Villa Maria Elementary School

 

 

Alumni Announcements

We are thankful for the support we receive from our families, friends and our over 1,800 alumni. We continually are looking for ways to stay in touch and hope that our website becomes a valuable information tool to keep you connected to VME.

 

We’d love to keep track of where you are, so please provide us with your current address and update family and career changes. You can mail this information to Jessica Nelson at jessica.nelson@vmelementary.com 

 

 

Click here to see pictures of our past graduates!

 

Erin Estes, '08

 

Every sixty seconds in Africa… A minute passes - live life, explore, and enjoy it.

 

This past semester I got the opportunity of studying abroad, through the Uganda Studies Program and Best Semester, in the small country of Uganda located in East Africa. I lived with a Ugandan host family for the four months. I had a mama, papa, and two year old sister named Rejoice. We lived a half hour walk from Uganda Christian University, where I studied each day. I took classes with my program, along with two classes with African professors and African classmates. For one of my classes, I was required to complete a forty hour internship at a local organization. I worked at The Chain Foundation, an orphanage and school for abandoned and children found on the streets. I worked twice a week at the Martin Nkoyoyo Primary School (equivalent to elementary school) where they also allow blind and visually impaired students to attend. I worked in the blind resource room where I got the opportunity to learn how to write and read braille, along with helping the braille instructors throughout the day.

 

 

The Uganda Studies Program also took many educational trips all over Uganda. One weekend we went to Gulu, located in Northern Uganda. Gulu is an area that was affected by the war and Joseph Kony, and the Lord’s Resistance Army. We visited different organizations that are helping rebuild the community of Gulu. We even listened to five women speak about their experiences when captured by the LRA and how the survived the war.

 

 

Another week during the middle of the semester, we traveled to the village Kapchorwa, in Eastern Uganda (located near the Kenyan border) where I was assigned a new host family to live with for eight days. I lived with a family with nine kids, but only four were home. I had two sister, Joann (19) and Lillian (16), and two brothers, Satya (6) and Jeremiah (3). I had the opportunity of experiencing village life and working hard to complete chores along with my sisters. I even tried carrying a bucket and a part of a banana tree on my head like the majority of African women do, but it’s a lot more difficult then it seems. Kapchorwa is located in the mountains and had beautiful landscapes, water falls, and more stars imaginable in the night sky.

 

 

Towards the end of the semester, we traveled to Rwanda where we stayed ten days in the capital of Kigali. Rwanda is located just south under Uganda. We went during April, also known as the month of mourning for Rwandans. We went during the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide that happened in April 1994. We visited museums and learned all about the timeline of the genocide. We also visited organizations that are helping to rebuild the community and relationships between the Hutu and the Tutsis. Besides the brokenness, we also learned about the beauty of the Rwandan culture and country.

 


Besides the educational trips, we also participated in some “touristy” things. One weekend we went to the source of the Nile River in Jinja, Uganda, just an hour east of Mukono, where we went white water rafting down the Nile and bungee jumping. We also went to Murchison Falls National Park where we went on a two part safari. One day we traveled down the Nile River and the next day we adventured around a game park and saw many animals.

 

 

My experience abroad was very meaningful. I learned a lot in my classes, but learned a lot more just by experiencing everyday life in Uganda: walking the dirt roads, wearing long skirts, learning the language, getting my hair plaited, building long lasting relationships, sleeping under a mosquito net, trying new foods, becoming best friends with my host sister, and living without what may be considered a necessity in America (running water, plumbing and electricity). I learned a lot about the Ugandan culture: the slow pace of life, importance of family and community, how happy you can be just by living simply, the importance of presence, and what the expression “walking by faith” really means. I learned about westerner’s misconceptions about Africa and how it is basically impossible to compare America to Uganda due to how drastically different both cultures are.  My experience abroad has been the best four months of my college experience so far. Not a day goes by where I do not think about my time abroad and how much I miss that beautiful country full of beautiful people in East Africa. I still stay in contact with my host family and many others.

        

 

Most people think that I am crazy for adventuring and living in a far unknown place, but apparently my brother, Nathan Estes, '09, did not think so…

 

Chelsea Signorina, '07

Chelsea Signorino, '07, VMA '11, will be a senior at Clarion University this fall, majoring in Strategic Communications. On campus, she is the announcer and manager of the Clarion University's NCAA Division II Women's soccer team. She travels to away games and announces every home game. Last summer, Chelsea traveled to the United Kingdom with the team for 10 days. She is also a sport anchor at CU-TV, bringing CU the latest in local and national sports. Chelsea is also an Eagle Explorer for the CU Admissions Office, a SOAR Mentor for the Transitions Office, and chairman of activities for Relay for Life at Clarion University. She is also sweetheart for Phi Delta Theta Fraternity!

 

This summer, Chelsea will be interning with UPMC Health Plan in the 11-week Summer Associates Program. Her position is Marketing Communications working directly with Community Relations in the Erie Office.

