ryan mrowka Class of '95
Ryan is a 1995 graduate of NCCS, where he enjoyed playing on Coach Noto's basketball team, competing in the school science fair, and singing in school concerts! He was the valedictorian of his class at NCCS.
Ryan attended Dunkirk High School, where he was the Student Council vice president, captain of the varsity soccer team, Catholic Youth Organization president and winner of the Manus Christi Award. He was the valedictorian of his high school class.
He graduated cum laude from Boston College and went on to serve as an officer in the U.S. Army from 2003 - 2011. Ryan was a high school history teacher from 2007 to 2019, and he is now a college recruitment counselor. Ryan lives in Bremen, Germany, with his wife and two daughters.
Lucas Porpiglia & Peyton Ahlstrom
Lucas Porpiglia, Class of 2015 and Peyton Ahlstrom, Class of 2016, began their baseball careers at Northern Chautauqua Catholic School under a few outstanding coaches including Coach Luke Gullo and Coach Steve Pantano and have continued to prosper under the grand expertise of DHS Coach Frank Jagado.
Lucas credits former NCCS Physical Education Teacher, Mr. Hamilton, with instilling his Monarch Pride and dedication to physical fitness and exercise. Lucas states that because of Mr. Hamilton he is committed to exercising every day and firmly believes that his Monarch and Marauder Pride have helped him succeed in life. What was instilled at a young age at NCCS has grown and flourished at Dunkirk High School!
Peyton Ahlstrom, is yet another famous Alumnae, who has profound respect for Prep School Science Teacher, Mr. Jeff Tabasco. Peyton says Mr. T. the Great, taught him that hard work always pays off; the camping trips and Science classes were filled with so much fun and discovery that he will never forget them and will always remember what was learned. Peyton credits NCCS with helping him value the true meaning of community, faith, and relationships. His Purple and Gold pride continues to shine!
Both Peyton and Lucas remain friends with many of their NCCS classmates and enjoy their Marauder friendships on and off the baseball field. Peyton has begun the search for just the right college which hopefully will have a professor like his Computer Technology teacher at NCCS, Mr. John Lamattina. Lucas and Petyon fondly look back on the many Tech projects completed with Mr. Lamattina. The joviality in the the Computer Tech classroom fostered faith and friendship that will always be treasured.
Congratulations to two outstanding athletes who have made NCCS and DHS quite proud. We thank the Porpiglia and Ahlstrom families for helping your children Learn in Christ's image at an early age and continuing to ensure their academic and athletic success at Dunkirk High School! Monarch and Marauder Pride Forever!
Alumni Mondays are back! This week’s honoree is Erica (Cole) Boner ’04. Erica is a Registered Nurse and is currently our very own school nurse at NCCS and at Central Christian Academy provided through the Dunkirk school district. Erica is married to Garret Boner and lives in Dunkirk with their four children: Olivia, Sadie, Josie, Vance and another baby on the way in December! Olivia and Sadie are current NCCS students. She is the daughter of Skip and Jean Cole of Dunkirk.
After graduation from NCCS, Erica went on to graduate from Dunkirk Senior High School (2008), SUNY Fredonia (2012) with a B.S. in Biology/Minor in Sociology, Jamestown Community College (2014) with an Associates degree in Nursing and St. John Fisher College (2016) with a B.S.N. degree.
Erica has many fond memories of her time as a student at NCCS. She loved all the special events that no other school in the area had, such as the 50s dance, beach-themed parties, the Thanksgiving lunch with Dan Palmer with the live turkey walking around during lunchtime, Catholic Schools week and participating in organized sports at an early age. She met some of her closest and dearest friends at NCCS while making these memories. Their bonds of friendship are centered around God and what He represents, which is so important for children to have today.
Erica believes that NCCS prepared her not only academically but also spiritually for her days following NCCS. Catholic school is an investment. Catholic schools provide children with the building blocks of a solid foundation that truly manifests in adulthood. She knows that her own children will continue to gain the benefits of an NCCS education that will enable them to excel in life.
From the boy who enjoyed sports at NCCS to the entrepreneur and new business owner.....this Mighty Monarch credits his success to Catholic Education, faith, and family.
Andrew believes that the solid structure of NCCS was the key to his high-school preparation. He knows that being held accountable for academics, following a strict schedule, and making sure personal behavior was top notch, helped instill in him the attributes necessary to excel in high school and in a career.
While at NCCS Andrew loved practicing and playing baseball, starring in one of the musicals about pirates, and most especially the camping trips with Mr. T. He reminisces that Science, class spirit, and faith all seemed to meld effortlessly together and made the yearly camping trip a memory that lasts for a lifetime.
