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BK’s Knights for Life impact community beyond the school

Updated: Oct 25, 2021

The following story appeared in the October 22 Idaho Catholic Register.


Members of Bishop Kelly’s Knights for Life demonstrated on the Capitol steps in Boise for the Idaho Heartbeat Bill earlier this year. From left, Andrew Herrera, Nicole Graefe, Lily Jones, Stephany Herrera, Gabby Rinker and Tyler Stoker. “I am proud of their leadership and what they do,” said Stephany Herrera, moderator for the group and BK’s vice principal of academic affairs. (Photo courtesy of Stephany Herrera)


by Emily Woodham

Staff Writer


When Nicole Graefe told her parents what she wanted for her ninth birthday, she asked for donations to Stanton Healthcare, which provides free medical care and support for women and their babies.


“I’ve always been passionate about the topic,” said Graefe, now a senior and president of Bishop Kelly High School’s pro-life group, Knights for Life.


Graefe’s parents, Roger and Linda Graefe, who have been active in ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in Boise for 30 years, told Nicole about the needs of women in crisis pregnancies when she was 9. That led to her decision to ask that her birthday gifts become gifts for women and their babies.


“It was really cool for me, at that age, to see people who were involved and who were doing really good stuff for pro-life causes,” she said. Ever since then, Nicole has wanted to help mothers keep and care for their babies. Nicole joined Knights for Life during her freshman year at BK.


The Knights for Life of Bishop Kelly High School in Boise had plans to grow and be more active in 2020. But when restrictions were implemented to protect human life from the COVID-19 virus, the pro-life group adapted its plans. With innovation and persistence, Knights for Life continued to spread its message about the sanctity of life. The organization’s resilience paid off, and it is now one of the most active clubs at the diocesan high school, said Stephany Herrera, vice principal of academic affairs for Bishop Kelly and a moderator for the group.


Tyler Stoker, vice president for Knights for Life, is also a senior who joined his freshman year. His cousin was president at the time and encouraged him to participate. “Growing up Catholic, being pro-life has been super important to me,” he said. He and his family are parishioners of St. Mark’s Parish in Boise.


His parents, Kevin and Nicole Stoker, have faithfully supported the pro-life message. Last year, Tyler went with his mother to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., to help with their family fundraising business and to participate in the March. “It was just an amazing experience,” he said.


Knights for Life was started with the class of 2014, with a few founding members and tremendous support from the Catholic Community, said Herrera. The coordinator for Students for Life, a national organization which supports pro-life clubs and groups in schools, and Treasure Valley Teens for Life, founded in 2015 by home-school students, helped give the founding members of the Knights for Life information and guidance. The club funding account started with $25 from a bake sale, Herrera said.


Knights of Columbus councils from Sacred Heart, St. Mark’s, and St. Mary’s, along with families from the Treasure Valley and the Diocese of Boise made donations to the club in the early years of 2014 to 2015. The community partnership continues with support from Right to Life Idaho, Knights of Columbus, and other pro-life organizations in the Treasure Val-ley. “Many thanks to Bishop Peter’s ‘I Give Half’ campaign, as that brought additional donors to Knights for Life,” Herrera said.


Prayer is an important aspect for the club. To help spread the message of the sanctity of life, the Knights for Life host a rosary each Tuesday in the BK chapel. They pray for different pro-life intentions, not just for an end to abortion. They have included intentions for those suffering from COVID, the dead, healthcare workers and the recent violence in Afghanistan.


Through their fundraisers, the club donated a 20-votive candle stand for the chapel in BK, which was blessed by Father Greg Vance, SJ, chaplain for the school. Before the pandemic, their Parish in Boise.


His parents, Kevin and Nicole Stoker, have faithfully supported the pro-life message. Last year, Tyler went with his mother to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., to help with their family fundraising business and to participate in the March. “It was just an amazing experience,” he said.


“It’s definitely making a difference, especially here at school,” Tyler said. The group has grown from three members at the end of 2020 to 15. As many as 20 students join them for their Tuesday rosaries.


The influence of Knights for Life is reaching across state lines. Father Vance told friends about the growing work of the Knights for Life. This led to a collaboration with another Catholic school in Washington, which wants to start a similar club for its school.


Nicole and Tyler plan to continue being a part of a pro-life group or club after they graduate. “I’m definitely going to continue, whether in college or the community,” Nicole said.


“I’m really hoping that there is some sort of opportunity like this in college. I think that Knights for Life has had a really good impact on me and in strengthening my faith in high school. I’d love to continue it into college,” Tyler said.



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