ALUMNI HIGHLIGHTS

2021 Catholic Schools Week Alumni Highlights

During Catholic Schools Week 2021, we celebrated our alumni! We are very proud of all of our alumni! We hope you enjoy reading their reflections on their time as STA students and how STA prepared them for success in high school and beyond.

 

TYRA RICHARDSON

STA Class of 2017
St. Ignatius College Prep Class of 2021
University of Louisville Class of 2025

I was a student at STA from 2nd-8th grade, and my love for the school grew the more time I spent there. STA greatly prepared me for what was to come in high school. The school created an environment where students were encouraged and expected to continuously work hard and be diligent in their studies. STA was excellent in giving me the tools I needed to be successful both inside, and outside the classroom throughout my time there. The teachers and faculty members were always very supportive whether they were motivating me to do well in the classroom, or when I was traveling to tennis tournaments or camps outside of school.
 
I am a Senior at St. Ignatius College Prep. I currently have a cumulative 3.9 GPA, and was named to the St. Ignatius College Prep National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society. My favorite subject is science, and I have grown to love chemistry more specifically. The science and math courses at St. Thomas are what helped me develop a keen interest in chemistry. Some of my favorite memories at St. Thomas was participating in the Invention Convention, and competing in the Science Fairs each year. 
 
I have also done very well in Tennis. I have been one of the top ranked tennis players in the country, and I received a full athletic scholarship to play tennis at one of the top college athletic programs in the nation, the University of Louisville. I plan to major in chemistry while in college.
 
Most top junior tennis players are home schooled and focus on tennis. I was a top junior tennis player when I attended St. Thomas and that set the foundation to allow me to be an honor student at one of the most selective and rigorous high schools in Illinois. I was named an Academic All-American during my Freshman and Sophomore years (I did not play high school tennis my Junior and Senior years). When I was 11 years old, I was invited by USTA leadership to train full time at their headquarters in Boca Raton, FL. My parents and I declined the offer because I have always been a great academic student, and our family chose to balance sports, with a traditional academic path. I loved my time at St. Thomas, and I wanted to keep enjoying the experience with my teachers and friends. STA is such a fantastic school and it definitely prepared me for challenges and hardships that were to come later on in life.

 

MARSHALL CALLERY

STA Class of 2014
Marist High School Class of 2018
Harold Washington College Class of 2022

Since graduating from St. Thomas the Apostle school and after graduating from Marist High School, I pursued an activity I have always wanted to do since I was younger. I started acting. I began by taking improv classes at the Revival in Hyde Park, Chicago Community Actors Program at The University of Chicago, and at the Black Ensemble Theater. Given my interest in becoming a television actor, I applied and was selected to join several television productions at Chicago’s Cinespace Studios located on the westside. I have been featured in several television shows and a Disney movie. The shows were: Empire, The CHI, and Chicago PD.  My dreams are coming true! Lastly, I produced a children’s play/musical at St. Thomas that was held during the annual 2019 Christmas celebration.

What I have also been doing is engaging my Hyde Park and Bronzeville communities. I volunteer with Mr. Wallace Goode of the Hyde park Chamber of Commerce and a local small business incubator known as the Bronzeville Incubator or Boxville located on 51st Street near King Drive avenue. I support the Hyde Park Chamber by working on the events that promote small businesses in the areas. While at Boxville, Chicago's first shipping container mall, I volunteer for their community food hand out events and coordinate their summer outreach events for youth. Lastly, I work with local Alderman like Sophia King, Leslie Hairston, Stephanie Coleman, Pat Dowell and multiple youth councils.

One of my greatest achievements to date has been winning a 2020 art contest sponsored by the South East Chicago Commission (SECC) and the Woodlawn community. I submitted artwork for the Woodlawn street banner contest this past summer. My artwork was selected for first place and now is hanging throughout the Woodlawn community along the major streets of Cottage Grove and 63rd Street. I am most proud of this accomplishment.

