St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School

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Alumni » Passing the Torch

Passing the Torch

"We will not hide them from [our] children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders which he has done." Ps 78:4


This section highlights SIJ graduates who have chosen a St. Isaac’s education for their children, making a firm commitment to pass on the truths and joys of our Catholic faith to the next generation.


When the time came for us to choose a school for our daughter 4 years ago, we certainly had many options. 

After researching some schools, we had friends recommend St. Isaac Jogues to us. As a past graduate of St. Isaac Jogues,I know I was offered a well rounded  education from caring teachers and staff, while also providing me with a solid foundation in my Catholic faith that I strive to  grow more in everyday. We wanted our daughter, Isabella (future SIJ class of 2023) to have this same Christ centered educational opportunity, so we took the time to attend the Open House and   learn more about what SIJ had to offer our daughter.  We have been thankful, ever since her first day of 3 year old preschool, for the choice we made to send Isabella to SIJ.  Teachers have worked with us to ensure she is working to her fullest potential and to watch her grow in her faith and strive to live a more virtuous life is a blessing to witness.  We are blessed to be a part of the SIJ Family and we look forward to enrolling our son at SIJ in 2017.

Heather Kortes '93 



The first time I walked back into St. Isaac Jogues School after graduating in 1998 was when I was checking out preschools for my oldest son Sam. I  immediately had this feeling of being home, and was flooded with tons of memories of myself walking through these same halls. After talking to some teachers, some of which I have known for years, it really started to become apparent that this is where I wanted my children to grow and learn. I wanted them to have the great education, both academic and spiritual, that I had. I want them to build the lifelong friendships I have, to have the confidence and educational building blocks to achieve any goals they set for themselves and the faith to be the best version of themselves and I know SIJ will the foundation for all of this because it was for me. Saint Isaac Jogues is not just a school but also a family and I am proud to say I went to school here and now my children will continue to follow in my same footsteps.


Aimee Ganocy (Konal) '98



Hello, my name is Laura Poggiolo Skowronski. I am a lifelong member of St. Isaac's. I live a few blocks from where I grew up and within walking distance of SIJ. 


I am proud to be a graduate of St. Isaac's. I remember my days at school and the great teachers and Sisters that taught me. Back then SIJ school started at third grade. We went to Mass one day a week and every first Friday. The church bells would ring at lunch recess and we would have to "freeze" in position until the bells stopped chiming.


St. Isaac's gave me a great start in life and has influenced who I am today. My siblings and I believe SIJ is still a great school. My four brothers and I are lucky that our parents chose St. Isaac's for our education.


My son, Paul is a 2014 alumni and daughter Gina graduated in 2017; the tenth member of the family to graduate from St. Isaac Jogues. We are blessed to have this east side institution in our community. Go Chargers!


Laura Skowronski '80



After sending my girls to preschool in a public school I knew I wanted something different and better for them. Some parents  check out many schools, weigh pros and cons and have a tough  time deciding where to send their kids. I didn't have a tough decision, and didn't choose a school out of a line up. I chose the school I attended as a kid. The school that my parents trusted as the best choice for my brother and I. The place I felt most at home and   comfortable. I knew in my heart that place was St. Isaac Jogues.  It has been a sacrifice at times to send two girls to a Catholic grade school, but it has been the best decision for our family. My girls have excelled academically and athletically. Our SIJ family has   become an integral part of our lives, and I have never regretted my decision to send my girls here.


Julie Tyner '88



St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School was home to me as a student from Kindergarten through 8th grade, as a teacher for the past ten years and now also as a parent.  When it came time for us to choose a school for our oldest son, Lucas, we wanted high academic standards, faith and character formation and a safe, caring environment.  

St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School provides this and so much more.  I can’t imagine sending my boys anywhere else.  Here at S.I.J. students are challenged not only to be their best academically, but to live a  life of virtue and service.   In our ever-changing world   I find comfort in the constants that a St. Isaac Jogues education  provides: faith, tradition, rigorous academics and a passionate  community.   


