On Jan. 11, McNicholas announced the court for its 2013 Mardi Gras Pageant and Ball, which honors students who have excelled in service. The senior court features 20 girls and 20 boys, with special recognition given to the King, Queen, Captain of the Ball, and Maid of Honor. While the King and Queen will be announced during the ceremony on Feb. 10, seniors Austin Ernst and Leah Bartel have already been named as Captain and Maid of Honor.
Being Captain and Maid of Honor signifies that Ernst and Bartel earned the second highest number of votes for boys and girls, respectively. Both were excited and felt honored to earn the titles. “I was really surprised and happy,” Bartel said. “I’ve always loved the tradition that surrounds Mardi Gras and seeing all the history during the ceremony presentation. I’m really excited to be a part of it.”
Ernst said he thinks his main contribution to McNick has been through athletics, especially as quarterback for the school’s Varsity Football Team. “Getting to go out on the field wearing ‘McNicholas’ on my uniform and an ‘M’ on my helmet has been a huge source of pride for me,” Ernst said. “I take a lot of pride in what I do and all the people I’m representing. It was always more than a game to me- it was the foundation for my relationships with my coaches and teammates, and a chance for me to display my leadership qualities.”
Bartel said she feels she was recognized mainly for her work as Co-President of both Spirit Club and Eco Club. Bartel credits her ability to be confident in her voice and leadership to the semester she spent away at the ecologically-based Conserve School in Wisconsin during the 2nd half of her junior year. “My time there really changed my views on life, and ‘individualized’ me. I think it allowed me to come back a much more effective and self-assured leader.”
Both Ernst and Bartel said highlights of their time at McNick were their senior retreats. Both have been on the spiritual Kairos retreat, and Bartel attended the Appalachian service retreat last September. “Kairos really changed the way I approach things,” Ernst said. “I know it sounds cheesy, but it made me so much more appreciative for my relationship with God and others.”
Next year, Ernst plans to play football at Ohio Dominican University, majoring in Education with a minor in Sports Management. “Ideally, I would like to be a college football coach or teach and coach at a high school,” Ernst said. “I want to try and help students like my coaches have helped me.”
Bartel said her top choice for school next year is Warren Wilson College in Ashville, North Carolina. She plans on double majoring in Environmental Science and Outdoor Leadership, and will be trying out for the soccer team.