McNicholas celebrated its 70th annual Mardi Gras on Sunday, Feb. 20 with the crowning of King Conner Dute and Queen Lauren Keith. This year’s festivities looked a little different as we continue to consider safety in the midst of a pandemic, but the tradition established by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1952 continued.
The theme, City Shining on a Hill, acknowledged the many ways our community has been a light to the world, shining for all to see. The 56 students on the court and honor guard were celebrated for the ways that their gifts have strengthened the McNicholas community and beyond.
“King Conner is one of the kindest young men I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” SAIL teacher Mrs. Valerie Combs said. “Conner enriches the McNicholas community with his selfless dedication and leadership and sets a wonderful example for others. He is friendly, intelligent, and humble and exemplifies our mission—a compassionate leader growing toward full stature in Christ.”
Conner is a 4-year Honor Roll student who has served his community with over 1,300 hours of service. He is a member of the United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol and a Milford Fire Cadet. He has served his fellow students as a retreat leader, Peer Mentor, and Hope Squad member and has served McNicholas as a Student Ambassador, McNick Minute podcaster, and member of the Hands Across Campus diversity and inclusion club. Conner recently won a Scholastic Gold Key in Architecture and Industrial Design and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for his achievement on the on the American Legion Americanism and Government Test.
Math Department Chair, Mrs. Ashley Brothers said, “I couldn't be happier for King Conner. He is a truly authentic, hard-working young man. He proudly represents McNicholas and his community, and I'm grateful that this honor allows him to receive the recognition he deserves.
Queen Lauren is a four-year Dean’s List and Honor Roll student, a four-year volleyball athlete, a three-year lacrosse athlete, and a member of Spanish Honor Society and National Honor Society. She has served her fellow students as a Peer Mentor, retreat leader, member of Hope Squad, and member of the CREW Leadership Team. She has served her community with over 270 hours of service, including her work as a member of the executive team for CancerFree Kids Night for the Fight and the St. Vincent De Paul Youth Conference.
Principal David Mueller said, “Lauren's classmates and the faculty, including me, respect her well-rounded excellence as person of faith, student, servant leader, and athlete. In her role as Student Body President, she has demonstrated dedication to McNicholas, a focus on setting and achieving positive goals, and a gift for building school spirit.”
Social Studies Teacher and Student Culture Coordinator, Mr. Todd Naumann, added, “Lauren is bright, talented, and caring. She demonstrates compassionate leadership by putting the needs of others before those of her own. Lauren has effectively led our school this year with humility, courage, and grace. Lauren is one of the most outstanding young people I have ever had the opportunity to work with. Her recognition as Mardi Gras Queen was well deserved!”