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February 2024 - DJ Mara

February 15, 2024
By DJ Mara

Full Name: DJ Mara

High School: Saint Paul Diocesan Junior/Senior High School

Graduation Year: 2022

Job Title: Political Communication Student at Emerson College

Other Affiliations: Student Journalist, Political Staffer

Briefly describe what you do for work/college. I graduated from Saint Paul in 2022 and took a gap year. During that gap year, I advanced myself both personally and professionally. I am now a first-year student pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication at Emerson College in Boston.

What advice do you have for current Saint Paul students to make the most of their experience at Saint Paul? My greatest advice for current students is to get involved while you are in high school. You will get out of your high school experience what you put into it. I gained some of the most beneficial experiences and have friends to this day from some of the clubs I got involved with at Saint Paul.

Who influenced you the most during your time at Saint Paul? Why? I learned so much from faculty, staff, and students alike, but I would have to say that Mr. St. John influenced me most during my time at Saint Paul. I got to work with Mr. St. John as a student in his Concepts in Leadership class, as well as a student leader on campus. In every one of our cross-sections at Saint Paul, Mr. St. John imparted upon me the ability to meet people where they are, to capitalize on my strengths, and taught me how to be a better leader and person.

What are your favorite memories at Saint Paul? There are so many memories I can recount during my time at Saint Paul. From club meetings to Open Houses, to Pep Rallies, to Homecoming and Prom, I truly had an amazing experience at Saint Paul. One particular event that was full-circle for me was A Knight’s Reception, held in March 2022. Legacy alumni were invited to Saint Paul to reconnect with friends old and new, and to see all the amazing things Saint Paul had to offer. At this event, I was asked to give a speech about what Saint Paul means to me. I spoke about my involvement on campus, as well as how my education has prepared me to go out into the real world. Giving that speech was a full circle moment for me, and it told the high school freshman in me, “Don’t worry– you have a home here.”

What do you value most from your time at Saint Paul? I value the many connections and friendships I made during my time at Saint Paul.

What is the most important thing you learned at Saint Paul? The most important thing that I learned at Saint Paul is that “it is not a building or an address that defines a school, but it is the people that help foster a school’s identity.” I was mentored by teachers and staff who made an effort to get to know every student, and who were always willing to lend a helping hand. I had the privilege to know peers and classmates who fostered lasting relationships both inside and outside the classroom. And all of this occurred while each of us grew in faith, morality, and learning how to be a functioning member of society.

Describe Saint Paul in three words. Diverse. Vibrant. Growing.

How did your education at Saint Paul prepare you for what you are doing in college and are doing today? I am currently a first-year student pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication at Emerson College in Boston. My education at Saint Paul has prepared me to meet people where they are, learn about their backgrounds and perspectives, and bring people together to create positive, lasting, and meaningful change.

What activities or sports were you involved in at Saint Paul? I had the honor of serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Saint Paul Gazette, as well as a Class Officer. I was also the Yearbook Editor, President of the Racial Equity Coalition, Orientation Leader, and a Student Ambassador. After graduating and during my gap year, I had the privilege of working as the Advancement Intern in the Saint Paul Advancement Office alongside Sherry Callahan, where I helped launch the Saint Paul Spirit Store, and assisted in facilitating Saint Paul’s first Giving Tuesday fundraiser.

What advice would you give current high school students pursuing a similar career path to your own? Whether you want to be a politician or a news anchor, or if those career paths scare you, I will leave you with the following advice: Political debates are here to stay, and in this world of hyper-partisan politics, we need to learn how to be more effective communicators. Stay true to your beliefs and stand up for them every day, but also be aware of when it is your turn to speak, and when it is your turn to listen.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old younger self? I would tell my 15-year-old self “Don’t sweat the small stuff. In the end, all that will matter is that you end high school in a better place than when you began.”

What is something people may not know about you? Something people may not know about me is that I work on three local political campaigns in Worcester while at college.
 

November 2022 - David Grenier

November 15, 2022
By David Grenier

ABOVE: David Grenier, Holy Name Class of 1973, pictured with his wife, Sue. 

 

Full Name: David Grenier

Former High School: Holy Name

Graduation Year: 1973

Job Title: High School Principal (Retired); Executive Chief of Staff, MA Air National Guard (Retired)

Other Affiliations: Bay Path School Committee, All Saints Academy Board of Trustees

Briefly describe what you do for work. I was a teacher for 18 years, Assistant Principal for 8 years, Principal for 7 years, and Head of School at All Saints Academy for 3 years. 

