Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Tomorrow's Work Force Program Honors Student Leaders

Leadership Scholarship recipient Mary Claire Hall from Reitz Memorial High School. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

Forty high school seniors – 22 from Mater Dei High School and 18 from Reitz Memorial High School – emerged from the largest pool of applicants ever to earn Tomorrow’s Work Force Leadership Awards during the program’s 17th annual luncheon, which occurred on Sept. 5 at Old National Events Plaza in downtown Evansville. More than 400 attended the event, which included a keynote by Purdue University President and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

“This whole area is a place of special fondness,” Daniels told the crowd, after recalling that he had made more than 80 trips to the area as a “no-name candidate” and then as governor.

“Nothing could be as inspiring as listening to these young people,” he said, turning his attention to the Leadership Award honorees. “I hope and expect these graduates to become citizens with greater maturity than we have developed … that they will see and love their neighbors as creatures of dignity….”

Evansville Catholic High Schools launched what has become known as Tomorrow’s Work Force as a program to recognize student leaders for their work and initiative as active scholars and community volunteers. This year, student response was greater than ever – 75 students from Mater Dei and Reitz Memorial applied and submitted essays for consideration.

One honoree from each school received a $1,000 Leadership Scholarship from the program. The 2017 recipients are Kathryn Muensterman of Mater Dei and Mary Claire Hall of Reitz Memorial.

2017 committee chairs Matt Folz of Harding Shymanski & Co., PSC, and Daniela Vidal of the University of Southern Indiana noted in their opening remarks that, since Tomorrow’s Work Force began, sponsors have provided $1.5 million in support of Evansville Catholic High Schools.

The EVCHS also presented the Father Raymond Kuper Service Award to two individuals who exemplify the late Father Kuper’s commitment to youth and Catholic education. This year’s winners include the late Robert Hargrave, a member of the Reitz Memorial class of 1938; and the late James Will Sr., a member of the Mater Dei Class of 1951.

Hargrave quarterbacked Memorial’s 1936 and 1937 undefeated football teams, and also played quarterback at the University of Notre Dame. After serving in the Navy, he returned to Evansville and went into banking, eventually serving as President of Citizens National Bank. The new football field at Memorial is named Bob Hargrave Field in his honor.

Will was among the first students to attend Mater Dei when it opened in 1949. He met his wife Eileen at Mater Dei. After their wedding, he founded the James L. Will Insurance Agency. Throughout his adult life, Will made Mater Dei a priority in his works of service. He and Eileen are honored in Sisters of St. Benedict Prayer Garden on the Mater Dei campus.

Father Ed Schnur, Pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Poseyville and Saint Wendel Parish in Saint Wendel, serves as priest-delegate to Mater Dei. Benedictine Father Godfrey Mullen, Rector of St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville, serves as priest-delegate to Reitz Memorial. They introduced the Leadership Award honorees from each school to the crowd.

Mater Dei High School honorees

Aaron Abell, Olivia Barnes, Jack Berendes, Elaina Bradley, Kelsey Brown, Sydney Brust, Abbey Chapman, Anna Claybon, Claudia Duncan, Hayden Folz, Tyler Hilgeman, Anna Hoefling, Kendall Hurt, Hannah Kissel, Grace McDurmon, Kathryn Muensterman, Caitlin Pellant, Alexis Price, Ashley Reine, Nicole Richmond, Caroline Schulteis and Nathan Seiler.

Reitz Memorial High School honorees

Neil Ackerman, Drew Alexander, Meredith Beaven, Jennifer Beckman, Elizabeth “Annie” David, Olivia Edwards, Carlie Elpers, Mary Claire Hall, Angelo Howa, Matthew Kiesel, Sophia Mazzocco, Max Meuth, Samantha Pauli, Matthew Schadler, Mary Margaret Schiff, Kailyn Stone, Mary-Kate Wesley and Sam Winiger.