CHICAGO HEIGHTS | The Marian Catholic High School community will celebrate the achievement of five remarkable Hall of Fame awardees on Feb. 6 at the Olympia Fields Country Club, 2800 Country Club Drive.
The Hall of Fame awards honors alumni, parents, faculty and friends of Marian Catholic who have distinguished themselves in their chosen field and have exemplified the Dominican traditions of unselfish service to others.
The 2014 Marian Catholic High School Hall of Fame will honor the accomplishments and endeavors of Athletes of the Year, Mickey Griffin ’93 and Ruth Kmak ’88; Alumnus of the Year, Dr. Thomas Fagan ’82; Fine Arts Distinguished Achievement, James Conroyd Martin; and Spirit of Marian, Sister Barbara Blesse, O.P.;
Griffin accomplished something no other Marian Catholic athlete had every achieved prior to 1992. That year, Griffin was crowned Illinois High school State Champion at 125 pounds. Griffin went on to wrestle at Purdue University. He now works as an attorney in Chicago.
Kmak is being recognized for her success as a softball competitor while as a Spartan and her success as a member of the University of Notre Dame softball team. As a freshman in 1985, Kmak played a key role on the Spartan team when they claimed third place at the IHSA championships. Her senior year, the team came in fourth in state in 1987. As a senior, Kmak was a member of the girls basketball team that went on to the IHSA Sweet Sixteen in 1988. For the past 14 seasons, Kmak has served as the head softball coach at the University of Chicago.
Fagan, one of 14 children of a Chicago Heights family, attended undergraduate, graduate and medical school at St. Louis University. Fagan currently lives in the Denver area where he is medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.
Martin, an award-winning author, has been an English teacher at Marian Catholic for 30 years. Outside the schoo, hel is best known for his trilogy of Polish historical fiction. The books, "Push Not the River" and "Against a Crimson Sky" were best-sellers in Poland and the third book, "Warsaw Conspiracy," was released in December 2012.
Blesse exemplifies Marian Catholic’s tradition of Scholars with a Soul. Blesse spearheaded the Campus Ministry department at Marian Catholic and initiated its Karios retreat program in 1988. Since that time, hundreds of students have gone on to participate in the spiritual experience. Blesse now serves in leadership in the Dominican Sisters of Springfield congregation based in Springfield, Ill.
The Hall of Fame was established in 1994 to honor those graduates and friends of Marian who have embodied and upheld the school's motto “teaching scholars with a soul." This year’s class of inductees recognizes those who have personified the Marian spirit and celebrates their contributions to their respective fields, communities, church, or within the Marian Catholic community.