 

 

Geoffrey Lim, '02


Geoffrey Lim, '06, a fourth-year student at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, has co-authored a chapter of a textbook with Carrie Ann R. Cusak and Joseph M. Kist titled, "Perioral Lesions and Dermatoses" which was recently accepted for publication in Dental Clinics of North America.

 

Lim was also the lead author in a publication recently accepted by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology entitled, "Pink scaling papules and plaques on the palms, soles, chest, abdomen, and extremeties."

 

He co-authored a paper with his father, local dermatologist Scott Lim, titled, "Enlarging hyperpigmented nodule on the right calf" which was published in the International Journal of Dermatology.

 

During his fourth year of medical school, he will also be working as a research assistant at the Drexel Dermatology Clinic looking at the specific risk factors for non-melanoma skin cancer in patients with darker skin.

 

Brian Stam, '05

Brian Stamm, VME '05 graduate and the 2009 Valedictorian of Cathedral Preparatory School, has been awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship to work in Munich, Germany, this summer. Stamm graduated from Boston College this past May with high honors. He has been involved for the past two years with the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University, where research is conducted on the effects of head trauma to NFL players.

 

Stamm will conduct the same type of research in Germany on soccer players. The research involves a specialized diffusion technique called Diffusion Tensor Imaging to show the effects of head butting the ball  and concussion versus those who have never had head trauma.

 

Sara Livingston, '05

Denison University graduating senior Sara Livingston of Erie was awarded a President's Medal by university President Dale Knobel.

 

The President's Medal was established in 1985 to recognize stellar achievement by the top students in each graduating class. It is the highest honor the college bestows on a student, given for academic success as well as for creating a legacy at Dension. Livingston was one of seven to receive the honor.

 

Livingston is a double major in sociology/anthropology and Spanish. She is a member of the National Hispanic Honorary, women's soccer team co-captain, and America Reads tutor, among other accomplishments.

 

She is a 2005 graduate of Villa Maria Elementary and a 2009 graduate of Mercyhurst Preparatory School.

 

 

Nate Estes, '09

Congratulations to VME graduate Nate Estes, '09, (left) on winning a District 10 title in tennis with Cathedral Preparatory School. See the full article here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeanne Roslanowick, '62

Jeanne Roslanowick, '62, just happily retired after almost 30 years of working for the US House of Representatives. Congratulations, Jeanne!

 

 

Kailey (MacIsaac) Tarbell, '04

Kailey (MacIsaac) Tarbell was married to Gregory Tarbell on November 10th, 2012.

 

 

Kevin Robert Akans, '00

Kevin Robert Akans, VME class of 2000, graduated from Cathedral Prep in Erie and the University of Pittsburgh. Kevin is currently living in Greensburg, PA, and will be married to Maggie Brandle in April 2013. Congratulations, Kevin!

 

Susan Pelkowski, VME Faculty, 1995 - 2004

Retired to Ft. Myers, Florida. Susan has two children, and her son, Noah Pelkowski, '97, has provided Susan with two beautiful grandchildren, with a third on the way!

 

Colleen Devine, '09 and Caleb Payne, '09

Colleen Devine and Caleb Payne, VME class of 2009 and current MPS Seniors, have been named Commended Students in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. They placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2013 competition by taking the 2011 Preliminary SAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. "The young people recognized as Commended Students represent some of the best and brightest minds in the country as demonstrated by their outstanding performance in our highly competitive program," stated an NMCS spokesperson.

 

Nick Carver, '12

Nick Carver, VME class of 2012, will be donating his hair to Locks of Love for the second year in a row, in honor of his late great-grandmother Anna Osmer who passed away from breast cancer.

 

Erin Kelly, '12

 

Erin Kelly, VME class of 2012, made honors at Central Career Tech with a straight "A" report card. We are very proud of her! - Dave & Patty (Erin's proud parents)

 

 

Jesse Edwards-Borowicz, '12

Jesse Edwards-Borowicz was the 2012 recipient of the $500 "Pat Locco Spirit Award" at his 8th grade graduation in May 2012. When Jesse received the award, which he did not require for his tuition at Mercyhurst Preparatory School, he chose to donate $400 to VME and $100 to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania. The $400 was specifically given to the VME Science Department, directed by Mary Wright, and was used to purchase an incubator.  The incubator is currently being used by VME students for microbiology projects and for PJAS projects.

 

“I am thrilled that Jesse chose to be so generous,” noted Mary Wright. “His gift will enable future students to conduct experiments in a safe and appropriately scientific manner. But, even more importantly, he sets a beautiful example to other young people by his willingness to give back to his community. I’m sure his parents are proud of their fine son, too.”  

 

The award was established in memory of Pat Locco, a VME graduate who passed away in his mid-twenties. The award recipient is chosen by the Principal and 8th grade teachers, and goes to the student who exemplifies some of Locco’s most endearing qualities: hard work, good nature, kindness, and school spirit.

 

  

 

In the photo: VME teacher Mary Wright stands next to the incubator purchased with a donation from Jesse Edwards-Borowicz (left to right.)

 
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