Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

OBrienScholars 800x600From left are East Catholic High School O’Brien Scholars Nicholas Villandry, Matthew Veretto, Sierra Romie, Clare Poirier, Benjamin Ockert, Clara Mund, Anna Morson, Evan Kennedy, Victoria Leger, Liam Horan-Portelance, Gabrielle Caron, Connie CaiEast Catholic High School has announced the Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien Scholars for 2018.  This is the highest honor a graduating senior can receive from the school.

This recognition is unique to East Catholic High School. Father Charles E. Shaw, East Catholic’s first principal, instituted the O’Brien Scholars, which began a tradition of honoring a group of top graduates rather than only one or two. The O’Brien Scholars represent the highest in academic achievement and exemplify outstanding qualities of leadership and integrity. Father Shaw chose the name to honor the Hartford archbishop who established East Catholic High School in 1961.

The following graduates of East Catholic High School have been named as Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien Scholars for 2018:

Connie Cai of Manchester was named as a Summa Scholar by the Archdiocese of Hartford for achieving a 4.3 GPA or higher. She was a member of the string quartet and the All-State Orchestra. She participated in the Hartt Chamber Music String Quartet and Quintet, as well as the Eastern Regional Orchestra. She was also secretary of the National Honor Society, captain of the varsity cross-country team and a member of Aetos Dios FIRST Robotics Team. She  volunteered at Manchester Manor.

Gabrielle Caron of Enfield, also a Summa Scholar, served as vice president of the National Honor Society and was named an All-Conference and All-Academic Swimmer. Outside of school, she volunteered at the Enfield Food Shelf.

Liam Horan-Portelance of Somers was a member of the National Honor Society as well as the concert band, Tri-M Music Honor Society, stage band, jazz combo, jazz band and pit orchestra. Also a Summa Scholar, she was president of the jazz band, vice president of Tri-M and co-captain of the Mock Trial Team. He was also a member of the indoor track team and the cross-country team. He volunteered at East Catholic’s Band Camp and at Manchester Manor.

Also a Summa Scholar, Evan Kennedy of South Windsor was a member of the National Honor Society, Tri M Music Honor Society, pit orchestra, jazz band, stage band and concert band. He served as a student ambassador, peer minister and member of the debate  and mock trial teams. He was captain of the cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams and was named an All-Academic, All-Conference and All-State Athlete. Outside of school, he volunteered at Manchester Manor and with the Hartford County 4H Camp.

Victoria Leger of Tolland was captain of the girls varsity volleyball team. She was also dance captain and assistant choreographer for Stage East and was inducted into the National Honor Society. She participated in the school's productions of “Music Man,” “Seussical” and “Anything Goes.”  She served as a volunteer with City Reach in Boston as well as the Manchester PAL Homework Club.

Anna Morson of South Windsor, also recognized as a Summa Scholar, was a member of the girls soccer team and the National Honor Society and was named a National Merit Commended Scholar. Outside of school, she helped to prepare and serve meals to the homeless at the Immaculate Conception Shelter.

Also a Summa Scholar, Clara Mund of Manchester  was a member of concert choir, orchestra, Astronomy Club, Culture and Language Club,  National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society. She volunteered with MARC, helping the physically and mentally disabled.

Benjamin Ockert of South Windsor was president of Student Government and a member of the jazz band, jazz combo, Stage East tech crew and Tri-M Music Honor Society. He was also captain of the boys vrsity swim and golf  teams, He was inducted into the National Honor Society and named a Summa Scholar.  He also started the Video Technology Club at the school. He also earned the rank of Eagle Scout during his time at East Catholic.He volunteered with Troop 880 Boy Scouts in South Windsor.

Clare Poirier of East Hartford was a member of Tri-M Music Honor Society as well as the concert choir, liturgical choir, jazz choir, stage band, pep band, concert band and National Honor Society. She was also a member of the girls varsity swim team and participated in all of the Stage East musicals during her four years at the school. She volunteered at Bible camp and did art activities with underprivileged children.

Sierra Romie of Newington was treasurer of the National Honor Society. She was also captain of the girls varsity soccer team and a member of the indoor track team; she was an All-Academic honoree in both sports. She served as a student ambassador and volunteered with Above and Beyond, helping middle school kids with homework and after-school recreation.

Matthew Veretto of South Windsor, also designated a Summa Scholar, was captain of the boys varsity basketball team and was recognized as an All-State Athlete and as the Connecticut High School Coaches Association’s Player of the Year for 2018. He was also a member of the National Honor Society. He served the elderly in his neighborhood by preparing food and delivering meals to them. 

Nicholas Villandry of Manchester was a member of the National Honor Society and the school's math team. He was also named a 2018 National Merit-Commended Student. Outside of school, Nicholas helped in the kitchen at the Church of the Assumption.