Rebel with a Cause Honorees

Learn more about the 2023 Honorees, celebrated at Rebel with a Cause on March 23, 2023.

Knollwood Awards

Paula Bushey

Paula Robert Bushey '82 

Upon graduating from NDA, Paula Robert Bushey ’82 attended Stonehill College, graduating with a BS in Business Administration in 1986. She then began working in the insurance field as an underwriter at Health Plans, Inc. and then Allmerica Financial.  In 1995, she left the workforce to raise her children.  Over the years, she had part-time employment while primarily raising her daughter and three sons, and volunteering at her children’s schools and her parish, Blessed Sacrament. At Blessed Sacrament, she was a member of the choir, taught religious education, served on the Parish Council, was a eucharistic minister, and also supported many other events at the church. 

Paula’s family has an inherited kidney disease called polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Four of the five children in her family inherited this disease from her father. Her family was very active for many years in organizing the Walk for PKD held in Worcester at Blessed Sacrament Church.  All four of the children received living donor kidneys over the years. Paula received her kidney transplant on September 16, 2011 through a paired donation.  Her cousin gave her kidney to another recipient so that Paula might receive one from another donor. In this way, folks who do not have a direct match are able to receive kidneys by, so to speak, swapping with others.

After her transplant, her life improved greatly as she now had the energy to return to the things she loves.  When her youngest son was five, she returned to the workforce part-time at UltraBenefits, Inc. During the years since her transplant, she has been volunteering at UMASS to help others with living donor transplants, by assisting them with the process of navigating a search for a kidney. In addition, she returned to active volunteering at Blessed Sacrament, where she then became involved with the Mustard Seed Catholic Worker House located on Piedmont Street in Worcester. At the time, she was facilitating the meals that Blessed Sacrament was preparing for the Mustard Seed. Over time, she became very involved with the Mustard Seed and was then asked to join the board.  Subsequently, she took on the role of Treasurer which she continues today, in addition to her weekly volunteering.  The Mustard Seed has changed the trajectory of her life and enhanced her life as a Catholic.

Paula also decided to take on another project at the rotary at Newton Square.  This rotary was looking unkempt and disheveled, and she met a woman who shared her desire to spruce it up. They have now been maintaining this rotary for about 7 years, and are delighted by how much joy it brings to those who pass by.

Her latest volunteer experience has been working with a recently arrived family from Afghanistan. Working with a group from Blessed Sacrament, Trinity Lutheran, and the organization of Ascentria, they have assisted the family with enrolling in school, receiving medical treatment, and adjusting to life in America. In the meantime, they have fallen in love with this family who has endured so much, yet remains full of joy as they resiliently start a new life in a new country, without the advantage of speaking the language. 

Who knows what the future will hold? 

Katherine Kelly '93

Kate Kelly ’93 moved to Western Mass to attend Mount Holyoke College after growing up in Worcester and attending Notre Dame Academy. Kate has now lived in Western Mass for 25+ years, with the exception of one year in inner-city Fresno, California in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). As a young child, she was hospitalized frequently with severe asthma and, at the time, thought she wanted to go into medicine to help other kids someday. At Notre Dame, Mount Holyoke, and in the JVC, she held firm to her social justice values. Her lifelong interest in medicine led her to a Master of Public Health degree at UMass Amherst.

Kate Kelly

Kate worked at several city and town health departments and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for 10 years before becoming a Nurse Practitioner. The public health work focused first on creating policies to control tobacco sales to young people and to create smoke-free workplaces. She also spent 5 years working at the local and state department of public health level on pandemic preparedness, including becoming the state’s assistant director of the Strategic National Stockpile Program. Having become an Emergency Medical Technician and starting an Emergency Medical Response Team at her college, she also spent evenings and weekends working for ambulance services and as a five-foot-tall Firefighter. It was very fulfilling to be a public servant in these ways.

In 2009, Kate returned to graduate school, heading back toward medicine with the goal of becoming a primary care provider. She attended an accelerated program to become a Registered Nurse, immediately followed by a Master of Science in Nursing at the Yale School of Nursing.  Most of Kate’s role models in Public Health had been nurses, and most of the problems she saw in her ambulance work were preventable, so becoming a Nurse Practitioner in primary care seemed like a great fit. In particular, she loves working with children and the constant focus on prevention in pediatrics led her to practice pediatric primary care initially for 7 years.  

