Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Saint Viator Sophomore Spends Unforgettable Thanksgiving in Swaziland

IMG_0611Olivia Gauthier ’21 has volunteered every year with her family and Saint Viator classmates at Feed My Starving Children, but now she has seen her experience packing nutritious meal packs for children, come full circle.

Olivia recently returned from spending 10 days in Swaziland, located in southern Africa. This developing country faces major economic and health issues, starting with having the highest HIV rate in the world, leading to an estimated 200,000 orphans.

She traveled with her mother, Feliza, who is a dentist, as well as other extended family members, including an uncle who is a doctor, and an aunt who is a scientist. However, theirs was not a medical mission. Instead, they traveled to volunteer.

“We really only made one homestead visit,” Olivia explains, adding that homesteads were thatched roof houses that sheltered entire, extended families. “Mostly we worked in teams at the orphanage, at Project Canaan.”

In preparation for her trip, Olivia read “It’s Not OK With Me,” and its sequel, “Is It OK With You?” Both were written by Janine Maxwell, who with her husband, Ian, started Heart for Africa, a faith-based organization focused on bringing hope to the people of Swaziland in the areas of hunger, orphans, poverty and education.

IMG_1123The organization’s biggest project is Project Canaan, a 2,500-acre large-scale land development. It features multiple approaches to sustainable farming, as well as an orphanage and school for orphans and vulnerable children.

“Right now there are 214 orphans there,” Olivia says, “and of those more than 100 are babies. All of them come from terrible conditions. Their scars from abuse are terrible.”

IMG_1521Yet, working with the children was her favorite part of the trip, Olivia says. She now hopes to earn a medical degree and one day go back to Swaziland to treat these children and better their lives.

“They were all so happy and friendly,” Olivia says. “They all would come running up to you and hug you.”

During her stay, Olivia worked with a team of volunteers, doing everything from helping with the care of the children to organizing curriculum packets for their classrooms. During their one homestead visit, she helped out with wellness visits and passed out MannaPacks like the ones she had filled at Feed My Starving Children.

“All the children recognized the packs, and were really excited to get one,” Olivia said. “It really hit home for me. I felt like I had come full circle.”

IMG_0959Now back in her classes at Saint Viator, Olivia says her hands-on mission in Swaziland was in part living out the Viatorian charism, of “reaching out to those accounted of little importance.”

“As a member of Student Council, I’m trying to work out some sort of service project we can do,” Olivia says. “I’m also hoping to work with Campus Ministry to make (Heart for America) a Loaves and Fishes collection recipient.”

The entire trip made her appreciate just how much she has in this country, she says, but she also knows that she has a responsibility to help these children.

This much she knows: “I definitely want to go back.”

Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, Called to Lead Viatorian Community

Fr. Dan Hall, C.S.V. next to the Fr. Louis Querbes bust in the Alumni Memorial Chapel. Fr. Querbes founded the Clerics of St. Viator.

Fr. Dan Hall, C.S.V. next to the Fr. Louis Querbes bust in the Alumni Memorial Chapel. Fr. Querbes founded the Clerics of St. Viator.

After serving Saint Viator High School for a combined 19 years, Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, has been called back to his community to lead the Viatorians as Provincial Superior.

His election came Friday, when Viatorians in this country and in Colombia voted Fr. Hall as their “first pastor.” While he had been serving as acting Provincial over the last four months, succeeding Fr. Robert. M. Egan, CSV, when he was elected Superior General in July, he now will devote himself fully to the Viatorian Community and advancing its spiritual mission.

In speaking to his confreres at a Mass after the election, Fr. Hall pointed to his predecessors as his role models, including Fr. Kenneth Morris, Fr. Patrick Render, Fr. Charles Bolser, Fr. Egan and Fr. Thomas von Behren.

“Forty years ago, when I entered the community, I had absolutely no idea that I would ever be asked to serve in this role,” Fr. Hall said. “I am truly humbled to follow these men.”

