Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Boys’ Basketball Goes for Historic Win Tonight

img_0028Don’t look now, but the boys’ basketball team is undefeated in conference play, going into tonight’s match-up against the Carmel Corsairs tonight in Mundelein. A win tonight would secure at least a share of the East Suburban Catholic League Conference title.

If the Lions win tonight, they still would need to beat Nazareth Academy on Feb. 21 at home, which is senior night, to claim the title outright. A loss to Nazareth would mean they would share the conference title with Benet Academy.

Either way, the team is 7-0 in conference play and knocking on the door of something historic.

“We’re trying to continue an undefeated season in conference,” says Head Coach Quin Hayes ’95 simply. “We have only won conference three times in the history of Saint Viator.”

While Coach Hayes says he can count on the team for scoring when they need to and that they have been stepping it up defensively, the strength of the team, he believes, is their chemistry.

“They are really close on and off the court,” Hayes says. “They do everything together, and they have forged a bond that has become very special.”

While this year’s varsity includes players from sophomore, junior and senior classes, he points to his seniors with providing the leadership that the underclassmen look up to.

“The leadership exhibited by our senior class has been outstanding,” Hayes says. “They have a team-first attitude that makes them very unique. They just want to win!”

This year’s team aims to match—or surpass—last year’s achievements when the team won regional and sectional titles.

Come out and cheer on the Lions! Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at Carmel Catholic High School, located at 1 Carmel Parkway in Mundelein.

Girls’ Basketball Team Shoots for its Third Regional Title Tonight

img_0049Saint Viator’s girls’ basketball team goes for its third straight Class 3A regional championship tonight when they go up against the Wauconda Bulldogs at 7 p.m. at Wauconda High School. But they won’t be sneaking up on anyone.

The Lions are the No. 1 seed in the Wauconda regional, which is the highest seed of their last three years. They enter the game battle-tested, with a record of 19-9 after playing a rigorous schedule in East Suburban Catholic Conference play.

“Our seniors are the backbone of this team,” says Head Coach Jason Raymond, now in his third year. “The experience of winning back-to-back regional championships with this group will serve us well.”

SVHS_082Their leadership showed in the semi-final matchup against Lakeview High School, when the Lions rolled to victory, with a 58-15 win. Senior guards Myia Clark and Olivia Isufi led the Lions in scoring. Myia had 15 points, four steals, and two assists, while Olivia added nine points, four rebounds and two assists.

For Myia, scoring points is something she’s been doing all season. Just last month, she reached a rare milestone by becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer. But playing under Coach Raymond, she knows she has to do more than shoot the ball.

“He’s made me a better defender — and that’s opened up shots,” says Myia, who has committed to playing basketball this fall at St. Louis University. “And he’s encouraged me to be more of a leader on the floor, to help my teammates play better.”

As for Myia’ attitude going into the state playoff series, she says simply: “I’m going to be in attack mode.”

SVHS_066Myia is just one of the weapons on the team. She is joined in the backcourt by speedy senior point guard Olivia Solimene, who will play college basketball at DePauw University, and Haley Robinson, a three-sport athlete who will play softball at University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.

The team also boasts plenty of sharpshooters. Both Myia and Olivia will be joined by Grace Sexton and Carrie Leazer as they represent Saint Viator in the Three-Point Showdown that takes place at 5:30 p.m., for a chance to continue shooting downstate.

Assistant Coach Maggie Miskowicz, who played varsity basketball at Wheeling High School, says the team is having fun and on a roll.

“I’ve been a coach for four years here,” she says, “and this part of the year is always the most exciting.”

Lending a Hand in the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Sarah McDermottFriendship bracelets will go on sale during lunch periods on Valentine’s Day, but they have nothing to do with Cupid.

“Show your love in a different way,” says Sarah McDermott ’19, “not in a romantic way but in a platonic way, showing love for those who have suffered.”

Last week, Sarah and her classmates from the Viatorian Youth Congress and the Justice League helped to organize an after-school prayer service and workshop that drew more than 60 students.

DSC_0018Their topic? Educating classmates about the issue of human trafficking as a modern form of slavery, and offering them a way to help survivors.

The prayer service was timed with the World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking, as declared by Pope Francis.

Students worked with Mrs. Cathy Abrahamian and Ms. Emily Egan, organizers also included Sergio Leudo ‘18 and Emma Perry ‘18, both Viatorian Youth Congress delegates and Trent Federighi ‘18, a core member of the Justice League.

