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Attending Notre Dame has been a life-long dream of Reilly Puhalski, son of Scott and Gina Puhalski, and as he heads to Holy Cross College this fall, he will start on a path to fulfilling that dream. He will attend Holy Cross for two years and then transfer to Notre Dame to complete his degree as part of their 2+3 Engineering Program.

How did he get here? Through hard work and a commitment to academics, his community, sports and for serving as a positive role model. Mastering the Rubix Cube, didn’t hurt either as he showed us in his video essay that helped him earn one of our $1,000 scholarships.

Reilly Puhalski Senior Photo“The Rubix Cube is fun but it also teaches problem solving, which I love,” said Reilly when we recently sat down with him as he wrapped up his senior year at Schoolcraft High School.

Reilly earned a 4.0 GPA and completed 28 credits at Kalamazoo Valley Community College while serving as a member of the National Honor Society. He also played football, basketball, and golf, with basketball being his favorite. “I am part of a group of five that have been playing basketball together since we were really young. I love the competitiveness and working together as a team,” he noted.

Playing sports also taught him how to act both on and off the field. “Younger kids look up to the players and repeat what we do. So it’s important to model good behavior at all times,” he commented. As part of his desire to show positive behaviors and to build leadership skills, he served as a freshmen mentor helping a group of students transition from junior high to high school, through which he noted learned compassion and how be a good listener.

His church youth group had a major impact on him as well. “Volunteering at a thrift store for a mission trip really showed me how much need there is right in my own community. I learned not to take anything for granted and to be grateful for my opportunities,” he commented.

He even combined his love for sports with his devotion to God as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, where he came together with fellow athletes to worship and discuss current issues.

Now with his sights focused on preparing for college, he plans to spend the summer working two jobs and offered up some advice to kids embarking on their high school careers: “Try as many things as you can because you’ll never know what you’ll like and what kind of connections, or friends, you will make. Don’t be afraid to be unique.”

We know his efforts to demonstrate strong character will help him in his studies and, ultimately, his adulthood and we are happy to wish him well in this next chapter.