'Voice' finalist has fans at St. JosephNicholas David Mrozinski graduated from St. Joseph School in 1995
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
The photo on display in the entryway at St. Joseph School provides an unfortunate look back at mid-1990s eighth grade fashion. But it also gives anyone who passes by a peek at the past of a Minnesota resident who has become something of a national sensation in recent months.
Nearly dead center in the photo is a young man in a black shirt and a white sweater vest. Fans of NBC singing competition The Voice might recognize him as a younger, cleaner-shaved version of the man known to most as Nicholas David.
Nicholas David Mrozinski, who grew up in Eagan, attended school at St. Joseph in the early 1990s and graduated from eighth grade there in 1995. As he has progressed through the televised competition, his fan club at the school has grown. On Dec. 11 St. Joseph hosted a viewing party and watched as the former student advanced to this week’s finale, where he finished third.
St. Joseph principal Thomas Joseph has been watching this season of the voice since music teacher LeAnn Mansour mentioned to him his former student was featured. He knew right away who she was talking about.
“He was just a very warm, likeable kid – the way he is on TV right now,” Joseph said. “He was kind of a soft-spoken student. He wasn’t a real rabble-rouser. He was very creative, very reflective. He was somebody who put a lot of heart and thought into things.”
Joseph had Mrozinski in a math class and said he was an average student, at least when it came to numbers.
“His gifts were in the fine arts,” he said. “He was very good at music, of course. He was in our talent show every year. He played the piano and he played it like a professional. I know I said to my wife at the time, ‘This kid’s going to go somewhere.’”
It was a parent who alerted Mansour to Mrozinski’s presence on The Voice. She didn’t have a lot of time to get to know Mrozinski – his last year at St. Joseph was her first – but she remembers a student who was talented in both music and the visual arts. Mrozinski won at least one Christmas poster contest, and in his eighth grade year he designed the cover of the program for the school’s Christmas show.
Mansour has turned Mrozinski’s highly visible success into a teaching tool in her classrooms.
“We have watched little clips of him in the classes,” she said. “We’ve talked about making your dreams come true and we’ve talked about how you never really know what your career is going to be when you grow up, so that’s why it’s important to have a well-rounded education.”
Students at St. Joseph had a countdown to the finale as Mrozinski advanced through the elimination rounds, and Mansour said every week students would run in and announce, “He made it!” She believes it is good for her students to have an example that hits so close to home of someone turning his hard work into success.
“I think all of the reality shows are good for them, because they see that you don’t have to be born into a famous family and know the right people – that these opportunities are for regular old people,” she said.
St. Joseph has been doing what it can to drum up support from Mrozinski. The Dec. 16 edition of the church bulletin explains his connection to the school. Mrozinski had two siblings who also attended St. Joseph, his father was on the school committee for several years and his grandfather played accordion at the church’s spaghetti suppers.
“Personally, I think we need to build up a Nicholas David fan club,” Father Paul Jarvis writes in the bulletin.
From the sounds of it, the membership drive is already well under way.