The six 2022 Mr. Canisius finalists all had their photo taken with a faculty member of their choice on the seniors' fun-filled final day of school.
The 62nd Mr. Canisius will be announced at our Senior Awards on Tuesday, May 17.
A Mr. Canisius finalist and faculty member have been featured every day this week.
Here is why Charlie Fortner '22 chose teacher Bryce Hopkins '08:
"For four years, Mr. Hopkins has been my number one mentor. As a sophomore, I looked forward to his Graphic Design class every day, essentially because he put a smile on my face. His bright personality and loving attitude always made me happy. It was the main reason I loved coming to school. He is always open to talk and listen. Thankfully, he is very good at both.
"I give Mr. Hopkins a lot of credit for who I am today. He has trained me to be an elite witness for Mock Trial Club. He prepped me well for the SAT and ACT. He was the perfect mentor for my Grad at Grad. And he has been a fantastic friend to me throughout my days at Canisius."
Hopkins' thoughts about Fortner:
"When I think of Charlie, I think of happiness. He carries a radiant smile that lights up any room he enters, and the joy he exudes is infectious.
"Charlie desires happiness for all and finds it for himself in his efforts to inspire others. He strives for that happiness with and for others through not only his smile but also his kindness, compassion and love. He is a leader in action and word, and he has earned the respect of the entire community through his determination to excel and live joyfully in mind, body and spirit.
"Charlie is great because he is good, and I am so proud of him to have earned the honor of being a finalist for the Mr. Canisius award."
See all of the Mr. Canisius finalists, along with the reflections they wrote about their time at Canisius.
An excerpt from the Mr. Canisius reflection by Fortner, who is from Buffalo, attended St. Mark School and is headed to Drexel University.
"Canisius High School. An institution that produces gentlemen. I think we can all agree on that. True men of character, leadership, and respect. That's what I’ve learned. That’s what I’ve attained, I hope, from Canisius. That’s what I plan to carry with me throughout my life. ... I am beyond grateful."
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Here is why Fawaad Khawar '22 chose teacher Julie Hogan:
"It's funny because I never had her as a teacher, but she saw how much I struggled as a freshman and she always encouraged me. Her mentor group (homeroom) was across the hall from mine and she kept checking in on me. I really wanted to take her honors class sophomore year, but she had to make the hard decision of saying no because she knew I wasn't ready.
"That really pushed me to become better, and she got to watch that happen year after year.
"She was so proud after I did my Grad at Grad with her; the hug afterwards meant everything to me."
Hogan's thoughts about Khawar:
"I was surprised that a student I had never taught found me impactful and chose me to be his Grad at Grad mentor. During our Grad at Grad meetings, I learned more about Fawaad‘s gentle nature and profound depth. His sense of self, family and purpose are rooted in faith and humility."
Our Grad at Grad program is a uniquely Jesuit capstone experience in which seniors, with their chosen mentor, reflect on their growth while at Canisius.
An excerpt from the Mr. Canisius reflection by Khawar, who is from Williamsville, attended Universal School and will attend the University at Buffalo.
"My time here at Canisius has guided me into finding myself, who I am, and where I want to go. It is truly an honor to be nominated for this award, and it is indicative of the amazing journey I’ve gone through with this amazing brotherhood."
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Here is why Vinny Conroy '22 chose teacher Dr. Joe "Doc" Amuso:
"Doc embodies what makes Canisius special. He has the unique ability to make his students love learning. His class was something I always looked forward to. He can make you laugh and challenge your thinking.
"I have such tremendous gratitude for having him as a teacher. I will never forget his class and the love and care he puts into educating each and every one of his students not just in the classroom, but in life."
Amuso's thoughts about Conroy:
"Perhaps strange sounding to the modern ear, the Jesuits have always had a special devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The chapel at CHS is named as such. When Vin asked me to write a few words about him and his experience at Canisius, I said to him, 'Vin, you are all heart.'
"With generosity of spirit, and a true understanding of what it means to be, 'a man for, and with others,' Vin will go from the Blue Doors and continue to grow as a person who reflects that loving heart of Jesus. AMDG."
