JCA’s Hall of Fame inducts five new members

Joliet Catholic Academy held its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony on the morning of March 14. Principal Jeff Budz and JCA administration very proudly welcomed five new members into the Hall of Fame. Each of this year’s honorees join the company of many others who have exemplified JCA’s Carmelite and Franciscan values and dedicated years of service to our community. The inductees include George and Donna Barr, Jan Brill, Fr. Jack Welch, and Amy Douglas.

Sr. Faith Szambelanczyk, former JCA President, introduced the dynamic duo- George and Donna Barr. They are ambassadors for JCA, always “paying forward” towards a common vision. Sr. Faith spoke of George and Donna as two successful people who stand side by side.

George serves on the JCA Board of Directors, helping with academic, finance, development, investment and executive committees. He chaired the capital campaign “Directions for Excellence”, which paved the way to the beautiful Student Activity Center. Donna and George have also chaired several Jubilate committees. They have both contributed their time, talent, and treasure even after their children Aaron, Lauren and Ian had graduated.  Sr. Faith spoke of Donna and George as inspirational, “Donna and George inspire us to be part of something bigger than ourselves, they live life with Franciscan and Carmelite hearts, hearts that realize life is a gift not to be squandered.”

Lastly, Sr. Faith made sure to mention the couple’s strong legacy George, Donna, and their family have at JCA. Their commitment, dedication, and influence of positive family values have raised the bar. Upon receiving their award, the couple communicated their love for the JCA community, saying that although they had given much to JCA, they had also received much.They are a perfect match for not only each other, but for JCA’s Hall of Fame.

Both theology teacher Jane Nolan and math teacher Marge Lakota introduced math teacher, Jan Brill to the JCA Hall of Fame. Both Jane and Marge spoke very highly of their dear friend Jan, one of JCA’s most beloved teachers. Jane and Jan have had their “differences”, as Jane put it, but share similarities of what counts, loyalty, respect, and love. Jane recognized Jan for her hard work not only as a math teacher, but also as a champion for JCA, as a volunteer, moderator of Mu Alpha Theta, and organizer of the school prom for many years. Jan’s hard work does not go unnoticed and has always had a grand payoff.

Marge spoke highly of Jan and her deep care she has for her students. Jan wants to challenge and teach her students, but also give them an exciting and fun experience. Marge explained that during Jan’s lessons, she not only teaches them math, but gives her students words of wisdom, showing her students how important it is to be a good person. Jan has been an excellent role model to her students for over the 40 years that she has been teaching. Jan is very well liked by her students; she keeps up with their lives and makes an effort to connect with them. Marge detailed the positive changes Jan has brought to JCA, including the student help program Hotmath, Pi Day, and changes to the eighth grade algebra program and science department.

When Jan accepted her award, she said she always knew she wanted to be a teacher and genuinely likes what she does for a living. Jan is very deserving of the JCA Hall of Fame Award, and will forever have a place not only in the Hall of Fame, but in the hearts of her students.

Fr. Bob Colaresi introduced a Carmelite brother of his, Fr. Jack Welch. Fr. Jack  went to Joliet Catholic High School and continued into the Carmelite formation program. He made his first vows in 1965 and was ordained a Carmelite priest in 1965. Fr. Bob  described Fr. Jack as a man with great depth, gentleness, wisdom, creativity, and sensitivity who represents of the very best of the Carmelite and Franciscan traditions that play a key role at Joliet Catholic Academy. Fr. Jack furthered his education at Notre Dame, receiving his Master’s degree in Theology and earned his Ph.D in Religious Education. Fr. Jack is a great man to be an example of future Carmelites who will serve the Church. Fr. Jack is a teacher and lecturer around the world, speaking at conferences on spirtuality. He has also written many books on spirituality and has even been  called Catholic Author of Year for his book Spiritual Pilgrims.

Fr. Bob described Fr. Jack as a great star of JCA heritage and Carmelite, so he was asked to serve in the administration of province. Fr. Jack was also the Provincial of the Carmelite Province of the most Pure Heart of Mary from 2005-2011, until he joined the Board of Members of JCA.

Fr. Bob said Fr. Jack helps us see the Presence of God not just in ourselves, but in everyone and everything even in the darkest of times. Fr. Jack is seen as a living hope, he helps JCA and the Carmelites stand taller. This is Fr. Bob’s belief as to why Fr. Jack is being inducted into the JCA Hall of Fame, “he lives and enhances the best of the rich traditions that are the fiber and hope of JCA.” Humble as he is, in true Carmelite fashion, Fr. Jack was both unassuming and surprised, saying he didn’t feel as though he had yet truly earned the distinction, but would work very hard in coming years to do so.

Kathy Major presented Amy Douglas into the JCA Hall of Fame. Kathy said that Amy had taught her a memorable lesson, that it is possible for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things. Amy believes that making the world a better place sets you apart from the “ordinary” people. Kathy defined Amy as “an extraordinary friend, mother, wife, educator, and champion of JCA.” Amy is a great example of an extraordinary person, she demonstrates how to do ordinary tasks with uncommon care and love.

Amy has dedicated 33 years to her passion of teaching, and for 17 years has displayed that passion at JCA, making it an even better school. Amy was the first educator at JCA to venture to help students with learning disabilities, starting the JCA Learning Resource Program. Kathy spoke of Amy’s exceptional legacy at JCA, her marriage and her family, her devotion to this organization and the success of young people who have graduated with the help of LRP. As she received her award, Amy said, “I took the job and ever since then, my days have been absolutely blessed.”

The faculty, staff, administration and student body are extremely proud to welcome these five exceptional individuals to the Hall of Fame. Joliet Catholic Academy is truly blessed to have them as part of our family and thanks them for their dedication.

Find us online