Mr. T. and Mrs. Hazen were very motivational and knowledgeable teachers. “Mrs. Hazen always held us to a high standard and that has prepared all of us for the world today,” says Andrew.
Persistence and patience reinforced in the classroom were also modeled on the baseball field and taught Andrew the importance of surrounding himself with friends and people who would always positively influence his character.
Today, Andrew loves getting together with his friends from his purple and golden era. He enjoys fishing and grilling when not working at Pucci’s Contract Interiors and is the proud owner of Chillemi Lawncare & Landscape. This outgoing and enterprising young man was quite proud to recently support the Musical Arts at NCCS by placing an ad for Madagascar Jr. Thank you Andrew for leaving the lion taming to the zookeeper as you expertly tend to the lawns!
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Crea
Cardinal Mindszenty High School, Class of 1979
Often times we say or hear, “We need more MEN like that in the world,” or “They don’t make ‘em like that anymore!” Undoubtedly, these statements have been repeated numerous times when referring to US Army Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Crea, proud graduate of CMHS and Uncle of two NCCS graduates, Megan and Kristin Szalkowski.
This true gentleman, faith filled and devout Catholic, family man, leader, and highly ranked solider, Tom Crea, took all that he learned from his elementary school of Holy Trinity and Cardinal Mindszenty High School and reached grand success in the Military and life. Mindszenty graduates around the world emulate strength, prosperity, and Christian values and principles. LTC Crea is one of the proud, one of the strong, who still loves the Purple and Gold and shines with Monarch pride.
LTC Crea reflects on his days at what was once the only Catholic High School in Chautauqua County. He is the staunch example that proves outstanding education rooted in values leads to personal and professional accomplishments. Tom says that these strongholds were ever present at CMHS and that learning the fundamentals of being a contributing member to a thriving community, vastly enhanced student success. Even though Mindszenty was a small school, close to 150 students before the devastation occurred and the historic doors were closed, it prepared Tom for interacting with thousands of students, professors, and staff at the College level and hundreds of thousands of personnel during his exemplary career in the Military.
Being a part of service to faith and community from a young age, Tom strived to continue that way of life and proudly served his nation in the US Army as a helicopter pilot, Information Technology Project Manager, and highly decorated Officer. Tom thinks back to the school and teachers who made that possible, and highlights Ms. Kathleen Denney, Geometry teacher at CMHS. She was the type of professional educator who expected a great deal from her students, made them work hard, and in return everyone relished in the highest ranked scores on the NYS Regents exams!
While excellence in education and Learning in Christ’s Image were top priorities at CHMS, sports, community involvement, and extracurricular activities made Mindszenty great! The athletes and students were a family and while competition and high rankings were always applauded, the pride and love that existed when one of their own achieved success was truly Golden. Some of Tom’s most joyous memories include Tom “Christy” Krystofik leading an incredible basketball team his freshman year; Christy & Pete Zaccari winning the Billy Kelly award at the Conference of Student Athletes of the Year; the boys’ baseball teams of ’74 and ’77 winning the Georgetown Cup; watching Steve Pantano pass a basketball, Mark Foti running for touchdowns, and Joe Pucciarelli hitting a baseball! This list could go on for days! Tom values the fact that these outstanding memories are still shared with hundreds of graduates from CMHS and the bonds that existed so long ago are quite unique because they have lasted for a lifetime and classmates remain in contact and are still a very close-knit group.
Tom is the cherished husband of Martha and a devoted father to his two sons, Gabe and Dominic. He is a motivating and exceptional public speaker and the owner of Blackhawk Leadership Development, as well as a published author. Tom has lived his life by the mantra of “Christ taught us to serve others and the message that each of us is given a set of talents.” He has tied these two principles together and they have brought great meaning and substance to not only his own life but to all of those who surround him.
Tom is the son of of Sam and Mary Crea who lived their entire lives devoted to Catholicism and Catholic Education. His brothers Frank and Mike along with sisters Sandra and Kathy all graduated from Cardinal Mindszenty High School. His youngest sister Dianne attended CMHS for one year, until the school closed. Italian heritage, Catholic Faith, and Parochial Education gave our Alumni Monday man of service, his unwavering foundation. He built upon those exceptional blocks and created soldiers, businessmen & women, and his close and extended family.
Yes, MEN of this caliber are indeed far and few between. It is our honor to share Monarch Pride with him as we stand together in celebration of our Purple and Gold legacy. A most profound Thank You to Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Crea for your time, testimony, and most especially for your leadership and service. May God continue to bless America, the Crea family, and all those who serve our great Nation.
