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St. Patrick Alumni Include LHS Salutatorian, Scholar-Athletes and More

Four years ago, St. Patrick School said good-bye to a talented graduating class. Now, the St. Pat’s Class of 2017 is graduating from high school and getting ready to open the next chapter of their lives.


During their high school careers, our St. Patrick alumni have become accomplished scholars, athletes and musicians. We’re also proud to hear some credit their elementary and middle school years with helping them prepare for the rigors of high school.


“Absolutely,” says Sydney Spanbauer when asked if she thought her time at St. Pat’s set her up for success in high school. “Academically for sure.”


Sydney is graduating as the salutatorian for Lowell High School with a GPA of 4.353. She has taken an impressive nine AP classes which are college-level courses offered to high school students and will be heading to the University of Michigan this fall.


“I feel like having that smaller class experience gave me an edge,” says her twin brother Brett Spanbauer. “I came into high school at a level higher than my classmates.”


While at St. Patrick School, Brett had the opportunity to study in advanced math classes from early elementary. That helped lay the foundation for a love of the subject, and he says his favorite course in high school was calculus. In the fall, he’ll be going to Michigan Tech to study electrical engineering.


Sydney and Brett aren’t alone when it comes to successful high school careers. We checked in with parents of the St. Pat’s Class of 2017, and here’s what they told us about their graduates.


Tyler Cooper finished four years at Belding High School with a 3.7 GPA. In addition to strong academics, he was an accomplished athlete and played all four years on the varsity football and varsity baseball teams. He also played three years of basketball. During high school athletic career, Tyler broke several school records along the way. After graduation, he is looking forward to pursuing a career as an electrician.


Bella DeNardo attended Catholic Central High School and accumulated a long list of honors during her time there. She graduated with a GPA of 4.13, AP Scholar Award and AP Capstone certificate. She was also a National Honor Society member. Bella was our 8th Grade Athlete of the Year in 2017, and she went on to be a conference champion in tennis and a finalist for the distinguished Ted Sowle Outstanding Female Athlete Award. She was also a flute section leader for the Catholic Central Marching Band and received Division 1 ratings in district and state solo and ensemble competitions. This fall, Bella will attend DePauw University where she will be on the tennis team and study pre-med.


Max LaPonsie discovered his love for music when playing clarinet in the St. Patrick Band. At Catholic Central High School, he switched to bassoon for concert band and played baritone saxophone for marching band and jazz band. He was also a member of the Catholic Central Capella Choir, Men’s Chorus, percussion ensemble, performed in high school musicals and received Division 1 ratings in district solo and ensemble competitions. Max was awarded the American Choral Director’s Association Student Award and the John Phillip Sousa Band Award. He will attend Albion College this fall, where he has received a music scholarship and will study music education.


Carissa Mitchell is graduating summa cum laude from Lowell High School and will attend Saginaw Valley State University in the fall where she will major in mathematics and minor in art. Carissa has received both a Dean’s scholarship and a Valley Housing scholarship from SVSU. During her time in high school, Carissa was an active member of the National Honors Society, Interact and the Student Council. She was also a student member of the Lowell Women’s Club and a part of the St. Patrick Youth Group. Among her honors, Carissa received the Silver Key in The Scholastic Art & Writing Competition held through the Kendall College of Art & Design.


Henry Marshall was on the honor roll for all four years of his time at Catholic Central High School. He also played football and lacrosse for four years and was a team caption in both sports. As part of the football team, Henry helped Catholic Central secure two conference championships and two state championships. He also played varsity wrestling for a year. Beyond athletics, Henry was a Corem Deo student leader for Catholic Central’s House system of student leadership. He could also be counted on to help with a variety of community service opportunities, including serving as a referee for GRACEAC youth sports. Henry has been awarded an Army ROTC scholarship and will attend The Citadel in the fall.


Brett Spanbauer earned all As during his four years at Lowell High School. He took a number of AP and advanced classes and has decided to focus on STEM subjects as he heads to Michigan Tech in the fall. He plans to major in electrical engineering. We remember Brett’s athleticism when he at St. Patrick School, and he continued to hone his skills in high school. He played four years on the varsity basketball team and three years on the football team, where he was played several positions including quarterback and wide receiver.


Sydney Spanbauer is graduating from Lowell High School with a GPA of 4.353, making her the school’s salutatorian for 2021. She completed nine AP classes and notes that AP biology was her favorite course. During high school, Sydney dabbled in a number of sports, including varsity golf, varsity powerlifting, varsity skiing, varsity tennis and junior varsity volleyball. She was also a member of the school’s Business Professionals of America Club, Interact and vice president of Student Council. When she heads to the University of Michigan in the fall, she plans to study pre-med with the current goal of eventually becoming an OB/GYN.


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