Working to eliminate human trafficking is a core mission of the Viatorians. Consequently, delegates to last summer’s Viatorian Youth Congress learned about the issue and were encouraged to bring back what they had learned to their schools or parishes. At the same time, Justice League members take their lead from the Viatorian mission statement, which includes working for “those accounted of little importance.”

DSC_0010During the one-hour service, students showed slides and gave testimonials from a trip to the Mexican border, where deadly human trafficking occurs. They also shared statistics and even held a question and answer quiz, using the Kahoot! app.

“Some of the kids were shocked,” Sarah says. “I know it scared me when I first heard about Chicago being the epicenter of human trafficking in this country.”

She adds that the goal of the service was to make students aware of the issue described as a “crime against humanity” by Pope Francis and give them a way to help survivors.

DSC_0004“I went on the trip to the border when I was a freshman,” said Trent said, “and just seeing the ‘rape tree,’ where smugglers hung undergarments of their victims as if they were trophies, triggered my involvement. It was horrible to see.”

At the end of the service, students were able to turn their shock and grief into something positive by making the friendship bracelets. Using threads that represent the colors of human trafficking, red, green and blue, they made nearly 125 bracelets, that will be sold as a fundraiser for survivors served by the Metropolitan Family Services agency in Chicago.

PADS Volunteers Bring Muscle and Energy Every Week to Palatine Church

PADS 6They go about it quietly, but every Thursday morning at 6 a.m., a group of six to eight Saint Viator students show up to do the dirty work at a PADS site at the Presbyterian Church of Palatine: They clean up.

“It’s a huge piece of this ministry,” says Anita Kern, one of the site directors. “Last night, we had 43 guests and these teens came in and disinfected all the mattresses, bundled all the linens and carried them upstairs and cleaned the floors.”

PADS 5“I don’t know if we’d have to close the site without them,” she adds, “but we’d have a hard time finding so many people to come and do what they do.”

Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, made the initial connection between Saint Viator students and the Palatine church and he still comes every other week to chaperone, but those original students have graduated and now others have stepped forward.

Jake Wolf ’18 concedes he came grudgingly, when his older brother, Sam ’16, told him to come and complete his required service hours for the marginalized. Once he started seeing families with young children come to the shelter, and even high school students, he knew his work was valuable.

PADS 2“Over time, it grew on me so much,” says Jake, a regional champ in wrestling. “I know where I am in life. I consider it a blessing and a privilege to be able to do this.”

His enthusiasm and leadership have drawn his classmates to join him, so much so that the church has had to limit how many students show up.

“The Viatorians have taught us that our service is meaningful and that we’re called to serve people around us,” adds Anthony Maraviglia, who just committed to playing football at Johns Hopkins University next fall.

PADS 5Caitlin Kenney ’18, Dan Dababneh ’18 and Robbie Baxendale ’19 call themselves the “Pillow Crew.” They not only strip the pillowcases off, but they disinfect the plastic-lined pillows and then stack them above the pads.

“I’m always afraid they’re going to fall down,” Robbie concedes. “But we’ve got it down now. It’s become our weekly routine and you get this great feeling when you leave. It would feel weird not to go.”

PADS 1All of the teens admitted that getting up so early every week took some adjusting, but now they look forward to it.

“It’s crazy to think that by getting up just one hour earlier that we could affect people’s lives,” Caitlin says. “But then I know that this is something I can do. I might not be able to stop all the terrible things in the world, but this I can do.”

Disney’s The Little Mermaid Comes to Life on the Saint Viator stage

New legs superExactly 10 years after Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” debuted on Broadway, the blockbuster show hits the stage at Saint Viator High School, complete with its dazzling costumes, sets, and special effects and loaded with students who grew up with the movie.

Veteran theater director Kate Costello directs the show, which includes 160 actors in two different casts and more than 500 costumes in all. And that’s not including the talented student orchestra and technical crew, who bring the undersea and human worlds to life.

“It was daunting to take this show on,” Costello admits, “but every couple of years, I ask the students for their choice from my short list. The winner was “The Little Mermaid.” It was the girls’ overwhelming favorite, but more than 50 guys auditioned.”

Math teacher, Julie Reedy, teaches algebra and pre-calculus by day, but she moonlights as the costume director for the show, which she concedes has been a challenge. Not only are there the undersea creatures to create, think crab, flounder, electric eels, seagulls and lots of mermaids, but there are the multiple costume changes, per character.

Kiss the girls super“We’ve been putting things together, repurposing things and creatively trying to embellish everything,” Reedy says.

