Four Blue Jay Alumni Mothers Honored at 2017 Alma Mater Awards Luncheon
Four Blue Jay mothers — Elizabeth Creel, Kim DeVun, Suzette Herpich, and Sheila Vocke — are the newest recipients of Jesuit High School’s prestigious Alma Mater Award.
The annual Alma Mater Awards Luncheon was held Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Southern Yacht Club. Attended by 200 guests, the event honored four mothers for their remarkable and incomparable volunteer work. Outgoing Jesuit president Fr. Anthony McGinn, S.J. ’66 thanked each honoree and presented her with a beautiful Alma Mater Award pin. Longtime Jesuit volunteer coordinator Marilyn Beauford was surprised with an award for her service.
This is the 17th year that Jesuit is recognizing its volunteer mothers whose extraordinary contributions of time and talent have greatly benefited the school.
The first Alma Mater Awards Luncheon was held in 1992 and — for the next 13 years — was a much-anticipated fall event. Following Hurricane Katrina, the luncheon was put on hold until it returned to Jesuit’s calendar in the 2013-14 school year.
About the 2016-17 Alma Mater Award Recipients
Elizabeth Creel has the graced ability to find the good in every person she meets. Her four boys—Cal ’11, Zac ’13, Henry ’15, and Benji ’16—are a testament to fruit that is born from a life selflessly directed toward service to God and to others. A regular volunteer at the Blue Jay Bazaar, Liz served as the co-chair in 2012, in addition to her work for the information booth and petting zoo. She also chaired the party boards for Celebration from 2007-2013. A gracious hostess, Liz regularly opens her beautiful home to guests, including at the Mother’s Coffee in 2010 and 2016 and for jazz brunch fundraisers for Celebration from 2007-2013. Perhaps her happiest duties as hostess included welcoming Blue Jay football players to her home on game nights for a post-contest meal, giving 20 to 30 players a safe place to be together during many football seasons. In addition to being the class mom for the football program during Benji’s time, Liz also baked cookies for every player after each game for eight years. Although the cookies were her sons’ most favorite among her contributions to Jesuit, Liz admits that this is the volunteer opportunity she misses the least, especially as she searches for other uses for all those cookies sheets, particularly now that her sons have graduated. Teachers have long appreciated her contributions to the faculty and staff luncheons, and she also was called upon to assist on the search committee for Jesuit’s hiring of Peter Kernion as principal in 2013. Liz has enjoyed every minute of her work with Jesuit High School and feels blessed to have been involved in ways that not only gave her such great pleasure, but also helped strengthen her family.
Kim DeVun was born to be a Blue Jay mom. The daughter of Blue Jay Patrick Delaney ’50 and the wife of Blue Jay Dan DeVun ’77, her sons Daniel ’08 and Patrick ’11 were destined for the halls at Carrollton and Banks. Even her daughter, Whitney, who was a Jesuit cheerleader, caught the Blue Jay spirit, marrying 2005 graduate Nick Frisard. Kim has lent her talents to the Blue Jay Bazaar, serving as co-chair in 2005 and 2006 and supervising the snowball booth and wine booth for several years. Scheduled to host the Mother’s Coffee in 2005, Hurricane Katrina canceled the event, deferring her duties to 2007, when she cheerfully welcomed Blue Jay mothers into her home. She also co-chaired the patron party for Celebration in 2007. Kim works as an interior decorator and graciously donated her time and talents to decorate several rooms for the renovation of the Jesuits’ residence on the sixth floor of the school building. While students, both Daniel and Patrick were football players, and, these days, Kim still never misses a game. You will find her cheering the team on to victory, and especially Daniel, who is now the cornerbacks coach. Kim has always enjoyed volunteering at Jesuit, and her generosity shines through the primary reward she has cherished in her years of service to the school, which is the many meaningful friendships she has cultivated along the way.
Suzette Herpich is a born organizer, which was important not only in her role as mom to two Blue Jays, sons Byron ’98 and Andrew ’06, but also in her commitment to wearing countless hats as a volunteer. Among her friends, Suzette is known as a motivator who easily connects with people and is able to get them involved. Whether she is working on behalf the American Cancer Society or St. Elizabeth’s Guild, Suzette truly feels like her vocation is volunteering, and she is willing to tackle any project from the ground up. For the Blue Jay Bazaar, she co-chaired the country store booth for two years and assisted the beer booth chairs for nearly 10 more. Jesuit’s Celebration Gala benefited from her work between 1995 and 2003, when Suzette served as live auction co-chair for five years, auction co-chair, patron party co-chair, and – ultimately – gala co-chair. Though her sons have graduated, she has not lost any sense of dedication or loyalty to Jesuit, serving as a member of the Parents of Alumni Leadership Committee from 2012 through 2014. Most recently, Suzette has lent her organizational skills to the very event we are enjoying today, first as chair of the Alma Mater Awards Luncheon from 2013 through 2015, and as part of the logistics committee for the past two years. To put it simply, Suzette just likes to volunteer, and Jesuit has been but one beneficiary of her many talents.
Sheila Vocke has always been known as the type of person who donates time to volunteer efforts, including much of it to her children’s schools. A perennial volunteer both inside and outside of Jesuit, she has a reputation for lending a helping hand no matter what the task, investing 100 percent in her duties and leading others to action. Sheila is a great asset to the Jesuit community, particularly within the group we are here to celebrate – Blue Jay mothers. Even with three busy sons — William ’06, Patrick ’07, and Stephen ’09 – Sheila found time to work in various capacities for Celebration from 2002 through 2008, including committee member, auction chair, patron party co-chair, and gala co-chair. She was the chairman of the Blue Jay Bazaar daiquiri booth from 2002 through 2005, and helped set up and serve for on-campus hospitality events from the time her sons started at Jesuit until they graduated. Sheila served as an integral part of the school’s wrestling program, jumping in to work concessions or offer help wherever it was needed. And though her sons are no longer active on the team, Sheila still enjoys cheering on current Blue Jay wrestlers. More recently, she has volunteered for the Jesuit Golf Tournament for the past six years, and has been a member of the Alma Mater Awards committee since 2013. Sheila’s organizational skills as an accountant inform her talents as a volunteer, as does the ease with which she makes – and keeps – her countless friends.