Welcome to the St. Mary Catholic Community School Alumni page!
As a former student, you are part of a heritage that encompasses over 130 years of outstanding Catholic Education. We're always happy to hear from our alums and we encourage you to visit our Facebook page. St. Mary's created this page so that our former students may keep in contact with one another and stay informed of happenings here at St. Mary's.
Did you attend St. Mary's School? Do we have your current address and contact information? If not, please e-mail your name, year graduated, home and e-mail address, and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may update our alumni database with your contact information.
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St. Mary's Graduate Connor McCloskey Delivers CPHS Graduation Speech - June 10, 2021
St. Mary Catholic Community School graduate, Connor McCloskey, was chosen by the faculty at Crown Point High School to deliver a Suma Cum Laude speech at graduation last week. This was a huge honor! Connor attended Saint Mary’s School from kindergarten until 8th grade graduation in June of 2017. Marian Weeks, director of Faith Formation at St. Mary said, "Connor has more than a brain, he has a heart too." Mrs. Weeks is proud of all of Connor’s accomplishments, especially the balance that he has between his faith life and academics. Connor said about his time at Saint Mary’s, "A Catholic education does not necessarily mean you have to be Catholic to benefit from it. Personally, I was not Catholic for eight of my nine years at St. Mary School and I never once felt out of place. It’s about being a good person, showing kindness to others and giving back when we can..."
St. Mary's Family Completes 30 Straight Years with Students at St. Mary's School - June 8, 2021
It’s the end of an era for one family at St. Mary Catholic Community School. This year the school said goodbye to Doug and Patty Kvachkoff. The parents of nine children have been a part of Saint Mary’s School for 30 years! Patty said that during their time at St. Mary’s there were many changes at the school. There have been 4 different principals, Mrs. Bacon, Sister Kathy, Ms. LaPeer, and Mr. Ruiz (the last 15 years). The uniform color went from royal blue to navy blue. Patty said, “When our oldest daughter Mary started at SMS, there was no cafeteria and elementary wing. She attended kindergarten in the same place we have it today, but started first grade with Mrs. Walker in the “old building” (located east of the church where the parking lot is now). The “new building” was finished her first grade year and classes transferred over there.” She said, there were “no computers, no televisions in the classrooms, no Smartboards, no cell phones, no electronic bells and no security buzzers at the doors. Doors were unlocked during the day...”
St. Mary's Graduate Joey Prasco Enjoying College Career at The University of Notre Dame - May 10, 2021
Joey Prasco graduated from Saint Mary Catholic Community School in 2014, attending from Junior Pre-K to 8th grade. Joey currently attends the University of Notre Dame and is majoring in Mechanical engineering with a concentration in Film, Theater, and Television. His areas of interest include manufacturing, theme park design, and green construction as well as writing short stories, plays and short films.
Joey had many favorite activities when he was at Saint Mary’s. He said, “Obviously the best activity is recess! Even the 5 or 10 minutes you got as you got older. Sometimes it can be hard to get outside at all these days with school and work and all, but when we had to go outside it always became enjoyable.” Joey also said, “the best recess baseball players in the region went to St. Mary’s...”
Congratulations to St. Mary's grad, Grace Mumaugh! Grace recently signed to continue playing soccer at Purdue Northwest while pursuing nursing degrees. Perfect fit for a young lady who has always exhibited kindness to all her classmates and teachers. Way to go Grace. We're proud of you!!!
Congratulations to Morgan Scott and Emma Smiser. The girls have been good friends since kindergarten at St. Mary’s and will continue their academic and athletic careers together at Concordia University. Best wish girls! We pray that you will be successful in the classroom and continue to excel on the softball field!
Mount Carmel senior and St. Mary's graduate Jacob Harris recently signed a letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic career in basketball at Central College. CONGRATULATIONS from St. Mary Catholic Community School! Best wishes and prayers for a great career in the classroom and on the basketball court!
