CSW Reflections '24

Thank you to our Student Council President Jahmel McGee and Board Member Mrs. Katie Clark for sharing their reflections on the importance of Catholic education and what makes Queen of Martyrs such a special place.  Their testimonies are truly blessings to our faith community!

Jahmel McGee (8th Grade Student)

Good morning, everyone! 

My name is Jahmel McGee, and I am the Student Council President here at Queen of Martyrs. I have attended Queen of Martyrs for 10 years now, and I have loved every moment of it. This school has helped me deepen my faith and my relationship with God by going to mass every Tuesday, having religion class throughout the week, and even reading my Bible. Doing these things have also helped me connect with my community and friends.  

The faculty and staff here is amazing! I still remember my first day of PreK. I walked into the classroom and saw another student playing with the toy kitchen set, so I went and introduced myself. Ever since then, Aidan has been my best friend. There were many more great memories such as when we made Ice cream in the gym with Mrs. Gagner during silly science, in 4th grade when we played the Capitals game with Ms. DiCola, and in 6th grade we made golf courses with Mr. Jewell. What great memories! 

Along with lots of fun, Queen of Martyrs has provided me with a great education. I am part of many of the school groups such as the basketball team, Student Council, and National Junior Honor Society. Queen of Martyrs also has also shown me how important it is to live out my faith through service to others. Through charitable drives this year, we have raised money for a baby bottle drive to help support mothers and newborns. We also walked to Mercy Circle and made gifts for the Mercy Circle residents, and as part of Catholic Schools Week, we are donating canned goods for a food drive in support of Evergreen Park Food Pantry.  

Queen of Martyrs has been a part of my life since I was 4 years old. Even though I graduate in a couple months, I will never forget my first day entering Queen of Martyrs. After I graduate I will be attending St. Rita for the next 4 years of my life. I am excited to have received the Daniel Murphy Scholarship totaling $20,000 off over the next 4 years. This school is filled with hundreds of memories, and I will forever and always be proud to be a Wildcat! 

Mrs. Katie Clark (School Board Member, Mother)

Catholic Schools Week gives us an opportunity to show to the rest of the country that Saint Sr. Elizabeth Ann Seton knew what she was doing way back in 1809 when she established the first catholic elementary school in this country. She knew, like we do today, that an education grounded in the teachings of Jesus could only produce compassionate and faithful disciples who will carry the light of Christ into the world.

Catholic schools became the beacon of hope, shaping the next generation of faithful and active Catholics. The dedicated faculty, staff, and administrators here at Queen of Martyrs continues this commitment and instills in students a sense of service and social responsibility. Queen of Martyrs students are challenged beyond just homework and tests because they are tasked with answering essential questions of what God is asking them to do with their lives. Through service projects (like collecting food for the Evergreen Park Food Pantry), outreach programs (like working with the Mercy Circle center), and a morally grounded curriculum, our students learn the value of compassion, empathy, and making a positive difference in the world. I am eternally grateful for both current and former teachers that impact and inspire my children to value their academic knowledge just as much as instilling in them a sense of service and social responsibility to help others just like Jesus and the saints had done.

The importance of the Community and Catholic Schools is vital. The two are interlocked because we are a community united in our catholic faith. There are so many integral parts to this community; the pastor, the secretary in the school’s office, the parishioners who beautify our grounds, the youth ministry coordinator, the engineers, teacher aides, and the myriad of other people that work tirelessly to provide an environment and an opportunity for each student here at Queen of Martyrs.

Additionally, this school runs on the generous time, energy, and talents of so many volunteers. A community response to challenges is what motivates so many moms, dads, grandparents, friends, and parishioners to coach, organize, run, promote, donate, participate in, and continually ensure that Queen of Martyrs is the school of choice here in our unique Evergreen Park Chicago community. Though the hours can be long and the stress can be just a tad overwhelming, there is no other group of students we would rather help, mentor, and guide. We know our sacrifices are the wisest investment in their future.

Queen of Martyrs is centered around a common expression of faith which binds our leaders, our academically motivated students, our dedicated and self-sacrificing parents and our committed and passionate teachers in this shared mission of quality catholic education! My husband and I, our 3 alumni children and our current 4 students are so proud to be a part of this school and parish. We love how friendly parishioners are when they give treats and high fives to our kids at church, we appreciate parents looking out for them and cheering for them at athletic events and recognizing their scholastic achievements, we cannot thank enough the teachers and principal for their countless hours of commitment to improving the physical building and increasing our kids academic success, and we truly appreciate Father Benedykt and all the priests of this parish for teaching and modeling this wonderful faith.

Queen of Martyrs is an amazing place with amazing people and we are blessed, truly blessed, to be a part of it!