Alma Mater Award Bios
The most important element of being a mother is to be a model of faith to your children. Our first honoree, Judy Abadin, has lived out this role with excellence. As a member of the mother’s rosary group for more than a decade, Judy stepped up to lead the group in years that her three sons (Cal, Felix, and Jorge) attended Jesuit. She has also helped coordinate the Mothers’ Day of Reflection. Always eager to connect with spiritual enrichment events for the Jesuit community, Judy is a faithful participant in the Nine Churches Walk and was an integral part of the committee to restore the 2nd floor Chapel of the Holy Name of Jesus, a project that was particularly dear to Fr. Raymond Fitzgerald, whom she greatly admired. Her son, Felix, even went so far as to say that “Jesuit is lucky to have my mom around, continuing the spirit of Father Fitz, Brother Dardis, and St. Ignatius himself. She inspires me daily with her diligence and strong faith.”
She has a sincere faith in Jesus and knows that the life of discipleship leads to joy and peace. Her son Cal spoke of his mother by saying, “My mom goes above and beyond for everyone and anyone she encounters, whether she’s known you for a minute or for a lifetime. She is selfless, humble, and giving. If I could be half the person that she is, I’d consider my life a success. I’m honored to call her my mom and couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of this recognition.”
Judy has also volunteered with the used book sale, summer mailings, and celebration, and continues to help out with the Blue Jay Bazaar, working the same booth as and enduring the antics of Mike Varisco! She has also lent a hand as a lacrosse team mom, taking care of various needs.
Her son Jorge said, “My mom has always been my biggest fan. Her support for me to follow my intuition and passions has been essential in shaping me into the self-confident person I am today. At my lacrosse games, she helped lead the ‘Hip, Hip, Jorge’ chants. So today I want to say, ‘Hip, Hip, Juuuu-Daaaaay!’ Love you, Mom!”
Prior to the time when her two sons, Reed and Will, enrolled at Jesuit, our second honoree, Georgeann Dufour, had no connection to the school. That quickly changed as soon as her sons became Blue Jays, and she was instantly a great representative of what it means to be a Jesuit mom.
You name it, she did it. She counted money and tickets for the Bazaar raffle every year that her sons attended Jesuit and volunteered in various Bazaar booths. An avid sports fan, when she wasn’t at Reed’s baseball games or Will’s golf tournaments, she was working the gates at football and baseball games.
Her son Will said, “My mom was always there. In anything we wanted to do, she was there. I know she influenced me and Reed, but I really think she influenced everyone else on my team with me through her never-ending love. I’m extremely lucky to have that support from her all the time.”
Georgeann also lent her talents to the Boutique House as much as needed by organizing craft items and selling them at the Bazaar. Perhaps her greatest legacy lies in her taking over the Used Book Sale from Barbara Holstein and making sure this valuable service to our students and parents continued, showing up to work even before the sun came up. A humble person of service, she leads by example and is a role model for her sons as they grow into being “Men for Others.”
Her son, Reed, said, “Mom, thank you for being my biggest supporter and most importantly my greatest friend. At Jesuit, you dedicated a tremendous amount of time to whatever the occasion was, from golf matches to award ceremonies to the used book sale and other school functions. Since then, you are the first person I seek advice from when facing obstacles in my work and personal lives, but also, the first to congratulate me on my accomplishments. I’m eternally grateful for everything you did during my time at Jesuit, what you continue to do, and what you’re willing to do in the future.”
Our third honoree, Barbara Holstein, has contributed hours upon hours to the Jesuit High School community. As the chair of the Bazaar raffle for many years, it is impossible to say how many tickets she distributed, how many dollars she collected, and how many volunteers she pulled together to organize this tremendous service to Jesuit. Just the task of keeping track of who sold what is a monumental task, and she took it on each year while still finding time to volunteer for the baseball team to show love and support for her three sons who played for the Blue Jays.
Her son Scott said, “My mom has always been selfless when it comes to her children. She does everything in her power to make our lives better, and I could not ask for a better mom. She’s amazing.” Her son Ryan added, “She’s the prototype of what unconditional love looks like in a mother-son relationship. Her family is at the center of every decision she makes. Her selflessness knows no bounds, which has rubbed off on her children.”
Barbara is also the visionary behind the Used Book Sale. She saw a need for discounted books for our students and initiated the sale with the blessing of the school administration. She organized the entire event, including communicating with teachers and administration to identify the books that are used from year to year, collecting and pricing the books at school, recruiting volunteers, and organizing the sale at the beginning of the year. What an incredible legacy to leave for our students and their families.
Her son Bradley said it well when he said, “Growing up, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have my mom helping out and volunteering everywhere we went. She was ‘class mom’ and ‘team mom’ more times than I can count, and capped it off by volunteering at Jesuit. As I’ve grown older and started my own family, I now realize how special that makes her, and I now see first hand how much everyone appreciates her. I will never be able to repay her for everything she has done for me, but having watched her give so much time and energy without asking for anything in return, you can be sure I’ve learned a great deal from her. She’s the most loving and caring person I know and I could not be luckier to call her mom.”
Our fourth Alma Mater Awards honoree, Alison James, has embraced the Jesuit community by using her talents for the good of others. She is always the first to say “yes” when there is a need for service and has brought out the best in the community with her many involvements. She has worked various aspects of the Blue Jay Bazaar on her way to becoming the Bazaar Chair and enhancing the event with her “can-do” spirit. She has volunteered for many years for the Celebration auction and gala, most recently serving on the auction committee. The committees for the teacher’s luncheon and Book Day have benefited from her regular presence, and she has chaired the committee for Open House. One special contribution made by Alison was her organizing the inception and sale of the Jesuit History Map Poster, a project she saw to completion working with artist Melissa Smith. Most recently, she led with innovation by incorporating used uniforms and used English novels into the Used Textbook Sale to help families save even more. Alison personally washed and mended hundreds of donated uniforms before the sale. She has also served on the committee for this event, the Jesuit Mother’s Luncheon.
Her oldest son Mark said it best by saying, “In school, I was taught that our goal is to reach the profile of a Jesuit graduate. That is, we should have the characteristics of being open to growth, intellectually competent, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice. Well, despite actually graduating from Jesuit, I can’t help but think how much better my mom lives out these things than I do. She leads by example, and perhaps because the James boys are such a stubborn bunch, she not only shows us but felt she had to show the entire Jesuit community how to live out these qualities. I can’t think of a more deserving honoree than you, Mom.”