During our 10:30 am worship service on May 21, we joyfully recognize our 2023 high school graduates: Kate Aronson, Samantha Aronson, Lily Drennon, Collin Gonzales-Tapley, Ken Harris, Yann Job, Courtney Kloss, Bronwyn McNulty, Riley Kate Moffitt, Kyle Tatelbaum, Will Volkers, Clay Walsh, Graham Webber, Jake Williams, and Bella Zoll. We pray that, as they go forth, they remember and live into the truth that they are always held by Love, in love and for love. We are proud of you, graduates!
After traveling to South Carolina with family this summer, graduate Kate Aronson looks forward to living in a new place and meeting new people at the University of Richmond this fall. Looking back, Kate takes pride in her leadership of a fundraising team for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and relishes memories of the activities and bonding on her Alaska pilgrimage.
Samantha Aronson looks forward to spending quality time with family and friends in Fripp Island, SC, this summer, and is excited to live in a new city as she heads to Boston University this fall. She shares her satisfaction in successfully leading a fundraising team for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with her best friend and sister (Kate, see above!). Samantha fondly remembers being baptized by Sari at age 8, when she and her family joined St. John’s.
Lily Drennon anticipates exploring and experiencing new things after graduation. In June, she’ll hit the ground running, as she and her family head to Italy. Afterward, Lily and brother Evan engage in a final shared week of their annual Scout Camp. Lily earned the rank of Eagle Scout this winter, completing her Eagle Project by leading a work project overhauling the costume closet at her high school. This fall, Lily’s interest in costumes will take her to Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where she will study Costume Technology. Every Easter, Lily and her dad look forward to the closing organ piece, as Widor’s Toccata literally shakes the floor of the St. John’s Nave.
After expending a lot of time and effort on his biology internal assessment this year, Collin Gonzales-Tapley hopes for “a summer with nothing to do.” He’ll need that break, as he heads to Johns Hopkins University this fall. Collin’s favorite St. John’s memory is the annual Christmas pageant. He still finds watching the pageant “a uniquely endearing and entertaining experience.”
After working this summer, Ken Harris looks forward to “new beginnings” at The University of South Carolina in Columbia. During high school, Ken, an artist, balanced expanding their creativity and achieving over 300 SSL hours. Reflecting on a favorite St. John’s memory, Ken remembers, “My mom bringing a bag of musical toys for church school and having said instruments start playing the ‘Big Time Rush’ theme song during Sari’s sermon and how he laughed it off and played with the situation.”
After winning the Maryland State Cup with his club soccer team and finishing in the US Top Ten, Yann Job heads to Bucknell University to study International Relations this fall and play on their soccer team. Over the summer, Yann will travel to Europe to see family and hopes to play soccer, as well. Yann remembers fondly the St. John’s Christmas pageants — “all of us coming together as a community to celebrate the special day” – and his J2A pilgrimage to Alaska last summer.
After spending “as much time as possible with friends and family” this summer, Courtney Kloss is heading to the Honors College at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She looks forward to the independence of the college environment, and to the new people she will meet. A scholar athlete, Courtney served as Captain of her field hockey team. She remembers her J2A pilgrimage as “an incredible bonding experience,” with “meaningful service, beautiful mountains, glaciers, waterfall, and more.” She enjoyed presenting the pilgrimage to our next J2A group, including brother Tyler.
After working locally this summer, Bronwyn McNulty heads to Cornell University, where she looks forward to exploring a new environment and meeting new people. During her high school’s Charity Month, Bronwyn helped raise over $15K for Shepherd’s Table. Bronwyn’s favorite St. John’s memory is “when [co-pilgrim] Mark Vicente ate a raw mussel at St. Therese’s Shrine and survived, during our pilgrimage to Alaska.”
Riley Kate Moffitt will attend the University of Maryland in College Park this fall, after a busy summer coaching diving at Rock Creek Pool. Riley’s proudest high school accomplishment is her ability to maintain a “positive outlook on every aspect of life, whether that be school spirit or grades.” She brought that positive outlook to Juneau, savoring and appreciating the opportunities afforded by the pilgrimage.
The University of Georgia will be lucky to have Kyle Tatelbaum on its student body and its baseball roster. This summer, Kyle will enjoy beach week with friends, lifeguarding, traveling, and of course, baseball. During high school, Kyle demonstrated his natural leadership skills, both as Captain of the baseball team and as main anchor for BCC-TV. Kyle is grateful to have been part of the J2A pilgrimage to Alaska.
With the achievement of an IB diploma in hand, Will Volkers is heading to Hamilton College to major in Economics. First, however, he will be an integral part of summer life at the Little Falls Swim Club, where he will lifeguard, teach swim lessons, and be an Assistant Coach for the Little Falls Penguins. Will looks forward to forming a new community of friends at Hamilton, as he builds on the deep bonds created in Juneau last summer with his “friends for life – including [J2A Leaders] Kathy and Gary.” Reminiscing on the J2A pilgrimage, Will says, “I am really thankful for that St. John’s experience.”
After working at Bethesda Bagels this summer, Clay Walsh will head to Furman University in South Carolina. Under Clay’s co-leadership, “Students to End Poverty” connected with St. John’s Nourishing Bethesda to ensure that roughly 3.8 tons of food reached people in need. Clay notes, “I was proud to coordinate volunteers and do much of the driving myself, serving my community as I have been called to do.” Clay characterizes his J2A pilgrimage as “a remarkable experience.” He shares, “On that one-week sojourn to Juneau… my conception of God was inexorably altered. Though already friends with the people I left with, we returned with a tight bond, forged through competitive cooking, late-night vespers, and the grande course to the top of Juneau’s mountain. Our chaperones, Gary Dean and Kathy Kemper-Dean, patiently nurtured a bond with our group, compelling many of us to come back every Sunday…. I still rock-climb in the mornings with Gary, who is more alive at 6 AM than anyone else I’ve ever known. I truly hope that this pilgrimage, which came to represent a wonderful snapshot of St. John’s ethos, is sustained for future high-schoolers who are questioning their role in God’s vast creation.”
Graham Webber is heading to Dartmouth College this fall, after working as a golf caddy and Fishing as much as possible this summer. In high school, Graham was awarded St. Alban’s Cum Laude. His favorite St. John’s memory was performing in Broadway and Chocolate with his brother. They sang, “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better.”
Jake Williams looks forward to greater independence as he heads to Florida State University this fall. First, however, he will travel to London with his Great Aunt, and hopes to get to know her better. In high school. Jake assumed leadership roles on both the lacrosse and hockey teams. Jake’s favorite St. John’s memory is Renewal Sunday, “the day the petting zoo came in. I was new to the church and I got to meet a lot of members. I enjoyed this very much.”
Bella Zoll has an exciting summer ahead, traveling with family to Vietnam, lifeguarding at her local pool, and heading to the beach with friends. She looks forward to living in a new place and meeting new people at the University of Tennessee this fall. As a student leader, Bella was proud to be part of the planning and organization of her school dances and spirit activities. Her favorite St. John’s memory is “definitely the pilgrimage to Alaska with my J2A group. I made unforgettable memories and strong friendships that I will cherish forever.”