NCEA Distinguished Graduate Award
Each year the National Catholic Educational Association honors the achievements of Catholic elementary school graduates throughout the United States. The NCEA's Distinguished Graduate Award is given in recognition of an alumni member who has made a significant contribution to American society and/or the Catholic Church which reflects favorably on the education that person received at his or her Catholic Elementary School. St. Mary's has, since 2002, proudly named these former students of the school as
NCEA Distinguished Graduates.
2005 NCEA Distinguished Graduate
Dr. Anne Bisek
- 1983 graduate of St. Mary's Catholic Elementary.
- Doctor of Clinical Psychology at the Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, California.
- Started a neighborhood watch program and was commended by the Mayor of Fremont, CA for her accomplishment.
- Along with husband Edwin Sluis, she trained and rode in the 2000 AIDS bicycle ride from San Francisco to L.A. to raise funds for AIDS research.
With her doctoral thesis on the effects of stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of three California fire departments, who went to New York City after 9/11, she developed measurement tools for dealing with their stress and then created coping strategies.
2004 NCEA Distinguished Graduate
- 1970 graduate of St. Mary's Catholic Elementary.
- Member of the Professional Golf Association (PGA).
- Awarded the Golf Writer's Association of America's Charles Bartlett Award in 2001. The award was given to Tom, most specifically, for his time spent with disadvantaged youth in Arizona and teaching them the game of golf.
- Along with his wife Melissa, he has raised over 4 million dollars for the Children's Cancer Research Fund and also funded a chair at the U of M Research Hospital. Tom and Melissa have been the national chair people for this fund.
- Active member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and funds over 100 FCA members yearly to attend camps in the U.S. He also awards a scholarship each year for a Senior graduating from Jefferson H.S. in Alexandria, MN.
2003 NCEA Distinguished Graduate
Brother Benedict Leuthner
- 1972 graduate of St. Mary's Catholic Elementary.
- Treasurer of the Order of St. Benedict Corporation at St. John's Abbey, starting in 1997.
- Degree in Theology from St. John's University.
- Volunteered as a religious parish worker for two parishes in Duluth, MN (1982-1984).
- Religious Education Director in Albert Lea, MN (1984-1985).
- Entered St. John's Abbey in 1987 and took his first vows.
- He professed his solemn vows in 1990.
- Received his MBA in 1994 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
- St. Mary's thanks Brother Benedict for clearly showing us that Catholicism is not a personal religion to be hidden, but a religion to be lived.
2002 NCEA Distinguished Graduate
Dr. James Merickel
- 1977 graduate of St. Mary's Catholic Elementary.
- Aquatic Ecologist for Barr Engineering.
- Awarded certificate for Exceptional Service Rendered in the Service of Duty from the Smithsonian Institute. As First Mate of a Smithsonian research vessel, this award was received for exemplary service and actions in the rescue of the crew and ship during a storm and potential grounding.
- Through his PhD work, Jim was able to organize a Special Papal audience for newlyweds at the Vatican, including he and his wife, where they received a matrimonial blessing from the Holy Father. Also, during his time of working on his doctoral degree, he was able to schedule two more visits to see the Pope at the Vatican.