A Salute to Excellence 2017

The Michigan Catholic is proud to congratulate the thousands of area students graduating from the Detroit area’s 24 Catholic high schools in 2017. In a special way, we also honor those students whose academic achievements earned them recognition as valedictorians, salutatorians and other top honors from their respective schools. We pray for these students, who are listed throughout this section, as well as their peers and classmates, and ask God to bless all of their future endeavors for the sake of His glory.


Cardinal Mooney Catholic Prep High School

Valedictorian Abigail L. Guilliat

Parents Stephen Guilliat and Colleen Guilliat

Parish Our Lady on the River, Marine City

College University of Michigan


Salutatorian Janice R. Gibbons

Parents Joseph and Debra Gibbons

Parish St. Edward on the Lake, Lakeport

College Wayne State University (Direct Med Program)


Detroit Cristo Rey High School

Valedictorian Camilla Cantu

Parent Maria Contreras-Cantu

Parish St. Aloysius, Detroit

College University of Michigan


Valedictorian Jennifer Gonzalez-Hernandez

Parents Francisco and Olivia Gonzalez

Parish Ste. Anne de Detroit, Detroit

College Albion College


De La Salle Collegiate High School

Valedictorian Jason Kathawa

Parents Allen and Sonya Kathawa

Parish St. Thecla, Clinton Township

College University of Michigan (Business and Computer Science)


Salutatorian Russell Hu

Background Four-year international student from China

College University of Michigan (Engineering)


Ladywood High School

Valedictorian Mary Kate Barnauskas

Parents Timothy Barnauskas and Geraldine Barnauskas

Parish St. Valentine, Redford

College University of Michigan


Salutatorian Maggie Shirk

Parents Thomas and Kathleen Shirk

Parish St. Michael the Archangel, Livonia

College University of Michigan


Salutatorian Shannon Wolfe

Parents Keith and Maureen Wolfe

Parish Our Lady of Good Counsel, Plymouth

College University of Notre Dame


Mercy High School

Valedictorian Sarah Kurpiers

Parents Margaret and Michael Kurpiers

Parish Our Lady of Sorrows, Farmington

College University of Michigan (Cellular and Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering)


Salutatorian Chiaka Ibe

Parents Mary and Rickie Ibe

Parish St. Fabian, Farmington Hills

College Brown University (Biology)


Salutatorian Jordyn Kreucher

Parents Martha and Brian Kreucher

College University of Michigan (Engineering)


Our Lady of the Lakes High School

Valedictorian Grace Casolari

Parents Kenneth and Carol Casolari

Parish Our Lady of the Lakes, Waterford

College Oakland University (Undecided)


Salutatorian Kurt Romkema

Parents Michael and Karen Romkema

Parish Our Lady of the Lakes, Waterford

College Kettering University (Electrical Engineering)


Salutatorian Alaynna Melicor

Parents Adrian and Yasmine Melicor

Parish Our Lady of the Lakes, Waterford

College University of Michigan (Medicine)


St. Catherine of Siena Academy

Valedictorian Maria Christina Denja

Parents Mike and Leighanne Denja

Parish Our Lady of Good Counsel, Plymouth

College Ave Maria University (Nursing)


Valedictorian Maura Rose Lee

Parents Owen and Heather Lee

Parish Our Lady of Victory, Northville

College University of Notre Dame (Biology)


Notre Dame Preparatory School

Valedictorian Gabrielle Jacoby

Parents Mark and Denice Jacoby

Parish St. Regis, Bloomfield Hills

College College University of Texas, Austin (Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering)


Valedictorian Anthony VanDieren

Parents Michael and Regina VanDieren

Parish St. Hugo of the Hills, Bloomfield Hills

College University of Georgia (Entomology and Biochemistry (Pre-Med))


Valedictorian Mariel Manzor

Parents Alberto and Odette Manzor

Parish St. Andrew, Rochester

College University of Michigan (Cell and Molecular Biology and Biomedical Engineering on a pre-med track)


Valedictorian Montserrat Dorantes

Parents Sergio Dorantes and Maria Soto

Parish St. Mary of the Hills, Rochester Hills

College Hope College (Biology)


Valedictorian Nicholas Hariskos

Parents Arthur and Anastasia Hariskos

College University of Michigan (Economics/Mathematics)