St. Mary's Graduate Nikki Gerodemos Earns Indiana "Rising Star" Honors - January 27, 2021
Rising Star…. This title was given to Nikki Gerodemos by the Indiana Association of School Principals. This honor, given to four select 11th grade students from each high school in the state, is based on academic achievement. Nikki attended Saint Mary Catholic Community School in Crown Point from kindergarten through eighth grade, graduating in 2018. From Saint Mary’s School, Nikki went on to Crown Point High School where you’ll find her on the basketball court when she isn’t studying. Although Nikki's plan is to study computer science/statistics and business with the goal of becoming an actuary, she is undecided about which university she will attend. Nikki still keeps in touch with most of her friends from St. Mary’s. Her current closest friends all also attended St. Mary’s. She said, “If it weren’t for St. Mary’s I wouldn’t have all the amazing friends and relationships that I have today...”
St. Mary's School - Alumni Spotlight: Mrs. Jenny Horn - December 17, 2020
Student, parent, teacher...These are all titles that describe Mrs. Jenny Horn’s role at Saint Mary Catholic Community School. Catholic education has been a part of teacher Jenny Horn’s life since she was six years old. She attended Saint Mary’s School from first grade through eighth grade, graduating in May of 1985. After eighth grade, Jenny attended Andrean High School and then went on to major in education at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer. She is currently one of the sixth grade teachers, but she has taught both fourth and fifth grades as well. Jenny heard about a teaching opportunity at St. Mary’s when she was deciding where to send resumes. She said that she was actually interviewed on Easter Sunday for a teaching position and was offered the job that following week. She has been at Saint Mary’s ever since. She summed up by saying, “I was so excited to return to my alma mater to teach.”
St. Mary's School - St. Mary's Graduate Makes Helping Others with Mission Trips a Priority in Life - April 20, 2020
Colleen Anderson is a person who has always been doing kind things. She was inspired to do mission work when she was a fifth-grade student at Saint Mary Catholic Community School in Crown Point. This calling came when a group of students from Nicaragua visited the school. Colleen has since been on eight mission trips to Guatemala with Saint Mary Catholic Church and is currently living on the NPH (Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos) Ranch, a home for orphaned, abandoned, and at-risk children in Honduras. Colleen values mission trips because on a trip “you get to know people and develop relationships”.
Alumni Spotlight: Experiences at St. Mary’s Inspire Nathan Doctor to Become the Best Person He Can Be - February 19, 2020
Nathan Doctor is a 2011 St. Mary Catholic Community School graduate. He is currently a third-year pharmacy student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana and anticipates graduating in May of 2021. This is Nathan’s last year of classes and next school year he will begin his pharmacy rotations. After graduation, Nathan plans to have a residency in pharmacy prior to beginning a career in academia. He wants to give back by helping others with pharmacy school, thus impacting many lives. He said, “I want to help create the next generation of Pharmacists.”
One of Nathan’s favorite memories while a student at St. Mary’s was playing the role of Jesus in the eighth grade Godspell production. He said that the production was a lot of fun. He decided he wanted to play Jesus for several reasons. First, he remembered that a teacher told him what a great job he did when he played an angel in the nativity scene as a first-grade student. Second, he watched others play Jesus in their eighth-grade productions and looked forward to doing the same. Playing Jesus gave Nathan the confidence necessary to in high school to pursue roles in other theater productions; he eventually won the lead role in his senior musical. When discussing the musical, Nathan went on to say, “we were blessed to have gifted, enthusiastic St. Mary’s students who went on to participate in theater in high school and beyond.”
St. Mary Catholic Community School Alumni Spotlight: Kathryn Strimbu - January 22, 2020
Driven, dedicated, determined. All of these words describe Kathryn Strimbu. Kathryn graduated from St. Mary Catholic Community School in 2014 and was the 2018 Valedictorian at Andrean High School. She is currently a sophomore, double majoring in Biology and English, at The University of Notre Dame. Kathryn attended St. Mary’s School from Kindergarten through 8th grade, starting at the same time as principal Tom Ruiz.
