21 Students to Receive “Eagle of the Cross” Award from the Diocese of Youngstown

Ethan DeBernardi is one of 21 students receiving the Eagle of the Cross award, which
the Diocese of Youngstown has given since 1999. Throughout the month in the six-
county diocese, we continue to highlight the accomplishments of educators, students
and those who continue to live out their faith with service to the community. Our Dennis
Biviano spoke with this recipient from Warren JFK High School in Trumbull County and
has his story and of leadership and faith.

Public speaking comes quite naturally to 17-year-old Warren John F. Kennedy Catholic
School Junior Ethan DeBernardi. He became a lector at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish around the time of confirmation. And he reads often at this chapel on the campus of Warren JFK High School.

DeBernardi of the class of 2025 recently learned he was nominated for the Diocese of
Youngstown’s Eagle of the Cross Award. He was nominated by a familiar face, Kennedy
admissions director Judi LaPolla, who has known Ethan since he was 11 years old.

“Ethan is always more reverent than his peers. It has always struck me that way. I have
known him through boy scouts. He has been in my French classes. He takes that part of
our daily life very seriously and he stands out,” says LaPolla.

Each year for the past quarter century, the Office of Youth and Young Adult
Accompaniment of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown has awarded the Eagle of the
Cross Award. It’s given to high school students in parishes and schools who model the
dedication, integrity, values and promise for Church and society. Ethan is one of 21
students selected this year.

“I think Kennedy gives you the tools. Catholic education gives you the tools to get into
college and heaven. So those are the things that we’re striving for and I think Ethan’s
well on his way to doing all the greatest things in life,” says Kennedy Upper Campus Principal, Alyse Consiglio.

“I’m honored to have all these people appreciating this award. And I’m honored to
receive it as well, so having all this support is encouraging,” says DeBernardi.
As for the future, DeBernardi, who also plays on the soccer team, is still deciding on a
college, but hopes to pursue a career in computer coding. And he describes one
method he learned in Boy Scouts that continues to be a driving force in his daily life,
and faith.

“Educate, demonstrate, guide and enable. So, it’s an education process. When you
move on, you can know that the future generations know what to do and they’re in good

DeBernardi is involved in the youth ministry and plans to continue
demonstrating his faith and enabling future generations.

“I think maybe later in my life, I would like to consider being a Deacon. You know,
hopefully within this year I have left in school I can encourage others to help out with the
masses we have here or maybe at their own church,” says DeBernardi.

Bishop David J. Bonnar will present the awards in a ceremony taking place on April 30,
6pm at St. Columba Cathedral. For more information click here.

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Dennis Biviano

Dennis Biviano serves as the Public Relations and Media Specialist for the Diocese of Youngstown as the diocese’s chief point of contact with journalists. Biviano brings 20 years of TV News reporting experience to the Communications Department. He is a graduate of John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Warren and Kent State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism. He has worked as a Multimedia Journalist in the Mahoning Valley for WKBN & WYTV, as well as Charter Communications (Spectrum News 1) for seven years. Biviano is an active member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Niles with his family.
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