Recognizing Former Outstanding Graduates

Recognizing Former Outstanding Graduates
Posted on 06/23/2020

Grade 8 and Grade 12 graduates at the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) will officially celebrate their graduations in the fall when gathering and physical distancing measures become more relaxed. However, we are still reflecting on the special accomplishments of some former students to end off this school year.


Each year the SMCDSB recognizes a past graduate from each of our nine high schools - students who leave their school and go on to make a significant contribution to their part of the planet. The Outstanding Graduates program, now in its eighth year, allows us to celebrate extraordinary people, and recognize the impact that Catholic education had in getting them to where they are today.


This year’s recipients are:


St. Peter’s Catholic Secondary School - Barrie, ON
Sydney Phillips is an attorney working as litigation counsel in Washington. In her first year of practice, she successfully argued a public records case at the Washington State Supreme Court and earned a 9-0 unanimous decision in her favour - an accomplishment that most attorneys never attain.

St. Theresa’s Catholic High School - Midland, ON
Laura Tremblay is an actress, singer, and songwriter who has landed roles in television, film, and theatre productions, such as Legally Blonde, and Evil Dead. She has worked with renowned Canadian artist and bassist, Murray Foster, to produce her debut album, and is currently working with Foster on her second album.


St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School - Tottenham, ON
Brothers Dave and Claudio Albanese 
are skilled electricians who started their own company, A2 Electrical Solutions Ltd. They are strong supporters of the cooperative education program and have welcomed many SMCDSB students into their business to get hands-on experience.


Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School - Orillia, ON
Angela Rehhorn was an environmentalist who worked with several environmental organizations coast to coast. She was chosen to participate in the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi as part of the United Nations Association of Canada's, Canada Service Corps program. Angela tragically passed away in a fatal plane crash en route to Nairobi.


Holy Trinity Catholic High School - Bradford West Gwillimbury, ON
Raquel Glavish is a professor in Civil Engineering Technology and has spent time volunteering with organizations to inspire girls to learn about careers in STEAM. In May 2019, Raquel was recognized as an Influential Woman in Northwestern Ontario and was awarded the Tradeswoman of the Year trophy in Thunder Bay.

St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School - Bracebridge, ON
Kyle Kirkwood has spent many years volunteering and working in several roles with the social change organization, WE. He is currently the Manager of WE Day Operations and has worked on 67 WE Days in the past five years and collaborated on several special projects including the opening of the WE College in Kenya.


St. Joan of Arc Catholic High School - Barrie, ON
Philip Spencer has worked in economics for several organizations in countries such as Lebanon, Ghana, and Sierra Leone. He currently works in Gambia, as a Governance Advisor through the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, helping deliver a municipal bus service and enhance the waste management system for a city of 500,000 people.


Our Lady of the Bay Catholic High School (formerly Jean Vanier) - Collingwood, ON
Together brothers Luke, Josh, and Jake Burella established “Primitive Patterns,” a company whose mission is to expand human potential by reconnecting mind, body, and nature. They give back to their community with fundraisers and visit Jean Vanier to host relaxation sessions with students and speak to them about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.

St. Joseph’s Catholic High School - Barrie, ON
Abbigale Virens is an avid volunteer who has spent time in Costa Rica, Denmark, and Australia researching the migration patterns of turtles and birds. She is currently a PhD student in New Zealand researching the urban foraging practices of people in the local area, and how it connects those people to the environment.


"It is always a joy to read about the great accomplishments of these talented former students,” said Brian Beal, Director of Education. "Their stories are unique and inspiring but they all have one common thread - their dream to help others and make our world a better place all started in the hallways and classrooms of a Catholic school."

To learn more about this year's Outstanding Graduates or to nominate a graduate for next year, please visit