Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.


Saint Viator Students March to Defend Life

MarchforLifeRallyBr. Peter Lamick, CSV, led a delegation of Saint Viator students on Sunday in the annual March for Life demonstration.

Marching through the streets of Chicago—with thousands of other people from diverse ethnic, social and religious backgrounds—they shared one common goal: defending and protecting all human life.

“Together, Saint Viator students, parents and Viatorians gave witness to the sanctity of human life,” Br. Peter said, “as we advocated for the protection of the natural rights of the unborn who are vulnerable and voiceless.”

March for Life took place in cities across the country. Collectively, it is the largest pro-life rally in the world. The rally takes place every year near the anniversary of legalized abortion, which took effect Jan. 22, 1973.

Its stated goal is to serve as a visual and vocal reminder that the people of Chicago and the Midwest stand for life.  By drawing together thousands of people, of all ages and from all walks of life, demonstrators hope to change perceptions in a society that thinks abortion is the answer.

The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity organized the Chicago rally, and going forward, Saint Viator students plan to support all of their sponsored activities.

“As a Roman Catholic institution in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Saint Viator is a pro-life community,” says Mr. Bart Hisgen, director of Christian service and outreach. “When Cardinal Cupich invites us to advocate for life and defend the dignity of the most vulnerable, we respond.”


Varsity Baseball Coach Mike Manno Surprised with State Recognition


From left to right: Principal Eileen Manno, Mike’s wife, Stefanie Monaco Manno ’99, Mike ’94, Paul Manno, State Rep. David Harris ’66, and President Brian Liedlich.

Saint Viator students in fifth period lunch on Thursday experienced a rare special presentation: State Rep. David Harris arrived to honor Varsity Head Baseball Coach Mike Manno ’94 with a state proclamation issued from the Illinois House of Representatives.

The official proclamation was signed by House Speaker Mike Madigan and Timothy D. Mapes, House Clerk.

The honor came as a surprise to Coach Manno, who immediately was surrounded by his assistant coaches, players, and family members.

This weekend, Coach Manno will formally be named Coach of the Year of the Northern District of Illinois from the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association at their state coaches’ convention in Lombard.

“It’s great to be able to recognize you as the Coach of the Year for the Northern District of Illinois,” Harris told Manno, “but it’s just as great a thrill to be able to do so at my alma mater.”

Harris graduated from Saint Viator in 1966, ironically one year after its baseball team finished second in the state. Up until last spring’s historic run, when Coach Manno’s varsity advanced to the state semi-finals, they were the school’s only baseball team to advance downstate.


Mike with the 2016 Varsity Baseball team, State Rep. David Harris ’66, and President Brian Liedlich.

“I am truly honored. This is totally unexpected,” Coach Manno said. “But you don’t get awards like this without a great staff and great kids to work with, who work hard every day. I’m lucky that the administration and staff have allowed me to pursue my passion for baseball.”

Coach Manno has led the Lions as head baseball coach for 10 seasons. He is a 1994 Saint Viator graduate, who returned to begin coaching in 1998-99 as an assistant coach for soccer, basketball, and baseball.

Since the 2013-14 season, Coach Manno also has been the head coach for the sophomore boys’ basketball team, and he serves as assistant athletic director.

“Mike has been a terrific representative of Saint Viator and has built a well-respected and successful baseball program,” Athletic Director Marty Jennings said. “This additional honor is a welcome highlight for his great work.”

Saint Viator Students in the News


Patrick Harris ’17.

A pair of Saint Viator students joined a rare group last week when they were named to the Daily Herald’s Leadership Team. In both cases, seniors Patrick Harris and Gabriela Gaffney pointed to sustainable gardening initiatives as priorities in their community service profiles.

Patrick stood out with his three-week global leadership experience last summer in Soweto, South Africa. Working with a non-governmental organization, Patrick devised a mentoring system for 400 underprivileged children, as well as a vertical garden that used recycled, 2-litre soda bottles.

“This was for the poor areas of Soweto, where there was a basic lack of food,” Patrick says. “They had gardens, but the vertical gardening allowed them to increase their efforts.”

Patrick was featured on the front page of the Daily Herald with the rest of the team, and his profile ran inside. Besides his efforts with the African Leadership Academy, Patrick is a founding member of the E-Commerce Club and McKenna Marketplace at Saint Viator, and he volunteers in Campus Ministry and with a Boy Scout troop at Little City in Palatine.

“Beyond seeing the vast areas of Soweto and Johannesburg,” Patrick says, “the experience in Africa offered intensive leadership development as well as the opportunity to serve the poor.”

Gabriela Gaffney '17.

Gabriela Gaffney ’17.

