Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader

Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader

The Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader Awards are presented by Valley Catholic School, the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Foundation and the Alumni Advisory Committee to SMV and VCS graduates who excel in their life’s work, demonstrate a high standard of personal integrity, strive for excellence, and live a valiant life. Both awards are presented annually during the VCS Gala and Catholic Schools Week.

This year’s theme is Small Business.

Nominations are open for this year’s Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader awards. Help us celebrate alumna/us who holds a leadership role in a small business by nominating them today. The deadline to nominate a Distinguished Alumni or Emerging Leader is June 1, 2024.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an alumna/us who, as an owner, founder, partner or manager of a small business, has excelled in his or her life’s work, demonstrated a high standard of personal integrity, strives for excellence, and lives a valiant life. 

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes one alumna/us of VCS who has graduated in the last fifteen years and shows promise as a leader in their field. Alumni from the classes of 2009 – 2024 are eligible.

Volunteerism was the theme for the 2023 – 24 school year. Congratulations to our 2023 – 24 Distinguished Alumni winner Josephine Koehnke Recht ’71 and our Emerging Leader winner Elliott Jackson ’11. We are amazed by your Valiant contributions.

Josephine Koehnke Recht
Elliott Jackson

Previous Distinguished Alumni and Emerging Leader Winners

2022 – 23
Distinguished Alumni
Juhea Kim ’05

Emerging Leader
Trevor Gates ’07

2021 – 22
Houng Pham ’88 and Julie Seminara ’95

2020 – 2021
Liska Yamada ’09

YouTube video

2019 – 20
Roberta Barsotti Weber ’62

YouTube video

2018-2019 | Frank So ’97 For more than a decade, Frank So ’97 has headed up humanitarian and development projects in some of the most impoverished and war torn nations in the world. His humanitarian work includes over four years working in Sudan and Darfur with the United Nations and with USAID, leading post-earthquake reconstruction efforts in Haiti. Frank served in Honduras as USAID Advisor for Justice and Human Rights. He is on the advisory board of the Red Sweater Project, an organization dedicated to developing quality, sustainable, and accessible schools for East African children. He is also advisor for VIDES+USA a Catholic Volunteer Missioner Program.

2017-2018 | Jesyca Durchin Schnepp ’87 Jesyca Durchin Schnepp ’87 has been an entertainment professional since 1991. She worked for Mattel Media, where she produced many of the successful Barbie Software titles, before founding her own companies: Nena Media and Digital Playspace. Her clients have included Mattel Entertainment, Walt Disney Imagineering and Paramount Digital.

2016-2017 |Kelly Fox ’86 Kelly Fox ’86 graduated from the University of Portland with a degree in nursing. She received a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Washington, is an adjunct professor at the University of Portland, and will complete her doctorate in nursing practice from Yale University in 2017.

2015-2016 |Father Jeff Meeuwsen ’95 Father Jeff Meeuwsen ’95 is currently pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Aloha, Oregon. He has served at parishes across Oregon and studied at Gonzaga University, Mount Angel Seminary and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

2014-2015 | Marlene Schmidt Duyck ’59 Marlene Schmidt Duyck ’59 was honored for spending “her entire adult life devoting herself to her family and the church.”

2013-2014 | Dr. Richard Church ’95 Dr. Richard Church ’95 was honored for his work as a physician at the University and Memorial campuses of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

2012-2013 | Pamela Martes Olberding ’62 Pamela Martes Olberding ’62 established the Mike Olberding Education Fund in memory of her husband. The fund supports the educational needs of nurses, technicians and other employees at Providence Newberg Medical Center.

2011-2012 | Valley Catholic honored the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO) who graduated from the SSMO campus schools.

2011-2012 | Pat Roshak Joyaux ’54 Pat Roshak Joyaux ’54 is secretary and registrar at Valley Catholic. Since joining the staff in 1978, she “has helped thousands of students and parents on a daily basis…simply being a posi­tive, helpful person who knows the answers to all the possible questions that come through her office.”

2008-2009 | Mariel Zagunis ’03 Mariel Zagunis ’03 is a two-time Olympic champion in women’s sabre.