At Notre Dame, Kathryn keeps herself very active, while at the same time, maintaining high grades. She is part of three different musical organizations; Marching Band, Symphonic Band, and Hockey Band (a pep band for the hockey team). She is also a part of PEMCO, a student-run theater organization, where she does costumes and takes photographs. She does research on campus and is the Liturgical Commissioner for her dormitory.
Kindergarten Students Meet and then Marry 19 Years Later at St. Mary's - December 18, 2019
A shared sense of values and similar upbringings brought Tommy and Colleen Lustina together. They met in the KB room on the first day of school, Tuesday, September 7, 1982 while attending Kindergarten at St. Mary’s Catholic Community School. They returned to the KB room this December for a nostalgic picture and shared stories about their time at St. Mary’s.
Tommy and Colleen, 1991 graduates of St. Mary’s, were good childhood friends. Tommy, who played basketball, was the Student Council President. Colleen was very active while she was a student. She sang in the choir, was a cheerleader, and played volleyball and basketball. They both remarked on their class song, “Friends” by Michael W. Smith, and how it made the girls cry when they were practicing for graduation. Colleen said that graduating from St. Mary’s was a bigger deal than when they left high school.
Tommy and Colleen continued their friendship in shared honors classes at Andrean High School. When they were dating other people in high school, both of their families thought that they should date each other instead. Tommy and Colleen were such good friends that they would go on double-dates, setting-up their friends to date the other.
Danielle Pace: A Young Woman with a Passion for Animals, Living Her Dream - November 27, 2019
Danielle Pace, a 2012 graduate of St. Mary Catholic Community School, attended Kindergarten through eighth grade at the Crown Point parochial school. After St. Mary’s, Danielle attended Crown Point High School and graduated in 2016. Danielle is currently at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana and is studying Veterinary Medicine. Danielle is an early admit to the Veterinary Medicine program and was able to skip two years of undergraduate work, something she credits to the foundation provided by St. Mary’s. She is currently a member of the Exotic Animal Club at Purdue and would like to go into Zoo medicine. Because there are very few collegiate programs that offer a focus in Zoo medicine, she is currently learning about both large and small animals.
Alex Nickla: A Young Man Shaped by Upbringing at St. Mary's School - November 13, 2019
Four words sum up Alex Nickla; professional, personable, passionate, and positive. Alex is a 2009 St. Mary Catholic Community School graduate and currently is the team leader of The Nickla Group, a top 40 Real Estate Team in Northwest Indiana. Alex graduated from Crown Point High School in 2013 and attended Indiana University in Bloomington for one semester. While at IU, he started learning about finance, Real Estate, and business outside of the classroom through YouTube videos, reading books, and attending seminars. During this time, Alex spent a lot of time in self-reflection about “myself and my journey.” Alex said, “I knew in my heart there was something else for me.” He continued, “The things that were the most important to me were the relationships.” He decided to return to Crown Point for two reasons; to help his family and to start a career as an entrepreneur.
When thinking back on his athletic career at St. Mary’s as a youngster, Alex said, “I loved competition and the growth part of sports.” He also compared sports to business by drawing parallels between them; he enjoys the competition and growth found in each. At the age of 22 Alex was named the youngest top 25 agent in Northwest Indiana. Despite receiving this prestigious award, Alex decided that he needed something more fulfilling in his life. It was at this time, while reflecting on what he wanted most from life, that Alex started his Real Estate team. Since then, Alex’s team has grown to 8 agents and is one of the top real estate agencies in the area. Because of his success, the town reached out to Alex to put YouTube videos on “State of the City”. In these videos, Alex gives updates on what is happening in Crown Point and other parts of Northwest Indiana.
Mrs. Elizabeth Louis, A Life Well Lived - September 18, 2019
“A life well lived” sums up Elizabeth Louis life. Liz, called Mrs. Louis by the students at St. Mary School, is a 1933 graduate of the Catholic school in Crown Point. She celebrated her 100th birthday in April. One of the highlights of the school year is when she attends the student Mass at St. Mary’s. She comes each spring to inspire the third-grade students who make their first Holy Communion the Saturday before her visit. The pastor, Father Patrick Kalich, always gives Mrs. Louis the microphone and she encourages all the students, especially the first communicants to continue to come to church, just as she has throughout her entire life.
