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Corrigan, winner of peacekeeper award, ready for campus life at Purdue University

The following story appeared in the May 26 Idaho Catholic Register.

Kevin Corrigan with his sisters and his parents, James and Frances. Corrigan will attend Purdue University in Indiana this fall to study engineering. Corrigan is the recipient of the “Ploughshares Peacemaker Award,” given to a senior who “brings peace into the world through a life of exemplary character rooted in spirituality and love of theology.” Corrigan said he looks forward to mission opportunities at a secular university. (Courtesy photo/Kevin Corrigan)

By Gene Fadness


Bishop Kelly graduate Kevin Corrigan had his pick of universities that wanted him: the University of Arizona, University of Washington, Benedictine College, Virginia Tech, and the University of Utah, among others.

Due largely to his love of all-things engineering, he chose Purdue University, perennially in the top 10 of engineering schools in the United States.

However, he could have lost his opportunity for Purdue when he wrote in his application letter about how proud he would be to be a Mastodon.

“I wasn’t careful in my Google search when I looked up the mascot for Purdue,”

choosing the Purdue University-Fort Wayne Mastodons rather than the Boilermakers on the main campus of Purdue in Lafayette, Ind. His application was temporarily deferred, and he thinks the mascot faux pas could be the reason. In the end, he was accepted – as a Boilermaker.

That decision made, another one awaits: does he choose aerospace engineering or electrical engineering? Family members are encouraging him to choose the latter, due to the wider range of career possibilities.

However, it’s difficult not to select aerospace engineering at Purdue, whose engineering building is named after alumnus Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, and its football team is led by a replica of a steam locomotive as it makes its entrance at every home football game. Purdue is known as the “cradle of astronauts,” producing at least 25 NASA space travelers. There is also the fact that Corrigan’s father, James, spent 15 of his 23 years in the U.S. Air Force flying fighter jets. Retired from the military, James Corrigan is now a pilot for Delta Airlines.

“I grew up around planes, but aero is definitely more niche than electrical, which is a degree I could use almost anywhere. Power and circuits interest me,” Corrigan said.

Corrigan ranks 12th in his Bishop Kelley graduating class of 212 with a 4.26 GPA. He is also the winner of the “Ploughshares Peacemaker Award,” given to a senior who “brings peace into the world through a life of exemplary character rooted in spirituality and love of theology.”

Students don’t apply for the prestigious award. It’s recipient is chosen by the theology faculty.

“As we looked at the many good options for the Ploughshares Peacemaker Award, it became clear that Kevin was truly building peace in our world, not only through his advocacy for the unborn, but through his commitment to kindness, and perhaps most of all, his empathetic and compassionate style in talking with people about this issue,” said Dr. Anthony Paz, who chairs the Theology Department at BK.

Corrigan, 18, was born in South Dakota. His father’s career in the Air Force meant there were a lot of moves: from South Dakota, to Texas, to Arizona and finally settling in his mother’s hometown of Boise in 2017 when James retired from the Air Force.

A seventh-grader when the family moved here, Kevin attended St. Ignatius Catholic School in Meridian and then Bishop Kelley. His mother, Frances Tavelli Corrigan, is a BK graduate.

At BK, he got involved in Knights for Life, a pro-life advocacy group on campus. He was introduced to the organization when a classmate invited him to attend a Tuesday morning rosary with the group during a time that Corrigan says he was at “a low point spiritually.” He started attending the rosary more frequently as well as weekly Mass on campus.

A second significant influence on him is the presence of Father Greg Vance, S.J., as BK’s campus chaplain. Corrigan’s uncle, Patrick Tavelli, was a student at the University of Southern California and involved with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) while Father Vance was also at USC. When Tavelli heard Father Vance was coming to Boise, he gave Corrigan a heads-up about the charismatic chaplain BK would soon have.

Patrick Tavelli also urged Corrigan to attend a SEEK Conference, the annual conference sponsored by FOCUS geared toward tens of thousands of high school and college students. Corrigan attended in 2019 in Indianapolis. “It was such an incredible sight to see so many young people so passionate and desiring the truth,” Corrigan said.

