Last week at the 2022 St. Francis de Sales Awards Convocation, the Most Reverend William E. Koenig, Bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington, honored our amazing seniors with the St. Francis de Sales Medal. A Saint Francis de Sales Outstanding Catholic School Senior is recognized for excellence in faith development, scholarship, service and leadership.
Congratulations to Ashlanda Bannerman, Cassidy Becker, Arundhati Dole, Mary Katherine Dorsey, Esosa Ediae, Erin Fitzgerald, Emily Malone, Margaret Morris, Julia Querey and Clare Yeatman.
Meet Padua Academy's 2022 St. Francis de Sales Medal Recipients!
One teacher’s words in describing Ashlanda ring so true for all of us. Ashlanda, who travels about 70 minutes each way between her home and Padua, serves our community very much in a “ministry of presence.” A Student Council Executive Officer, a leader in our Black Student Union Organization, and active in our IDEA (Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Awareness) Club, she is truly a leader in setting the tone among her peers. The authenticity and maturity she brings to discussions are always appreciated as she works to include, and to challenge, both her classmates and the Padua community at large. She is the essence of our motto, “Softly but Strongly.” In addition to her involvement at Padua, Ashlanda continues to be active at Holy Cross Parish where she has served several years as a peer leader to the confirmation class. Ashlanda will attend Fordham University next year in what she hopes is the first step toward becoming an attorney.
It has been stated that Cassidy is the type of student that educators are drawn to because she can carry herself during intellectual conversations. She pursues difficult questions and seriously ponders the answers. One teacher reported that he could find himself in a conversation with Cassidy about a previous evening’s basketball game only to find the conversation switching to behavioral economics moments later. For the past two summers, Cassidy has been involved as an intern with The Character Lab out of the University of Pennsylvania. She has shown commitment to their work, providing her perspective on their research and the development of their interventions. A young woman who believes in seeing the good in everyone and sharing that attitude with our entire community, she has served as a Eucharistic Minister and is an encouraging teammate on the Cross Country, Winter Track, and Spring Track Teams. Cassidy will be enrolling at the University of Delaware this Fall in a pre-PA track.
Arundhati is service-oriented, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial, all while exhibiting the academic excellence that has led to her being named one of Padua’s four co-valedictorians for the Class of 2022. She has already pursued college-level research, funded by the National Science Foundation, assisting with the programming of robots to help children with developmental delays; she has also assisted a post-doc student at Cambridge University with a project on children’s false memories that has led to an article awaiting possible publication. With some extra time due to COVID restrictions, Arundhati worked to raise money for the Choir School of Delaware, a school that provides academic tutoring and music lessons to students with limited resources, by virtually playing requested songs on the piano in exchange for donations to the school. Active in our music ministry program, Arundhati also serves on Padua’s Blue-Gold Board and is an ambassador to the DFRC Blue Gold Program. For the last two years, she has also been a member of Padua’s Cross Country, and Winter and Spring Track Teams. Arundhati will attend Northwestern University with plans to study Psychology and Applied Mathematics.
Mary Katherine (Katie) Dorsey
Known to us as Katie, she exemplifies the essence of the Salesian ideal to “Be who you are and to be that perfectly well.” A fierce, but humble, competitor, Katie served as captain of our State Champion Cross Country, Winter Track, and Spring Track Teams. She is a two-time D1 individual Cross Country State Champion and has achieved individual State Champion Honors in events in both Winter, and Spring, Track competition.
A Student Council Executive Officer, a Blue Gold Board Member, a member of the PATV staff, and an active member in our Campus Ministry Program both as a facilitator of worship and as an Encounter leader, Katie has been a valuable asset to our community. Another of our four co-valedictorians in the Class of 2022, Katie is also very creative, running her own business, mkdcreates, selling pieces of art through an Instagram account. Katie will attend, and compete, for the University of Virginia in the Fall. She intends to major in Kinesiology.