Valedictory Court
• Gabriella Gonzales • Jessica Jimenez • Luke Adams • Julia Walter • Tala Mahjoub • Ryan Flaherty • Madeline Allard • Olivia Mears • Halaina Jimenez • Richelle Wilson • Erica Nowosielski • Thomas Robbins • Roy Gebara • Kendel Kazyak • Eileen Haig • Calvin Burns • Adam Ihm • Anna Madison • Olivia Finn • Jacqueline Kenny • Nicole Oska • Sarah Bauer • Ila Batah

Bishop Foley Catholic High School


Valedictorian Ella Ward

Parents Craig Ward and Eileen Ward-Bee

Parish St. Irenaeus, Rochester Hills

College/Major Franciscan University of Steubenville (Education)


Salutatorian Lauren Khoury

Parents Peter and Diane Khoury

Parish St. Joan of Arc, St. Clair Shores

College/Major University of Alabama (Undecided)


Salutatorian Jordin Valenti

Parents John and Janis Valenti

Parish Guardian Angels, Clawson

College/Major University of Detroit Mercy (Dental)


Brother Rice High School

Valedictorian Kyle Chisholm

Parents Charles and Julie Chisholm

Parish St. Regis, Bloomfield Hills

College Northwestern University (Business/Economics)


Salutatorian Carter Dunaway

Parents Geri and Craig Dunaway

Parish Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Beverly Hills

College Princeton University (Pre-Medicine)


Shrine Catholic High School

Valedictorian Harrison Suchyta

Parents Michelle and Tim Suchyta

Parish St. Mary, Royal Oak

College University of Michigan (Computer Science)


Valedictorian Megan O’Donnell

Parents Mary and Patrick O’Donnell

Parish National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak

College Hope College (Mechanical Engineering)


Valedictorian Brennan Carr

Parents Kelly and Kevin Carr

Parish National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak

College University of Michigan (Business)


Valedictorian Grace Bontrager

Parents Maureen Bontrager

Parish National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak

College University of Michigan (Nursing)


Valedictorian Julia Halkey

Parents Linda and Michael Halkey

Parish National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak

College University of Detroit Mercy (Nursing)


Valedictorian Tom Peaslee

Parents Chestra and Brian Peaslee

Parish National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak

College University of Michigan (Industrial and Operating Engineering)


Valedictorian Anna Timmis

Parents Merari and Theodore Timmis

Parish Holy Name, Birmingham

College University of Michigan (Chemical Engineering)


Valedictorian Jacob Krach

Parents Mary Beth and Ken Krach

Parish Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Beverly Hills

College University of Michigan (Electrical Engineering)


Valedictorian Jeremiah Cortez

Parents Ana and Ronaldo Cortez

Parish National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak

College Michigan State University (Computer Science)


Valedictorian Asher Smith

Parents Amy and Aaron Smith

Parish National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak

College University of Michigan (Finance)


Detroit Catholic Central

Valedictorian Sean Ebben

Parents Brad and Cheryl Ebben

Parish St. Michael the Archangel, Livonia

College University of Notre Dame (Business/Sports Management)


Salutatorian Adam Brusstar

Parents Matthew and Andrea Brusstar

Parish St. Joseph, South Lyon

College University of Michigan (Engineering)


Divine Child High School

Valedictorian Elizabeth Nicolin

Parents Kathleen Nicolin

Parish Church of the Divine Child, Dearborn

College University of Michigan


Salutatorian Julianna Morano

Parents Christopher and Heidi Morano

Parish Resurrection, Canton

College University of Michigan


Gabriel Richard High School

Valedictorian Camryn Lozon

Parents Christopher and Margaret Lozon

Parish St. Pius X, Southgate

College Grand Valley State University (Biomedical Engineering)


Salutatorian Nicholas Hammond

Parents Ronald and Janice Hammond

Parish St. Pius X, Southgate

College Western Michigan University (Business Law)


Loyola High School

Valedictorian Lavell Massey

Parents Classie Massey

College Michigan State University (Pre-Medicine)


Salutatorian Kailen Abrams

Parents Raphaela Walker and Larry Abrams

College Central State University (Electrical Engineering)


Regina High School

Valedictorian Elizabeth Gardey

Parents David and Rosemary Gardey

Parish St. Paul on the Lake, Grosse Pointe Farms

College University of Notre Dame (Political Science)