At the same time, Viatorians elected Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, ‘74 and Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, ‘71 to serve with Fr. Hall on his Provincial Council. Br. Gosch formerly taught English at Saint Viator High School and now co-directs the Viator House of Hospitality with Fr. Corey Brost, CSV.

Fr. Francis served the Viatorians as Superior General, from 2000 – 2012. He currently leads Catholic Theological Union in Chicago as president. It is one of the largest graduate schools of theology in the country.

Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV, ’73, and Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, were appointed to fill out the four-man Provincial Council. Both formerly taught at Saint Viator. Fr. Lydon left last year to serve as associate pastor at Maternity BVM in Bourbonnais, while Br. Robertson serves in Campus Ministry at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.

Fr. Hall and his new Provincial Council members will be formally installed during a Mass at the Viatorian Province Center on Dec. 16.

For the last year and a half, Fr. Hall has served as Vice President of Viatorian Identity and Mission at Saint Viator. Along with serving as an assistant football and wrestling coach, and teaching social studies courses, Fr. Hall oversaw aspects of Campus Ministry, the Religion Department and outreach initiatives, to make sure they reflected the Viatorian mission.

 

In his new role as Provincial Superior and chair of the Board of Governors of Saint Viator High School, Fr. Hall will continue to remain involved with Saint Viator and its mission of providing religious formation and academic excellence for young people.

 

“At the end of the day, we hope students leave here with the idea of a life of service,” Fr. Hall said. “That’s the Viatorian understanding of living a Christian life.”

From Notre Dame to Ohio State, Saint Viator Athletes Commit on National Signing Day

Signing Day EditedA big crowd of athletes, their teammates, parents, and fans turned out Wednesday to Saint Viator High School’s Cahill Gymnasium to watch a total of nine student-athletes sign letters of intent to pursue their sport at the next level.

They included Casey Kmet, the power-hitting third baseman for the Lions who will play baseball—with his older brother, Cole—at the University of Notre Dame. The last time they played on the same team, in 2017, Saint Viator won the Class 3A state championship.

“Notre Dame is a great, overall school,” Casey said, “and I’m excited to play with my brother again. Hopefully, we can win another championship.”

Head Coach Mike Manno, who coached both Kmet brothers in baseball, said Casey brings versatility to the Irish.

“He has power hitting as well as defensive skills,” Manno said. “Whether he’s behind the plate or at third base, it’s his versatility that has provided this opportunity to play at the next level.”

Another student who committed early was Elijah Black, who on Wednesday signed his letter of intent to play lacrosse at Ohio State University. He committed to the Buckeyes’ program at the end of his freshman season. This three-sport athlete lined up as running back for the Lions in football, before wrestling in the winter, and all before suiting up for lacrosse.

“Elijah’s been playing at an elite level for years,” said Head Coach Pat Gaeger. “He’s a special talent, whose combination of skill and athleticism separates him on the field.”

His teammate, Max Rudolph, also committed to playing lacrosse at the next level. This fall, he will join the Bombers at Ithaca College, in Ithaca, NY, who play in the Liberty League.

“Max does all the little things right,” Coach Gaeger added. “He is a phenomenal leader and he’s going to a great school with a very competitive program.”

Saint Viator’s talented backcourt in boys’ basketball, Treyvon Calvin and Jeremiah Hernandez, haven’t started their senior season yet, but already they know they are playing in college. Treyvon is headed to Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, while Jeremiah heads to Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio.

Last season, Trey and Jerry, as they are known to their teammates, led Saint Viator to 24 wins and a perfect record in the East Suburban Catholic Conference while averaging a combined 32 points between them.

“I liked the environment and the coaches,” Trey said of Wright State, whose Raiders made it to NCAA tournament last year. “I hope to make an impact right away.”

Another talented duo to sign letters on Wednesday were senior golfers Timmy Crawford and Nolan Doherty, who both committed to playing golf at Loyola University. Head Coach Jack Halpin drove to Loyola’s campus earlier on Wednesday and picked up hats and scarves for his players when whom did he meet? Sr. Jean Schmidt, BVM, chaplain for the men’s basketball program.

“She knew all about them and that they were signing today,” Halpin said.

