In celebration of Catholic Education Week, May 4-8, the York Catholic District School Board is proud to announce its 2015 Distinguished Alumni. Each year the Board selects six graduates from its secondary schools who have gone on to make significant and unique contributions in their respective careers and communities.
Announced each year at the beginning of Catholic Education Week, the campaign includes profiles of the “Distinguished Alumni” on posters, which are widely distributed across York Region. Past recipients of this honour include: Artistic Director, Chris Abraham; Actress, Paula Brancati; Reporter, Cristina Tenaglia; Cancer Activist, Lindsay Bolger; and Television Personality, Dina Pugliese.
The York Catholic District School Board is pleased to announce the 2015 Distinguished Alumni:
Below are the full profiles for each of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni.
A graduate of Cardinal Carter CHS, Private Caroline Balogh is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Unit. She has also worked for the Ceremonial Guard as a musician for the Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Private Balogh began playing the trumpet in Grade 9 thanks to the encouragement of her music teacher, James Hilts. She played in the band throughout her time at Cardinal Carter CHS and performed the Last Post during her school’s Remembrance Day ceremonies. Private Balogh emphasized that the virtues of compassion, responsibility, courage, and unity are the foundation of her Catholic faith, guiding her work both at school and in the military. Private Balogh said she is grateful that her work in the Canadian Armed Forces has given her the opportunity to form friendships and to work with people from many different backgrounds across Canada. She said, “Our Canadian Armed Forces do important work around the world and I am very proud to represent our great nation.”
A member of the first graduating class of Father Bressani CHS, Anna Caravaggio is the Senior Global Marketing Director for Johnson & Johnson Inc. Anna credits her teacher, Brian O’Sullivan, for fuelling her interest in History. This in turn sparked her passion for understanding human behaviour, a trait essential to marketing. She thanks her teacher, Kathryn Rikely for igniting her love of learning and debating, skills she utilizes at work to find creative solutions. “Marketing is a fusion of analytical and creative thinking,” said Anna. “In high school I loved History and English, as well as Math, but I did not know exactly what I wanted to do. In retrospect, marketing was always a good fit for me.” In her role at Johnson & Johnson Inc., Anna is responsible for over $500 million in annual revenue and for developing global strategies. She has travelled around the world on business, but despite her many career demands, her two sons have always remained her priority. “My faith plays a strong role in helping me get through the ups and downs of life and work. Having faith in one’s self and faith in God provides a guiding light in my life.”
Evan Cinq-Mars, a graduate of St. Augustine CHS, is a Research Analyst with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Located in New York, he conducts research and advocates at the United Nations to enhance protection of civilians from genocide and other mass atrocities, travelling to conflict zones to report on these problems. His passion for his work took root in Grade 11 when he read Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, by Roméo Dallaire, retired Canadian Armed Forces Lieutenant-General. So moved by this book, Evan founded a chapter of STAND, a student-led advocacy group at St. Augustine CHS, where the Club’s 35 members organized letter writing campaigns and raised awareness about the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Evan was also a member of the St. Augustine CHS mock trial, Reach for the Top, hockey, and volleyball teams. He thanks his parents, friends, and teachers, Heather Chalmers and Vince Tomei, for supporting his interests. Evan emphasized the school’s Global Issues and World Religions courses gave meaning to the importance of understanding others, and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Father Neiman D’Souza is a graduate of St. Vincent de Paul CES and Father Michael McGivney CA. He was named ‘most likely to be a priest’ in his elementary school yearbook. He was after all, an Altar Server at Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church. Now a priest for the Archdiocese of Toronto, Fr. Neiman is the Associate Pastor at St. Patrick’s Parish in Markham, where in addition to celebrating Mass, he provides faith-filled guidance for students, staff, and parishioners. “Serving my former teachers and people who I know in the community, further motivates me to give back,” Fr. Neiman said. “I want to remind students to enjoy all of the opportunities their schools provide, in particular, the social and spiritual aspects; there’s more to school than course work.” A strong proponent of the school-home-parish relationship, Fr. Neiman remembers a friar who would visit his Elementary School to prepare students for Confirmation. Fr. Neiman also remembers the impact of his World Religions teacher, Eugene Pivato, as a formative experience where he was encouraged to further his interests in theology. In University, he knew he was called to help others, but it was not until a friend suggested he become a priest, that he reconciled his true vocation with his childhood ambitions, and entered St. Augustine Seminary.
A graduate of Sacred Heart CHS, Caroline Keenan is an Education Specialist with UNICEF. She has worked in support of national governments as well as international and local organizations reopening schools following the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone and Liberia. She has also assisted with reopening schools following political and natural disasters in South Sudan, Haiti, and other countries. In the wake of the Ebola outbreak, Caroline provided training in schools on Ebola prevention and assisted with the development of reference materials, and protocols. Caroline’s work has been instrumental in dispelling myths, relaying information about preventative hygienic measures, and working to ensure schools have the necessary resources available, including soap and water for hand washing. Following various political and natural disasters, Caroline assisted with erecting tents as temporary learning spaces and provided home-based learning materials for children who could not attend school. Caroline keeps her Catholic values at the center of her work while helping others. She emphasized, “My Catholic education was based on principles of openness, understanding, and empathy. In high school I was taught the difference between charity and social justice. Striving for social justice means helping all children access the education they deserve.”
Christopher Morris is a graduate of St. Brother Andre CHS. He is the Artistic Director and founder of Human Cargo, a crosscultural theatre company that produces socially and politically pertinent theatre exploring current human issues. He has also acted for the National Arts Centre and Stratford Festival. Christopher’s passion for acting began in Grade 9 when his teachers, Dan Baird and Brother Steven Fatum encouraged him to perform in the school play. Christopher credits his World Religions and World Issues classes for instilling his curiosity about the larger world, and fostering a desire to serve and help others. “As Canadians, I believe we have to be more involved in our world and exposed to world issues -- human issues,” he said. Human Cargo unites multicultural theatre artists, who produce thought-provoking bilingual productions in Toronto and the actors’ native communities, thus exposing audiences in geographically distant regions to important issues. Often actors learn new languages as part of the production and surtitles are used to assist the audience. Christopher has created theatre productions in Nunavut, Israel, the Republic of Georgia, China, Iceland, Greenland, Pakistan and Afghanistan.