2016 Honors Day: Praestans Award Winner Profiles


Co-Valedicatorians Julia Nelson & Ben Kott with Principal Veronica Murphy


Each year, Purcell Marian honors its outstanding student achievements with its Honors Day Awards (click here for Honors Day Photo Gallery). Students are recognized for Honor Roll and Best in Class, as well as given scholarship and academic awards.  The highest of these honors are the annual Praestans Awards, which recognize five seniors who best exemplify the characteristics that should mark every graduate of Purcell Marian High School:

A love of learning and truth,

The courage to lead,

Unselfish service to others and

A love of God and commitment to Gospel values.

These are the Praestans Awards, named after our school motto, Praestans Inter Omnes, or Outstanding Among All.  Purcell Marian is proud to present the recipients for 2016.


Scholarship Award:  This award automatically goes to the Valedictorian – the senior who is outstanding among all based on the four-year GPA.  For the second time in Purcell Marian history we are honored to bestow this award on two Valedictorians.

First, we honor Ben Kott. Ben is a great student. His curiosity and thirst for knowledge has put him on the path for great success. In addition to taking full advantage of the advanced and AP curriculum  at Purcell Marian, Ben also participated in the dual enrollment program through Xavier and the Mount.  Although we are still waiting on the results of some AP tests, Ben has earned somewhere between 34 to 41 college credits.  Quite accomplish.  In addition, he has received numerous academic awards, including being recognized as a National Merit Commended Scholar and as the  OSU-Honda Math Medal Award recipient.  Life requires balance and Ben has found that also as he has excelled on the academic team and played on the  baseball and golf team.

We are pleased to present the first Praestans Scholarship Award to Ben Kott.

The second of our Scholarship Awards goes to Julia Nelson.

From the first day she entered Purcell Marian, Julia has made a lasting impression on us. Since entering The Castle as a freshman, Julia has had the goal of taking advantage of every academic opportunity that has been made available. She not only successfully completed a rigorous course load at Purcell Marian, she also attended courses on the campuses of Xavier and the University of Cincinnati.  Most students see the summer as a time to regroup and take a break from school. Not Julia. She saw it as an opportunity to enhance her education through summer courses and workshops.

Mrs. Rupp sums it up perfectly:

Julia is a student who exhibits motivation, seriousness of purpose, industriousness and responsibility.  She is a young woman who possesses an inner desire to succeed and achieve.  She has grown as a communicator and a mediator while working with her peers and as an advocate for herself and her ideas when working with her teachers and coaches.”

We are pleased to present the second Praestans Scholarship Award to Julia Nelson.

Service Award:  This award goes to a senior who has displayed outstanding selflessness in their service to the school and/or the outside community during her years at Purcell Marian.  This year the voting was so close that we have 2 winners. We are pleased to present the Praestans Service Award to Emily Toles and Tyler Heitker.

Emily Toles portrays what it means to be a Cavalier by her service to others and the school.  Emily has participated in a number of school activities that foster service.  She is active member of student council, and is a senior captain of the Politi family.  She volunteered at the Grand Event, Freshman registration day, and is constantly helping around school through the work study program.  Her service extends outside of the school as well.  She has volunteered at stepping stones and has worked feed our starving kids throughout her high school career.  Last but not least she was the best football manager in Purcell Marian Football history.

Tyler Heitker is another student who exemplifies service in his life.  Like Emily he is another active member of student council who is always willing to volunteer.  He is the other senior captain of the Politi family, and always performs jobs throughout the school through the work study program with a smile and great attitude.  Tyler has worked with Mathew 25 ministries through his church’s youth group, volunteered at St. Vincent de Paul, the Summer festival and Bingo for St. Mary’s and he also recently received his eagle scout.

Both these Cavaliers truly represent what it means to be Outstanding Among All”

Marian Award:  This award is presented to a senior who has served the school and community through her outstanding commitment to their faith as seen through service as a retreat leader, participation in mentoring groups, choir, participant in Mass – server, reader, Eucharistic Minister, etc.   We proudly honor Ian Hunt as this year’s Marian Award recipient.

Ian has many wonderful qualities and accomplishments that make him deserving of this award. During his time at Purcell Marian, Ian has been involved in numerous activities. Ian did a marvelous job leading the Kairos retreat in April. Ian helped organize the “I Am Hope” campaign to raise awareness about organ donation. Ian has volunteered as part of Cleanup Hackberry, designed posters for Spirit Week, and served as a student ambassador for incoming freshmen. In the community, Ian has helped make and deliver lunches to the homeless. I am giving you the short list.  Somehow Ian found time to be involved in theater, be a caring and compassionate camp counselor and earn a black belt and then become an instructor of taekwondo. Ian is also has done an outstanding job in the classroom earning a 4.0 taking an advanced and AP curriculum.

We are pleased to present the Praestans Scholar Award to Ian Hunt.

Leadership/Cavalier Awards:

**There are times when unusual and unexpected things happen in life, these can be good things or they can be challenging things, these unexpected or unusual events stick in your mind forever.  They change your perspective on life and they make you a better version of yourself.  There are also people that we cross paths with in our lives that have a profound impact on us.  A life changing impact.  People that we never forget because a piece of them stay with us.  They make us better people, by challenging us or encouraging us.  The next two awards, in an unusual twist, were earned by one person.  A person who has not only inspired his classmates to reach deeper and higher to achieve more for themselves, but who has also inspired our entire faculty.  First, about the awards; then, about the person.

Leadership Award: This award is voted on by the senior class and as such goes to the senior who is considered by his peers as the outstanding leader among all seniors.

Cavalier Award:  The Cavalier Award is presented to the senior who embodies in an outstanding way what it means to be a Purcell Marian Cavalier.   This award is reserved for that student who most effectively combines all of the characteristics already mentioned:  scholarship, leadership, service, and faith.  The Cavalier Award is our top award and given to the student who personifies what it means to be a Cavalier – Outstanding Among All.  The recipient of both the Leadership and Cavalier awards this year is ­­­­­Jamel Howard.

Jamel truly represents the heart and soul of a Cavalier.  He very active at Purcell Marian being a member of the student athletic association, a senior family captain, participating in MC2 and in Building Student Unity as well as a 4 sport athlete.  He works very hard in the classroom and on the athletic field.  He has a 3.25 GPA earning 2nd honors throughout his High School career.  He has led all school pep rallies for the last 2 years.  He has lead us in prayer every morning and he gives the announcements so we know what is happening each day.  Outside of the classroom he earned all-state honors in football, finished as the leading rebounder in school history and earned all-league honors in basketball and is currently competing in the state tournament in track where he is a part of the GCL championship 4 x 200 team.  He has overcome many obstacles in his life and handles all of life’s challenges in a positive attitude.  He is a leader of the school not only because he does the right things but because his infectious positive attitude makes our school better.  He received nearly all the votes from the faculty and from the senior class for these awards and I can think of no better Cavalier.  The winner of the Leadership and Cavalier Award is Jamel Howard.