Here is an excerpt from the Mr. Canisius reflection by Conroy, who is from Clarence Center, attended St. Gregory the Great School and is headed to Villanova University:
"Men for others. Care for the whole person. Brotherhood.
"Those words and phrases are powerful and helped me to choose Canisius, but it’s now that I have truly come to understand them. Over the past four years, I have witnessed my classmates and experienced myself transform from young freshmen to men for others."
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Here is why Ermyes "Jerry" Aman '22 chose teacher Lisa Schrader:
"Ms. Schrader is one of my favorite teachers at Canisius and the one who encouraged me to take more advanced science classes. When I didn’t believe in myself, she was always there to give me confidence.
"I appreciate her commitment and attitude she has for her job. She inspires me to do my best."
Schrader's thoughts about Aman:
"The amount of growth that I have seen from Jerry over his years at Canisius is unparalleled. He shows as much discipline on the soccer field as he does in the classroom.
"His humility is displayed towards his peers as well as anybody that has the honor to work alongside him. Jerry truly is a man for and with others.”
Here is an excerpt from the Mr. Canisius reflection by Aman, who is from Buffalo, attended Nativity Miguel for middle school and is headed to Canisius College:
"It is with great honor that I would like to thank all the teachers, students and faculty. They made me feel welcomed in this school. The brotherhood in this school in specific was the most impactful to me. They were there for me when I needed them and I would do the same thing vice versa."
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Here is why Steven Kropelin '22 chose teacher David Hayes '87:
"On the first day of school, I remember Mr. Hayes told us that we have more opportunities ahead of us than our grandparents or parents did at our age. He really just filled us with this confidence and optimism of what is to come. He answers all of our questions and never minds when a couple of us stay after class to continue the discussion.
"Mr. Hayes is the first teacher I see everyday when I come into school. He is always willing to talk to me about anything ranging from the Sabres to general life advice.
"Mr. Hayes is a representation of the many teachers at Canisius who make it such a special place."
Hayes's thoughts about Kropelin:
"Steve exemplifies everything Canisius stands for – hard-working, charitable, selfless – a man for others. I have enjoyed, and will greatly miss, his presence in my class. He's simply a noble guy and we at CHS are fortunate to have had him spend four years with us."
Here is an excerpt from the Mr. Canisius reflection written by Kropelin, who is from Amherst and is headed to the University of South Carolina:
"This has been a place to connect with others and break down barriers. Canisius has provided me with countless opportunities, but most of all, I feel like I have found a second family. I loved watching my brothers grow over the last four years; I have seen shy kids open up and become outgoing. I saw guys that used to put themself first start to put others first."
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Here is why Victor Mazzara '22 chose teacher Dennis Beecher '88:
“Mr. Beecher is the type of person that is more than just a teacher. He is someone who will never let you go without help if you need it.
“Whether it was how he welcomed me to Canisius barely a month into my freshman year (when he wasn’t even my teacher), chatting about the Sabres or Bills in the halls, waiting with me at the Ski Patrol hut after I broke my wrist my first time ever snowboarding, or helping me reflect on my four years here for my Grad at Grad presentation, Mr. Beecher is one of the people that I can say for sure shaped me into who I am today.
“I am grateful for him and will forever remember the impact that he has had on my life. Thank you, Mr. Beecher!”
Beecher's thoughts about Mazzara:
"Victor Mazzara is a young man of character who possesses the qualities of a true leader. He works as hard in the classroom as he does on the athletic field and is a role model for his peers.
"Despite his success in athletics and academics, Victor remains humble and grounded, valuing friendship and family above all else. He is truly a 'man for others' and brightens the room whenever he enters. We will miss Victor at 1180 Delaware Avenue but are excited for his future."
Here is an excerpt from the Mr. Canisius reflection written by Mazzara, who is from the Town of Tonawanda, attended St. Amelia School and is headed to the University at Albany:
"Canisius High School, you’re different; I thank you for that. I wish I could bottle up your magic and spread it outside the Blue Doors; however, I promise to go forth and set the world on fire with that magic potion that you have sprinkled upon me."
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