Lowell Catholic to Honor 4 at Annual Gala
LOWELL -- Lowell Catholic will honor four individuals at the 18th annual Bishop John R. McNamara Awards Gala on Tuesday, April 9 at Lenzi’s in Dracut.
The gala is the school’s landmark fundraising event of the year, raising money for financial aid and merit scholarship programs for students. It is named for the late Bishop McNamara, a leader in the Lowell Catholic community for his tireless support of education and charity.
Past gala award winners include Mark Cochran, president and CEO of Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, and Bob and Jan Audet, who have both worked in the health-care field as a pharmacy owner and registered nurse, respectively.
This year’s honorees are Chet Szablak and Joanne Yestramski, who will receive the Bishop McNamara Award; Stephen O’Connor, who will receive the St. Margaret Distinguished Graduate Award and Taylor Young, who will be receiving the Lowell Catholic Alumni Achievement Award.
Szablak works at Enterprise Bank as the executive vice president and the chief officer of sales, community and customer relations and is active in community and nonprofit involvement. He serves as the chairsperson of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation and Lowell High School Athletic Hall of Fame and as vice chairsperson of The Lawrence Partnership.
“Chet has a reputation throughout the Merrimack Valley for being empathetic and supportive to a number of non-profits and their causes,” Lowell Catholic’s senior advancement coordinator Robbie Barnes wrote in an email to The Sun. “The Gala is not only a time to recognize outstanding community leaders, but to raise critically needed funds for the students of Lowell Catholic and he is more than happy to help us achieve our goals.”
Yestramski has worked in higher education for almost two decades and is now the senior vice chancellor of finance, operations and straegic planning at UMass Lowell, as well as a member of the Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet. She works closely with the Merrimack Repertory Theatre and Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union. She was also on the Board of Trustees for Lowell Catholic High School for seven years.
“We are very excited to be able to honor Joanne Yestramski as she has been an integral part of Lowell Catholic’s growth over the last few years. She has embraced Lowell Catholic’s mission, first, as an LC parent then as a board member,” wrote Barnes.
O’Connor is a 1968 graduate of St. Margaret School and has published several novels based loosely upon his own life experiences in Lowell, Ireland, Newburyport and France. He has taught English classes at Greater Lowell Technical High School since 1992.
Young graduated from Lowell Catholic in 2011 and attended Lyndon State College where she graduated with a bachelor’s in electronic journalism arts. She has since become an established reporter with WCAX Channel 3, a CBS News-affiliate in Vermont.
Tickets to the gala can be purchased online. Price ranges from $125 for one ticket to $1,225 for a table of ten. Those who are unable to make the event may also donate to the school if they wish.