians, Stephanie Demos was honored as a National Merit Commended Student and as salutatorian and Kairis was honored for four years of perfect attendance. As freshman, those seemed like dreams in the distance.
“My freshman year, I didn’t expect anything like this, to be honest with you,” Hucek said. “We heard about Baccalaureate, but we didn’t know exactly what it was and what it entails. It really opens your eyes — to see all these awards that everyone can receive, and that the community knows about them.”
For the full list of BaccalaureateAwards, please visit jca-online.org/academics/academic-awards. According to Hickey, the possibility of developing into Angel or Hillman of the Year is for one and all.
“My recommendation would be to get involved,” Hickey said. “Get involved because that way you will meet your friends. It’s important to get to know everybody and that you’re committed in that way.”