The Marian High School community came together on October 18 at The Village Club to express gratitude to the school's highest-level donors during the 17th Annual Marian High School Leadership Circle Dinner. The event featured keynote remarks from Hannah Kaczmarek ’24, who shared her personal journey at Marian and highlighted the school's transformative impact on her life.
Hannah began her speech by addressing the anxieties and "what if" questions that plagued her mind as she entered high school. Questions like, "What if I didn’t make any friends? What if I couldn’t handle the coursework? What if I didn’t fit in?" These fears were dispelled as she immersed herself in the Marian community.
"I recall answering a question in my World History class freshman year, and beginning with 'I'm not sure if this is right, but...'" Hannah recounted. "My teacher, Mr. Wallace, interrupted me. He asked, 'Hannah, do you know your answer is right?' When I nodded, he exclaimed, 'So then have some confidence!' This memory exemplifies the type of encouragement students receive from teachers that instills self-assurance," Hannah explained.
Hannah also highlighted how cross-country summer practices and the big sis/little sis program helped her transition seamlessly from middle to high school. She emphasized that Marian fosters an environment where relationships formed within the school continue to thrive long after graduation. "Marian fosters a lifelong community of sisters,” she said.
Hannah also reflected on her growth in leadership, inspired by upperclassmen who led by example, and how her faith had deepened thanks to Marian's religious education and open discussions about faith. “Despite growing up in the Catholic Church through family and school, I never fully embraced my spirituality before Marian,” Hannah said. “Marian revealed the relevance Gospel teachings hold in my life.”
Marian's strong sense of sisterhood was a recurring theme in Hannah's speech. She described how grade-wide retreats and shared experiences brought her classmates closer, creating a deep bond of support and camaraderie. She concluded her remarks by expressing her readiness for the future and her gratitude for the academic, leadership, and faith qualities instilled in her by Marian.
In addition to Hannah's speech, President Heather Greig Sofran '96 offered welcoming remarks, setting the tone for the evening. "Tonight, we gather not only to express our gratitude but also to look toward the future with hope and purpose," she said. "Your contributions are a testament to your commitment to Marian, enabling us to provide exceptional education to our students, empowering them to grow, lead, and succeed. We celebrate not only the legacy of our school but also the potential of our future leaders. We know that our school needs each and every one of you to ensure our ongoing success."
Vice President for Advancement Holly Gorecki also addressed attendees, emphasizing the importance of donor support in shaping the future leaders who will make a difference in the world. She highlighted Marian's commitment to guiding young women spiritually, challenging them academically, and inspiring them to a life of leadership.
The Marian High School Leadership Circle Dinner is one of the benefits offered as part of the school's newly released Donor Benefit Structure
, which aims to express gratitude and appreciation to the generous donors who support our school. The structure includes various benefits, such as access to exclusive events, invitations to mission-focused tours of Marian, a discount at the Stang Shop, and the opportunity to enjoy special events such as the Leadership Circle Dinner.
The Leadership Circle Dinner is a testament to Marian High School's commitment to its donors and their crucial role in nurturing the potential of students like Hannah Kaczmarek. These generous individuals play a significant part in shaping our strong women of mind and heart and continue to be essential pillars of support for the Marian community.