High school graduates grow in faith
High school is a time of growth and change – including growth in faith and service to others.
The Catholic Voice asked nine 2017 graduates how their faith has grown during their high school years and how that faith will carry them into endeavors in college, work or military life:
Makayla Brockhaus, St. Ludger Parish and Creighton High School, both in Creighton; plans to study pre-medicine and chemistry health sciences at Wayne State College.
"High school can be challenging, and it can be even more challenging to keep your values strong during high school. For me, I looked at the bigger picture and trusted that God would lead me through my high school career. I have learned to be patient and fully trust in the Lord.
"Most college students lose sight of the Lord during their college years. Sadly, they do not see God’s relationship as a priority. I am troubled by this thought, because I can’t imagine a second of my life without the Lord. I am constantly talking and praying to God for guidance. My life is designated to please him and to become a disciple of Christ. I cannot travel the path of life alone without his helping hand."
Elizabeth Fanta, Sacred Heart Parish and Norfolk Catholic Junior/Senior High School, both in Norfolk; plans to attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
"Throughout high school, my faith has been nurtured by attending various pro-life events. For example, I have been on the Pro-Life March in Washington, D.C., twice. I have also attended numerous parades during which I walked to promote pro-life.
"I have learned through these events how to speak up for the defenseless, to care for others around me, and become a support for others who need me.
"I will use my foundation of faith to promote smart and beneficent decisions for those around me. I would like to become a leader on a board and use my knowledge to help and encourage Catholic views."
William Frisch, Holy Family Parish and Holy Family High School, both in Lindsay; plans to study wildlife biology at the University of Nebraska Kearney.
"Faith was always part of school for me. We had Mass every week and religion class every day. We learned to do unto others as you would want done unto you. We helped with projects around the school and whenever anyone asked for help, we would drop everything and help them.
"My faith has always been a foundation for my life and has helped me become the person I want to be. The commandments are great guidelines. I will always put forth my best effort and treat my schooling and my work with high respect. I will always put forth my best effort and try to treat others with respect and dignity."
Madisen Kanger, V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School and St. Vincent de Paul Parish, both in Omaha; plans to study speech language pathology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
"My faith has developed and become an important part of my life while attending Skutt Catholic. I had wonderful teachers who were passionate, shared their faith, and included prayer in their classrooms.
"At Skutt, I also had the opportunity to involve myself in faith-based activities such as campus ministry, Skyhawks for Life, and eucharistic adoration, allowing me to practice my faith with my peers.
"I plan to take this faith foundation and continue to grow in my faith as I begin college this fall at UNO and live at the St. John Paul II Newman Center. I hope to show kindness and love to everyone I encounter, and I plan to continue to find opportunities to volunteer and make a difference. I will strive to keep the faith and love of Christ close with me each and every day."
Timothy Kerr, Creighton Preparatory School and St. Vincent de Paul Parish, both in Omaha; plans to study accounting or finance at Creighton University in Omaha.
"My faith has been nurtured by going to daily Mass and helping with the liturgy committee at Prep. It also has been a deep honor to be able to serve God at Mass during my parish and school liturgies as an EMHC (Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion).
"I plan to be involved with liturgies and service opportunities in college as well, so my faith will continue to grow and bring me closer to Christ throughout my college experience. I know my faith will continue to influence my everyday decisions and help me overcome new challenges. It is reassuring to know God is constantly with me and looking after me."
Kendra Kozisek, St. Mary High School and St. Patrick Parish, both in O’Neill; plans to study biology and play softball at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.
"I have attended Catholic school for the past 12 years, and my life has greatly benefited from the many opportunities it has offered. During high school, my faith especially has been nurtured through several retreats, opportunities for confession, daily prayer and weekly Mass. These many activities have proven that my faith plays a huge role in my academics, co-curricular activities, and other accomplishments and challenges.
"During the good times or after accomplishments, I have realized the importance of being thankful for them and remembering who they come from: God. My foundation of faith will help me when I am challenged in the future. I know that I have a great base to fall back on, thanks to my Catholic schooling."
Kirsten Meyer, Marian High School in Omaha and St. Patrick Parish in Elkhorn; plans to major in biological physics and Spanish at Creighton University in Omaha.
"Marian has helped me celebrate and flourish in my relationship with God. It has taught me to accept where I am in my faith journey and to accept others’ journeys. While at Marian, I have learned to make my faith the backbone of my life. High school is filled with many joyous activities, important events and tough classes. But, my faith has become a reliable foundation to help me prioritize and focus on being the best possible version of myself.
"Being in the Catholic school system all my life, I appreciate and cherish the faith-filled atmosphere and caring environment that Catholic schools provide. I now recognize what a crucial role Catholic schooling has played in shaping me into who I am today. I plan to use this instrument of faith as I move on in my next four years at Creighton University."
Andrew Schuller, St. Michael Parish in Central City and High Plains Community High School in Polk; plans to attend Concordia University in Seward and continue his football and track and field career.
"My faith is shown through my active involvement in my church and community, concern for others, and my future plans as a Catholic.
"Involvement in my church and community is very important to me. I attend CCD classes regularly, serve at the altar, help with fish frys, and help decorate the church for each season. I am proud to be a Catholic and am not afraid to share my faith at school, with friends, or in the community.
"The best part about my faith is the assurance of always having someone by my side. I hope to continue growing in faith by attending Mass regularly, joining the Knights of Columbus, and being married in a Catholic church."
Ben Ward, St. Joseph Parish in Lyons and Oakland-Craig High School in Oakland; plans to major in psychology on a pre-medicine track at Creighton University in Omaha.
"I became a Catholic during my freshman year. Receiving the sacraments and participating in Mass every week has helped my faith grow and has allowed me to become closer to God. I turn to God when facing obstacles and I trust he will help me. My faith causes me to constantly evaluate my actions and encourages me to make positive decisions. God has blessed me in so many ways. My faith has taught me to be grateful to God and the people who help make my accomplishments possible.
"College will be very different, and at times, difficult, but I know I can turn to God for guidance, especially when feeling lost, frustrated or uncertain. My faith has taught me the importance of serving others, and that focusing on what I can do for others makes me feel less overwhelmed. My faith influences my thoughts, decisions and interactions with others, and I am a happier, more complete person with God in my heart."