What advice do you have for current Saint Paul students to make the most of their experience at Saint Paul? Be involved in as many activities as you can. Experience challenges and learn to work as a team. You will have life-long friends!

Who influenced you the most during your time at Holy Name? Why? Mr. Bob Brady and Mr. John May. Mr. Brady and Mr. May knew how to interact with us and get the best out of their students. They were dedicated and cared deeply for their students.

What are your favorite memories of Holy Name? Participating in the musicals, 73 State basketball finals, and student government.

What do you value most from your time at Holy Name? The positive environment and interaction with all my friends. 50 years later still have contact with them. We are working together to get things done.

What is the most important thing you learned at Holy Name? Teamwork and respecting each other.

Describe Holy Name in three words. Family, Friendships, Prepared

How did your education at Holy Name prepare you for what you did in college and are doing today? Holy Name gave me the opportunity to experience leadership skills and teamwork that prepared me for a career in education and the military.

What activities or sports were you involved in at Holy Name? Student government and musicals

What advice would you give current high school students pursuing a similar career path to your own? Get involved and experience as many activities as you can.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old younger self? Do it the same way as the first time.

What is something people may not know about you? I completed 2 tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

October 2022 - Susan Manzello-Ivas

October 28, 2022
By Susan Manzello-Ivas, HN Class of 1973

Full Name: Susan Manzello-Ivas

Former High School: Holy Name

Graduation Year: 1973

Job Title: Retired and caring for my three grandsons; Director of HN Guidance (1993-2017)
 

Who influenced you the most during your time at Holy Name? Why?
While a student at HN, I was influenced by several people. Mr. Brady, the music teacher, introduced me to music and theatre Hermanita Bedard showed me that learning another language could be fun. Sr. Carol Proetti taught me the fine art of writing. Mrs. Popawicz introduced me to Biology, a science that I loved. Mr. Bibeault introduced me to Chemistry, a science I hated, but also one that required me to really work hard. There were many other teachers and staff members that added to my life as a student at HN.

What life lessons did you take away during your time at Holy Name?
I learned so many valuable lessons at Holy Name...how to work hard, the value of academics, how to face challenges, the importance of friendships, how to be self-confident, but most of all how to be a good person.

How did your education at Holy Name prepare you for what you did in college and are doing today?
My education at Holy Name prepared me so well for college. Academically, I could write term papers with little difficulty and enjoyed the research and writing. I knew how to study, which is a key to academic success. I learned how to get along with people which was beneficial when living in a dorm setting.

Where did life take you after graduation? 
I was a Special Education major in college. Since my dad had been a Special Education teacher for many years, I had some knowledge of the field. I had also liked kids and always enjoyed school, so being a sped teacher seemed like the perfect job. I taught Special Ed at Fitchburg High School for 9 years and had earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology to supplement my work in the classroom. When a guidance counselor in Fitchburg retired midyear, I decided to try for the position. I became a guidance counselor for the next few years and ended up leaving that position in 1992 when my third child was born. It was during that next year that Fr. Madden contacted me and asked me to come to HN.

What activities or sports were you involved in at Holy Name? 
Theatre and student government were the key activities I enjoyed in high school. Although I did not participate in sports directly, I was an avid sports fan. Throughout my years at Holy Name, our boys’ basketball team was stellar. They provided so much excitement culminating in winning the state championship my senior year.

What advice would you give current high school students pursuing a similar career path to your own?
My advice to students is to pursue a major you are passionate about. Never look for a career just because of the money. Life is too short, and you should love what you do for a living. It will make you happier and more productive.

Have you stayed connected with your former high school? 
Holy Name was such a huge part of my life as both a student and a professional. I have stayed connected to the Holy Name community through family and friends. My brother Jim continues to be the athletic director there. My dad was the first president of the parents’ association. Myself, my three brothers, many cousins, and my three children are all graduates of Holy Name. Currently, I am reconnecting with many of my former classmates and preparing for our 50th class reunion next year. I guess I will always be a Napoleon!
 

May 2021 - Phil McNamara

May 14, 2021
By Phil McNamara

Full Name: Phil McNamara

Former High School: Holy Name Central Catholic High School

Graduation Year: 1993

Organization: U.S. Department of Transportation      Job Title: Assistant Secretary for Administration

Briefly describe what you do for work:
I was appointed by President Biden to a senior-level role in his Administration at DOT in January 2021. I oversee human resources, acquisition/procurement, security, facilities, and environmental sustainability for DOT, which includes agencies like the FAA, and the Federal Highway Administration.