Gabriela was named to the honorable mention leadership team. At Saint Viator, she serves as a retreat leader and with Campus Ministry, as well as helping to serve holiday dinners to the homeless through an outreach program at St. Benedict’s Church in Chicago. However, she listed her volunteer efforts with the Viatorian Community Garden, first.

Gabriela and her family take a plot each summer at the large garden located on the grounds of the Viatorian Province Center, where they grow fresh vegetables all summer for the 400 families served each month by the Wheeling Township Food Pantry.

Their commitment to serving the poor and marginalized is inspirational, says Mr. Bart Hisgen, director of Christian outreach and service.

“Saint Viator aims to shape both the minds and hearts of our students,” Mr. Hisgen says, “through academic learning—and encouraging students to prioritize those living at the outskirts of society.”


Students Close National Migration Week Working at Viator House of Hospitality

IMG_2125One of the goals of Saint Viator’s Christian Service program is to help young people see the connections between faith and service—and the issues of our day.

That connection was evident Saturday, when a group of Saint Viator students joined with their peers from Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in Waukegan, at the new Viator House of Hospitality, which formally opens today.

IMG_1635The residence is located in the Chicago area. It is grounded in the Viatorian commitment to young people and to “those accounted of little importance.” Consequently, the house provides compassionate accompaniment of young adult male undocumented immigrants who have been released from federal detention.

Together with a residential staff, Viatorians accompany these young men by offering housing, case management, spiritual support, advocacy, referrals and volunteer experiences for up to two years.

IMG_1633On Saturday, Saint Viator and Cristo Rey students helped with cleaning and final preparations in the home before its first residents move in today.

“I believe that we’re all part of God’s creation and we are all called to be stewards of God’s creation,” said senior Elias Rivera, Jr. “We are called to be caretakers of each other, showing love and compassion to our brothers and sisters. This doesn’t just include people who look like us or just people who live similar lives as us.”

“This includes the migrant and the foreigner,” Elias adds. “I think that is the effect of Viator House.”

The service trip culminated National Migration Week, which was established by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops to remember the journey of the Holy Family as they had to live in the shadows and cross the border into Egypt to escape death at the hands of King Herod.

As Cardinal Blase Cupich said during the opening Mass held Jan. 8 at Holy Name Cathedral, the church calls parishes, Catholic schools, and religious communities to a heightened awareness of the difficult journey of today’s immigrants and to work as a community so migrants can “step out of the darkness.”



holocaust museum

Student Leaders Address Human Rights Abuses at Illinois Holocaust Museum

holocaust museum

Back row: Anthony Novak, Allison Bosshart, Amalia Sordo-Palacios and Kevin Wilhite. Front row: Gina Pieri, Sarah McDermott, Maura Hogaboom and Neda Kakish.

A total of eight Saint Viator students experienced a powerful day recently at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. Its Student Leadership Day took place last month, and it’s one they’re likely never to forget.

They all had been nominated by their respective religion teachers for having demonstrated leadership at school—and showing an interest in heightening awareness about human rights issues.

These Saint Viator leaders were among more than 100 freshmen, sophomores and juniors from across the state who gathered to learn more about lessons from the past, and about the close connection between the Holocaust and current day human rights abuses.

During the program, students heard some modern day hidden stories of human rights and atrocity, and they went on to explore why certain social justice issues and histories become marginalized.

They heard firsthand from Mr. Danny Cohen, author, educator and founder of the Unsilence Project, which was created to deliver engaging learning experiences about hidden, marginalized, and taboo narratives of atrocity and human rights. Cohen also was a Faculty Fellow of the Auschwitz Jewish Center.

The day culminated by challenging students to create action plans to “unsilence” prejudice, indifference, and injustice in their local and global communities.

For Saint Viator students, their action plans started with effective ways to become upstanders within their own school community, said Ms. Emily Egan, religion teacher and moderator of the Justice League.


Stakes Keep Getting Higher for Saint Viator Alum Playing with Dallas Cowboys


Emmett Cleary ’08, backup tackle for the Dallas Cowboys (Photo: Getty Images).

Emmett Cleary ’08 still remembers his sophomore year at Saint Viator, when a starting tackle on the offensive line went down with an injury and he was moved from the sophomore team to start with the varsity—in a playoff game.

“It was different, just seeing the speed of the varsity—and the intensity of a playoff game,” Cleary says. “It made me work harder and want to take it to the next level.”

He’s definitely at a higher level now. On New Year’s Day, Cleary started his first professional game as a left tackle with the Dallas Cowboys, and he expects to play Sunday when the Cowboys host the Green Bay Packers in the divisional playoffs.

Cleary also participated in the Scholastic Bowl during his time at Saint Viator.

