Hayes Wass, 17, a is a senior at Catholic Memorial High School, attends Mass at St. Mary, Hales Corners, and was a recipient of a John Paul II Youth Award in 2015. He was honored for collecting shoes for the homeless, delivering Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to the poor, serving on his parish’s social concerns committee, and coordinating his parish’s Lenten outreach program.
“Hayes lives his faith proudly and wears it with integrity,” Pam Lownik, social concerns coordinator for St. Mary, HalesCorners, said. “ He is equally comfortable making announcements from the pulpit about the various homelessness initiatives as he is standing quietly on the street corner praying with our Respect Life Committee outside an abortion clinic.”
Despite having three jobs, Wass values his time with his parents and younger sister Abby, who also attends Catholic Memorial. During his life, he doubted the existence of God but after doing some research and speaking with a priest, his faith grew stronger.
School and job/occupation:
I’m a senior at Catholic Memorial High School and I have various jobs. I’m a soccer referee. I clean after weddings at my parish. I just got a job cleaning at InPro Corporation after hours.
What is your dream job?
I want to be an engineer of some sort. I don’t know particularly which one yet. Satisfaction of being able to design something and be part of a bigger project that works and accomplishes a good task. I like to design things.
What is on your iPod?
I’ve got some Imagine Dragons, One Republic, that kind of stuff. I like more pop music.
If you could dine with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Does Jesus count? This is tricky. Probably, St. Augustine. He’s my patron saint and I picked him for my saint name (at confirmation) and I really like him a lot and I think he’s very smart, intelligent, has a lot to say. I feel like he’s a humble guy, down to earth. I feel like his humility in his struggles to get past his sins is a really good motive to have God help him through that.
Who has made the biggest impact on you?
I’d have to say my parents. They’re the ones who raised me really well in the faith. They took me to service projects together as a family when I was younger. That kind of got me into that. They’ve always encouraged me in all of my endeavors and they helped me grow up.
What would you say is one thing that makes you unique?
There really isn’t much unique about me per se. I guess I really seek to grow and develop, and become more knowledgeable and I really seek that out. I frankly enjoy it and I like to be informed on everything. It’s just a God-given instinct.
Describe a normal weekend?
I come home Friday and will have a nice dinner with my parents. We’d typically watch a family movie or TV. On Saturday, get up, do some homework and then I’ll do various things from shooting hoops, walk the dog, play computer games. And then we go to church Saturday evening and then we eat another big dinner and watch TV or movies as a family. Then on Sunday I get up and do a little more homework, fill out scholarship applications and finish it all up. And then spend more time with the family and then go to tennis and come home and get ready for school the next day.
What’s your favorite Bible story, Scripture passage or prayer?
Luke 23: 39-43
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?
“We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
What is your favorite quote?
“All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” I did that for my senior quote. It’s actually very disputed; there are guesses out there as to who said it. I credited it to an Irish politician.
What is your favorite food or dessert?
Anything seafood. My favorite would definitely be crab — king crab because it’s the biggest. I also like to eat a lot of meat like steak, prime rib, all that stuff.
Tell me about a time or a challenge in your life that has strengthened your faith?
For a while I doubted the existence of God and I was really torn. I was doing a lot of research into it. With the help of Fr. Matthew Widder, our associate pastor at the time, and other teachers at Catholic Memorial, the fact that the research pointed to the fact that we have no idea how the universe is created or why it works the way it works and like all that we’ve done, we don’t know why it follows mathematical laws. It shouldn’t in all logic. All that combined to bring me back around and now I have a stronger faith than ever.
What is your favorite hobby or activity?
My favorite hobby is fishing. We fish in a lake and we catch everything from pan fish to northern pike. We’ll use worms, jigs, bugs as bait. We’ll fish for anything
that will bite.
What is the most important thing that you want to accomplish in life?
I frankly don’t know at this point. I’d like to become a millionaire with hard work, good work ethic and I’m willing to put in extra work if needed. I might climb up the ladder from engineering to the upper echelons of a company; that would be the most probable. Maybe become an entrepreneur if I think of a good idea.
How do you live your faith every day?
I try to be charitable to everybody and I try to keep God’s commandments as often as I can. Pray. And help others in need.
Name one guilty pleasure?
I, frankly, too often get lazy and I will procrastinate, and just do whatever I want instead of getting work done that needs to get done. I know I should really just get it done; at the same time there’s so much other stuff that I could be doing.