Who influenced you the most during your time at Holy Name? Why? 
Rev. John F. Madden no doubt. Fr. Madden was the director of campus ministry when I first started at HN in 1989.  He later became headmaster.  To me, he is the epitome of what a Catholic priest should be. He is centered on building a just society that helps the poor and vulnerable. I remember first hearing his homilies while at Holy Name, and I’ve been fortunate to hear him preach many times in the years since. The work he did to inspire young people like myself at Holy Name, and the work he is doing now at St. John’s Church with the soup kitchen and homeless housing, is truly God’s work.

Favorite memory of Holy Name?
Oh, gosh….. looking back on it, I’m still shocked/surprised/horrified that for 4 years I ate lunch out of a vending machine. I had so many great memories from my time on Granite Street, it’s hard to pick just one.  However, I would say the thing that always stands out to me when I think about my days at Holy Name are the enduring friendships I made.  To this day, 28 years after graduating and 23 years of living in Washington, I have friends for life.  We all went through the same 4 years together. A crucial 4 years in terms of personal growth and learning.  We still text and email just like we were back in high school. While I may not be able to see them in person as much as I like, I know that if needed anything they would be there for me. I’m grateful that Facebook and Instagram give me an opportunity to stay connected to them!

Most important thing you learned at Holy Name?
I think one thing HN did well was impart a sense of “service” on to the students. Service on behalf of those less fortunate and marginalized.  Back when I was at HN, it was service opportunities at the Mustard Seed and Camp Sunshine. 

Describe Holy Name in three words?
Community. Loving. Service. 

What activities or sports were you involved in at Holy Name?
Student Council Government, Yearbook, and the National Honor Society.  

What advice would you give current high school students either pursuing a similar career path to your own?
Consider a career in politics and government service. Public service needs motivated, young people.  Government and politics doesn’t need to be a dirty word.  Government can help people. Get involved. Seek out elected officials that inspire you, volunteer on their campaigns, whether at the local, state, or federal levels. Learn how public policy is made. And even if you don’t get involved in politics, every one of us has an important civic responsibility: VOTE!  Pay attention to elections, learn about the candidates and their policy positions. And VOTE.

What is something people may not know about you?
Ummm….I love to travel. I’m 4 states away from having visited all 50 U.S. states. Still need Alaska, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Through this pandemic, I have actually found myself missing airports. When the COVID pandemic is crushed and it’s safe to travel again, I’m excited to get back in an airplane and go places.

What advice do you have for current Saint Paul students to make the most of their experience at Saint Paul?
It’s all going to go by in the blink of an eye, so cherish the moment now. Make those memories. Form those friendships. And if you’re stressed about the calculus exam or that English paper relax.  In 10 years, no, 5 years, no one is ever going to ask you how you did on that trigonometry exam.  Get involved in extracurricular activities. They will teach you as many important life skills as classroom learning.

Anything else you want to share?
I happened to be in Worcester last June for a funeral. I was close to Granite Street, so decided to take a quick drive through the HN campus. I was so surprised as an adult how small the physical footprint of the building felt to me as I drove around. Back when I was in high school and coming into Worcester from Clinton, I just remember being wowed at how large the building and campus were. Obviously, the building didn’t get larger or smaller in the last 28 years. The only thing that changed is my perspective.

Have you stayed connected with your former high school?
I’ve not stayed connected in a traditional sense of being an active alumni or sending children to HN (well I don’t have kids, but you know). But I feel a sense of connection through the lasting friendships with my classmates as well as with Fr. Madden who remains a close family friend. So connection by association is my answer!

 

Recent Posts

2/15/24 - By DJ Mara
11/15/22 - By David Grenier
10/28/22 - By Susan Manzello-Ivas, HN Class of 1973
5/14/21 - By Phil McNamara
5/3/21 - By Edward Burke
2/24/21 - By Dwayne McClain
1/22/21 - By Erin Stomski
1/8/21 - By John Joseph Roughan, Jr.
12/18/20 - By Jennifer Lynn (Gannutz) Anderson
12/4/20 - By Amanda (Kristoff) Weissman
https://www.saintpaulknights.org/editoruploads/files/Alumni%20Spotlight%20-%20DJ%20Mara.pdf
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