Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School honored their top high school students and student-athletes at the annual Academic Awards Ceremony held in the Dolly Barranco Activity Center on May 13, 2020. Due to the restrictions on public gatherings, the event was broadcast via Facebook Live, and attendance was limited to award presenters and the Harbin Award recipient. After an introduction from MCPS Middle and High School Principal Justin Castanza and invocation by Theology Chair Mr. Tom Riello, President Mrs. Anne Ceasar commenced the evening by presenting the 24th annual Charles T. Harbin Distinguished Service Award to Mrs. Linda Belsterling (class of 1978) Anderson, recognizing her years of volunteer service to the school.
Following the Harbin Award, scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year were presented. Mrs. Patti M. Smith, daughter of Norma Mungenast, presented four students with the Norma Mungenast Endowed Scholarship: Cacey Williams, Alex Austin, Nona Johnson, Auburn Wilcoxson, and Myles Butler. Mr. Scott Skoneki, brother of Carole Skoneki Clark, presented the Carole Skoneki Clark Endowed Scholarship to Mary Carley. Mr. Charlie Anderson presented four students with the JJ Bednarz, Sr. Memorial Scholarship: Cacey Williams, Myles Butler, Nona Johnson, and DJ Carter. Mr. Castanza presented Maddie Dannelly and Myles Butler with the Frye, Arban, Ortega Scholarship. Mr. Austin Barranco presented Nona Johnson with the 2009 Juston Martin Memorial Scholarship. Head Girls Basketball Coach Jill Clark presented the Caitlyn Marianne Wiggins ’08 Memorial Scholarship to Auburn Wilcoxson and Nona Johnson. Alumni Association President Mr. Brennan Parker presented the Dottie Dean Memorial Scholarship to Anna Sadie. Mrs. Ceasar presented to Hayden Pritchett the Total Image Scholarship. Mrs. Burton Crenshaw of the Central Alabama Community Foundation presented the Jay Murphy Scholarship to Elizabeth Speirs and Darian Riley.
Next, recipients of the President’s Education Award, a national program, were recognized. This award is given to graduating seniors who demonstrate academic success in the classroom by achieving a high grade point average and score highly on nationally-normed standardized tests, and who also demonstrate high motivation and integrity, intellectual depth, and character. This award was presented to Lorissa Algarin, Ryan Avery, Sarah Rose Burden, Jack Burt, Tanner Carter, Bobby Crawford, Ansley Dean, Nate Downes, Lainie Doyle, Patrick Flores, Jason Flowers, Victoria Hall, Ashley Hayes, Michael Hodges, Sofia Izer, Savannah Johnson, Maddie Kille, Jayla Milam, Scott Nation, Katherine O’Connor, Charlie O’Donnell, Zack Pappanastos, Katherine Rose Perkins, Anna Sadie, Kinley Tadlock, Chad Waite, and Clare Wilson.
Next, the department awards were presented by the head teachers to distinguished students in each subject. Mr. Rick Aaron presented the awards in math to Michael Algarin, Will Noell, Angela Gier, and Savannah Johnson. In science, Mrs. Elizabeth Harbin presented awards to Laura Thomas Zhvania, Zach Izer, Daniel Gacha, and Maddie Kille. Mr. Hollis Johnson awarded the social studies awards to Kaylee Holmes, Christopher Lathram, Angela Gier, and Clare Wilson. In theology, Mr. Riello presented awards to Cannon Bach, Max Barranco, Emily Holston, Matthew Barranco, and Sofia Izer. Mrs. Kerri Moore presented the awards in English to Callan Gadilhe, Alana Wilkinson, Lauryn Ford, Harrison Skala, and Lorissa Algarin. In foreign language, Mrs. Moore gave the Latin award to Esa Gancayco, and Ms. Fatima Fuenmayor gave the Spanish award to Zach Izer. Mrs. Kate Berry presented the drama award to Bobby Crawford and the chorus award to India Shields. Mr. Alex Johnson presented Bobby Crawford with the band award. In art, Mrs. Heather Talbot presented the award to Sofia Izer.
The students with the top grade point averages were recognized next. In the freshman class, several students tied for the top GPA: Michael Algarin, Cannon Bach, Max Barranco, Evy Bosko, Hannah Chitlik, Kayleigh Everage, Matthew Galvin, Esa Gancayco, Kaylee Holmes, Harrison Howell, Audrey Trant, Alana Wilkinson, and Laura Thomas Zhavania. In the sophomore class, the highest GPA honors went to Christopher Lathram. Emma Garrison topped out the junior class, and senior Clare Wilson has the highest GPA for the class of 2020.
Next were the President’s List and the Principal’s List. Students recognized on the President’s List achieved a 4.0 or higher GPA. This included 33 seniors, 25 juniors, 19 sophomores, and 17 freshmen. The Principal’s List recognized students who earned between a 3.8 to 4.0 GPA and included 12 seniors, 5 juniors, 4 sophomores, and 5 freshmen. Freshman Laura Thomas Zhvania was awarded the Joe Arban Perfect Attendance Award.
The awards ceremony was a perfect opportunity to recognize Sofia Izer for winning a National Merit Scholarship. She was among 2,500 American high school students and one of two in the River Region who earned this scholarship through high achievement on the PSAT standardized test.
