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Connor Stevens '25 Awarded Mary Dee Ellis Award

6th Sister Mary Dee Ellis Award celebrated during May Crowning
Posted on 05/21/2024

Remembered for having dedicated her life to others, Immaculata High School proudly presented the Sister Mary Dee Ellis Scholarship to Connor Stevens of Whitehouse Station after a school-wide Mass earlier this month.  This marks the sixth year of awarding the Sister Mary Dee Ellis Memorial Scholarship, a $10,000 award given each spring to a rising Immaculata High School senior who exemplifies the qualities shared by Sister Mary Dee: passion for excellence, commitment to faith, dedication to helping others, and selfless humility.

During the presentation, Mary Dee's older brother Tom Ellis, ICS '82, IHS '86, presented the award to Connor, and Ann Ellis, shared emotional stories of her older sister, providing the background of Mary Dee's time as a student in our Parish schools and the impact she had as a teacher and as a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Joining Tom and Ann were their parents, Ted and Marge Ellis, both longtime supporters of Immaculate Conception and Immaculata High School.

Sister Mary Dee attended Immaculate Conception School, from which she graduated in 1987, and Immaculata High School, from which she graduated in 1991, both Catholic parochial schools of the Church of the Immaculate Conception. During her years at the high school, she was active in chorus, folk group, concert band, and marching band, earning the distinction of drum major and solist during her senior year. Academically, she served as president of the National Honor Society and vice president of the French Honor Society.

Upon graduating from high school, she attended Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, where she majored in biology and minored in music, having been positively influenced by her high school music teacher, Sister Dolores Margaret, IHM. From there, she graduated with honors in 1995, and three months later entered the religious congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Immaculata, Pa.. She professed religious vows in August 1998.

A teacher for 16 years, Sister Mary Dee taught at St. Cecilia School in Fox Chase, Pa., and St. Laurence School in Upper Darby, Pa., before being assigned to missions in Peru and Chile, where she served in educational, pastoral, and leadership roles.

Returning to the United States in 2014, Sister Mary Dee was assigned to formation ministry for her congregation, serving as directress of novices. She continued her education, completing a master’s degree in educational leadership in December 2017, and supported the educational ministry of Saints Simon and Jude School in Westtown, Pa., by serving on the school board.

Just months before her completing her master’s degree, in October 2017, at the age of 44, she was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma, an extremely aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer, from which she passed away only three months later.

Through the scholarship, the Ellis family aims to preserve Sister Mary Dee’s memory and share her story with hundreds of people each year in the hopes it will inspire others to act in service.

Connor is a dedicated student, very committed to helping others and his classmates through his service in Campus Ministry and he is a gifted Athlete, playing on multiple varsity squads. A man of few words, his actions speak loudly and he is a leader among his peers.