She points to the electric eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, for starters. In order to add a special effect to their costumes, Reedy has sewn in lights which she will turn on and off with a remote control. For Ursula, the villainous octopus, Reedy had her standout costume, with its eight tentacles, custom made by professional Costumer Kathy Johnson.

Senior Laura Kuper of Prospect Heights shares the role of Ariel with Maggie Van Valkenburg of Roselle. Both get to sing the songs they grew up with, all while donning costumes that range from their mermaid outfit to ball gowns and even a wedding dress.

Still, it was learning to skate across the stage in Heelys, that took some doing. Ariel and her mersisters all wear them, taking a nod from the original Broadway production which turned to the roller shoes to create the effect of swimming, all behind a semi-translucent sheet of fabric that crosses the length of the stage.

“This is my last musical at Viator and I wouldn’t want to go out any other way,” Kuper says. “I grew up loving Disney princesses, so to be able to play one is mindboggling.”

Another senior, Peter Beiswenger of Fox River Grove and Matt Wear of Palatine share the role of Pilot, one of the sailors who directs the giant ship that carries Prince Eric, when he first spots Ariel. But they also play a chef, a bat, and a fish during the show.

Chef Mahem pix“The chef scene is my favorite,” says Beiswenger, who admits he had never seen the 1989 Disney movie before. “With the choreography and all the guys running around on stage, it’s a blast.”

Senior Kevin Goss of Arlington Heights and sophomore Chris Sevilla of Mount Prospect share the role of King Triton, Ariel’s father, who gives the story its emotional depth.

“It’s been a challenge to find the right tone, from all-out anger to despair,” says Goss, who last year played Conrad Birdie. “He’s a father, who wants to protect his daughter but can’t see any other world but their own, under the sea.”

Costello says that in the end, that’s what makes “The Little Mermaid,” still relevant today, nearly 30 years after Disney first created the movie, based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen.

“Ariel longs to be part of a different world, a world her father distrusts and hates,” Costello says. “It is not until the end of the story that he realizes his prejudice is based on assumptions and lies.

“Ariel’s victory is overcoming fear of the unknown and finding love and a home in an unexpected place,” she adds. “This love brings two very different worlds together.”

Crowds Turn Out for National Signing Day


For the second straight year, National Signing Day at Saint Viator High School drew such a big crowd —of athletes, their teammates, parents, and fans—that the ceremony took place in the Cahill Gymnasium.

A total of 10 student-athletes, representing six different sports, signed letters of intent to play sports at their respective colleges.

“It is a select few who can navigate the rigors of being a student-athlete—and have the will to continue at next level,” said Martin Jennings, athletic director at the beginning of the signing ceremony on Wednesday. “You’ve gone above and beyond, and we’re proud of you. You are all champions.”

IMG_9560Student-athletes included the reigning state champion in the 100-yard freestyle and ranked as one of the fastest sprinters in the state, Michael Balcerak, who committed to swimming at the University of Cincinnati’s Division I program.

“It’s a great fit,” Balcerak said Wednesday. “They needed a sprinter and distance flyer, but I also loved the team atmosphere. I just felt welcomed there.”

IMG_9554Likewise, Myia Clark, who already has set a record for the most points scored in the Lions’ girls’ basketball program and is gunning to be the school’s all-time leading scorer—boys or girls—officially committed to playing basketball with the Division I Billikens at St. Louis University.

“I know Jackie Kemph (starting point guard and a 2014 Rolling Meadows High School graduate) is graduating, so they need a point guard,” Clark said, “but I’m not sure if I’ll be playing point guard or shooting guard. Either way, I can’t wait.”

IMG_9550Jack Scislowski played in only six games this year with the Lions, but he carried 63 times for 399 yards and six touchdowns. The speedy runner averaged 6.3 yards per attempt and ultimately played last month in the 2018 Blue-Gray All-American Bowl in Dallas. Now, he will take his skills to the Division I level, playing with the Raiders at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY.

“He’s got great speed and agility, and the ability to change direction at full speed,” said Fr. Dan Hall, an assistant football coach and vice president of mission and identity at Saint Viator.

IMG_9547Anna Johnston, last year’s goalie of the year in girls’ soccer in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, committed to playing with the Wildcats at the University of New Hampshire, a Division I program.

“She’s the best I’ve ever seen at Saint Viator,” said Head Coach Mike Taylor. “Her footspeed and ability to control the defense, as well as her technique protecting in between the sticks is first rate.”

