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Three Notre Dame College Students Receive Awards at Commencement

Notre Dame College will celebrate two undergraduates and a graduate student honored for their scholarship, leadership and service to the College during its 2014 commencement ceremonies May 10 and 11.

Joseph Pavelek, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication with minors in mathematics and theatre, is the recipient of the 2014 Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award, and Jennifer Berardinelli, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education, is the winner of this year’s Sr. Mary Leroy Finn Award.

In addition, Jodi Hopkins Scott, who is graduating with a master’s degree in education, has been awarded the St. Catherine of Alexandria Award in professional education.

Scott will be presented with the honor during the College’s graduate commencement ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10, in campus Regina Auditorium. Pavelek and Berardinelli will receive their honors during the College’s undergraduate commencement ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 11, also in the auditorium.

The award winners are the featured speakers at the respective commencement ceremonies.

About Joseph Pavelek and the Bosche Award

In his four years at Notre Dame, Pavelek has been involved in several choir ensembles including serving as choir president for two years. He has also led the Notre Dame marching band as senior drum major and been a faithful member of the College’s Campus Ministry music ministry team for Sunday evening Masses in Regina Chapel. 

“I would have to say that the most memorable thing about my years at Notre Dame College would be all the time I spent with the performing arts programs,” Pavelek said. “They have become like a family to me, and I will never forget.”

Originally from St. Clairsville, Ohio, Pavelek plans to complete coursework for his MBA in the Cleveland area and pursue a career as a lighting designer or technical director for a theatre.

The Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche Award is presented to a traditional undergraduate student chosen by the College president and his staff from the graduating class. The recipient is chosen based on his or her embodiment of the qualities evident in the life and service of Sr. Mary Agnes Bosche, SND. The recipient must demonstrate honesty and trustworthiness, a commitment to excellence and selfless service to Notre Dame and the larger community.

About  Jennifer Berardinelli and the Finn Award

Berardinelli has maintained a commitment to academic excellence while juggling a busy schedule as both a full-time student and a full-time employee. With a background in theatre, she associates being on stage to standing at the front of a room full of students.  Her inventive lesson plans include such creative projects as making lava lamps out of household items. For this particular science lesson, she filmed herself creating the lamp to show her peers and students before making their own.

“I will always remember all the hard work it takes to get to graduation. I may have not had the time to get to know the campus college life and all the wonderful people that were in my classes with me as much as I would have liked, but I did learn so much,” Berardinelli said. “With the help of some amazing professors that I am honored to call lifetime friends, I truly have learned what kind of teacher I want to become, and I am excited to move forward.”

The Sr. Mary LeRoy Finn Award is conferred upon an adult student who has demonstrated academic excellence and leadership qualities both inside and outside the classroom. The recipient, chosen by faculty and administration, must have a minimum grade point average of 3.5. He or she must also embody the characteristics inscribed on the custom-made award presentation bowl: “Catalyst, Diligent, Scholarly, Spiritual, Resilient.”

About Jodi Hopkins Scott and the St. Catherine Award

At Notre Dame, Scott designed her action research project with the goal of implementing new teaching strategies that recognize and appreciate the many diverse dialects and the appropriate setting for casual language, especially African American vernacular English.  Her hope was to close the achievement gap between white and nonwhite students.

 “I learned that if I want to be effective at teaching, my students need to know how to speak and write using standard English. I need to show them first the linguistic patterns of their language and how they differ from standard English. I learned that simply defining and dismissing a person’s speech patterns as bad, poor or unacceptable does not provide a foundation for learning, but rather a foundation for resentment, anger and educational disengagement,” Scott said.

Currently a teacher at Lake Erie International High School, Scott provides special needs services, vocational education and career counseling to undereducated and often impoverished students. In her first year at Lake Erie, formerly Life Skills of Lake Erie, as a vocational specialist, she increased the student employment rate by 40 percent.

She is a former high school teacher at St. Joseph Academy where she taught social studies, wrote and designed curricula for global studies and Russian history courses and participated in drug and alcohol prevention programs.

Scott also has served as an educational specialist at Western Reserve Psychiatric Habilitation Center, where she developed a multi-modality education lab for MR/MI institutionalized adults, instructed GED classes for the “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity” population and actively participated in IEP and IHP meetings for clients.

The St. Catherine of Alexandria Award is presented to an outstanding master’s degree candidate in the graduating class. The recipient who must exemplify the high ideals of a Catholic education is chosen by the graduate faculty on the basis of leadership, scholarship and service to and support of the College and community-at-large.