Valedictorian Alyssa Hlywa

Parents Nicholas and Theresa Hlywa

Parish St. Josaphat Ukrainian, Warren

College Michigan Technological University (Electrical Engineering)


Marian High School

Valedictorian Katherine Gordon

Parents Jonathan and Jill Gordon

Parish Our Lady of Sorrows, Farmington

College University of Michigan (Business)


Valedictorian Elli Johnson

Parents Jerry and Barbara Johnson

College University of Michigan (Undecided)


Valedictorian Eliana Margherio

Parents Michael and Jennifer Margherio

Parish St. Hugo of the Hills, Bloomfield Hills

College University of Pennsylvania (Business)


Everest Collegiate High School

Valedictorian Brooke Funke

Parents Dr. Matthew and Lisa Funke

Parish St. Anne, Ortonville

College Undecided


Valedictorian Paul Bradley

Parents David and Lisa Bradley

Parish SS. Cyril and Methodius, Sterling Heights

College Calvin College (Engineering)


Salutatorian Lucia Rosa

Parents David and Toni Rosa

Parish Our Lady of the Lakes, Waterford

College University of Michigan (Undecided)


Salutatorian Ryan Smith

Parents Jason and Christine Smith

College University of Miami (Pre-Medicine)


Academy of the Sacred Heart

Valedictorian Sara Smith

Parents Michael Smith and Lisa Smith

College University of Michigan (Business)


Salutatorian Stella Betrus

Parents Thomas and Susan Betrus

Parish St. Hugo of the Hills, Bloomfield Hills

College University of Michigan (Sport Management)


Cabrini High School

Valedictorian Lauren Harven

Parents Joseph and Karen Harven

Parish St. Frances Cabrini, Allen Park

College Wayne State University (Pharmacy)


Salutatorian Richard Lewandowski

Parents Richard and Ann Lewandowski

Parish St. Frances Cabrini, Allen Park

College University of Michigan-Dearborn (Mechanical/Bio Engineering)


Austin Catholic High School

Valedictorian Ashley Charrette

Parents Stacy and Jack Charrette

Parish SS. Cyril & Methodius, Sterling Heights

College Macomb Community College/Oakland University (Secondary Education)


Summa Cum Laude James Lynott

Parents Deanna and Clyde Lynott

Parish San Francesco, Clinton Township

College Oakland University (Undecided)


Summa Cum Laude Emily Walker

Parents Jeanine Walker

Parish St. Thecla, Clinton Township

College Siena Heights University (Social Work)


St. Mary Catholic Central High School

Valedictorian Meghan Beaubien

Parents Jason and Kim Beaubien

Parish St. Charles Borromeo, Newport

College University of Michigan (Biomedical Engineering)


Salutatorian Alexander Cepo

Parents Goran Cepo and Amy Alfredson

Parish St. Mary, Monroe

College University of Michigan (Mathematics)


St. Mary’s Preparatory

Valedictorian Matthew Whalen

Parents Daniel and Leeann Whalen

Parish Our Lady of Refuge, Orchard Lake

College University of Michigan


Salutatorian Foster Buchanan
Parents Dr. Joel and Carrie Buchanan

Parish St. Joseph the Worker, Lake Orion

College Michigan State University


University of Detroit Jesuit High School & Academy

Valedictorian John Campbell

Parents Michael and Caroline Campbell

Parish St. Hugo of the Hills, Bloomfield Hills

College University of Michigan


Valedictorian Ryan Cullen

Parents Matthew and Karen Cullen

Parish Our Lady Star of the Sea, Grosse Pointe Woods

College University of Michigan


Valedictorian Michael Gassen

Parents Chris and Linda Gassen

Parish Our Lady Star of the Sea, Grosse Pointe Woods

College Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology


Valedictorian Zachary Kennedy

Parents Daniel and Jodi Kennedy

Parish St. Mary of the Hills, Bloomfield Hills

College University of Detroit Mercy


Valedictorian Fadi Moaikel

Parents Elias and Mona Moaikel

College University of Michigan


Valedictorian Dawson Myers

Parents John and Renee Myers

Parish St. Andrew, Rochester

College St. Louis University


Valedictorian Nicholas Pez

Parents Patrick Webster and Lucienne Pez-Webster

Parish St. Fabian, Farmington Hills

College Stanford University