The Mater Dei community is proud to announce the members of the Mater Dei Hall of Honor Class of 2021, who will be inducted on May 7, 2021: Lieutenant General Eric Fick ’86, Richard “Pete” Jansen ‘57, Dave Kohnen ‘71, and Michelle “Shelly” Schuetz ’88. They will be inducted with members of the Mater Dei Class Hall of Honor Class of 2020: Ruth Eversgerd ‘63, Kathie Heimann ‘61, Deacon John Hempen ‘70, and Don Schomaker ‘74. (Last year, the Class of 2020 was selected, but not inducted.)
Established in 1997, the Hall of Honor recognizes alumni and friends of Mater Dei who have lived their lives as witnesses of her mission.
Lieutenant General Eric Fick, USAF, Class of 1986
Following his graduation from Mater Dei in 1986, Eric earned a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from University of Notre Dame. He was commissioned into the United States Air Force in September 1990.
In keeping with our calling to serve as our brother’s keeper, Eric has dedicated himself to military service. Throughout his career, in addition to his assignments, he earned advanced degrees from Air Force Institute of Technology, Air University, and National Defense University; and graduated from the United States Air Force Test Pilot School as a flight test engineer. Currently, he serves as Program Executive Officer for the F-35 Lightening II Joint Program Office, an agency of the Department of Defense.
In recognition of his distinguished service, Eric has received the following military decorations: Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal, and Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
A resident of Stafford, VA, Eric is a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, VA. He is also a member of Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Assembly #3056 in Centerville, OH.
He and his wife, Christine, have been blessed with six children: John, Kevin, Stephanie, Allison, Andrew, and Danielle.
In keeping with our calling to serve others, Pete has loyally shared his time and talents in support of the Mater Dei community by serving as a timekeeper from 1957 to 2019, first for the boys basketball program and, since its establishment, the football program as well. He also served as the timekeeper for the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals for three years and as a basketball official for numerous years. In 2000, in recognition of his dedication, Pete was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame in the Friends of Basketball category. He is also a member of Mater Dei Fathers & Friends.
A resident of Breese, Pete is a member of St. Dominic Catholic Church, where he serves as an usher. In the community, he is a member of Breese Knights of Columbus Council #2869 and Breese Jaycees, for which he served as president; and a former member of the City of Breese Park Board.
Pete and his wife, Jane ‘62, are blessed with two children, Rochelle ’92 and Patrick ’98, and two grandchildren.
Dave Kohnen, Class of 1971
Following his graduation from Mater Dei in 1971, Dave earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Blackburn College. Following his employment at Monterey Coal Company from 1977-1993, he returned to Mater Dei in 1994 as a member of the Business Department.
As a business education teacher, Dave has not only guided students in developing their knowledge of various aspects of business, but also encouraged students to pursue business careers. For his dedication to our students, he received the Educator of the Year award in 2002.
Outside the classroom, Dave has served as a dedicated coach since 1988. As head coach of girls basketball (1990-2021), he amassed a 637-239 record (winning percentage of 73%) and guided the Lady Knights to fourteen regional titles, six sectional titles, and one appearance at the state finals. In recognition of his achievements, he was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame in 2015. As head coach of boys and girls track and field (1993-2020), Dave guided numerous athletes to the state finals, including the 2012 IHSA Class 1A Girls 4x800m State Champions. As head coach of girls cross country (1994-2021), he guided the Lady Knights to thirteen regional titles, four sectional titles, and eighteen appearances at the state finals, including the 2003 IHSA Class 1A Girls Cross Country State Champions.
In addition to teaching and coaching, Dave currently serves as the chair of the Business Education Department, a member of Faculty Council, and a bus driver. Previously, he served as a member of the Principal’s Advisory Committee and committees for strategic planning processes.
A resident of Germantown, Dave is a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church, where he serves as an altar server and usher, and Breese Knights of Columbus Council #2869. He and his wife, Deb, are blessed with three children: Andrea ’95, Stephanie ‘98, and Melissa ‘01; and eight grandchildren. At the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year, he will begin his much-deserved retirement.
Michelle “Shelly” Schuetz, Class of 1988
Following her graduation from Mater Dei in 1988, Shelly earned a diploma from Hickey College. Since 1998, she has been employed at The National Children’s Cancer Society, where, in her current role as a program assistant, she coordinates the Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program and assists with grant writing.
Shelly’s passion for lay ministry has inspired her in her journey of discipleship to share her gifts with our Catholic youth. Since 1992, she has played a vital role in the Catholic Youth Ministry (CYM) program for St. Bernard Catholic Church and St. Damian Catholic Church, for which she currently serves as Catholic Youth Minister. She also volunteers as a member of leadership teams for Luke 18 Confirmation retreats. Moreover, Shelly’s service extends throughout the Diocese of Belleville. She currently serves as a member of leadership teams for both Quest and Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) retreats for high school students and a member of the Diocese of Belleville Quest Board, and she formerly served as a member of the Diocese of Belleville TEC Board.
As a member of St. Bernard Catholic Church, Shelly serves as a cantor and choir member and teaches proper cantor techniques to the parish’s youth. She previously served as co-director of the children’s choir and taught both Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.
A resident of Breese, Shelly is the daughter of Dan and Lee Love and the late Floyd Schuetz.