On May 21, at the Sunday morning Masses, the annual St. Timothy Awards were presented to five high school students in our community. Madeline Short, Malayna Kinney, Olivia Taylor, Sienna Deacon, and Nell Stawiarski are this year’s recipients of the award in recognition of their positive example in living out Christ-like discipleship throughout our community.
Judy Kreczmer selected the five recipients, and she emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the youth in our community and their efforts.
“They need all the positive reinforcement that they can get — actually, everyone needs that, because no one wants to feel that their efforts are not recognized,” Judy says. “Youth especially should be encouraged, whenever possible, so they know they are valued even at this early age. It also is an encouraging message to others who may want to serve as well, not just as youth but ongoing through their lives.”
The St. Timothy Award recognizes youth who live as disciples of Christ, are witnesses to their faith by exhibiting Catholic morals and integrity, demonstrate Gospel values through service, and exhibit leadership in parish, school, and community settings.
“You should notice in the description of each of these student’s particular service to their church, that each serves in many different ways to their family, school, and community,” Judy says. “We need to encourage that kind of well-rounded service. These girls serve not because they are getting service hour credit for school or church, but just for the sake of the service.”
Here are this year’s recipients:
11th grade, age 16, Somonauk High School
Madeline plays clarinet in the Bobcat Band in parades and concerts. She spent spring break this year in the Bobcat Band playing in concert at Universal Studios in Orlando. She is a member of National Honors Society, Students for Christ, and is a math tutor. Since third grade, Madeline has been a faithful altar server and has assisted the RE program for the last four years. She has helped set up bulletin boards, taken attendance, led students from school to church, and more. This fall, she served as a catechist assistant for the first grade and has taught the class on her own as well. She also participates in the Young Disciple mentoring program, Feed God’s Starving Children and serves breakfast for our “All You Can Eat” breakfast, which raises funds for church summer camps. Madeline has attended Camp Wow, Steubenville Youth Conferences and has been a youth leader at our church’s Summer Vacation Bible School for the past two years. Madeline is a quiet, respectful yet dynamic example to our youth here at St. John the Baptist.
11th grade, age 16, Leland High School
Malayna is a member of the Future Farmers Association, and she plays on the volleyball and the trap shooting teams. She has been a faithful altar server since third grade and participates in service projects at church, such as Feed My Starving Children and our Youth “All You Can Eat” fundraising event for Church Summer Camps. She participates in our summer camps, including Camp Wow and Steubenville Youth Conferences. She has also served as camp counselor at Camp Wow for the last two years. Malayna has been an RE aide for the program since seventh grade, helping out anywhere she is needed. For the past two years she has been the catechist for special needs students preparing for Confirmation in the fall of 2023. Even with all of these activities, she still finds time to be active in our Young Disciple mentoring group. Because she loves Jesus, she has led others in the group as well. Malayna also serves her community, volunteering at Harvest Fest and for community parades.
11th grade, age 16, Somonauk High School
Olivia is a member of the school volleyball, softball and cheerleading teams. She serves on the Leadership Council and is a member of the National Honor Society, the Prom Committee, Student Council and she is a Freshman Mentor. Olivia has been serving the RE Program as an aide since seventh grade, helping out anywhere she is needed. Because she worked closely with her mom, a catechist in our program, she has been able to substitute as a catechist when her mom was unavailable. Olivia has been serving as a lector at church for the RE Masses and Sacrament Masses for the last four years. She has been actively involved in church service projects such as Feed My Starving Children and our youth “All You Can Eat Breakfast” fundraising events to raise money for church summer camps. Olivia grew up a Girl Scout but her favorite hobbies outside of school include reading, shopping, softball, and she even finds time to work cleaning houses and routing calls to pizza places for Pizza Force.
10th grade, age 15, Somonauk High School
Sienna is a member of Future Farmers of America, Student Council, and plays on the girls’ basketball team. In her free time she loves being a part of 4-H, babysitting, playing with children and welding. Sienna shares her faith with her easy example to all she encounters. She has been a faithful altar server since fourth grade and for the last four years serves as an RE aide. She loves getting involved in our church service projects like Feed My Starving Children and our youth “All You Can Eat” breakfast fundraising event. Over the last two years she has served as a youth leader for our summer Vacation Bible School. She has served as a lector for RE for the last three years and requested to be added to our adult lector schedule. Sienna has also served as a camp counselor at the Dixon Valley Christian Summer Camp.
12th grade, age 17, Marquette Catholic Academy High School
Nell is active in her school’s youth group and has been invited to come back after graduation to a volunteer position helping to direct the youth group. At our church Nell has been an assistant catechist and this year she is our first-grade catechist. Nell quietly and enthusiastically teaches our students with her great example of faith and has volunteered to return to teach with us in the fall. She has a full schedule of babysitting in which she enjoys sharing her faith. Nell is also a great example for her friends. Many of them are drawn to her and look up to her for advice. Nell has been known to invite her friends to go to Mass with her on Sundays and they wholeheartedly accept.