distinguished members of the alumni community with biennial awards. The Alumni Association Board of Directors along with the Alumni Relations office coordinates the solicitation of nominations in the spring of the awarding year.
The alumni awards are presented at alumni receptions.
Nominations for the Brindisi Award and the Bonaventure Frey Young Alumnus Award will be accepted from March – May of 2012.
A highlight of the St. Lawrence Seminary High School alumni reunion has been the Brindisi Award. Begun in 2001, this award is given to alumni who have integrated the mission and values of St. Lawrence Seminary into their lives, reflecting Christ’s gospel mission and demonstrating an outstanding commitment to the values expressed and taught at St. Lawrence Seminary High School.
Past recipients of the Brindisi Award:
Most Rev. Joseph N. Perry
Class of 1966
William J. Thorn
Class of 1960
Msg. Frank J. Jansen
Class of 1893
William G. DeMers
Class of 1933
Daniel L. Woehrer
Class of 1965
Rev. Edwin L. Knauf
Class of 1925
Rev. Brian Braun, OFM Capuchin
Class of 1952
Richard D. Crotteau
Class of 1957
Class of 1956
Fr. Matthew Gotschalk, OFM Capuchin
Class of 1945
Class of 1992
Class of 1964
Fr. Matthew Gottschalk, OFM Capuchin (1945)
Father Matthew Gottschalk has served the poor and disenfranchised for over 56 years. Born in Milwaukee, his entire Capuchin ministry has served Milwaukee’s central city including being the Pastor of St. Benedict the Moor parish, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Elizabeth’s (now know as St. Martin de Porres). He was injured during Milwaukee’s 1967 race riots. It was then that Father Matthew and his associate pastor Father Wilbert Lanser, OFM., Capuchin, conceived the idea of a community service center as an outreach of St. Francis parish. The House of Peace was born, devoted to empowering the African-American community. Forty years later, Father Matthew remains the heart of the House of Peace and serves as its Spiritual Director.
Alonzo Kelly (1992)
At the age of 36, Alonzo Kelly has excelled academically with three master degrees and is currently doing his doctoral work in Human Services. He is a dedicated husband and father of two small children. He has been called to social action dialoguing with student regarding ethnic diversity and advocating for youth people in trouble with the law. Alonzo makes time to live out the church’s social teachings in leading and coordinating the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals in direct service to homeless men at the Guest House in Milwaukee. His spirit of service helped him to achieve the National Urban League Young Professionals’ 2006 Outstanding Central Regional member Award. Kelly was the first-ever member of the Milwaukee chapter to receive the award.
Don Mueller (1964)
Don Mueller has spent his adult life involved in some form of religious education or social justice ministry. He has been an active member of Bread for the World and has served on the Board for the Fond du Lac Homeless Shelter in the past. As coordinator of Social Ministries, he began a Social Justice Concern committee for the parishes in Fond du Lac and fostered discussion groups to raise consciousness about poverty and injustice in the world. He was also instrumental in getting the group to send doctors and lay persons to Nicaragua and raising funds for Rosita Parish. His past residences in Columbia, Mexico and Nicaragua, and his mastery of the Spanish language have given him a strong sense of what the poor have to endure. One of his passions is developing lay leadership and he has helped inject new life into the Fond du Lac St. Vincent de Paul Society.
The Bonaventure Fry Young Alumnus Award
This story would never have been written, but for the grace of God and the faith of two men, Gregory Haas and John Frey, newly-ordained Swiss priests. It happened like this. Experienced Capuchins in their native Switzerland had told them: “Fantastic! Forget It!” Their fellow priests thought they were mad. Their friends and relatives were up in arms. Why? Wouldn’t you question the sanity of two diocesan priests who wanted to journey across the sea and establish the Capuchin Order in America. Both were young: Haas 29 and Frey 25. The tremendous popularity of the Capuchin Order in Switzerland had convinced them that America too needed the Capuchins. True, they had been ordained just a short time. They had never been to America. They had no financial backing to purchase land and build friaries. And no organization would supply them with men, not even the Capuchins. But the strangest fact of all – these priests were not Capuchins themselves. Finding a home in America was their first objective. Then they would become members of the Capuchin Order. In their minds this was no wild dream. America needed the spirit of the Capuchins and God was calling them to accomplish the task. All their trust was in His Divine Providence. Without hesitation they sold their few earthly belongs, left their friends, relatives and home-ties and, with scant encouragement from the Swiss Capuchins, boarded a steamer for America. Father Haas and Father Frey had set their goal. There was no turning back.
The Fr. Bonaventure Frey Young Alumnus Award recognizes the youthful spirit and determination of young men who have followed their own Christ-centered visionary path. Specifically for alumni of 15 years or less, this distinguished award recognizes established and emerging leaders of recent St. Lawrence’s graduates. Standards for recognition include the following: demonstrated leadership capability in the short and long term, substantial indication of a commitment to the service of others, and significant commitment to St. Lawrence and its mission.
2011 Sesquicentennial Recipients
Juan Valenzuela (1994)
When Richard Velasquez’s parents came to visit him during his freshman year, they often brought along his good friend, Juan Valenzuela. Impressed by what he saw at St. Lawrence, the following August Juan’s parents drove him to SLS to join Richard for his sophomore year as a member of the Class of 1994. The class was never the same again. A gifted mimic, Juan entertained his classmates with his impressions of teachers and supervisors, especially his wrestling coach, Mr. Dennis Holm. Juan put those communication talents to more formal use as a member of the SLS forensic team. After graduating from Loyola University in 1998, Juan joined the Illinois State Police. Today, Sergeant Juan Valenzuela’s communication skills serve him well as he is now the public information officer for the Illinois State Police and serves as the Treasurer of the Hispanic Illinois State Law Enforcement Association. Juan has been recognized by the HISLEA for his leadership, commitment and dedication to law enforcement and as a positive role model for young Hispanics. Married to Attorney Esperanza Rivera-Valenzuela, Juan is the proud father of a daughter, Esmeralda.
Andrew Welhouse (2000)
Andrew Welhouse learned about St. Lawrence early in his middle school years from uncles Tim and Mark Sprosty. He was immediately impressed after upper classmen prayed for his family during a liturgy – and he wasn’t even a student yet.
Andrew learned two important lessons at St. Lawrence that he applies as spokesman and communication director for Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. “That brother knows no race,” was a first lesson. Coming from an overwhelmingly white community, his first lesson took root in the diversified fraternities and common heartfelt dialogues about life. Friendship bonds shaped on intramural teams, study groups and shared hobbies experienced on the Hill, trumped any artificial barriers created by race or riches.
The second lesson of gratitude found its seed in Mr. Lou’s lesson on self-aggrandizing norms, and lead to a personal transformation of thanking God for ones graces instead of thanking oneself.
Andrew writes, “For all those who have climbed the hill, we leave with a strong foundation below us, and lofty ambitions above. We don’t look to the sky with expectations and self-importance; we look above with a smile of gratitude and life-long friends by our side.”
Andrew is soon to be married and moving to Chicago for a new career.