These senior golfers propelled the team back to state this year—their second straight trip and third in four years—and now will play together as Ramblers.

“Playing at Saint Viator and being at the state tournament, helped prepare me for playing at the next level,” Nolan said. “I’m excited. It’s a great opportunity and a great school.”

A pair of volleyball players also will be taking their game to the next level. Kate Nottoli committed to playing at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, while Taylor Psaller will play at Harper College. Together, these Lady Lions helped return the team back to a second straight sectional final.

“Both Kate and Taylor came every day, ready to work,” said Coach Charlie Curtin. “They did what it took to help the team. Literally, they were willing to go above and beyond.”

Athletic Director Jason Kuffel commended the student-athletes for all of their hard work and bringing their passion to the game.

“We will watch for you and root for you as you take your game to the college level,” Kuffel said. “It truly is a great day to be a Lion.”

Cross Country Teams Return to State Meet

DqxLgyRUwAApWc9The boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams left with a bang on Wednesday for the IHSA state finals. Literally, Saint Viator’s drum line led them through the hallways as teachers and students alike cheered on these state-bound runners.

After the excitement, the two teams and their coaches boarded buses bound for Detweiler Park in Peoria, where the state finals will take place on Saturday. Coach Wayne Edeleman leads both the girls’ and boys’ teams, with the help of assistant coaches Bill Stanczak, John Curtin and Trisha Stapleton.

While both teams have run at the state meet before, this year’s berths are special, their coaches say.

“The girls embraced one another, starting with June summer camp, and they are now reaping the rewards of morning runs and tempo runs, with a run at Detweiller Park on Saturday,” says Coach Stanczak.

The boys’ team lost five seniors off last year’s state team, and they feared they might not make it out of sectionals, Stanczak adds.

“Their regional and sectional championships came through hard work and determination,” Coach Stanczak adds, “and the energy of a freshman runner (Mike Schumacher) who split the lead running role with Patric Natindim.”

Dqid0DhXgAE4kPUEven though the boys’ team made it to state last year, this year’s team won its first sectional title in program history. In all, Saint Viator boys are making their seventh state appearance, all coming since 2011.

At last weekend’s sectional, the Lions were led by Mike Schumacher (10th, 16:44), Matt Goss (15th, 16:58.5), Patrick Natindim (16th, 16:59.5), Jason Doland (25th, 17:24.4), Patrick Schumacher (27th, 17:27.3), Nathan Kochera (56th, 18:08.6) and Connor Flynn (58th, 18:15.1). Also accompanying them to state are Dan Bottcher, and Richard Varvara.

The girls’ team is just as strong. They qualified for state for the fourth time in program history and second year in a row, while also winning regionals. Among recent years, they also have qualified for state in 2009 and 2012,

Leading the Lions and heading to state are Katie Castelli (4th, 18:44.5), Payton McDonnell (5th, 19:09.9), a four-time state qualifier, Joy Bergstrom (7th, 19:39.4), Maura Hogaboom (16th, 20:30.5), Mary Grace Hegberg (17th, 20:30.6), Claire Bottcher (18th, 20:32.6) and Mia Rafferty (33rd, 21:41.3). Alternates also making the trip are: Sophis Limberakis, Celia Carnel, Natalie Krause, and Holly Ferrara.

Saint Viator Announces National Merit Semifinalist and Commended Students

Hogaboom_MauraMaura Hogaboom ’19, just added another feather to her cap: She was named a semifinalist by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Her distinction as a National Merit semi-finalist comes on top of her achievement last spring of earning a perfect score on the ACT.

This high achieving student also runs cross country and plays soccer in the spring, while performing in the musical during the winter. Among her many club activities, she participates in Saint Viator’s Justice League and Students Against Destructive Decisions and serves as co-president of the Interclass Council.

Maura now will have the chance to advance to the finalist level, and continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

NMSThat’s not all. Saint Viator also learned that 11 seniors had been named National Merit commended scholars. They include Ritarose Battin, Allison Bosshart, Thomas Constertina, Zachary Evans, Nikolas Hohlweg, Marcus Lannie, Nicholas McCaulley, Matthew McManaman, Brooke Puccini, Nicholas Surdo and Kevin Wilhite.