Montgomery Catholic’s student-athletes were also recognized during the virtual ceremony and started with four awards which honor individual team members for their hard work and dedication to their sport. Three of these distinguished awards honor individuals who have had a tremendous influence on our athletic program: Coach Jack Kresek, Father Patrick Delahunty, and Mr. Joe Fields.
The Coach Jack Kresek Coaches Award, named for a much-beloved football coach who led the Knights (then the “Saints”) from 1956 until 1961, recognizes the athletes who exhibit strong determination, team effort, dependability, and a winning attitude. The Jack Kresek Coaches Award winners were Alexis Weber (fall cheerleading), Darrell Gibson and Christian Ivey (football), Piper Schneider (volleyball), Harrison Skala and Bailey Williams (cross country), James Ingalls (wrestling), Chase Little and Alanna Aiken (basketball), Sofia Izer (winter cheerleading), Mitchell Dogan and Taylar Tunstall (indoor track), Katherine O’Connor (softball), Adam McClellan (golf), Christian Ivey (baseball), Rachel Rodriguez and Matthew Barranco (tennis), Megan Bourke and Gabe Russo (soccer).
The Father Pat Delahunty Sportsmanship Award, named for the founder of our athletic program, honors the athletes who demonstrate outstanding sportsmanship. The Fr. Delahunty Sportsmanship Award winners were Chloe Weber and Katie Perkins (fall cheerleading), Orlando Whatley and Ja’Michael Washington (football), Denalie Mosakowski (volleyball), Sam Leslie and Haylei Mason (cross country), Titus Franklin (wrestling), DJ Carter and Andree’ Aiken (basketball), Anna DuBois and Sarah Rose Burden (winter cheerleading), Colin Capel and Samantha Day (indoor track).
The Joe Fields Leadership Award, named for an outstanding student-athlete from the 1970s who displayed outstanding leadership while attending Montgomery Catholic, honors the athletes who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills to their teammates. The Joe Fields Leadership Award winners were Alexis Weber and Sofia Izer (fall cheerleading), Jack Burt (football), Katherine O’Connor (volleyball), Chris Valencia and Catherine Aaron (cross country), Jack Burt (wrestling), Myles Butler and Nona Johnson (basketball), Anna Sadie (winter cheerleading), Sam Leslie and Catherine Aaron (indoor track), Katherine O’Connor (softball), Grant Smith (golf), Marcus Dees and Dean Johnson (baseball), Grayson Howell and Ja’Michael Washington (tennis), Clare Wilson, Denalie Mosakowski, and Judd Osten (soccer).
Each varsity sport names one Most Valuable Player. Montgomery Catholic’s MVPs were Kinley Tadlock (fall cheerleading), Nate Downes (football), Ansley Dean (volleyball), Hollis “Hojo” Johnson and Ann Cobb (cross country), Jack Burt (wrestling), Justin Bufford and Lorren Pharrams (basketball), Emma Secor and Hayden Pritchett (winter cheerleading), Hollis “Hojo” Johnson and Ann Cobb (indoor track).
The top athletes from each sport are nominated for the Knights of the Round Table Award, an honor that recognizes the top male and female athlete of the year. These students both excel in their sports and display leadership that sets an example for their peers. The nominees were Katherine O’Connor, Lorren Pharrams, Hayden Pritchett, Jack Burt, Nate Downes, and Darrell Gibson. The winners of the Montgomery Catholic 2020 Knights of the Round Table award were Katherine O’Connor and Jack Burt.
The evening culminated with three of the highest awards given at Montgomery Catholic: Leader of the Year, the Ideal Montgomery Catholic Graduate Award, and the Sister Martha Belke Servant Leader Award. The nominees for Leader of the Year were Matthew Barranco, Jack Burt, Bobby Crawford, Angela Gier, Sofia Izer, Katherine O’Connor, Zack Pappanastos, Anna Sadie, Chris Valencia, and Clare Wilson.
The Leader of the Year award was presented to Anna Sadie. Anna is no stranger to leadership, the spotlight, or Montgomery Catholic. In her leadership essay, she stated, “ever since I was little, being a leader, was ingrained in my mind from my family.” Anna is a member of the National Honor Society, Young Women’s Leadership, Youth in Government, SGA, and the Varsity Cheer team. Anna is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John and Lisa Sadie of Montgomery, Alabama.
The Sister Martha Belke Servant Leader Award was presented to Sarah Rose Burden. Sarah Rose was selected for this award based on her commitment to serving those around her in her school and her community. She has a deep love for Montgomery Catholic and carries on the tradition of excellence started 147 years ago by the founders of our school, the Sisters of Loretto. Sarah Rose is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Perry and Ellie Burden of Montgomery, Alabama.
The Ideal Montgomery Catholic Graduate award was given to Sofia Izer. Sofia is a scholar-athlete, a passionate artist, and a selfless servant. She has a strong and mature faith life, which she lives out every day. Sofia is close to her family and her God, and she is a devoted friend. She was recently awarded the National Merit Scholarship, a highly competitive honor that is only given to 2,500 high school students nationwide. Sofia is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Jim and Gina Izer of Montgomery, Alabama.
Montgomery Catholic is proud to recognize all of our high-achieving students and our elite student-athletes who exemplify faith, excellence, and service every day and demonstrate what it means to be “built by Catholic.”