Tomorrow’s Work Force virtual event celebrates Catholic education

By Megan Erbacher

The Message assistant editor

Dr. Bradley Scheu credits his Catholic education for being the cornerstone of his career and life. 

An Evansville native, Scheu grew up in Holy Rosary Parish and is a member of the Reitz Memorial High School Class of 2003. He serves as Deaconess Health Care’s Medical Director of Primary Care.

On Oct. 1, Scheu was one of five area business professionals to be part of a panel discussion for Evansville Catholic high school students during the virtual Building Tomorrow’s Work Force event. The program, which was virtual because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, recognizes the 2020 Leadership Award honorees — 15 each from Mater Dei and Reitz Memorial high schools — selected based on their essay, academics and community service.

"Our young adults have the opportunity and good ideas to shape the future of our community, industry and the Catholic Church,” Scheu said.

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel addressed attendees via video, and he congratulated all nominees for their accomplishments. Bishop Siegel told students he is proud of their efforts, and he also acknowledged local business leaders who support Evansville Catholic high schools.

The bishop prayed that through the assistance of business and civic leaders supporting Catholic education, Diocesan schools can help form the next generation to be faithful and productive citizens.

In addition to Scheu, the panel discussion included:

  • Femi D-Etti, Vice President and General Manager of the AstraZeneca Mount Vernon Operation
  • Matthew Finn, Senior Vice President, Director of Portfolio Management and Chief Economist for Old National Wealth Management, based in Evansville
  • Sean Georges, General Counsel, Board Secretary and Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Shoe Carnival, Inc., headquartered in Evansville
  • Daniela Vidal, Chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Evansville Campus

The 2020 Tomorrow’s Work Force Scholarship awards a $1,000 college scholarship to one student from each high school. The recipients are Mater Dei senior Meredith Hagarty and Reitz Memorial senior Samuel Syroney.

Hagarty and her family are members of St. Philip Parish in Posey County. She maintains a 3.7 grade-point average at Mater Dei and plans to study public relations, community outreach or communications in college.

“I entered Mater Dei High School expecting to learn,” Hagarty wrote in her essay. “I am prepared to leave Mater Dei High School ready to serve as a student, a leader and a scholar. For that, I am truly grateful.”

Syroney and his family are members of Good Shepherd Parish. He keeps a 3.7 grade-point average at Reitz Memorial and plans to study government or law in college.

“Memorial High School will always be a cornerstone of my personhood,” Syroney wrote in his essay. “My faith has been strengthened. I have made long-lasting friendships. I have learned to lead. I have developed confidence in myself. All of these aspects will forever be a fundamental part of building my future and it all came from within those sturdy 1925 walls.”

The 2020 Leadership Award honorees are:

Mater Dei – Hagarty, Julia Dassel, Emma Elfreich, Danielle Gries, Olivia Hamilton, Blaise Kelley, Sydney Maasberg, Kylie Mitchell, Leah Richey, Chris Reising, Mina Reising, Allie Rusk, Alison Schimmell, Jordan Seiler and Mallory Weber.

Reitz Memorial – Syroney, Olivia Anderson, Abigail Burger, Ava Edwards, Madison Gicale, Adelyn Holt, Aaliyah Moran, Lila Newkirk, Tierney O’Daniel, Margaret Schulten, Sadie Schulz, Meredith Stratma, Emma Tempco, Margo Throop and Audrey Vonderahe.

Since Tomorrow’s Work Force program started in 2001, sponsors in the greater Evansville business community have helped raise more than $1.5 million to support Evansville Catholic high schools.