Cleary also participated in the Scholastic Bowl during his time at Saint Viator.

Cleary, who started in place of the injured Pro-Bowler Tyron Smith, expects to resume his role as the primary backup to the offensive line tackles and on special teams, though he still is practicing with the first-team offensive line.

“People are confident around here,” Cleary said in a phone interview from Dallas. “Green Bay is a really good team, but we’ve done a lot of good things this season—and beat them in their own building (week 6).”

“It’s a huge game, but if we win, we have a shot at doing some real damage,” he adds. “We’re embracing the pressure of the higher stakes of this game. But then again, it’s a football game and we’re preparing for it as we always do.”

Cleary says that the turning point for him came during his junior year when he had a “good season,” and he began to think about playing in college.

He eventually was an all-state selection his senior year at Saint Viator and won a scholarship to play at Boston College. After being red-shirted his freshman year, Cleary played the next four years for the Eagles and was named second team all-ACC.

Cleary with his parents, Bill and Julie, at the Junior Ring Ceremony.

Cleary with his parents, Bill and Julie, at the Junior Ring Ceremony.

Cleary began his professional career in 2013 as a non-drafted free agent with the Indianapolis Colts but was waived before the start of the season. He went on to play mostly on practice squads with teams in Tampa Bay, Oakland, Cincinnati and the New York Giants before being signed last September with the Cowboys.

This season, Cleary has played in every game since the third week of the season, and he says his approach is the same.

“My goal is to be as seamless as possible,” he says. “I try to use the same techniques, the same calls and work within the system so the other linemen don’t even notice the difference.”

Still, Cleary admits he is living the dream. When asked if he ever dreamt of one day playing in the Super Bowl, he laughed.

“When I was a kid,” he said, “I just wanted to start for Viator.”


It’s Official: Saint Viator Teachers Meet Apple Teacher Challenge


Mrs. Kirsty Anzalone’s American Lit & Comp class takes a secure exam on their iPad.

Looking to become more creative on your iPad? Perhaps, make a movie and learn to weave in illustration, music, and photography? Ask a Saint Viator teacher.

As of this month, nearly 90 percent of faculty and staff have met the Apple Teacher Challenge, completing requirements to become certified as Apple Teachers, and that includes mastering creativity with the iPad, among other areas.

This comes a little more than one year after Saint Viator High School was recognized as an Apple Distinguished School. With its teachers now certified as Apple Teachers, its technology-driven curriculum will continue to change the way students learn.

“It’s another great recognition for our school,” says Ms. Maggie Miskowicz, instructional technology coordinator. “It shows that our faculty members are dedicated to their professional development, which in turn inspires them to create new and exciting lessons.”


Ms. Wilson using the Polar GoFit app in PE 3/4 where students monitor their heart rate throughout the workout.

In order to become an Apple Teacher, faculty members had to master eight subject areas, including iPad, Pages for iPad, Keynotes for iPad, Numbers for iPad, iMovie for iPad, GarageBand for iPad, Productivity with iPad and Creativity with iPad.

Teachers then had the option of going on to complete the Mac curriculum, as well as its Swift curriculum, which teaches them Apple’s programming language.

This growing number of Apple teachers only furthers Saint Viator’s innovative curriculum, which leverages technology with academics and advances a key initiative of Principal, Mrs. Eileen Manno’s, as she steers the school into the future.

“I am very proud of our faculty who continue to pursue excellence through their own personal development,” Mrs. Manno says, “and thus model desired behavior for our students.”



There Was Only One “Strez”

strez68Longtime faculty members and alumni alike are mourning the passing of Robert “Strez” Strezewski who taught English for 41 years at Saint Viator High School.

“He was an institution,” says Fr. John Milton, CSV, a former physics teacher at Saint Viator, who taught with Mr. Strezewski during his first 20 years.

Mr. Strezewski died Dec. 29. He joined the Saint Viator faculty in 1966, just five years after it had opened, and he would be a mainstay in the English department for the next four decades until he retired in 2007.

“He was always upbeat, encouraging of students and peers, and quick with a joke,” says Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, ’74, a former colleague in the English department. “He worked hard to keep his students engaged. It was a joy working with him.”

Mr. Strezewski, it seems, had a grab bag of topics to draw from when trying to keep his students engaged. From his accordion playing to his love of books and American history — and the Chicago Cubs — he laced his classes with stories and humorous jokes.

strez07“He was a character,” says Dave O’Grady ’87. “We really had fun in his classes, but I never saw him get angry. He was a genuinely nice guy who seemed to really enjoy teaching.”

Mrs. Eileen Manno knew Mr. Strezewski as a colleague in the faculty and then as his principal, and she said their relationship never changed.