They received letters of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, in recognition of their outstanding academic promise.

“These students represent the Saint Viator community with a strong work ethic and a high level of engagement in a rigorous course load,” says Mrs. Karen Love, principal. “All 12 seniors are Querbes Scholars and future leaders wherever they land.”

NMS2Mrs. Love adds that these students represent not only academic leadership at school, but also in their involvement in school, in activities that include music, theater, and athletics.

“They are well-rounded representatives of a Saint Viator education,” Mrs. Love says, “who promote excellence in all that they do.”

They joined this elite group based on their preliminary SAT score, taken when they was juniors, in 2017. They emerged from a pool of 1.6 million juniors, from 22,000 high schools, who took the PSAT that year, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

Officials with the National Merit Scholarship Program said this year’s semifinalist pool represents the highest scoring entrants in each state or less than one percent of high school seniors.

Come See Shakespeare in a Whole Nutty, er New Way

IMG_8785 (2)Saint Viator’s fall play features madcap comedy, wacky double entendres, improvisation and even audience participation. And did we mention that it’s Shakespeare?

That’s right, this cast of more than 40 students, divided into two casts, tackle all 37 works of Shakespeare, in 97 minutes. Officially, the play is called The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), but Mrs. Kate Costello, director, refers to it simply as, Shakespeare in a Nutshell.

IMG_9090 (2)“It’s like Monty Python meets William Shakespeare,” Mrs. Costello says.

Costello has directed Saint Viator students in three prior Shakespeare works, including Romeo and Juliet, and twice in a Midsummer’s Night Dream, but this abridged version looks at the Bard in a completely different way.

IMG_8571“It’s a wonderful comedy that pokes fun at the playwright I love,” Mrs. Costello adds. “It’s the same reason I love Forbidden Broadway revues, that parody current show tunes.”

The play opens with a spoof of Romeo and Juliet, including a fight between the Capulets and Montagues, before Romeo recites his famous lines from the balcony scene.

IMG_9218For Austin Jones ’21, who shares the role with Chris Sevilla ’20, he follows in the footsteps of his brother, Zac Jones ’17, who played Romeo four years ago.

“It’s fun to say these lines, but in a different way,” Austin says. “It gives new meaning to Shakespeare.”

IMG_8522Students in the cast come from all grade levels, including freshmen, who have never encountered Shakespeare before going out for this show.

Take Michelle Nagle ’22. She shares the role of Horatio with Livie Augustine ’20. Both have had to learn to deliver their lines as a rapper, which Michelle estimates is more than 20 lines.

“It’s been difficult to tackle Shakespeare and kind of hard to understand what we’re saying and meaning,” Michelle says. “But the script overall is teaching me more about Shakespeare and his writing.”

IMG_8289 (2)James McManus ’19 and Daniel Ornelas ’20 are charged with delivering an actual monologue from Hamlet in the show’s second act. It’s one of the only straight scenes in the show and both students say they are enjoying the chance to perform real Shakespeare.

“It took a while to master (the iambic pentameter),” James says. “It’s so different from anything we’ve ever done. But once you get it, it’s poetic, and I’m enjoying the challenge.”

IMG_8844 (2)Mrs. Costello says she chose the show, in part, because the works from Shakespeare mirror some of their class material. But she also knew she had the students to pull it off.

“We have some of the most clever, witty character actors our school has had in years,” she says. “They have been able to tackle some very challenging material and comic timing.”

Saint Viator figure skater to be recognized by U.S. Figure Skating Association

image2After four years of training, including getting on the ice as early as 5:30 a.m. for lessons and heading to the rink immediately after school, Jessica Johnson ’19 is getting her just rewards.

This month, Jessica learned from the U.S. Figure Skating Association that she had reached the Platinum level or the highest level of skating in its graduating seniors’ program.

