With the 2019-20 school drawing to a close, Montini Catholic High School in Lombard proudly celebrates two extraordinary seniors. During their first ever Virtual Academic Awards Presentation, on Thursday, May 7th, the Lasallian College Preparatory High School announced Tess Noonan as Valedictorian and Kylie Boyer as Salutatorian for the Class of 2020. Coincidentally, both Bronco scholars, who are best friends and were also comrades on the Volleyball court, will meet again in the fall as Fighting Irish when they both pursue their dreams at the University of Notre Dame.
Tess Noonan, from Willowbrook, will be majoring in Biology and Spanish on a Pre-Med track. She admits, however, that it was the faith life at Notre Dame that really stood out to her. "I loved how much faith is incorporated into their daily lives on campus and can’t wait for that next year!"
As a Bronco, Tess was a force to be reckoned with both academically and athletically. She was a star member, and captain her senior year, of the Varsity Volleyball Team where she was named Academic All Conference all four years. She was also the Co-Founder and Vice President, her senior year, of Montini's Future Medical Professionals Club, President of the National Honor Society (NHS), Mu Alpha Theta, Spanish Club as well as the Spanish Honor Society. She also earned AP Scholar honors her junior year and was named an Illinois State Scholar. "My favorite activities at Montini were volleyball and NHS," she said. "I loved being able to recognize other students for their achievements and help when they needed an extra push. And, I've always had a passion for Volleyball, and being on the team allowed me to meet some of my best friends!"
Tess applied to thirteen colleges before honing her sites on two of her favorite, Notre Dame and Saint Louis University. "I always had Notre Dame as one of my top picks and when I got accepted in December I was so excited! I have been a Notre Dame fan since I was a kid and I still have the tickets of the first game my dad ever took me to!" Since she had kept other schools on her radar, Tess was determined to weigh her many options. She felt reassured, however, by the current Notre Dame students who reached out to her and answered her many questions.
Parents, Tom and Anne Noonan, couldn't be more happy with Tess' decision. "They're super happy," she said. "They were both very excited when I got in and even more excited when I made my decision. They’re not thrilled about me being gone all of next year, but they both know it will be a good fit for me!" While admitting she's definitely a little scared about starting this new chapter and being away from her family - she is also ready for the new adventure. "I am most excited about making new friends! I am looking forward to meeting all different types of people and expanding my horizons. I'm intimidated a little and feel like I'm not old enough yet to be on my own, but I know my family will never be more than a phone call or FaceTime away!"
Tess is also comforted by the fact that her teammate and friend, Kylie Boyer, will also be experiencing this new world at college with her. "Kylie is one of my best friends and I can not wait for the next four years with her. It will be really nice to have a friend there when everything else will be new!"
Kylie Boyer, from Downers Grove, shares Tess' enthusiasm for their shared future at Notre Dame. She will be majoring in Preprofessional Studies (Pre-Med).
"Tess and I have been friends since I met her in 8th grade when we were on the same club volleyball team," she remembers. " I was actually the first person she told that she had decided to come to Montini. I was almost as excited then as I was when I found out that she had decided to go to Notre Dame too!" The two have been best friends since their first day as freshman Broncos, and bonded even more as the only freshmen chosen for the Varsity Volleyball team.
Even though they were both on the same track both academically and athletically, Kylie stressed that there was never a hint of competition between them. "We both wanted the other to do the very best that they could, and it didn’t matter to us who actually did better. We helped and encouraged each other all four years at Montini, and I truly believe that we each played a part in the other’s success."
And a Bronco success story is what Kylie represents. In addition to being captain of the Volleyball team with Tess this year, she was also a four year member of Montini's Lacrosse team and earned Academic All Conference accolades throughout her four year sports career as a Bronco. Kylie also supported her peers in their own athletic endeavors as a member of the Maniacs, Montini's spirited pep club. She was a member of the Math Team, Secretary of the Mu Alpha Theta Club, a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Club and Spanish Honor Society. She was elected to the position of Treasurer of Montini's Student Government and represented the school as a Student Ambassador and Peer Minister. Kylie also achieved AP Scholar and Illinois State Scholar status. She enjoyed being crowned Homecoming Queen in the fall during the Broncos annual festivities. Last, but never least, Kylie's dedication to service has been an inspiration to teachers and fellow students - she traveled to Jamaica during her sophomore year to aid families in need and has spearheaded countless service opportunities throughout her highschool years.
"I love everything about Montini so I was definitely very involved and was so happy that I was able to do all of this in addition to my schoolwork - it made Montini such an amazing place for me," she reflected. "I really loved Volleyball, it was an honor to be on the team. I love the team spirit and competitiveness!"
Kylie admits that she has always been a Notre Dame fan. "My dad (Brooks Boyer)actually played basketball at Notre Dame (90-94)!" She was also impressed with her experience at the Notre Dame Summer Scholars Camp she attended during the summer of 2019. "It was a two week program where I took a college level Life Sciences (Biology) class and it was such an amazing experience!"
Kylie also considered several other colleges due to their competitive nursing programs, including the University of Michigan (her mother, Julie Boyer's alma mater), but in the end she set her sights on Notre Dame. "There are so many incredible aspects of the university that impressed me in addition to its phenomenal academic reputation." Kylie is drawn to Notre Dame's smaller class size and beautiful campus as well as its family atmosphere. "I come from a very competitive family and Notre Dame is a school that, just like Montini, takes great pride in their athletics. I can't wait to cheer for the Irish at all sporting events!"
Knowing just how hard she's worked to reach her college destination, Kylie's family is thrilled for her. "My parents feel a combination of excitement, extreme pride, and some relief due to their confidence in Notre Dame. They know it will bring me to an amazing future and they are relieved because the pressure of college acceptances is over for me and my hard work has paid off."
Like every young graduate about to embark on a new adventure, Kylie has her reservations. "If I’m being honest, it definitely is scary to think about how much my life is about to change. I have absolutely loved my time at Montini and I am so happy where I am right now. That makes it difficult to want to move on and restart."
"Every teacher and coach that I ever had helped me become who I am today. I am incredibly grateful for the Montini faculty as a whole," says Kylie. "I am especially grateful for my teachers who really pushed me to be the best I can be including Mrs. McManus, Ms. Lhotka, Mrs. Raike, Mrs. Pittenger, and Mr. Beirne. I will be grateful for that for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t be going to Notre Dame if it weren’t for the help and encouragement of my teachers. I have learned leadership, hard work, how to take a college class, people skills, and most importantly, how to maintain a strong faith. Montini built up my faith in God and I believe that keeping the faith that I built at Montini will lead me to success in college and in life."
"Montini has definitely prepared me for college. Besides preparing me and challenging me academically, Montini has made me into a well-rounded student," added Tess. "In my four years I have learned how to be not only a better student, but a better friend, a better Catholic, and better person!"
"It’s amazing that our encouragement and teamwork in athletics and academics has led Tess and me to such an amazing college opportunity together," concluded Kylie. "I just can't wait to continue to grow together and encourage each other while at Notre Dame!"