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Rockford Mayor, internationally-based alumni among recipients

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Boylan Catholic High School will honor nine individuals who embody the spirit and mission of the school at the 10th annual Alumni Recognition Awards taking place this Thursday, October 4 at the school’s Bachrodt Center.

The following awards will be conferred to celebrate the outstanding personal and professional achievements of members of the Boylan community:

  • The Veritas, the school’s highest honor, recognizes alumni who exemplify Boylan’s mission of service in their community. It will be re-conferred on Mary Buscemi Gavan ’66, who retired from Boylan in June after more than 40 years of service to the school. Beginning as an English teacher in 1975, Gavan most recently held the role of Vice Principal of School Relations and was responsible for managing the school’s brand. Gavan is being recognized as an alumna who has embodied the school’s ideals of living the Catholic faith, lifelong learning, and service to others. The award was originally presented to Mary at the school’s Baccalaureate Mass in May.
  • Honorary Alumna status, which is given to a non-graduate who demonstrates the same qualities as the Veritas recipient, will be conferred on Jill Ballentyne Kapala, a devoted member of the Boylan community for nearly 20 years. Kapala, whose two daughters graduated from Boylan, has donated her time and talents to supporting the Boylan mission. In addition to her service to the school, Kapala is an active member of the Catholic community in Rockford, leading retreats and volunteering regularly at parishes throughout the diocese.
  • The Outstanding Teacher Award, which is given each year to a current or past faculty member who has displayed exemplary dedication and impact on their students, will be given to Katherine Keffer Walls ‘85, chair of Boylan’s mathematics department. Walls is being recognized for her commitment to her students, devotion to the school community, and enthusiasm in and out of the classroom. Her work has extended beyond the math department, mentoring new teachers, helping to establish Boylan’s LINK Crew for freshman orientation, and moderating Student Council and National Honor Society.
  • The Young Alumnus Award, given to alumni who have graduated within the last fifteen years, will be conferred on Megan Schneider ‘12. Schneider is serving as a Salesian Lay Missioner in Bolivia at the Hogar Maria Auxiliadora Orphanage, which provides a home for more than 40 girls ranging from 6 to 17 years old. She serves as a tutor, mentor, spiritual guide and caregiver for these young women.
  • The Alumni Excellence Award, given to alumni who make a difference in their community, church or business:
    • Lisa Trapani Frost ’88, nationally renowned artist and owner of Lisa Frost Studio in Rockford, has given more than 80 scholarships to art students throughout Northern Illinois through the proceeds generated by her FROST & FRIENDS community event.
    • Patrick Healy ’85, co-chief executive officer at private equity investment firm Hellman & Friedman, is a graduate of Harvard Business School and his investment activities have included Formula One, Nasdaq and PowerBar. Healy, who leads his firm’s European activities, is based in London and is traveling to Rockford specifically to receive this honor.
    • Earl Hernandez ’90, president of Rockford Titans Jr. Tackle Football and Cheer program, has made it possible for hundreds of kids throughout the region to participate in youth sports and experience life as a Titan athlete. The program emphasizes discipline, honesty, integrity, and work ethic.
    • Frank LaFasto ’67, a former senior vice president at Cardinal Health, is the best-selling author of the books "Teamwork," "How Teams Work Best," and "The Humanitarian Leader in Each of Us." LaFasto volunteers his time each year to provide the students in Boylan’s leadership class with the same training that he conducts for Fortune 500 companies.
    • Thomas McNamara ’01, mayor of the City of Rockford, is a devoted public servant and staunch advocate of the Rockford region. Prior to his election as mayor, McNamara served as Rockford’s 3rd Ward Alderman, introducing and sponsoring key legislation to invest in neighborhoods, make the community safer, and protect taxpayer dollars.

“We are extremely proud of the recipients of this year’s alumni awards,” said Boylan President Amy Ott. “The individuals honored truly exemplify the mission and values of Boylan Catholic High School.”

The Alumni Recognition Awards will be begin with a cocktail reception at 6:45 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 7:15 p.m. The event is open to all.

Boylan mission statement graphic

(815) 877-0531
4000 Saint Francis Drive
Rockford, Illinois 61103-1661

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