The USFSA created the program to recognize achievements of skaters who are graduating from high school after maintaining their figure skating training while pursuing their academic studies.

Jessica and her family acknowledge Saint Viator administrators with helping her to reach this distinction.

“Thank you again for being so supportive of Jessica’s skating and all the absences due to travel that she’s endured for competition,” her mother, Leanne Johnson, wrote to school officials. “It’s very much appreciated!”

To earn the distinction, Jessica had to pass all the moves in the field at the senior level, as determined by the USFSA, and be an international competitor. Check and check!

Jessica skates with the Chicago Jazz Synchronized Skating Team, based in Rolling Meadows. Just last year, she advanced to its highest team, the juniors, which took her to international competitions in Scotland and Sweden.

This year, she and her team will compete at the USFSA national championships in January in Detroit, while her team awaits their international destination for this spring.

Jessica has been skating since she was 3 years old and has been involved in synchronized skating for the last 13 years. Not surprisingly, she hopes to continue her passion for the sport in college, at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan, where synchronized skating is a varsity sport.

“Moving to the junior level last year was a big jump,” Jessica says. “I had to get used to the speed and higher level of difficulty, but now I’m used to it. I just love the feeling of being on the ice, of the speed and precision, and just being part of a team.”

image3While competing at the next level collegiately and internationally is Jessica’s next goal, her ultimate dream would be to skate in the Olympics.

It’s not a pipedream. The USFSA recently re-applied with the International Olympic Committee to accept the sport. While synchro won’t be in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, there is still a chance it will appear in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

According to reports, the International Olympic Committee will make the decision after the 2018 Games. Jessica, who would be a junior in college in 2022, is hopeful!

Students and Grandparents Celebrate Feast of St. Viator

DSC_0008Grandparents’ Day held special meaning on Friday at Saint Viator High School. Not only did students get to show off their school, but they celebrated together at Mass, on the feast of St. Viator. The timing was deliberate as it underscored the school’s patron saint, whose life back in 4th century France was dedicated to educating young people in the faith.

The Mass drew students, parents, and grandparents to gather together in the Cahill Gymnasium for the celebration. The liturgy opened with a procession of Viatorian associates, pre-associates, brothers, and priests, including many who were alumni of Saint Viator High School.

“We warmly welcome all the grandparents here,” said Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, vice president of Viatorian identity and mission. “For many of you, this is something like a homecoming, and we welcome you home.”

DSC_0021Students participated in many aspects of the Mass, from those in Music Ministry to Eucharistic ministers and cross-bearers. In addition, some 65 students were commissioned at the end of Mass as members of the Campus Ministry Team, charged with enhancing the spiritual life of the school.

In his homily, Fr. Hall described who St. Viator was and why Fr. Louis Querbes, founder of the Viatorians, chose this little-known saint to be the patron of his new religious congregation.

“Viator was a lector at the cathedral in Lyon,” Fr. Hall said. “As part of his role, Viator preached and expanded on the gospel, but most importantly he taught young children their faith.”

Many centuries later, Fr. Querbes, he added, founded the Clerics of St. Viator in the aftermath of the French Revolution, with a specific mission of service to the altar and the education of young people in the faith. For their motto, he chose: “Let the children come unto me.”

“You know, as we gather today—associates, brothers, priests, parents, grandparents and students—we all have the role of educating young people in the faith,” Fr. Hall said. “We not only help them find Jesus, we help them find Jesus present in their lives.”

For more photos from today’s Mass, click here.

Saint Viator Welcomes Chinese Educators for the Week

Tracy and AllenA pair of teachers from China visited Saint Viator this week to observe American teaching styles and curriculum, and they were surprised at the response they received.

“The teachers and students are very friendly and kind,” said Ms. Yu Ling, an English and humanities teacher. “They see us in the halls and ask if they can help. We feel like superstars.”

Ms. Ling and Mr. Hang Yu Zheng teach at Summit International School, a private school in Chengdu, which is the capital city of the Sichuan Province. In all, they are visiting three American schools to compare methods and scout out potential schools for their students to study abroad.

