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SXU recognizes two outstanding students

School of Education honors local women

Chicago (April 23, 2007) – Saint Xavier University’s School of Education honored two local women with the Merwick and Chekouras Outstanding Student Awards.

“The two Sisters of Mercy for whom these awards are named – Sister Mary Dominic Merwick and Sister M. Irenaeus Chekouras – set high standards in terms of scholarship and service,” said Beverly Gulley, dean of Saint Xavier University’s School of Education.

Angela Fornaciari, of Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood, received the Sister Mary Dominic Merwick Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award, which recognizes an undergraduate student for high achievement, exemplary student teaching and service to education. She has a 4.0 grade point average in her elementary education major. 

Fornaciari, who graduates in May, was described as an extraordinary student teacher with a strong sense of commitment, persistence, organization and patience. She plans to teach in an elementary school in Illinois or northwest Indiana.

Gloria Yakes, of Tinley Park, received the Sister M. Irenaeus Chekouras Outstanding Graduate Student Award, which recognizes a graduate student who demonstrates high academic achievement, service to education and outstanding contribution to scholarship based on excellence in writing as evidenced by a research project or other scholarly paper. 

A December 2006 elementary education graduate, Yakes was recognized for her academic achievement – earning a perfect 4.0 grade point average, the quality of her scholarly work and the creativity and value of presentations that incorporated technology. 

The awards committee recognized Yakes for her exemplary community service as a school board member and for providing technology tutorials for the faculty and students in the School of Education. Yakes is a master board member of the Illinois Association of School Boards, a member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society, and is currently teaching third grade at Memorial School in Tinley Park. She also serves as a Eucharistic minister, Girl Scout leader and religious education teacher.

“It is our pleasure in the School of Education to recognize two fine students who continue the tradition of scholastic excellence and generosity of service,” Gulley said. Both winners were honored at the University Awards Ceremony on April 18. 


Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News & World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.

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