The Catholic Star Herald — High School Senior Showcase 2017


Compiled by Mary Beth Peabody and Peter G. Sánchez

This is a special online-only addition to the Senior Showcase, Class of 2017, that was featured in this week’s print edition. The Catholic Star Herald asked graduates about their time in South Jersey’s Catholic high schools, and their next steps.

The students interviewed were:

Holy Spirit High School, Absecon

Lily Rose Cosgrove

Activities: Musicals, Art

Plans for the fall: Saint Joseph University, Philadelphia

Patrick MacDonald

Activities: National Honors Society, Ski Club

Plans for the fall: Stockton University, Galloway Township

Ryan Maslowas

Activities: Boy Scout, Math Tutoring

Plans for the fall: Embry Riddle Aeronautical University


Camden Catholic High School, Cherry Hill

Amanda Atkinson

Activities: Choir, Shakespeare Troupe, National Honor Society

Plans for the fall: Villanova University, Philadelphia, Pa

Derek Nuamah

Activities: Soccer, Student Government, Link Crew

Plans for the fall: The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Antonio Spinosi

Activities: Student Government, Soccer, Ethics Bowl Team

Plans for the fall: United States Air Force Academy


Gloucester Catholic High School, Gloucester City

Juliana Berardi

Activities: Student Council, Newspaper, Cheerleading

Plans for the fall: Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pa

Haley Finley

Activities: Cross Country, Liturgy Club, National Honor Society

Plans for the fall: Arcadia University, Glenside, PA

Daniel O’Shea

Activities: Student Council, Soccer, Ski Club

Plans for the fall: Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ


Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Newfield

Elizabeth Emberger

Activities: Crew, French club, National Honor Society, student council

Plans for the fall: University of Maryland, Baltimore County, MD

 Madison Hagerty

Activities: Softball, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, student government

Plans for the fall: Rosemont College, Rosemont, PA

Elizabeth Lam

Activities: Crew, track and field, National Honor Society, hospital volunteer

Plans for the fall: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA


Paul VI High School, Haddonfield

Patrick Bakey

Activities: Basketball, swimming, golf, student council

Plans for the fall: The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ

Norah Costello

Activities: Field hockey, lacrosse, basketball, National Honor Society, student ambassador, student council

Plans for the fall: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

James Towson

Activities: Student council, baseball, wrestling

Plans for the fall: Indiana University, Bloomington, IN


St. Augustine Prep, Richland

Damon Briggs, Jr.

Activities: Soccer, Interact club, medical club, Hermit Ambassadors, Big Brothers

Plans for the fall: Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA

Matthew Fisher

Activities: Track and field, student government, Classics club, Jerseymen club, youth group

Plans for the fall: Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.


St. Joseph High School, Hammonton

Olivia Craig

Activities: track, soccer, cross country, gymnastics, student government, National Honor Society, Interact club, foreign language club, prom committee, Consumer Bowl, Ambassador’s club, Liturgy Leaders

Plans for the fall: DeSales University, Center Valley, PA

Domenico “Nico” Marts

Activities: Golf, bowling

Plans for the fall: Pennco Tech, Blackwood, NJ

Sarah Matro

Activities: Basketball, soccer, field hockey

Plans for the fall: Delaware Valley University, Doylestown, PA


Wildwood Catholic High School, North Wildwood

Casey Manera

Activities: Softball, National Honor Society, crochet/knitting club

Plans for the fall: Unity College, Unity, ME

Maryanne Mathis

Activities: Mock trial, student council, yearbook, newspaper, art club, Academic Challenge, National Honor Society, retreat leader, campus ministry, track and cross country manager, peer leader

Plans for the fall: University of Scranton, Scranton, PA

Alexander Sakena

Activities: Soccer, golf, student council, transfer student liaison, National Honor Society, student ambassador, Academic Challenge

Plans for the fall: St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA


Tell us about your funniest high school memory.