“I tell my students if you have the chance to come to America, you should,” Mr. Zheng said.

After two days, their observations ran the gamut. Mr. Zheng, who teaches math in China, noticed how much Saint Viator students use their calculators in all levels of mathematics.

“Our teachers do not let students use a calculator since the calculator influences the calculating ability,” Mr. Zheng said. “But when I go back, I will talk about this with our teachers.”

Ms. Ling was delighted to see a pair of programs in English and history classes, that she uses with her students, including Quizlet and Kahoot.

“No matter how old or experienced students are, they still like (learning) games and competition,” Ms. Ling said.

Overall, the Chinese educators said they were impressed with Saint Viator’s students and learning environment.

“In our school, I am the teacher and my students are the audience,” Mr. Zheng said. “Here, it’s more open and active. Students can ask questions and participate.”

Mrs. Rose Ruffatto, who coordinates Saint Viator’s international program, arranged their daily schedule so that they could visit a variety of classes, at different levels, and most included Chinese students in them.

“Our international program has grown over the past few years,” Mrs. Ruffatto said, “so our students are very welcoming and accepting of our international students.

“Meeting these Chinese teachers gives us the opportunity to understand a little more of the education system and culture,” she added, “where some of our current international students come from.”

Three Saint Viator Students Chosen for Highly Competitive District Music Festival

Jonathan Ngoy

Jonathan Ngoy

After months of preparations, three fine arts students learned recently that they are among an elite group. Jonathan Ngoy ’21, Daniel Fecko ’20 and Caroline Lavender ’19 all have been selected to represent Saint Viator High School at the Illinois Music Education Association District 7 Music Festival on Nov. 10.

“Auditions are highly competitive,” says Mrs. Joleen Kragt, choral director, “where students are judged on the performance of challenging repertoire, sight reading, scales, and triads.”

The district festival takes place at New Trier High School and will feature the best band and choral students from the North and Northwest suburbs. Being selected is something like making it to sectionals in a sporting event since students now are eligible to be considered for selection to the All-State Festival, which takes place in January in Peoria.

Caroline Lavender

Caroline Lavender

“Earning acceptance takes a high level of commitment and a strong work ethic,” says Mr. Vince Genualdi, director of bands. “These students have proven their dedication and commitment to a high caliber of music performance.”

He points to Jonathan Ngoy, the only band member to advance. Jonathon plays trombone in Saint Viator’s symphonic band, and he recently was accepted into the Chicago Youth Symphony’s concert orchestra.

At the district festival, he will take his seat with other talented band students from across northern Illinois. Together, they will rehearse and perform under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Peterson, associate director of bands and clinical professor of music at the University of Illinois in Champaign.

“Jonathan is a passionate musician who takes his craft seriously,” Mr. Genualdi adds. “He has proven to be a great musician and leader within the ensemble. We’re very proud of his work thus far, and we’re very excited to see how he progresses in the years to come.”

Daniel Fecko

Daniel Fecko

At the same festival, Daniel Fecko and Caroline Lavender will represent Saint Viator’s choral programs. Both are talented vocalists, who participate in many of the school’s choral offerings, musicals, and including its new show choir. These well-rounded students also compete in sports as well.

“Besides having beautiful voices, solid musicianship and strong work ethics, students who enter these competitions need a certain tenacity as we are up against schools several times bigger than we are,” Mrs. Kragt adds. “Both of these students possess those necessary characteristics and are just terrific people as well.”

Caroline is a part of “The Revelations” show choir and music ministry, while also competing on the girls’ golf team. Just last summer, she added another feather to her cap by earning a perfect score on the ACT.

Meantime, Daniel anchors Saint Viator’s new men’s a cappella ensemble, The Viatones, singing bass, and he also performs in the Chamber Singers. When he’s not singing, he plays soccer in the fall and volleyball in the spring.

At the festival, both students will be performing under the direction of Dr. Eric Esparza, director of choral activities and vocal area coordinator at DePaul University, in a difficult program that ranges from spirituals and gospel to a romantic ballad.

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