Congratulations to senior George Gardey, Class of 2023, this year’s recipient of the Richard A. Balgenorth Lasallian Award for Higher Education.
Named for the late Richard Balgenorth, Class of 1975, who passed away suddenly in 2007, the award is presented to a graduating senior who displays an understanding of the importance of his De La Salle experience. The award was established during the 2008-2009 school year, to perpetually honor Balgenorth, a faithful and proud supporter of the Lasallian mission at De La Salle.
Richard’s spirit carries on today through the generous work of his wife Kim Balgenorth who has served as a counseling assistant, benefactor, and proud supporter of De La Salle since 2008.
In his award application essay, written as a future father writing to his son, Gardey wrote:
Through De La Salle’s life-altering experience, it lives up to its motto of “Builders of Boys, Makers of Men.” Son, I cannot stress enough the importance of finding a school that will foster your growth as a young man and provide you with the support and guidance you need to succeed. De La Salle has been a defining part of my life, and it will be the same for you. Your education is the foundation upon which you will build the rest of your life, and there is no place like De La Salle to grow into the man God made you to be.”
The Balgenorth Award, valued at $1,000, is to be used by a student to defray expenses directly associated with his first year of college.
This year, Jerry Zaccardelli matched the $1,000. At the annual 1926 Society Breakfast earlier this school year, Zaccardelli announced the match in honor of his Class of 1975 classmate.
Zaccardelli commented, "George’s winning essay was cleverly written from a father to a son's perspective! He did an especially great job of putting emotion and thought into his essay! Fine young Pilot!"
The Salutatorian of the Class of 2023, Gardey has been accepted at the University of Notre Dame and plans to major in Finance. He chose Notre Dame as “it is the most prestigious Catholic university with strong academics and a fantastic student life."
Gardey is also headed to Orlando, Florida in late April, as he is one of two DLS state champions in DECA competition, specifically Decision Making in Buying and Merchandising. Read more
He is also the Student Lead on the DECA Team, a Student Council Senator, the President of the Law Club, the Secretary of the National Honor Society, and a Link Crew leader. He also played football on the DLS Varsity Football team.
Currently, he is taking five Advanced Placement classes, including MicroEconomics, Calculus BC, English Literature and Composition, Psychology, and European History.
Faculty member Mr. Dave Kirck '83 said this about Gardey:
"George is a remarkable student. I teach George in both AP English and AP European History, and it has been a great pleasure to be challenged, and humbled, by him twice a day throughout this year. I marvel at the ease with which he perceives connections among historical events, draws meaning from the most complex works of literature, and consistently produces first-rates essays. Yet, for all his natural gifts, he works as hard as anyone, always striving to become even better. Add to George's academic achievements his vast array of successful extracurricular endeavors, and I would say he has spent his last four years preparing well for the limitless possibilities that await him."
Faculty member Mr. Thaier Mukhtar also praised Gardey.
"George is truly one of the finest students I have ever encountered. He strives to be a perfectionist in everything he does. No doubt George will do wonderful positive things in society."
Gardey attended St. Paul on the Lake in Grosse Pointe Farms, his home city; an accomplished musician, he plays piano at St. Paul’s Masses.
Pictured at right: Mrs. Kim Balgenorth, George Gardey, and Mr. Jerry Zaccardelli '75
Past Balgenorth Scholarship Winners include
- Andrew Holub, ‘09
- Michael Albani, ‘09
- Bernard VanBerkum, ‘10 (now Father Anthony Van Berkum)
- Kyle Sant, ‘11
- Aaron Brzezinski, ‘12
- Andrew Piontkowski, ‘13
- Alexander Valentini, ‘14
- Nicholas Jozefczyk, ‘15
- Kevin Jones, ‘16
- Russell Hu, ‘17
- Michael Ososkie, ‘18
- Christian Dean, ‘19
- Andrew Rusu, ‘20
- Michael Wisniewski, ‘21
- Dylan Todaro, ‘22