The Fr. John McGrail, S.J. Award is given to those who have served in the same spirit of mission and excellence that Fr. John McGrail, S.J. lived so well during his tenure as the president of Walsh Jesuit. He was one of the founders of the school who bought the school ground from farmer Conway. He was a beloved priest who later served as school president, then as Provincial, and was known for his special love of the faculty and staff of WJ.
McGrail Award recipients must have served at Walsh Jesuit for a minimum of 10 years in a full-time capacity. The previous year winners nominate for the next year and the donating family reviews the nominations and selects the winners. A plaque and an honorarium are presented to each winner at graduation.
This year five members of the Walsh Jesuit community were recognized with the McGrail award during the graduation ceremony on Sunday, June 2.
Beth Barker, a teacher of U.S. and World History and Archeology and Human Evolution, has been described by her students as “the teacher who taught me the most about learning.” An honor student and star athlete in both high school and college, she has spent her 11-year teaching career here in the social studies department and as assistant women’s basketball coach. She is also the mother of two children.
An energetic and passionate teacher of American Literature and English Composition, Corinne Newcome’s day is filled with individual meetings and tutoring in the Writing Lab and she works weekends with students who need extra support in order to help them reach their potential. She is a class moderator, helps with student government events and is the assistant cheer coach. She has worked at Walsh Jesuit for 16 years.
Joe Petzker’s ’85 love for WJ and care of WJ fields began where he was a star soccer player here at WJ 35 years ago. His talents were recognized by several local and state media outlets and he was named an All American, the first in the history of the school. In 1992, he was elected to the Walsh Jesuit sports Hall of Fame. He has worked for the school for 17 years.
Randy Tonkin is a man who will help in any way he is needed---and his many skills are always needed. A trained electrician but talented jack of all trades, Randy has built, cleaned, repaired, delivered and serviced something in just about every room on campus during his 13 years at WJ.
For 33 years, MJ Wojno has followed her family tradition and taught students about math and life. She was cutting edge in the 1990s when she began computer graphics classes at WJ. Still to this day she still teaches both subjects and has also added computer animation to her repertoire. She formerly served as WJ’s first-ever registrar. She is among the first to arrive to school each day and her care for the WJ mission is evident to all.
Congratulations to this year’s McGrail recipients!
(L-R) Flanked in the top row from the sides with President Karl Ertle and Board Chair, Stacy Brovitz '77, The awardees include:
Top row middle: Joe Petzker '85, Facilities; Bottom Row (L-R): Corinne Newcome, English teacher, Beth Barker, Social Studies teacher, MJ Wojno, Math and Computer Science teacher. Missing from the photo is Randy Tonkin, Facilities.