Mishawaka High School Senior and St. Monica’s parishioner Ethan Nowacki is our Michiana High School Student of the Month for March.
Redeemer Radio’s Student of the month, presented by St. Joseph Health System, recognizes students who excel in the classroom, show a strong Catholic faith, and are involved in extracurricular activities at school or in the community.
Ethan has a 3.4 GPA, has been an alter server at St Monica’s and was a 2-year starting offensive lineman on the Mishawaka football team including being named team captain for his senior season. He says his faith has taught him and his two siblings ways to be successful in life. He learned that from the personal example his dad showed him and now Ethan tries to show that personal example to his two younger siblings as well.
“”Our faith has grown into not our parents forcing it down upon us but more into an individual relationship with it,” Ethan explains. “We had our questions, and our love has grown from there because there is answer for almost any question we have. Whenever we go out in the public sphere or do sports, we never let our emotions get ahead of us. We know we have our strong faith if we ever need to push through something, our faith is there to look to.”
Father Jacob Meyer, pastor at St. Monica, calls Ethan a “rockstar.” Ethan in turns feels Fr. Jacob has done an excellent job of helping the younger generation grow stronger in their faith.
“Fr. Jacob has an emphasis on adding humor to his homilies and his interactions with individuals,” Ethan says. “That humor that Catholicism isn’t this old-time ancient religion where it can be modernized into certain situations that modern day Catholics have. He’s had an emphasis in that in his homilies which have been huge in bringing back young people to the faith, especially his humor and his jokes during the homilies that get us rolling. Overall, he knows his faith. He knows the questions you might have. He’s a great guy to go to whenever you need to go to confession. He’s an overall great pastor and a great man.”
Fr. Jacob has even mentioned Ethan during homilies when bringing up examples of football.
Football is a significant passion for Ethan, especially playing at Mishawaka.
“Ever since I could walk, my parents took me to Mishawaka football games,” Ethan says. “I remember in 2008-2009 when Mishawaka ended Penn’s dominance, I was at that game. I can barely remember but it was experiences like that why I love Mishawaka football so much. When my time finally came a few years ago, it was the time of my life because I go out and play like one of those guys that I looked up to—people like Sam Schrader and Tanner Bradley. I used to look up to those guys and to finally be on that field was so incredible. I believe we have one of the best coaching staffs because those coaches truly believe in you as an individual not just your skill set or what you can do for them on the field.”
Ethan says he loved practices so much because of the bond he shared with his teammates and coaches. Ethan was not only a captain his senior year, but he was also named the program’s Mental Attitude Award winner and was a part of three sectional championships at Mishawaka. He believes his faith helped him be successful on the field.
“Football and life can be very stressful,” Ethan explains. “When stuff gets overwhelmed in my head and I have a lot of homework and practice was rough, I can go sit down and pray a Rosary or go to adoration on Thursdays. It clears your mind. Life’s a long road, this is just a short stump you have to get over. That’s what Catholicism does for me a lot, it gets me over these stumps I think are impossible without it. I continue to plow through and hit whatever life throws at me.”
Ethan says he’s loved his experience at Mishawaka, where his mom also attended.
“Mishawaka has been so influential because the teachers generally care for their students and they want to see you graduate,” Ethan says. “The teachers are always there offering you help. Teachers there love to teach.”
Ethan’s dad is in law enforcement and Ethan plans to head to Ball State to study Criminal Justice and potentially law. He doesn’t know ultimately what he may do in life but he’s eying something in law or possibly becoming a police officer.
Be sure to check out our interview with Ethan from the Daily Refill that’s linked above. The Student of the Month interview airs between 7:30-8am on the 1st Wednesday of each month on Redeemer Radio. To nominate a Student of the Month, go to redeemerradio.com/student and fill out the form.