Currently, I am working at St. Thomas as an after-school counselor and I find the work really engaging. Overall I'm looking forward to helping my community, city and continuing my pursuit of an acting career.

 
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JAE'LA LEAVY

STA Class of 2017
De La Salle Institute Class of 2021

High school has been going pretty well for me thus far, even with all of the new circumstances. There have been challenges this year, since there are major difference from how life used to be. There are also the challenges of applying to colleges that I haven't been able to physically visit to know which one best suits me. Overall, I can say that De La Salle was a great high school for me to attend because of the support system I was granted by my teachers over the years, and the overall environment from my classmates to the other students who I didn't know as personally.

St. Thomas played a huge role in helping me gain confidence in myself to believe that I could accomplish a lot more than I was aware of. The teachers guided me with the tools to be able to understand what it takes to succeed in high school. Mrs. Melachrinidis helped me to be prepared mathematically so that when I started at De La Salle, the work came easier to me than it did to others. Also, Mrs. Damico played a phenomenal role in taking me under her wing since the 2nd grade and helping me with the fundamentals in every subject. Looking back I'm more grateful than ever that these teachers took personal time out of their lives to help me improve and become who I am today. Although I only named 2, there were plenty of other teachers and staff who were of great help as well, and St. Thomas was surely the foundation of my road to success.

 

CHRISTOPHER CARTER

STA Class of 2018
Morgan Park Academy Class of 2022

Since I graduated from STA, things have been going quite well. I am starting the second semester of my Junior year at my high school, Morgan Park Academy.
 
My grades have improved significantly in comparison to my middle school years, to the point where I'm regularly on the honor roll at my high school. STA helped me immensely in regards to my grades, specifically my two strongest subjects being Advanced Literature and Algebra 2.
 
My former middle school English teacher Ms. Monahan, would always have my class write short stories to build up writing versatility, stamina, and concepts. This helped immensely, as without those lessons I would be nowhere near as effective nor efficient as I am in regards to writing essays and speeches.
 
As for my math grades, the credit goes to my former middle school math teacher, Mrs. Melachrinidis. She challenged us with a lot of homework, quizzes and tests. Due to my experience in Mrs. Melachrinidis' class, I have mastered mental calculations, equations, and developed better study habits as a whole. 
 
As for some of my most recent accomplishments, most of them have taken place over summer of 2020 and winter break of 2020. Due to my growing interests in law and politics I joined a law program known as JTB. The topic that my coworkers and I were given was, Black Lives Matter. Our job was to spread information on the history of Black Lives Matter, how it affects the world today, what can people do to help, etc. 
 
The second major highlight of interest would be my work at a program known as Project Syncere where middle schoolers and high schoolers alike can learn more on the subject of computer science and engineering. This job gives teens the chance to build up experience for a potential future job by putting the team through everyday scenarios for all variations of engineering and also teaches students methods such as coding, programming, and prosthetics.
 
My last major highlight is that I’ve also started working on my Eagle Scout Project for Scouts of America. This project was greatly influenced by one of STA's teachers, Mrs. Niederer. She helped me gain my love of reading books during our library class. My project is to collect 500 books for Pre-K to middle school students to expand St. Thomas The Apostle School’s library.

 
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MARIE NORKETT

STA Class of 2019
Morgan Park Academy Class of 2023

My name is Marie Norkett. I am currently a sophomore at Morgan Park Academy. 
 
My success in high school is directly attributed to St. Thomas. I attended St. Thomas from 2nd to 8th grade. The transition from guided learning to independent learning was very hard, but St. Thomas helped me to transition successfully. Since the class sizes are small, I was able to ask questions, speak up, and emerge out of my shell. I also had the opportunity to participate in school events. St. Thomas helped me to think independently, which is essential for high school. At St. Thomas, your child will be well prepared for high school from strengthening weaknesses, developing critical thinking skills, and deepening your faith. 

 

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