Lauren Whiteley (Hoppenworth) ‘97



I grew up in Roseville, in a neighborhood with many families, and many children. At the time I was entering the third grade, my parents discussed Catholic education with the parents of many other children in my neighborhood. The end of these discussions turned into 7 new students at St. Isaac Jogues. My first year at St. Isaac's was the third grade. Following St. Isaac Jogues, I attended De La Salle and graduated in 1993. At St. Isaac Jogues, I was exposed to a positive learning environment, religious education, and emphasis on Catholic values. Only as adults can we have a greater grasp on the long-term rewards of good choices made early in life. For this, I am thankful that my parents sent me here. The education that I received and friends that I made in my time at St. Isaac Jogues have had a positive impact on nearly every facet of my life. The benefits of my time here have truly been lifelong. It is my hope and prayer that I can provide this type of benefit to my children... a gift of Catholic education and opportunity to live a fulfilling life, and that they are able to make the best of it. I have two boys currently enrolled at the school. I am a proud parent, and feel very blessed that I am able to provide this opportunity for them, and am hopeful that their experiences here will serve them as well as they served me.


Jason Clausen '89



My parents, Al and Dolly Szandzik, were two of the original founding members of St. Isaac Jogues Church. The church first began having masses at Chippewa Junior High, which is now Shorepointe Nursing Center on Lakeland and Jefferson. Thereafter, the church building was completed at its current site in St. Clair Shores.


Al and Dolly were always a continuing presence in all aspects of the Church and school, and were active and involved in many activities and organizations.


I am the oldest of 6 Szandzik children who attended SIJ. I graduated from eighth grade in 1964. My siblings, Jan, Ed, Mike, Dave, and Jim all graduated in the following years. We all graduated with a sense of accomplishment, and left SIJ with memories to cherish as we moved on.


My Dad died in 2014. The St. Isaac Jogues Men’s Club established the Al Szandzik Memorial Education Grant in his name, which is awarded to two graduating eighth graders to help with their Catholic high school education. We are so proud and honored because education was very important to my parents, along with their faith.


Like most parents, they sacrificed to send their children to SIJ to ensure a solid Catholic education and a foundation rich in faith and tradition. We were grounded in our faith and in the Church. The presence and teaching of nuns (principal Sr. Ethelreda), lay teachers and priests (Frs. Des Longchamps, Rancilio, Kucyck, and others) encouraged respect for God and authority, working hard, always doing the right thing, getting good grades and many other values. We all remember Fr. D. sitting in front of the classroom as he passed out report cards to every student, instilling a kind but “holy fear” in us because we never knew what he would say about our grades! LOL!


We are truly a legacy family, with 3 generations of involvement in SIJ. Years after my time at SIJ, my husband and I were married here, and our son Paul was baptized in this beautiful church. In 1998, our son and daughter-in-law (Paul and Michelle Lucido) were also married at SIJ, keeping with our family traditions and love of the church.

Paul and Michelle eventually moved to St. Clair Shores, and also became members of SIJ. As a family, we all pitched in to send our four grandsons to SIJ. Paul graduated in 2013, Nick graduates this year, followed by Sam next year and Anthony in 2018. He will be the 10th Szandzik/Lucido to graduate from SIJ. We chose SIJ for the same reasons my parents had, to instill a deep love of God and appreciation for the gifts the Catholic Church and school provide us.


It is surreal knowing my grandsons are walking the halls I walked so many years ago. I feel they are receiving a solid education just as I had received. Who knows? Maybe my great-grandchildren will be the next to follow in our footsteps!


A grateful grad of SIJ,

Paulette (Szandzik) Lucido '64


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Whiteley (Hoppenworth) Family

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Ganocy (Konal) Family

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Skowronski Family

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Fanning Family

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Szandzik Family

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Clausen Family

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Lucido Family (Szandzik Grandsons)

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Kortes Family

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Tyner Family