It has been noted that Esosa has the optimism of a 6-year-old on Christmas Eve and the motivation of an Olympic athlete. Esosa, another of the four co-valedictorians for the Class of 2022, has set a positive example at Padua by helping to cultivate the sisterhood of our community with her willingness to work to make Padua the best it can be for all of our students. She is a loyal friend who consistently supports other students by assisting them as they prepare for tests and lifting their spirits when needed. A member of our basketball team, who also competes at the club level, Esosa has served as President of our HOSA club, volunteered as a Student Ambassador to give tours to prospective families, participated in the activities of our Blue Gold Club, and competed in various math and science competitions such as MathWorks. In addition, Esosa has served as an intern at the Character Lab affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. Although not settled on her college as yet, Esosa intends to pursue a career in the medical sciences.
A three-year Class Officer, a leader within Music Ministry, an Encounter Team Leader, a participant in the Padua Theater Program, Erin’s dedication to the Padua four S’s – Spirituality, Scholarship, Service and Sisterhood – is unmatched. She does not shy away from living her faith and sharing her joy with others in all that she does. She uses her kindness and strength to lead with vulnerability and empathy, always encouraging her classmates to do their best. One teacher commented that her recognition that she is “only one part of the whole” allows her heart of service to come through. Erin is a trained peer counselor, working extensively with Sean’s House in Newark, and has been a student leader in Padua’s related Mental Health Awareness Club, SL24. In addition to these activities, Erin still finds time to work in a children’s aftercare program. Erin will attend the University of Delaware this Fall to study Human Services with a focus in Family and Child Psychology.
The fourth of the co-valedictorians for the Class of 2022, Emily is noted for being dependable, hardworking, always positive, and encouraging of others. She has served as one of Padua’s representatives on the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington’s Youth Leadership Team. Emily has participated in activities spanning her scope of interests from dance to stage crew to Cybersecurity. She has been an active member of the Padua Campus Ministry Team – serving as a leader of prayer and at class retreats. She has also been a leader for the Agape Club – advocating for, and educating others, on issues of mental health, inclusivity, and acceptance. Emily has served as the two-year editor of the Padua360 on-line magazine, leading the Multimedia Journalism class in the updating of the news feed presented in this format. Always with a focus on her true love, aviation, Emily has served as a volunteer at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover. Emily will attend the United States Air Force Academy and study aeronautical engineering.
Margaret (Maggie) Morris
Incredibly mature and willing to engage with her peers as an academic, a volunteer, and a leader, Maggie serves our community this year as a Student Council Executive Officer. A member of the Padua Cross Country, Winter Track, and State Champion Soccer Teams, Maggie also competes as a member of a club soccer program. This year, through her participation in a dual-credit course offered with the University of Delaware, Maggie, in conjunction with her partner, represented Padua in the Semi-Final round of the Diamond Challenge, pitching their corporate idea, Two Birds, a company looking to connect grocery stores with schools serving underprivileged populations that are in need of steady food deliveries. Maggie, with her eye ever on service to others, has actively participated in Girl Scouting for twelve years. Maggie will attend the University of Delaware in the Fall majoring in an as yet unspecified field of engineering.
Julia is an exemplary student athlete. Captain of this year’s Cross Country, Winter Track, and Spring Track Teams, Julia has earned All-State Recognition as a part of multiple relay teams. At the 2022 Indoor Track Championship, Julia was recognized with the Student-Athlete Academic Award. While awards, honors, and accolades are nice, in Julia’s eyes they are secondary to being a good person. Her primary focus has always been on creating a positive and inclusive atmosphere for our community. Julia has been a leader in our Students in Action program, which is a group of students charged with coordinating service opportunities for fellow students. She has served as a Board member for our Blue-Gold organization, and has been active in Campus Ministry serving as a Eucharistic Minister and as an Encounter Leader this year. Julia will be attending the University of Delaware this Fall majoring in Biological Sciences.
Clare has made outstanding contributions in the classroom, in our faith community, and on the stage at Padua. She has been active in Music Ministry throughout her four years and regularly contributed vocal recordings to aid in the pre-recorded worship programs used in our community during the pandemic. She shined not only as a performer in several musical theater productions but also as a student producer for our most recent production of The Little Mermaid. Clare has been an Executive Board member for our Blue-Gold organization and has represented Padua as an ambassador in the DFRC’s Blue-Gold program. Additionally, Clare has been one of Padua’s representatives on the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington’s Youth Leadership Team, and served as an Encounter team leader this year. Clare will attend St. Joseph’s University in the Fall in preparation for a career in education.