Dream big. Amanda Marie Lazzaro does just that, with her ultimate personal dream of someday becoming a Disney Imagineer.

Amanda was born in Ohio but currently resides in Bluffton, where her church, First United Methodist Church, is located. This outstanding young lady has earned the honor of being named the 2008 Bishop Luers High School valedictorian.

“God must have a plan for me, and good grades must be a part of it,” says Lazzaro.

Amanda has always liked math and chemistry classes, so it is fitting that she desires a degree in either electrical or computer engineering from Valparaiso University.

As she completes her high school career, she is very grateful to her teachers, her parents and her friends. “My parents kept me going when I was stubborn and not in the mood to do my work,” she tells Today’s Catholic. “My friends are always there for me when I am having a bad day, and my teachers, well, they taught me.”

Her studies are a big part of Lazzaro’s life, so much so that she has these words of advice to younger students: “Study hard but be sure to save time for fun. That was my major problem, especially freshman year.”

Lazzaro has tried to take her own advice and included many different extracurricular activities into her routine. She is a part of the Luers band playing percussion, and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Youth Orchestra where she serves as section leader. She also joined Future Business Leaders of America and is a part of the group SADD. When free time allows, Amanda’s hobbies include reading and riding her bike.

Looking back, treasured moments are many, like her trip to Disney World freshman year with FBLA, or her more recent experience of senior prom where her dad rented a limo for Lazzaro and her friends.

It is with great optimism, however, that Amanda looks forward. She imagines herself in 10 or 20 years, married, with a family, and working for Disney as one of their Imagineers. Lazzaro knows she can achieve her dreams, she has been given the foundation at Bishop Luers.

“Bishop Luers is a great school where the teachers really care and want to see you achieve your goals,” says Lazarro.


Joe Randall Crouch of Fort Wayne has been named the 2008 Bishop Luers High School salutatorian. Joe and his family belong to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Fort Wayne, where he grew up and attended school for his primary education.

Crouch is the epitome of a well-rounded student with his high academic marks as well as involvement in show choir, peer ministry, drama, student council, baseball, soccer, Academic Super Bowl and National Honor Society. Crouch believes all the extracurricular activities have given him opportunities outside the classroom to learn life skills and problem-solving skills that he will use for the rest of his life.
He hopes to continue his success at Notre Dame, majoring in mathematics and eventually becoming a professor in the field.

Crouch’s faith is an integral part of his everyday life and says his experience at Luers has helped him to grow in his faith and learn how to apply it to situations in and outside of school. He believes the value of a Catholic education lies “in the fact that the teachers are permitted more room in every subject, not just to teach students, but develop them into well-rounded people.”

He continues, “Bishop Luers is the total package. It develops students in every way. You can come here and have a completely fulfilling experience spiritually, academically, in athletic, in drama and the arts, just about every way you can think of.”

Crouch would like to thank his parents for instilling in him the “initiative to work hard and do my best” and his teachers and peers “for helping me to develop as a student and person for the past four years.”

And while his hard work leaves little time for relaxation, he enjoys any free time watching television, playing cards or just hanging out with his friends.

His advice to underclassmen: “Every day is an opportunity to improve or learn something new.”

Everyone has a favorite high school memory, and Crouch is no different, he will always treasure his very last show choir performance during this school years’ invitational. “It was just crazy to know this would be the last time performing with these people that I had spent countless hours with over the past four years and knowing how much I’ll miss them,” he says.

Where does Crouch picture himself in 10 years? “Hopefully, if I’m out of school, I’ll want to continue learning. I want to always learn new things and pass on my knowledge to other peole,” he says.

And in 20 years? “If all goes as planned, I’ll have a family, comfortable job as a professor, and will be sailinginto the golden years of my life.”

The Waynedale News Staff
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Jennifer Simerman (printed with permission from Today’s Catholic)

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