Kevin Corrigan, far right on bottom row, participated in cross-country track and field events in his junior and senior years. This year, he won the district championship in both the 800-meter and 1600-meter events. The 4x400 relay team, of which he is a part, won the state championship this year. (Courtesy photo/Kevin Corrigan)

Corrigan played soccer during his first two years at BK, but then switched to cross-country track and field events his junior and senior years. This year, he was the district champion in both the 800-meter and 1600-meter events, setting a district record in the latter. The 4x400 relay team of which he is a part won the state championship earlier this month.

An active Boy Scout, Corrigan earned his Eagle rank this year. His project was converting a garage used for storage at the Idaho Youth Ranch’s Hays House into a game and movie room. “Leading a project that big taught me a lot,” he said.

His primary and secondary Catholic education led him to seriously considering a Catholic university, and he was accepted at Benedictine, a leading Catholic college near Kansas City.

However, he looks forward to mission opportunities by attending a secular school.

A Catholic friend of his who attends Georgia Tech – Corrigan’s second choice after Purdue – told him that the Catholic students at Georgia Tech purposefully choose their faith – sometimes in the midst of opposition – and are made stronger because of it. While it does not have FOCUS, Purdue does have an active Catholic student group at the St. Thomas Aquinas Center just off the campus’ centrally located Memorial Mall.

There is a bit of anxiety about moving far from his parents and two younger sisters, but Corrigan says he well prepared for the challenge thanks to a solid foundation provided by both his biological family and his BK family.

In Purdue parlance, he’s ready to “Boiler Up.”

A quick look at BK’s Class of 2023

Left: Daniel Ni, Valedictorian and Right: Cody Bockenstette, Salutatorian

• Total Graduates: 212

• Graduates with a weighted GPA of 4.0 or higher: 71

• Graduates with a weighted GPA of 3.75 to a 4.0: 40

• National Merit Finalists: 5 (Andrew Martin, Daniel Ni, Lindsey McBride, Molly O’Sullivan and Megan Woodworth)

• National Merit Commended Scholars: 6 (Halle Hatten, Baer Istok,

Kylie Jackson, Justine Lam, Sophia Puype and Grace Shirley)

• Presidential Scholar Candidates: 5 (Baer Istok, Lindsey McBride,

Molly O’Sullivan, Grace Schlafer and Megan Woodworth

• Capstone Diploma Candidates: 11 (Joelle Alex, Cody Bockenstette, Justine Lam, Daniele Macdonald, Ella Macdonald, Lindsey McBride, Sarah Mooney, Daniel Ni, Gracie Schlafer, Eve Sprute and Maddie Welsh) AP Capstone ™ is a diploma program based on two AP courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. These yearlong courses focus on developing the critical thinking, research, collaboration, time management, and presentation skills one needs for college-level work. Students who earn a score of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing are eligible to receive the AP Capstone Diploma.

• Rotary Century Scholars: 11 (Cody Bockenstette, Megan Woodworth, Daniel Ni, Grace Schlafer, Lindsey McBride, Grace Shirley, Nicole Saso, Maximillian Ciovacco, Justine Lam, Halle Hatten and Molly O’Sullivan)

• Air Force Academy Appointment: Grace Shirley

• West Point Appointments: 3 (Jackson Sarrazolla, Claire Wimer and Ethan McIntyre

• Air Force ROTC Scholarship: Cody Bockenstette

• Navy ROTC Scholarship: Abigail Severance

• Marine Corps ROTC Scholarship: Sullivan Bly

• National Speech & Debate Association Academic All American Award: Gia Codina and Molly O’Sullivan

• Francis Wickham Fellowship Award: Faith Nichols

• Plowshares Peacemaker Award: Kevin Corrigan

• Bishop Kelly Principal’s Award: Juliana Puzio and Noah Larson

• John Baptist de la Salle Teacher of the Year Award: Mr. Jacob Spears, Language Arts.

• Do Good Recognition: Mrs. Cecelia Flores, Facilities and Maintenance

• Student athletes who signed letters of intent to compete at college or university level: 34

• Fall State Academic Championships: Boys Cross Country, Boys Soccer, Football and Boys Swimming

• Winter State Academic Championships: Cheer, Dance, Wrestling, Boys Basketball

• Fall State Athletic Championships: Boys Cross Country, Girls Soccer, Boys Golf

• Winter State Athletic Championships: Hockey

• Spring State Athletic Championship (to date): Speech

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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