Nathan, Luke, Nicholas, and Jordan Eckstrom
Four brothers. Four NCCS Alumni. Four Catholics. Two parents who made faith and Catholic education their family's main priorities. Thank you to the Eckstrom's for their commitment and service to the United States of America!
Nathan Eckstrom, NCCS Class of 1999 was the first member of his family to join the Navy in 2006 and he proudly and honorably served for 10 years. Nate credits his Catholic faith for leading him to join the service. "I learned at a young age that there is a bigger picture and a higher power. Joining the Navy was once again being part of something bigger than me." Nate loved Northern Chautauqua Catholic School; the camaraderie, friendships, and the small class sizes. He truly appreciated his teachers' efforts which helped him to succeed academically, but also personally.
The Eckstrom Twins,Nicholas (Nick Eckstrom)and Luke Luke Eckstrom), joined the Navy in 2012 and have just finished their 6th year in service to our great Nation. Their faith, becoming Altar boys at a young age, and the morals and service to community that they learned at NCCS guided their decision to enter into the Military. Both young men and role models believe that they were challenged academically and personally at NCCS and love having an additional 20 extra brothers and sisters in their Navy divisions.
Jordon Eckstrom enlisted in 2014 and successfully completed his 4-Year term and was inspired by his brothers to carry out the now strong family tradition!
Parents Robert and Rebecca Eckstrom, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Brocton High School, and Northern Chautauqua Catholic School, gave these young men the fortitude, faith, and dedication to Country that our Nation so desperately needs. We are proud that they are collectively one of our own and celebrate their successes. A profound thank you to Nathan, Luke, Nicholas, and Jordan. May God Bless you and may He continue to Bless Our America!
NCCS Class of 2017, current Sophomore at Dunkirk High School, and now a NYS Champion bowler with the DHS girls' bowling team coached by Donna Kubera.
Rachel looks back at her Catholic Education with pride and believes her teachers, the family and faith setting at NCCS, and an early chance to be a team member in the school sports of Basketball and Volleyball, have made her into the dynamic and conscientious student and Christian athlete that she is today.
"My coaches taught me from 4th grade on how to be a team player and when someone on the team was down to pick them back up, in the sport and in their mood." This philosophy still holds true for Rachel and the entire Lady Marauders winning team. Rachel was also active in Softball and Track at NCCS, from the time she was 9 years old! While her elementary school schedule was quite a busy one, especially combined with keeping her grades at the top of the class, Rachel also excelled in every Monarch Musical during 5th - 8th grades.
Rachel remembers the Terrific Mr. T. and gives him the title of "Favorite Teacher from NCCS!" Mr. T. made learning fun by joking around a little, and the laughter was contagious. He was able to teach the most difficult Science terms, experiments, and formulas during the laughter, far more so than if the room had been completely quiet.
The 8th Grade Class Trip to New York City, the friends she made who are now life long family, and graduating from 8th grade with High Honors are some of Rachel's favorite memories she will be able to relive when she is a guest speaker at the NCCS Lenten Para-Liturgy on March 25th!
Rachel is the Sophomore Class Co-Secretary at DHS. She is enrolled in Honors English and Global Classes, JCC Chemistry, and is learning not one but two languages. Her love of Geometry will follow her throughout life, as Rachel's higher education plan is to major in the Math field and attend a D1 College for Bowling. Rachel's current overall average is a 95!
She is the daughter of Rich, a Purina employee, and Becky who works at Tops, where Rachel is also employed. This family unit belongs to Blessed Mary Angela Parish at the St. Hyacinth's location, and they are looking forward to the most Holy Easter Tridiuum.
As a boy, this NCCS Class of 2009 graduate, had a bat and baseball in his hands at an early age! His time spent at NCCS was filled with outstanding Coaches, winning games, teamwork, and a staunch group of supportive parents who were the greatest role models and extended family.
Nick credits his Monarch Coaches and teammates with learning and implementing the fundamental skills of teamwork, sportsmanship, and Christian values and ethics that are still part of his life today. While there are dozens of memorable moments at NCCS, Nick valued his favorite activity of his purple and gold youth, which was Recess.
Students, parents who were lunch monitors, faculty, and staff all gathered together on the playground, in the gym, or parking lot to join together as one and participate in games, sports challenges, and conversation. The games of tag, which student could swing highest on the swings without getting hurt, and basketball shoot outs were much loved and appreciated by Nick and his friends. Often times it is the simple things in life that truly mean the most and impact us for our entire lifetimes.
Nick is one of the hundreds of Alumni that always speak of Mr. T (Tabasco) with great reverence, affection, and admiration. The Science camping trips which Mr. T and parents, along with college students offered, will remain forever in Nick's memory bank.
