NEWARK, N.J. — For their unique contributions to the advancement of the values and ideals of St. Francis, two Christ the King Prep School students were awarded the Francis Medal during commencement festivities on June 14. President Robert Sandoz, OFM, and principal Gregory Gebbia, OFM, presented the medals to seniors Amanda Gyan and Mario Soto.
Gyan has donated much of her free time to Christ the King Prep throughout the summer, assisting with clerical work in the main office and admissions office. She regularly served as a student ambassador for open houses and other school-related events. With excellent listening skills, attention to detail, commitment and follow through, Gyan is a model for young women in leadership and service, said Lisa Papciak, the school’s assistant director of development.
In addition to the Francis Medal, she received an award for character excellence, the Visual and Performing Arts Award for Academic Excellence, the Character, Trustworthiness and Kindness Award, and the “Graduate at Graduation” Award for Open to Growth. This fall, Gyan will attend Rutgers University in New Jersey.
“Amanda’s leadership distinguishes her among her peers,” said Robert.
Soto has a distinguished record of service. Each summer, he volunteered to paint, clean and move furniture throughout the school building. He also regularly assisted Gregory in the kitchen during the school’s weekly community activity night. In addition to receiving the Francis Medal, Soto also earned the Mathematics Award for Academic Excellence. He will attend College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., this September to pursue a career in the medical field.
“It is service that distinguishes Mario among his peers,” said Robert, who has led Newark’s Cristo Rey high school since 2009.
Holy Name Province’s Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then-Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM. Recipients are people who have displayed an uncommon contribution to the advancement of the ideals and values of St. Francis.
Last month, the medal was also presented to nine partners-in-ministry at St. Joseph Parish in Anderson, S.C.
— Compiled by Maria Hayes