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Erdmann Award Winner Reflects Viatorian Legacy

May 24, 2017

It has been nearly 50 years since the Christopher Cup was established at Saint Viator High

Zac Jones returns to his seat after receiving the Christopher Erdmann Award

School, in memory of Christopher Erdmann, who succumbed to leukemia in 1968.

Decades later, his memory is reflected each year in the one senior who best exemplifies the spirit of St. Viator through outstanding service, spirituality, leadership and integrity. The award is announced during the graduation ceremony and is eagerly anticipated.

This year, the recipient holds a special place in the Viatorian Community.

Zac Jones accepted the award from Mr. Brian Liedlich, president, and he seemed to embody all of the selection criteria.

Br. Leo Ryan at his desk at Marquette University in the 1960s

Zac is a National Merit Finalist and Fr. Louis Querbes Scholar, who served on Student Council and as a mentor to underclassmen as a LINK leader. He performed in nearly all of the school’s plays and musicals, but he also worked to heighten global concern and service  through Catholic Relief Services’ global awareness program. Zac will attend Yale University in the fall.

His concern for the marginalized around the world comes naturally. Back in the 1960s, Zac’s grandparents completed training for the Peace Corps at Marquette University, under the leadership of Br. Leo Ryan, CSV.

Br. Leo Ryan with Connie Cookus and her grandson, Zac Jones, after a performance of The Music Man

Br. Ryan stayed in touch with the family and even influenced Zac to come to Saint Viator. Once admitted, Zac became a Br. Leo V. Ryan Scholar as well as a Fr. Louis Querbes Scholar, and he met regularly with Br. Leo.

During a speech in March at the Night of the Lion, Zac described Br. Leo as a mentor and guiding light for him.

“He and I used to meet to discuss my academic future and he would share some of his incredible life stories,” Zac told the crowd. “I would give anything to have one more discussion with him.”