Diocesan high schools graduate 325

By The Message staff

Over the weekend of May 18-19, the Diocese of Evansville’s four Catholic high schools graduated 325 students. Rivet High School in Vincennes and Washington Catholic High School held commencement ceremonies on May 18 at their respective schools. Mater Dei and Reitz Memorial high schools held their commencements on May 19 at the Old National Events Plaza.

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel awarded diplomas to all of the graduates, and he encouraged them to stand out — by living as disciples of Jesus in such a way that people will notice them.

Mater Dei’s 138 graduating seniors turn their tassels.

He began his remarks by thanking graduates’ parents for making the sacrifices necessary to enable their children to receive a Catholic education. He also thanked the priests, faculty and staffs of the schools for their work.

The bishop called high school graduation the beginning of a new chapter for each graduate. He encouraged them to rely on their spiritual formation and growth to make choices that are moral and ethical.

Bishop Siegel reminded graduates that Jesus will be with them always to guide and protect them, and he urged them to stay close to Christ through Mass, the sacrament of Reconciliation, daily prayer, and involvement in ministries on campus or in their parishes. Bishop Siegel closed by asking for the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and patroness of our diocese, that Jesus would continue to bestow on graduates every grace and good gift they will need to live full and meaningful lives.

Administrators from our four high schools have reported to Diocesan Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daryl Hagan that their seniors have earned more than $20.6 million in scholarship awards, and the number continues to climb slightly.

Mater Dei High School, Evansville

Mater Dei graduated 138 seniors. Valedictorians for the Class of 2019 include Claire Adler, Jenna Fehrenbacher, Rachel Fisher, Grace Friona, Andrew Heldman, Darian Kuhn, Zachary Norman, Payton Pokorney and Jenna Zirkelbach.

Reitz Memorial High School, Evansville

Reitz Memorial graduated 147 seniors. Valedictorians for the Class of 2019 include Rachel DeLancey, Davis Howell, Nicole Neisen and Carly Scheu.

Memorial President John Browning awarded the Distinguished Service Award to James and Janice Hummel for their more than 60 years of support to the high school.

Memorial students invited Father Tyler Tenbarge, associate pastor of St. Boniface Parish, to offer remarks to the Class of 2019. During his guest speech, Father Tyler talked about many memories the graduates may be celebrating as high school comes to an end.

“As Catholics we’re pretty good at remembering,” he said. “We’ve got that down. In fact, it’s what much of our faith is based on. We celebrate the memorial of the death and resurrection of our Lord every time we gather . . . . All He asks for us to do is to remember. As you leave one chapter of your life and you move to the next that the Lord is added to your memory. Perhaps he’s already there.”

Rivet High School, Vincennes

Rivet graduated 20 seniors. Valedictorians for the Class of 2019 include Savannah Cook, Katie Niehaus, Molly Niehaus and Grace Waggoner. The Class of 2019 Salutatorian is Colten Mouzin.

Washington Catholic High School, Washington

Washington Catholic graduated 20 seniors. Paloma Atilano is the Class of 2019 Valedictorian. Class of 2019 Salutatorians include Maggie Birks and Emily Fields.

Mater Dei Student Council honors Jonah Kunkler


The Mater Dei High School Student Council has honored Senior Jonah Kunkler as the 2018-19 Outstanding Citizen of Mater Dei-ville. Kunkler received the award during the May 3 Honor’s Day Awards Ceremony at the school.

Jonah Kunkler

As explained during the ceremony, members of the Mater Dei Student Council nominate and vote on the winner of the prestigious award. In making the award, the student council recognized Kunkler as “thoughtful, caring, and compassionate. He participates in numerous extra-curricular activities. But being busy never keeps him from stopping to help his classmates and teachers whenever he can. (He) truly exemplifies all the qualities of a good citizen.”

Kunkler is the son of Bill and Julia Kunkler of Evansville.