‘Sedes Sapientiae’ from KCHS: female, Despard; male, Carroll

Knoxville Catholic High School has chosen its Sedes Sapientiae award female and male recipients for 2021 — Dylan Carroll and Grace Despard.

“Our school doesn’t name valedictorians, just the (Sedes Sapientiae) “Seat of Wisdom,” Carroll said.

Pam Rhoades, KCHS director of marketing and communications, explained that “rather than a valedictorian and a salutatorian, Knoxville Catholic bestows the Sedes Sapientiae award ... voted on by the faculty and administration; presented to two seniors who best epitomize loyalty, service, scholarship and authentic Christian leadership.”


“I am humbled and honored to know that I have made an impact on my school community,” said Despard, daughter of Bobbi and John Despard and sister of Tyler Despard.

“The people whom I have so much gratitude and respect for chose me to receive this award,” she added.

“My reflections on my four years in high school are that the Lord has blessed me with an amazing school community, friends, teachers, siblings and parents that want the best for me and those around me and to achieve my full potential in life.”

Despard was a member of the KCHS Lady Fighting Irish basketball team for two years, a member of the Irish Media Network for four years, student leader of Irish Disciples Club and volunteer at Ladies of Charity.

She has won the Careacter Star-Athlete Award, President’s List and Honor Roll, Religion II and III Awards and Mother Theresa Outstanding Witness Award. Despard was awarded the Chancellor Scholarship for Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio), where she plans to attend and study theology and Catechetics.

“I aspire to teach high school religion,” Despard said. “The love and support in my faith that I have received over my fours years at Catholic and the teachers have inspired me to pass on that same love and inspiration to future students.”


“It is an honor to be chosen to represent my school, a place that I am able to call home,” said Carroll, son of Jay and Wendy Carroll. “Knoxville Catholic welcomed me with open arms and allowed me to flourish as a student and leader.

“Growing up (around) the Air Force, I moved around everywhere and never really felt settled, but those experiences allowed me to become the outgoing person I am today,” he added.

While at Catholic, Carroll earned the Foreign Language Department Award, AP Physics C Award, AP English IV Award, AP Biology Award, Spanish 4H Award and was a Commended National Merit Scholar. He also has been chosen for the Presidential scholarships at both Clemson and University of Georgia.

Carroll was a lead Irish Ambassador, involved in transitioning and recruiting students to Catholic, captain of Scholar’s Bowl Team, was on the varsity basketball team for three years and on varsity golf for one year.

After graduation, he said, “I would love some day to incorporate a love of science into a career working with people.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean (being) a doctor ... there are countless ways to do so.”