Local student among 10 NCEA honored nationally

While Catholic Schools Week is now in the rearview mirror, Althoff Catholic High School junior, Emma Murphy, will remember this one for quite awhile. Her family and her school are proud of her.

The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) inaugurated an award this year called the Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award.nNCEA representative Wade Marshall presented the award to Emma Feb. 1 at an all-school assembly.

According to Jen Lyke’s blog, “The ten honorees were chosen for their selfless service, determination, innovation and desire to improve the world around them. The students chosen embody the standards of personal conduct and public service through their faith, leadership and service to others.”

Lyke is the school’s Director of Advancement.

Emma began her journey to discovery after guidance counselor, Kathy Schaefer, selected her for HOBY — the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership seminar after her sophomore year.

From there, she was selected to go to the World Leadership Congress “where she heard about the realities of water insecurity in the United States and across the globe,” Lyke said.

“Horrified” at the prospect that so many people were unable to get clean, drinkable water, Emma decided she must take action.
A lover of science, she decided to research and build a water purification platform with help from her science teacher, Matt Morris, and together they have gathered the resources needed to proceed with the project that utilizes the plant algae species, Euglena.

The pair has partnered with a Baylor University professor who is doing similar research. Emma said she was “incredibly surprised and grateful for this honor” from the NCEA.

She hopes to begin work with Morris on the project in March and perhaps take the platform on her senior service project next year.
While she conceded it would be hard to wait until next year, “I want to make sure it’s right.”

Emma belongs to St. Teresa Parish in Belleville.

At the end of the assembly, another Althoff student, basketball player, Jordan Goodwin, was singled out for moving from “center court to center stage.”

Elaine Laws, a member of Althoff’s English and Drama department, directs the school’s plays, and invited Jordan to participate in this year’s spring musical, “Oliver.”

“We were able to cast our show with 11 of our Althoff Catholic students and 11 young students from our various feeder schools in the area. We still have a great need for students to step up and join us as extra chorus  members to help fill out the cast,” Laws said.

Jordan decided to step up and step out. “If Jordan can see the need to step up and help out when needed, maybe there are some others out there who may want to join him and our Drama Club as we present ‘Oliver,’ and then you can — to quote a lyric from the show — consider yourself one of us,’” Laws added.

The morning of the assembly Jordan was one of a group of Althoff students who signed letters of intent to play sports at various schools. He chose St. Louis University.