During a 2+ year hiatus from primary care practice during the pandemic (due to a COVID-related lay-off in March 2020), she put to use the pandemic preparedness skills and knowledge from earlier in her career. She never thought that she would use the words “social distancing” in real life, and was thrilled and honored to have something to offer her community to help during that scary time. She was a leader in the public health COVID vaccination response efforts in Western MA where, with a team from the Northampton Health Department, she ran clinics in over 40 locations and reached arms with over 50,000 COVID vaccine shots. Kate was the 2022 recipient of the Immunization Champion Award for Massachusetts, an honor reserved for one person in each state who has “made a significant impact and contribution toward improving public health in their community, through their work in adult and childhood immunizations,” according to the Association of Immunization Managers.

She is proud of her work with clinics that, early on, were vaccinating close to 1,000 people per day. Kate is most humbled and proud of her work providing vaccines to the most underserved individuals living on street corners, in city parks, or in doorways. She made sure that her team was ready when vaccines were approved for younger children and was vaccinating young children and babies when the chain pharmacies and primary care offices could not. She loved vaccinating in creative settings with a focus on health equity, ensuring that her team reached people from all races, ages, and walks of life, as well as a diverse population of LGBTQIA+ folks. 

Kate recently returned to clinical practice and is happy to be back in pediatric primary care working with kids and their grown-ups. She plans to find a way to again combine her clinical practice and public health passions in future collaborative projects or policy work to improve the health of children and families in Massachusetts. For fun, she can be found out and about in Northampton, MA at various playgrounds with her own two elementary school-aged children and walking or hiking with her two dogs. At Notre Dame and Mount Holyoke she spent a great deal of time in art studios. She still loves making art projects, ranging from knitting to pottery to printmaking.

Society of the Arts

Olivia Goliger

Olivia Goliger '13

Throughout her teaching career, Olivia Goliger ’13 has carried the values of her Notre Dame community with her.  Currently, she teaches classes in American popular music and piano, while also directing the three Algonquin Regional High School choirs.  She also advises two student-run a cappella groups and is the Vocal Director for the ARHS fall musicals.  

Choirs under her direction have won silver and gold medals at state festivals, traveled to Washington D.C., commissioned and recorded pieces for treble choir by New England composer and pianist, Michael C. Kregler, and performed at Symphony Hall. As a teacher, Olivia’s interests lie in advocating for quality music education for all, and in supporting women in music (especially her students!).

Outside of her work as an educator, Olivia has sung with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops since May 2019.  During her tenure with the BSO, she has recorded two symphonies with the orchestra, sung in dozens of Holiday Pops concerts, and sung in numerous residencies at Tanglewood in the Berkshires.

Olivia received her undergraduate degree in music education (concentrations in vocal performance and conducting) from Providence College, graduating in 2017 with honors.  In 2013, Olivia graduated from Notre Dame Academy, where she was the vice president of her class, class speaker, recipient of the Foundress Award, and part of all things musical and theatrical.  She has performed abroad with choirs in Ireland (2013), Austria and the Czech Republic (2015), and has co-presented and performed at two conferences for the National Association for Music Educators in Nashville (2014) and New Jersey (2017).  Currently, Olivia is working toward her Master of Music in Choral Conducting at Messiah University, focusing on the representation of women’s voices in choral music repertoire.

Rachel Savage '00

Born and raised in Worcester, MA, Rachel developed a love for performing at a young age, both through her participation in children’s choir along with her parents' committed involvement in Worcester County Light Opera Club, an 85-year-old non-profit theater company here in the city of Worcester.  Their commitment led Rachel to that very stage where she has performed a number of times and has served as the Children’s Theater Workshop director for over a decade.

Rachel holds a degree in Music Theater Performance from the Rome School of Music in Washington D.C. She also holds a Master of Education in both Special Education and Administration & Leadership and has worked in the Worcester Public School district for the past 13 years. 

Rachel Savage Yearbook photo

In addition to performing in the Central Mass and Boston area whenever time permits, she is an avid home chef and mom to two wonderfully inquisitive young children who keep her very busy. She is eternally grateful to her amazing husband and parents for their endless support which enables her to fully commit to her passion for education and performance.

Athletic Hall of Fame

Amy Gabrila

Amy Gabrila '93

Amy Gabrila ’93 is a proud graduate of Notre Dame Academy, Worcester.  Under the direction of coach Patty Provost, Amy earned a full athletic scholarship to attend and play field hockey at The Ohio State University.  She received All Big 10 conference academic honors in ’96 and ’97 and graduated in 1998 with a BA in English and Film Studies. After graduation, she traveled to Mississippi to explore a different part of the country and start a career in the casino gaming industry.