The Golden Rule, Christ's Greatest Commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” was learned by Nick at a young age through words and actions of all those who surrounded him at NCCS. Nick continues to treat others as he wishes to be treated and thus far, following that principle has worked out quite well for him!
Nick now lives in Texas and loves the variety of live music that is offered seven days a week. He is an inside Sales Manager for the Houstan Astros and finds his job exciting and rewarding. A lifelong friend, Mark Cole (another NCCS Alumnus) also works for the Astros! It would seem the odds are quite low that two graduates from a small Catholic School work for the same MLB team halfway across the Country. Looks like NCCS is that rare gem that made the impossible....possible.
This week's honoree is Erin Patterson, class of 2006. Erin is an accountant at LeChase Construction in Rochester, NY. She lives in Avon, NY. Erin and her boyfriend, Deric, have been dating for three years and have recently adopted a cat, Pesto. Erin is the daughter of Bob and Maribeth Patterson of Portland.
After graduation from NCCS, Erin went on to graduate from Fredonia High School, Alfred University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting, and an M.B.A. and Master of Science Degree in Accounting from Suffolk University in Boston, MA.
Outside of work, Erin loves to golf, attend concerts, travel, visit friends, and to come home to Portland to visit her family and dog, Koda. She also loves the Buffalo Bills!
Some of Erin's fondest memories of NCCS are her second grade class with Miss Clemens, Mission Club, Camping Trips, basketball with Coach Karnes, and the friendships she made while at NCCS. She believes her Catholic education taught her respect, compassion, the importance of family, and to treat others the way she would like to be treated.
Erin, NCCS is so proud to call you both an alum and part of our school family! We wish you nothing but the best of luck in the future!
Congratulations to this Dunkirk hero, an NCCS Mighty Monarch and award winning bowler. Rachel, you are a blessing to your parents, to our school, and to the entire community. Job well done, Mom and Dad Glowniak. Thank you for giving the gift of Excellence in Education to your girl!
Alumni Monday and a true Poster Child for Catholic Education and NCCS.
Dunkirk Schools promote the Marauder Lion, Fredonia Schools have the Hillbilly, the Silver Creek Knight is proud and strong, and NCCS has our beloved Monarch Lion and now Poster Child Katie Stegle, Class of 2001!
If ever there was a contest to select a Poster Child for Catholic Education, Parochial Pride, Faith, and School Spirit the grand winner would be our very own Katie Stegle Wright! Her spunk, enthusiasm, professionalism, and devout love of all things Purple and Gold, make her an ultimate Monarch and NCCS promoter.
What did Katie love about NCCS? EVERYTHING! This Grand Hyatt 2013 Manager of the Year and current Reservations Supervisor credits all of her teachers at NCCS for helping her to become a stellar HS and College student and professional in the work place. Katie vividly remembers Mrs. Dolce and Miss Clemens who helped foster an early love of reading. Katie states that these two teachers lived their faith by the love and dedication that they showed every day. Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Miller helped in Katie's memorization of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables, and perfected her cursive writing skills. "Each of these teachers came up with different and fun activities to teach each lesson which didn't come from a text book."
Katie recalls that every student would make the Sign of the Cross whenever sirens were heard and prayers were said for the patient, medics, police, and the doctors/nurses. A time honored tradition that Katie still practices today. "Ms. Marsha Miller taught epic religion lessons which extended into all subjects and life lessons!" Mr. Jefferey Tabasco's camping trips, hatching baby chicks, making rockets, hundreds of science experiments and the grand Science Fair made Mr. T. a favorite teacher of all Prep School students, says Katie. She remembers all the hours of work that went into each year's Science Fair project and the excitement and pride each class and student had the day of the Science Fair. Katie adored Mrs. Kelly Tippens as the teacher with a pure love of mathematics who had an almost magical ability to assist Katie in becoming a better math student, which Katie thought could never happen!
Katie speaks highly of her former Principal, Mrs. Kathy Moser and feels lucky and blessed to have been a student at NCCS, during Mrs. Moser's tenure. She was a "Principal who supported the students and the parents and gave us the freedom to be creative and listened to our ideas and and fostered our talents."
The family feeling throughout the school was made whole by the Secretary, Mrs. Teri Scholand. Katie credits Secri-Teri as being a second mom to her and someone she continues to try to emulate to this very day. Mrs. Scholand was never judgmental and always patient and loving. Phoebe the Clown sightings during summer Bible Camp and Catholic Schools week were priceless and all the children looked forward to seeing Phoebe!