Rosary High School Marks 60 Years of Sisterhood
Patricia SzPekowski, Observer Correspondent
November 17, 2022
AURORA—With the enthusiasm of shared sisterhood and deep memories, over 70 Rosary High School alumnae gathered together for an awards luncheon and the school's 60th anniversary celebration on Nov. 12.
Rosary High School, a Catholic, college-prep high school for young women, is dedicated to creating a sisterhood of truth, faith and strength.
The day began with school tours conducted by current student ambassadors. Not a minute went by without hugs, laughter, and the pure joy of seeing past teachers, especially the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, the school’s founders. They were invited to Rosary High School by the late Bishop Loras T. Lane, who served the Diocese of Rockford from 1956-68. 
Sister Mary Alberta Lawless, O.P., attended the event with a few other sisters from Springfield. Her memories were vivid, as she was one of the first five teachers at the school when it opened in 1962. 
“I look at Rosary’s motto on the original tile wall, Veritas (Truth), and I’m happy nothing has changed,” she said. “I enjoyed my time here at Rosary very much.” 
At age 94, Sister Alberta is vibrant and has not slowed down a bit. She says she stays young by “praying, exercising, and eating right.” Today, she is an advancement volunteer for Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield. 
A highlight of the luncheon was the presentation of the Dominican Alumnae Awards. “These are given to alumnae in three categories,” said Vicki Danklefsen, director of philanthropy and alumnae at the school. "The award recipients were nominated by either family members, friends, or fellow classmates."
Theresa (Hepp ‘68) Alfredson of California was awarded the Professional Excellence Award for her career in nursing as a nursing instructor and an informatics educator, teaching physicians and other clinical staff how to use computer documentation in Illinois and California. She has been recognized by the University of California San Francisco Medical Center and the Stanford Hospital and Clinics in Stanford, Calif.
Donna (Fabrizius ‘81) Homan of Minnesota received the Community Service Award as a longtime catechism teacher at her parish in Eagan, Minn., where she developed a curriculum for elementary students and for Confirmation preparation. She built a website — — which is free to all users, providing faith formation ideas and fresh ideas for lesson plans and fun activities.
Kathy (Zilly ‘88) Gilmore of the Fox Valley area in Illinois was recognized with the Rosary Spirit Award. She is a current board member of Rosary High School and is active in many school events including attendance at all fine arts performances. 
She was nominated because of her loyalty to Rosary by service, pride, initiative, responsibility, integrity and teamwork. Professionally, she is the president of Valley Industrial Association along with the Greater Chicago Manufacturing Partnership.
The award recipients credit their time as students at Rosary High School for building a strong foundation for their lives. 
“Rosary empowers young women to do it all,” Gilmore said. 
Homan added, “I felt so much more prepared than my peers at critical thinking, writing proficiently, and applying study skills.” 
Alfredson noted that “Rosary allowed me to see a world of possibilities rather than just a repeat of historical options.”
All three recipients are active in parish life, serving in many voluntary capacities including serving as Eucharistic ministers, mission team members, and catechists.
Danklefsen remarked that students at Rosary are encouraged to #preach with your life. “Our alumnae and students practice the mission and values of the sisterhood of truth, faith, and strength,” she said.
Rosary students assisted with fundraising at the luncheon by offering commemorative Rosary High School 60th anniversary Christmas ornaments, the school’s cookbook and more. 
Rosary High School will continue its 60th anniversary with a variety of special events through its closing event gala on May 13, 2023. More information can be found at its website at
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