For St. Mary’s Ryken High School graduating senior Evan Domonkos, his four years at the Xaverian Brothers-sponsored school in Leonardtown, Maryland, not only provided him with a strong academic education, but inspired him to become Catholic as well.

“By going to Ryken, I got a relationship with Jesus Christ,” he said. “Here, we have daily Mass, theology classes, and teachers who care about my soul and who push me to be a better person and a better disciple of Jesus.”

Domonkos was baptized into the Catholic faith last year at Easter and was confirmed this past Easter. He is a parishioner at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Solomons.

In addition to his classes and teachers, Domonkos said that the example of his friend and classmate also inspired his faith journey.

“My best friend in our junior year started having a relationship with Jesus and it really changed the way I thought about my faith,” Domonkos said. “I started my journey when I saw his happiness and joy.”

The son of Lacy and Josh Domonkos of Lusby, Domonkos said that his parents have been supportive of his decision to become a Catholic. While they are not Catholic, he said, “They are happy for me. At first they had their questions and doubts, but now they are happy I found a relationship with Jesus.”

In addition to his parents, Domonkos lives with three younger siblings: a brother, Luke and sisters, Brooke and Katelynn.

While at Ryken, Domonkos was an offensive guard on Ryken’s varsity football team. He ended his career as a Knight by helping his team capture its first ever Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship last November in a 43-6 rout over Virginia’s Bishop O’Connell High School last November.

“Winning the WCAC was awesome,” he said. “It was even more special because this is the first championship the football team ever won.”

In addition to his prowess on the field, Domonkos was a standout in the classroom, maintaining a grade point average just above a perfect 4.0.

Domonkos said the secret to his academic success is “a lot of late nights studying, a lot of hard work and a lot of relying on the Holy Spirit, that is about it.”

Outside of the classroom, Domonkos was part of the select Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Stewards, 20 seniors who serve the school in a variety of capacities through faith and service projects.

“We are responsible for the well-being of our peers,” Domonkos said. “It was a great opportunity to be a part of it.”

He was also involved in service projects at the school including the campus ministry WARM project. “Different churches will house homeless persons and feed them during the winter,” Domonkos explained. “We would cook meals, visit and eat with them and serve them with love. We also provided them with socks and clothing and other things they might need.”

In the fall, Domonkos will attend Colby College in Waterville, Maine, on a scholarship where he will study geology and play football. Since Colby – a private liberal arts college with about 1,800 students – is an NCAA Division III school, it does not offer sports scholarships, but does offer academic scholarships to qualified athletes.

He said that he became interested in geology when “my uncle who lives in New Mexico and is all into nature got me some rocks. That is when I started visiting Calvert Cliffs.”

Calvert Cliffs is a state park along the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County whose massive cliffs contain the fossilized remains of many prehistoric sea creatures.

“I want to study geology because I want to look into the past a little bit, and uncover its secrets,” he said. “I want to study rocks because the rocks have the answers to my questions about the past.”

As he looks back on his high school career, Domonko said that he is grateful he attended St. Mary’s Ryken.

“There is a lot demanded of you, but a lot comes of it,” he said. “Here, you receive an education that prepares you for college and you get information about your faith, and then you can say ‘yes’ to Jesus.”