Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Gonzaga Prep bestows Alumna of the Year award, St. Aloysius Gonzaga Medal

the Inland Register

(From the July 19, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

Each year at graduation, Gonzaga Preparatory School honors a graduate who has made a difference in the world and at Gonzaga Prep.

This year’s recipient of the Alumna of the Year, Dr. Jennifer Wiley, class of 1986, has lived out the school motto of “Go Forth and Set the World on Fire.”

After attending Gonzaga Prep Dr. Wiley became the first member of her family to go on to college, attending the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education. She taught music and math in California before pursuing a Masters and Doctoral degree from the University of Washington.

She serves as principal of Franklin High School in Seattle, an inner city school of over 1,300 students, 96 percent of whom are students of color. Dr. Wiley oversees a student body where 69 percent qualify for free and/or reduced lunch. Because of her extraordinary efforts, in 2009 over 88 percent of Franklin High School students were going on to college, with 20 percent of the seniors being accepted to the University of Washington. Dr. Wiley has been president of the Seattle Principals Associations, was the 2011 recipient of KCTS9’s Golden Apple Award for educators who have made a positive difference, and now is Gonzaga Preparatory School’s Alumna of the Year for 2012.

Since 1963 Gonzaga Preparatory School has given its highest honor, the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Medal, to a person who has given outstanding service to secondary education and to Gonzaga Prep. This year’s recipient, Jesuit Father Kevin Connell, has given over 25 years of his life to Jesuit education as teacher, priest, and administrator.

Father Connell first came to Gonzaga Prep in 1994 to teach English and Drama. He entered the Jesuits in 1981, was ordained in June of 1995, and has served as teacher, Vice Principal, Principal and President at Jesuit schools throughout the west: Gonzaga Prep, Jesuit High and St. Andrew Nativity School (a Jesuit middle school for families whose income is below the poverty line) in Portland, Ore., and Verbum Dei (a Jesuit Cristo Rey School in Watts in Los Angeles while on sabbatical. In the spring of 2006, he returned to Gonzaga Prep to teach English, and became principal in the fall of 2006.

For six years Father Connell has fostered academic rigor, strengthened the spiritual life of students, and helped to create and shepherd a new schedule. In addition to his academic and administrative duties, Father Connell directed plays at Prep and at Gonzaga University, starred in a film, and is seen around Spokane in advertisements.

Father Connell exemplifies the school motto of “Going forth and setting the world on fire.”

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