“He was one of the kindest and funniest people I ever worked with over the years,” Mrs. Manno says. “He was a good man who never complained.”

Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial, served as president of Saint Viator near the end of Mr. Strezewski’s career and he remembered him as one of the school’s enduring legends, whom students and faculty remembered fondly.

“Strez brought humor into the classroom,” Fr. von Behren said. “He engaged the students, was easy to get along with and was well liked.”

Mr. Strezewski is survived by his wife, Mary Rose, sons Michael (Anna) and James (Nina) and four grandchildren.


Holiday Giving Sets New Record

holidaygiving16It’s a wrap! Saint Viator families once again gave generously—to a pair of holiday giving programs—to make sure Christmas is a merry one for families in Chicago and the suburbs.

Just this week, Br. John Eustice, CSV, and Mr. Bart Hisgen, director of Saint Viator’s Christian service and outreach office, delivered presents and gift cards to the Howard Area Community Center in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, as part of the Season of Giving campaign.

All of the gifts will be distributed to children served by the community center, today.

This was the 29th year that Saint Viator families have supported the center, whose mission is to empower families and individuals.

By its own description, the Community Center’s mission is to empower families and individuals in one of the most racially, ethnically and economically integrated communities in Chicago. Its families are often under-employed, underserved medically and confronted by gang violence.



“According to the Howard Area statistics, it was our most successful drive to date,” Mr. Hisgen says. “With the generous support of students, teachers, Saint Viator families and alums, we sponsored 86 families with nearly 300 gifts and raised $2,700 in gift cards.”

The Season of Giving came on the heels of another successful holiday drive, this one named for Hall of Fame Chicago Bear—and former Saint Viator parent—Walter Payton. His son, Jarrett, graduated from Saint Viator in 1999 and he continues to be an ambassador for the school.

For the last 11 years, Saint Viator students have sponsored the Walter and Connie Payton Holiday Toy Drive. This year, Tony Valentino ’17, Anthony Maraviglia ’18, Emma Abrahamian ’19 and Tara Valentino ’20 led drive as class leaders.

Their encouragement in getting their classmates and their families to donate toys for girls and boys of all ages was successful. During the first three weeks of November, they filled 17 huge boxes with toys, and in addition two basketball sets and five bikes.

For the record, the sophomore class won the in-school challenge by filling the most boxes and consequently they earned a dress-down day.

“For eight of the last 10 years, Saint Viator has placed first in a friendly competition between area high schools to see which one collected the most boxes of toys,” says Mrs. Cathy Abrahamian, who again helped coordinate the drive.

In all, the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation provides toys for nearly 20,000 children each year. They are distributed through the Department of Children and Family Services, to children in the city and the suburbs.

The foundation’s stated mission is to take an active role in helping those less fortunate find stability while providing positive opportunities needed to live their lives with dignity and pride.

“Saint Viator students’ generosity,” Mrs. Abrahamian says, “will be a blessing to many children during this holy season.”



Saint Viator Community Turns Out to Feed the Hungry

st-viator-feeder-group-photo-boys-at-fmscOne of the main tenets of the Viatorian Community is to fight hunger—locally and worldwide. That commitment could be seen last weekend, as more than 200 Saint Viator students and families participated in a Hope-Filled Holidays event supporting Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg.

They were part of a massive meal-packing session that took place over three days at the Schaumburg Convention Center and drew 7,500 volunteers in all. At the end of the weekend, the combined support had packed a whopping 1.4 million meals.

Each was packed with nutritious meals of soy, vegetables, vitamins, and rice. They were loaded into boxes and will be shipped to mission partners in 70 countries around the world, including Haiti, whose livestock, crops, and seeding for next year was wiped out by Hurricane Matthew.

“The Saint Viator presence was significant at this weekend event,” says Mr. Bart Hisgen, director of Christian service and outreach, who helped to coordinate the event. “It was exciting to see so many families involved.”

4Saint Viator students included National Honor Society members, international students, and their host families, as well as those involved with Christian Service and even faculty and staff members.

A special Saint Viator group included 90 members of the feeder basketball program, including members of the sixth, seventh and eighth-grade teams, their coaches and families, who experienced the Viatorian charism of service, firsthand.

st-viator-volunteers-sarah-molly-younger-sister-delachLarry Perkins, who coaches the eighth-grade boys’ feeder team, joined with his players in packing meals.

“This is consistent with the goal of Saint Viator developing young men and women — rather than just basketball players,” Perkins said.

Sarah Delach signed up her freshmen, Molly and Michael, through the Christian Service office, and she ended up staying and volunteering with them.

“I wanted to teach them to help other kids, especially during the holidays,” Delach said, “but it turned out to be as fun to give as to get.”

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