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Best of the Week 2020-2021: Holy Cross Values


Congratulations to Emerson Gray '21, Bryan Heideloff '21, Jack O'Brien '21, Jake Ottiger '21, and Richie Pokrywka '21 who are the Class of 2021 Man of the Year Award nominees. The Man of the Year Award recognizes an extraordinary young man who has demonstrated dedication to improving himself and the community and is the highest honor the school can bestow on a student. The Man of the Year will be announced at this year's Senior Awards Night on Wednesday, May 12. Emerson Gray, son of Paul E. II and Shelly Gray, is from Westlake and previously attended Ruffing Montessori School. At St. Ed's, Emerson has been heavily involved in Model UN, Mock Trial, and the Edwardian Players, has served as the Vice President of National Honor Society and the Co-President of Student Ministry, and has led morning prayer and announcements since his sophomore year. "The relationships I have formed at St. Ed’s are a result of the tight-knit community at our school. This community is what inspired me to do all that I have done. I found a drive to pursue a wide range of activities; diversifying my expertise," says Emerson. "I would like to thank not only the Class of 2021, but the entire student body and faculty of St. Edward High School for providing my 9th grade self with a welcoming environment to grow and learn how to become a man with 'the competence to see and the courage to act' for the 'transformation of the world.'" Emerson will be attending Furman University this fall, double majoring in International Relations and Spanish with a minor in Philosophy. Bryan Heideloff, son of Drew and Mini Heideloff, resides in Lakewood and previously attended Garfield Middle School. During his four years at St. Ed's Bryan has been a member of National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Diversity Club and has served as the Class of 2021 Student Council President and host of SETV. Bryan has also been a member of the St. Ed's Football, Wrestling, and Rugby teams and is an IB Diploma Program candidate. "My relationship with my freshman year history teacher, Mr. Wallenhorst, really inspired me to be the leader I knew I could become and make positive changes to the community that I grew to love," says Bryan. "I will forever be grateful for my time at St. Ed’s and I hope to carry the lessons I have learned over the past four years for the rest of my life." Bryan is currently undecided on his major, but will be attending the University of Notre Dame this fall. Jack O'Brien, son of Tim and Amy O'Brien, lives in Avon Lake and previously attended St. Joseph Grade School. While at St. Ed's, Jack has shown his leadership qualities as an Executive Team Member for Student Ministry and an Executive Council Member for National Honor Society. He has also been a member of the IB Student Advisory Council, Mock Trial, and the Lacrosse team, is a Forward Scholar, and has served as a Kairos Retreat leader. "I have been blessed with an education that has brought me academic success and helped me forge strong relationships with my brothers over the past four years," says Jack. "The strong relationships I formed moved me outside my comfort zone and inspired me to reach for my goals fearlessly. I am thankful for this nomination but, most importantly, grateful for my St. Edward experience." Jack will be attending Xavier University this fall, pursuing a major in Business. Jake Ottiger, son of Mike and Meighan Ottiger, is from Rocky River and previously attended St. Bernadette School. At St. Ed's, Jake has served as President of National Honor Society and President of both the Investment and Entrepreneurship Clubs. Jake's passion for business and finance has helped significantly increase student participation in these groups and teach fellow Edsmen about financial literacy and investing. Jake is also a National Merit Commended Scholar, Student Ambassador and Writing Center Tutor. "On my first day as a freshman, Mr. Wallenhorst was so welcoming and inculcated both the culture of St. Ed's and the stories of World War I into each of us, but he ingrained one phrase about St. Ed's, that 'when life moves on, "It" is what you remember.' With four years of hindsight, I can now see that Mr. Wallenhorst was pushing us to embrace the brotherhood of St. Ed's, as that is the 'It' that I will remember most," says Jake. Jake will pursue a double major in Finance and Computer Science this fall at Boston College. Richie Pokrywka, son of Richard and Mary Pokrywka, resides in Sheffield Lake and previously attended St. Bernadette School. During his four years at St. Ed's, Richie has starred in eight Edwardian Player productions, has served as Class Secretary for Student Council, and has led as the Executive Team Co-Chair and Retreat Leader through Student Ministry. Richie has also shown immense leadership in the performing arts as Drum Major and Field Commander for the Marching Eagles, Tenor Section Leader for the Men's Chorus, and Section Leader for the Liturgical Choir. "I've learned that a Holy Cross education is about much more than grades or a stellar transcript. A Holy Cross, St. Edward education is about being present," says Richie. "Ultimately, being present is being vulnerable, opening yourself up to new experiences, to paying attention to every moment, every encounter. While I only had four years as a student here, the lessons I learned, the experiences and the people that have inspired me, will remain in my heart forever." Richie is currently undecided in his major, but will be attending Xavier University this fall. Congratulations once again to this year's five Man of the Year Award nominees.

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