Students win the Eagle of the Cross Awards | News, Sports, Work


Their exemplary example of caring and service to others has now gained the recognition of the elderly through the Eagle of the Cross award from the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.

According to a press release from the Office of the Ministry of Youth and Adult Youth, the award is given to teens in the six counties of the diocese. “who model Christian discipleship and illustrate the qualities of moral integrity, prayer, good works, and Christian leadership in their school and parish communities.”

29 recipients, selected either for their outstanding involvement in their parish and largest community or in a Catholic diocesan school, will receive their awards from the Youngest. David J. Bonnar, Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, during a ceremony from 6: 30-8: 30 pm May 2 at St. Columba Cathedral in Youngstown. The event will include the evening prayer presided over by Bishop Bonnar and light refreshments to be attended in the hall of St. Columba.

Sam, Grace and Nick are the recipients for Columbiana County. Other counties in the diocese include Ashtabula, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull. Catholic high schools represented include the Central Catholic Canton and St. Thomas Aquinas in Stark, Cardinal Mooney and Ursuline in Mahoning, John F. Kennedy in Trumbull, and St. Louis. John in Ashtabula.

Grace Leslie

The award was established by the National Federation for the Ministry of Catholic Youth and presented to the diocese in 1999.

The three local recipients said they were surprised by the award, but also humbled and honored to be praised for what they have done, for their faith.

“I help where I can,” said Sam.

The 17-year-old Salem High School was named by three parishioners, Donna Dermotta, Fritz Schlueter and Frank Zamarelli. An altar server since he remembers, he attended St. Paul from preschool to third grade, then Salem schools.

His school activities include group, Key Club, National Honor Society, Buckeye Boys State, football, wrestling and previously track. He is at the next school show Bye Bye Birdie this weekend as Mr. Johnson and also as stage manager and has played before “Charlotte’s Website” at school and “Ani” on the stage of the Salem Community Theater.

Nick Bryan

Sam said getting involved in the show is fun, he can meet new people and learn about them “Going beyond your comfort level.” He said an actor can say the lines of a character and do what they do or can do “Create a character.”

As a minister of the altar in the church, he recalls growing up and seeing how older ministers ministered and served as role models for the young. Now it is his turn.

“I’m put in that position to be a role model and an example.” he said.

He is on call if the church needs an extra server, has done a wedding, helped mentor the two young men serving their first Mass, and most recently served a Mass with Bishop Bonnar in St. Louis. He has also helped in other churches, previously sung in the youth choir and even played his trumpet for a Christmas Eve Mass at St. Patrick’s in Leetonia. He helped during a recent retired dinner for the former pastor, Rev. Fr. Robert Edwards.

As an Eagle Scout with St. Paul Truop 6, he installed a wheelchair swing at Waterworth Memorial Park.

“My parents have emphasized the importance of the church, going to Mass on Sunday and getting involved in your church and community.” said Sam.

He has two younger sisters, Annika and Chaya, and plans to attend Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. In the fall to study welding engineering technology. After college, he can choose the officer training school in Rhode Island.

“I’m really proud of the young boy Sam has become. He has a strong Catholic faith as well as a call to serve others and his community. “These qualities will be important as he prepares to begin the next phase of his life.” said his father Eric.

Sam’s mother, Holly added, “I’m very proud of Sam and everything he has achieved. Sam is a bright light in every room and he has a kind and humble spirit. “His reverence for God and his steadfast Catholic faith have always fascinated me at a young age.”

Nick and Grace, both 18, grew up together in St. Louis. Both were formerly ministers of the altar and now serve as lecturers during Mass. Their youth group adviser, Diane Brown, nominated them for the Eagle of the Cross award.

In 2019 and again in 2021, Nick and Grace both attended the National Conference of Catholic Youth, which was held in Indianapolis, Ind.

“That was super cute,” said Grace.

She also explained that the experience helped her understand more about her faith, which has a more meaningful meaning to her right now. As a server, she followed in the footsteps of her older brother Luke. Her younger brothers and sisters, Paul and Haley, also serve. Faith is strong in all of them.

At school, Grace’s activities include 4-H, FFA (Future Fermers of America), National Honor Society, basketball and volleyball. The church youth group is very active and planned to hold an Easter egg hunt this weekend for the youngest children in the parish. She said it means a lot to her that someone noticed the hard work she was doing in church.

For Grace, to serve means to be “Able to share my faith with young people and young people in the community and serve as an example to them.”

Her advice to others? “Do not be ashamed of your faith, it is something to be proud of.” she said.

Grace wants to be a teacher and plans to graduate from high school education at the University of Ashland.

Grace’s parents, Matt and Renee, had this message for their daughter, “We’ve seen with fear and admiration as you grow into the person you are today and we’re looking forward to seeing what you become. With your talent and determination, you can do anything. We’re grateful for the leadership it has given you. “led your journey to receive this award. We are very proud of you !!”

Nick has previously participated in football and school track and is a member of the FFA and serves as president of his 4-H club, raising pigs for the fair. He is in the early school release program so he can work on the family farm, preparing for what he called “real life.”

He said it was his participation twice in the National Conference of Catholic Youth “impressive.” All the kids were there for the same reason he said he was “Some cute. You are not alone in your faith. “Everyone is there to help.”

Nick walked away with a deeper understanding and said the idea of ​​the conference is “To help connect with your faith and learn about faith.”

As the youngest of nine, with two brothers and six sisters, he had many examples to imitate when he grew up. His brother Adam and sister Emily both received the Eagle of the Cross award, but Nick said he had never really thought of that. He watched them go to the youth group and he has been very involved in the youth group. With his family, he said “You see faith almost everywhere you look.”

“It makes me feel like I’m living the right way. “It means a lot to me.” he said about the price.

He said people should not be discouraged by all the bad things in the news, he said evil is not everything.

“Keep trying. Have your strong faith. “ he said.

His future is the farm, where he plans to continue working with the family.

“We are very proud of the new boy who turns out to be Nick. He is very proud of his faith and follows his beliefs with all his heart. This award is such a wonderful achievement for him. “ “His mom and dad,” said his parents, Tonya and Earl.

The three students thanked those who nominated them.

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