She moved back to New England in 2000 to work at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, where she quickly advanced in the field of gaming management. In 2013, Amy returned to her beloved Ohio to open a new casino where she was integral in development, training, and operations.

Amy became a member of the inaugural GameSense Program in 2015, bringing her back to Massachusetts, where she works directly with gaming operators, regulators, organizations, legislators, and the public to educate about gambling and how to keep it a safe activity in the Commonwealth. She has spoken about responsible gambling both nationally and internationally and has developed innovative adult learning content to help create an informed public. She has found a space where her passion for gaming and helping people meet. She currently resides in Ware, MA, and is the regional GameSense manager out of MGM Springfield.

Maura Marshall McCarthy '80

During her time at NDA, Maura Marshall McCarthy ’80 took on a leadership role as a class officer. With her love of sports, she played basketball and softball, captaining both sports. During her senior year, she received the honor of being part of the Telegram and Gazette Central Mass All-Star Team in basketball and softball. Her love of the diamond was carried over to her time at Assumption College as the Greyhound’s first baseman for four years under coach Brian Kelly. Maura graduated with her Master’s Degree and CAGS in Social Rehabilitation and Psychology.

Maura returned to NDA in 1985-1989 to be the JV basketball coach and assistant varsity coach with Patty Provost. Currently, Maura lives in Holden MA with her husband Bill. They have five wonderful children Kate, Kevin, Mary, Jojo, and Colin.

Maura McCarthy

Her youngest, Colin was born with special needs, his disabilities opened her family to the world of advocacy and a lifetime of Special Olympics. Maura became an advocate through the Federation of Children with Special Needs to not only help her family navigate the special education system but to also help others on their journey.

As a stay-at-home mother, Maura enjoyed the time she spent coaching her children at Jesse Burkett in Worcester and Holden Youth sports teams. Maura assisted her brother Jim and the Moylan family as they started the Challenger Baseball League at Worcester State University. This was by far Maura’s favorite coaching gig. “Angels in the Outfield” matched young athletes in the city with special needs athletes to learn and enjoy the game of baseball, every game ending with a dance party and newfound friendships.

Once her children were grown, Maura found her passion for home decor. Her love of painting and interior design led to the start of her own small business, “Colors by Maura,” transforming homes with beautiful colors, refurbished furniture, and newly painted cabinetry.

Notre Dame Academy continues to be a part of Maura’s life. The friendships she made during her time at NDA have stood strong throughout the years. While reminded often by Sr. Ann: “Is that Maura Marshall’s voice I hear echoing in the hallway?”

Her spirit will forever be… a “Rebel!”

Danielle Sikonski

Danielle Perron Sikonski '04

During her time at NDA, Danielle Perron Sikonski ’04 was a three-sport athlete playing field hockey, basketball, and spring track, captaining both the field hockey and basketball teams her senior year.  During this time the field hockey team won two consecutive state championships (2002 & 2003) and the NDA basketball team became District Champions for the first time in NDA history (2004).  She was named NDA’s Outstanding Athlete her senior year.

After graduating from NDA, Danielle attended Assumption College where she played on the varsity field hockey team. As a captain in her senior year, she was named the team’s MVP and selected to the NFHCA Division II Senior All-Star Game.  

After graduating from Assumption College with a degree in Human Services, Danielle began working as Fundraising Events Manager at Why Me/Sherry’s House, a local non-profit organization that provides support services to families who have a child with cancer.  During this time Danielle coached the NDA freshmen basketball team for 1 season and the JV field hockey team for 6 seasons.   

Still at Why Me, Danielle now serves as the organization’s Director of Family Services. In this position her responsibilities include meeting with families upon their child‘s diagnosis, coordinating support services and hospital outreach, and facilitating various support groups for families.  

Over the years Danielle has served as a Love in Action supervisor for many NDA students. Additionally, she has come back to campus several times to share the important role Love in Action and Notre Dame Academy has played in her career. 

Danielle received an NDA Young Alumna Award in 2012. Worcester Magazine named her a Hometown Hero for her work at Why Me and in 2016 she was a recipient of the Worcester Rotary Club's Service Above Self Award. Danielle and her husband, Michael, have three young children William, Clara, and Lucy.