Liz was the next to youngest child in her family of seven children, 5 boys and 2 girls, all of whom attended St. Mary’s School. The family lived in a 2-story house on Nichols Street that her father helped build. She remembers playing ball in the two-way street and said that there was very little traffic on the street in those days.
Chef Chris Pappas Returns to Crown Point with Impressive Culinary Skills and Passion - August 19, 2019
Two words that sum up Chef Chris Pappas are passion and commitment. Chris is the owner and a full-time chef at Provecho, a fine dining establishment located in Crown Point. Chris holds a major stake in five local dining establishments including Pappas Restaurant, which was renovated 2014 when he took over from his father. Pappas Restaurant was Chris' second home growing up. Chris' passion is evident in his work ethic; he spends approximately 100 hours per week working at the restaurants. Chris is also a dedicated employer, believing in the importance of providing benefits to his 150 employees, a practice that is very rare in the restaurant industry.
Chris is a 2004 graduate of St. Mary Catholic Community School in Crown Point. He continued his education at Crown Point High School and then studied at Purdue University. His parents always stressed the importance of a good education. During his sophomore year at Purdue, he spent time immersed in the kitchen learning the foundations necessary for cooking. He always knew that he’d be in the restaurant business and thought that learning about the kitchen would make him an overall better restauranteur. It was at this time that Chris discovered his passion for creating food. He learned that he liked to expand upon the basics of cooking by learning the history and culture behind different cuisines.
St. Mary's School - St. Mary's Graduate Accepts Position at Top Secret Space Division of Lockheed Martin - June 12, 2019
Joey Mucha graduated from St. Mary Catholic Community School in 2011 and Andrean High School in 2015. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Cybersecurity from Purdue University - West Lafayette this past May. Mucha has a strong desire to help others and believes that his challenging Catholic education and faith formation helped him secure his new Cybersecurity job in the Space Division of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Joey will soon be working on classified projects involving space exploration for Lockheed Martin. He will begin on July 22 and plans to live in a suburb of Philadelphia.
St. Mary's School - St. Mary's Alumnus Returns to School to Share Message of Kindness - June 12, 2019
On Wednesday, May 29th, St. Mary Catholic Community School graduate (class of 2016), Elizabeth Gonzalez, returned to her Alma mater to deliver a simple but powerful message. The theme of the presentation given to the 4th thru 7th grade students was...BE KIND. "The feeling I get when I am presenting is entirely energizing. Knowing that I am fueling the fire of the next generation of kindness is one of my biggest joys in life," Gonzalez stated. After interacting with the students, Gonzalez moved the group outside to continue the memorable experience. Each student was provided with an environmentally friendly balloon. As the song "Brave" by Sara Bareilles was played in the background, Gonzalez told the students, "As we let go of the balloons, it symbolizes letting go of the past of unkindness. As you release the balloon it serves as a pledge to continue a life of unwavering kindness."
Home and School Assocation / Crown Point Community Foundation Scholarship
Two Scholarships for high school chool graduates are available through the Crown Point Community Foundation annually. The $500 scholarships are funded by St. Mary’s Home and School Association. Students applying will have to complete the 2021 Scholarship Application, which will open on Jan. 8, 2021 and close on Feb. 19, 2021. There will be a link on this website, thecpcf.org/scholarships, or applicants may log on to cpcfscholars.communityforce.com. Students can also view a complete listing of scholarships administered by the CPCF on our website. Students will be able to start applying on Jan. 8, 2021.
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SMS Alumni Class of 1904
Graduation Class of 1918 at St. Mary's School
Sisters of St. Mary's - 1916
September 15, 2007 Reunion
Please visit the St. Mary’s School CP Alumni page on Facebook to view the entire photo collection.