Junior Bryce Shevak of John Carroll High School was honored during Catholic Schools Week last month for an extraordinary ten-plus years of service to his local community. He received the 2019 Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), which recognized his selfless service, determination, innovation and ideals. Included in the presentation were the prestigious NCEA Medal of Honor and Certificate. The Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Awards program is made possible through the generosity and support of Cross Catholic Outreach, a Catholic ministry whose mission is to mobilize the global Catholic Church to transform the poor and their communities materially and spiritually for the glory of Jesus Christ.
“NCEA extends its sincere congratulations to all the winners and to all those who have supported the outstanding service and faith witness of these remarkable young people,” said NCEA Chief Leadership and Program Officer, Dr. Barbara Edmondson. “Young people in our Catholic schools are truly changing the world, one student at a time.” Bryce was chosen from more than 1.8 million Catholic school students across the country.
Bryce’s commitment to service began eleven years ago with a Lenten challenge from his pastor, Rev. Richard George of St. Anastasia Church in Fort Pierce. Instead of “giving something up” for Lent, Fr. George challenged Bryce to go out and do something worthwhile and good. Little did the five-year-old Bryce realize what an extraordinary project he would develop! Bryce initiated a food drive with the assistance of his parents and younger brother. As of this year, over 5,000 pounds of food have been collected and donated to the local community.
According to John Carroll’s principal, Mrs. Corey Heroux, “Bryce's commitment to serving Christ by serving others is most admirable, and he embodies what it means to be a John Carroll High School student. We are simply so proud of him, not only for his accomplishments but for how he lives his life as a young man of faith!" Bryce himself is excited about the future of his project. He and his brother continue to make plans for the growth of the service project, and emphasis the project’s motto – “One CAN make a difference.” Recognizing the need to grow the project even more, Bryce notes that, “We hope that we can reach more people to donate, and in turn, help the ever-increasing number of people who are in need of our help.”
Bryce’s mother, Mrs. Cyndee Shevak, has taught in the Catholic school system for over 22 years, including the last 15 at John Carroll High School. She was instrumental in assisting her son’s project get off the ground eleven years ago and is thrilled to see it through fruition. She comments that, "Seeing my sons eyes light up when they walk up to a house and see a bag of food waiting to be collected is better than Christmas morning. The joy in everyone’s heart is overflowing when we bring all the food to St Vincent de Paul – it is a priceless blessing!" Mrs. Shevak, along with the entire John Carroll Catholic community, joins NCEA in saluting Bryce, a true servant of the Lord.