The National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) recognizes ordinary students doing extraordinary things with their Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award.
Bishop O’Connell High School senior, Sofia Parfomak, received the NCEA 2022-2023 Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) for selfless service, determination, innovation and ideals that are changing the world.
“The very title of the award, Youth Virtues, Valor and Vision, tells us a lot about these young people. Each one is a witness to the risen Christ and the importance of Catholic schools,” said NCEA President/CEO Lincoln Snyder. “These students are the faces of our Catholic faith at work in their communities.”
Sofia was chosen from more than 1.6 million Catholic school students across the country, and on Monday, Jan. 30, she was presented with the prestigious NCEA crystal flame and a Chromebook supplied by Archangel Education + Technology.
Inspired by her own grandmother’s experiences as a refugee from Ukraine who was forced to leave her home in World War II, Sofia organized and performed in a fundraising concert last summer to benefit the children of Ukraine.
“Sofia is one of the most versatile and accomplished student/citizens I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in my 38 years in education,” said Bishop O’Connell Head of School Bill Crittenberger. “I am pleased that her joyful commitment to serving others and her infectious enthusiasm has been recognized in this way.”
“It was fun and fulfilling to put on a concert with my friends for a worthy cause,” commented Sofia. “It was really a surprise and an honor to receive recognition for it, but that's not why I organized the concert. The most important thing is to support the Ukrainian children, and if this award brings renewed attention to their plight, then it will have helped to accomplish my goal!”
MORE: View a video on Sofia and her story from Marymount University.