“The funniest memory I have is the fact everyone always confuses me with my sister who is one year younger than me. It happens all the time!”- Madison Hagerty, Our Lady of Mercy Academy

“My funniest memory is playing volleyball in an inflatable Baymax Halloween costume!” – Elizabeth Emberger, Our Lady of Mercy Academy

“When the water fountain caught on fire. How ironic.”- Patrick MacDonald, Holy Spirit High School

“My funniest high school memory just happened. At the end of the school a group of us decided that we would “redecorate” our Philosophy teacher’s classroom. After many philosophical discussions, he turned our world upside down so we decided to return the favor by turning all the desks in his room upside down. This was our way of thanking him for everything he taught us in Religion and Philosophy.– Antonio Spinosi, Camden Catholic High School

What do you most appreciate about going to a Catholic high school?

“I like the Catholic atmosphere. I feel like the biggest disciplinary issues we encounter are uniform violations and lateness. I don’t know if it’s the administration or the teachers or the Catholic atmosphere, but I like that it’s this way. It [makes] school very friendly and inviting.”- Patrick Bakey, Paul VI High School

“I appreciated going to a Catholic high school because I was able to receive an education, based on the spiritual and moral principles found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, that will serve as the platform I use to launch myself into my future endeavors.”- Damon Briggs, St. Augustine Prep

“I appreciate the Catholic values I grew up learning, as well as the family-like atmosphere I’ve experienced during the past 12 years. I truly believe that going to Catholic School teaches you to respect others and how to treat one another.”- Sarah Matro, St. Joseph High School

“The freedom to express and practice my faith is the best thing about Catholic school.”- Maryanne Mathis, Wildwood Catholic High School

“I appreciate how I was able to grow and develop my faith in a nurturing environment.” Lily Rose Cosgrove, Holy Spirit High School

“Catholic High schools have an atmosphere where teachers are passionate about their job and always willing to help in any way possible.” – Ryan Maslowas, Holy Spirit

“What I appreciate most is how well Catholic school has prepared me for life beyond high school and college. Catholic school has also given me the opportunity to strengthen my faith and become closer to God, an opportunity I feel I would not have had if I went to public school.”- Haley Finley, Gloucester Catholic High School

What will you miss the most about high school?

“I will miss the cafeteria. Even my mom can’t gook as good as the lunch staff at Paul VI.”- Norah Costello, Paul VI High School

“The friends I’ve made throughout the years (who will hopefully stay in touch) and the teachers with whom I have formed special bonds, which go far beyond the classroom.”- Matthew Fisher, St. Augustine Prep

“I will miss the family atmosphere the most. After four years of high school, I’ve truly become so close with my classmates, as well as my teachers. I am going to miss being around them every day.” Olivia Craig, St. Joseph High School

“I will miss the belly laughs shared with my friends at lunch laughing at some kind of corny joke. I will miss being carefree in the hallways and enjoying each day… [in] the company of great people. I will miss all the relationships I’ve made with teachers and students.”- Casey Manera, Wildwood Catholic High School

“I will undoubtedly miss the wonderful privilege of seeing such incredible people each and every day. The people at Camden Catholic in particular possess an intangible quality that is impossible to replicate, and I will miss interacting with these wonderful individuals next year!” – Amanda Atkinson, Camden Catholic High School

Tell us one piece of advice you have for incoming freshmen.

“My advice is to cherish your years here. They go by fast.” Elizabeth Lam, Our Lady of Mercy Academy

“Be proud of who you are. Don’t change who you are so people will like you or you’ll fit in. Be yourself and you will find your friends and where you belong.” — James Towson, Paul VI High School

“Just be yourself. Come into freshman year and make the most out of it because high school flies by! Make new friends and step out of your comfort zone to explore new things. Do not hold back, follow your heart, and do not be afraid to fail.” — Nico Marts, St. Joseph High School

“Do as much as you can, and don’t shy away from it. If you are thinking about joining a club, go for it! If you want to play a sport just do it! It’s the best way to make friends. Good luck to all the freshmen!” — Alexander Sakena, Wildwood Catholic High School

“Get involved early and stay involved! For example, I joined the soccer team in the summer before my freshman year and the friendships I forged during training camp helped me seamlessly adjust to a high school where I knew less than 5 people. It is so invaluable to come in your freshman year with a friend group and people to rely on.” — Derek Nuamah, Camden Catholic High School

“Live every second of each day of high school with appreciation, fun, smiles, respect and love. These days go by so quickly and will be over before you even know it!”- Juliana Berardi, Gloucester Catholic High School

“Get involved!” — Daniel O’Shea, Gloucester Catholic High School