By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published May 26, 2016
ATHENS—Monsignor Donovan High School valedictorian Rachel Krunkosky encourages incoming students to get involved.
“Take an interest you have and do everything in that field,” said Krunkosky.
A glance at her résumé shows her advice to new students comes from first-hand experience.
Current president of the Student Government Association and the Leo Club at the independent Catholic school, Krunkosky has also served as team captain for the volleyball, swim and soccer teams. In addition to running track, she played saxophone for two years in the symphonic band and participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Earth Club and Red Cross Club.
Each of her four years at Monsignor Donovan, Krunkosky has been recognized for her volunteer efforts at school and in the Athens community.
“We are required to do at least 10 hours of service each year,” she said.
Krunkosky has gone above and beyond the requirement, receiving Super Volunteer or Volunteer of the Year awards yearly.
She works at the school’s concession stand at home football games at the University of Georgia and is a dedicated volunteer at the Athens Area Humane Society.
She and her older sister, Madelyn, began volunteering for the humane society together and she has continued the effort.
“I just keep going. The dogs there are so sweet,” she said. “I have a soft spot for dogs.”
Krunkosky takes the dogs available for adoptions out to a large play area for exercise, treats and play time.
“You can help socialize them,” she explained.
Krunkosky has a real love for animals and has one dog at home now.
“I’ve had rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters,” she said. The family once had a snake that escaped but later turned up in the laundry room.
Proceeds from the school’s concession stand at the UGA stadium benefit Monsignor Donovan. Running the stand makes for very long, but enjoyable days.
“We used to go to every single home game. It was so much fun,” she said. “We’d sell hot dogs and pretzels.”
Teaming up with her sister or friends makes volunteering easy to do, said Krunkosky. She has also organized canned food drives and winter coat drives for the National Honor Society and for Sparrow’s Nest mission in Athens.
A parishioner of St. Joseph Church in Athens, Krunkosky is the daughter of Jenifer and Tom Krunkosky, a nurse and veterinarian, respectively. She is the youngest of the couple’s three children.
She holds a 3.9 grade point average and will attend UGA this fall. Krunkosky has explored working with animals and a career in architecture or law, but she has not yet selected a major.
“I have no idea. I’ve been all over the board,” she said.
She began attending Catholic school in the first grade at St. Joseph School in Athens.
Her best memories of senior year include spending time volunteering with friends and the recent prom in Athens.
“We’ve done a lot together,” she said about her best friends.
Krunkosky will travel to Disney World with her sister to celebrate graduation and take family trips to New Jersey and Cape Cod this summer.
This past year, her favorite class has been Advanced Placement calculus. The senior class of Monsignor Donovan has 19 members and Krunkosky was one of two students in the AP calculus class. Vice-principal Gail Parker taught the course and was also Krunkosky’s algebra II teacher.
“It was amazing. I feel like I learned so much,” said Krunkosky. “She would bring us breakfast some mornings. She knows each one of our learning styles.”
She is also appreciative of teacher Simon Brittan for opening her eyes to literature and the points of view of authors.
“Without the staff and my parents, I definitely would not be who I am or where I am,” she emphasized.
Parker said Krunkosky possesses qualities that epitomize the very essence of Monsignor Donovan’s mission to develop leaders of competence, conscience, compassion, confidence and courage, who radiate Christ.
“She genuinely is one of the most caring individuals I have ever met in my teaching career,” said Parker.
The vice-principal said Krunkosky always had the desire to learn new things, making life about the journey instead of the destination.
“She is a very special person and God has destined her to do great things,” said Parker. “We stand on tiptoe waiting to see all the many endeavors and accomplishments she experiences in her future. What a blessing she has been to all of the Donovan community.”
Krunkosky is certain that she will participate in intramural soccer at UGA and be active at the Catholic Center on campus.
“I’ve always enjoyed learning about my religion and faith,” she said.
Due to her parents’ work schedules, it was often up to Krunkosky to get to Mass on her own. She is also active in St. Joseph’s youth group.
“I continued going to church through high school almost every Sunday,” she said. “You find a comfort in your faith.”