IMG_9563Catherine Hickey, who set the single-season school-record in girls’ volleyball, with 564 kills to go with 298 digs and 21 blocks and led the Lady Lions to their first state appearance last fall, will play with the Division II Saints at Limestone College in Gaffney, SC.


IMG_9557Olivia Solimene, who leads the Lions’ girls’ basketball team as its starting point guard and anchors the backcourt with Clark, will continue playing at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN.

IMG_9553IMG_9551Two more of the Lions football players will be competing at the next level. Anthony Maraviglia, who played on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Lions will play at Johns Hopkins University, while wide receiver, Joe Hare, will play at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.

IMG_9558Haley Robinson, starting first baseman for the Lions’ softball team and a leader on the field, will continue playing at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Robinson also plays basketball and competes in cheerleading at Saint Viator, but she chose to continue to play softball in college.

“She’s the most talented athlete I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” said John Scotillo, head softball coach. “She’s a three-sport athlete, but Saint Viator fosters that multi-sport atmosphere.”

IMG_9545Shelby Mepham also signed a letter of intent, to continue playing soccer with the Eagles at Benedictine University in Lisle, who compete in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.

Watch the live stream of the signing ceremony.

Saint Viator Earns Third Consecutive Regional Title at World Youth Science & Engineering Contest

For the third year in a row, a team of Saint Viator students took first place at a regional Academic Challenge, sponsored by the University of Illinois and its Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) initiative.

The students swept all three medals in biology, including a perfect score for Patti Miller, as well as winning medals in math, physics, chemistry, computer science and English.

The contest took place at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines. A team of juniors and seniors, selected by honors and AP teachers in the science department, displayed their mettle in a wide range of subject areas and now will advance to sectionals next month at Vernon Hills High School.

Among the other medal winners were Thomas Stanila ’18 and Kiana Resch ’19, who placed second and third respectively in biology; Marcus Lannie ’19 who took first in math; Will Sheriff ’18 who earned a second in physics and chemistry, while Sean Carey ’18 and Matt McManaman ’19 placed second and third respectively in computer science; and Jeremy Yoder ’18 placed third in English.

Rounding out the team were Maura Hogaboom ’19, Colleen McMahon ’19, Amalia Sordo–Palacios ’19, Bobby Douglas ’18, Rebecca Wolf ’18 and Matt Zawilenski ’18.

“Personally, I think it speaks to the rigor of our schoolwide curriculum,” said Mrs. Cate Majka, who accompanied the students.

Each year, the Academic Challenge is offered to high school students in Illinois and Missouri, by more than 50 community colleges and universities. Test material is drawn from senior high school and freshman level college curricula and is written by teams of college and university faculty.

Levels of difficulty increase through the regional, sectional and state finals, which open in April in Champaign.

The University of Illinois started the initiative to foster excellence in mathematics and the sciences, and ultimately attract a greater number of talented and diverse students to careers in engineering and the sciences.

Photos: Lunch Under the Sea







International Student Changing Lives in India

Johanna Lam 3When Johanna Lam ’19 thinks of service, she thinks beyond meeting 25 hours per year needed at Saint Viator. Instead, her hours of service immerses her with the marginalized of India, literally meeting the needs of the thousands of homeless and disabled, lying in the streets of her home city of Guntur, in southeast India.

Johanna came to Saint Viator as a sophomore to complete her high school education. As a visiting student, she is supported by the Rev. Mark Francis, CSV, International Program.

Johanna Lam 4For as long as she can remember, her family has led a campaign in surrounding villages to raise money to purchase clothes and blankets for the poor. Her grandmother started the campaign as an outreach mission with their Lutheran church, and Johanna’s parents carry it on.

When Johanna went home over Christmas break, she was able to help with the distribution, including walking the streets on Christmas Eve to give out blankets to people in the street.

“It feels so good to be able to help them,” Johanna says. “These people are lepers and the physically disabled, without shelter.

Johanna Lam 2“I don’t think of it as service,” she adds, “it’s missionary work and I love it.”

After collecting money to fund the campaign during the fall, Johanna’s father works with vendors to purchase blankets, saris for women and slacks and shirts for men.

“People come from all over for the clothes,” Johanna says. “Word has gotten out.”

Johanna Lam 1Her story stood out with Mr. Bart Hisgen in the Campus Ministry department, who helps to compile student service hours.

“I can’t believe all that you’re doing,” Mr. Hisgen told Johanna. “It’s so inspiring.”

Saint Viator Cheerleaders Headed to State

IMG_6330For the second straight year—and the fifth year out of six—Saint Viator’s competitive cheerleading squad is headed to the IHSA state championships in Bloomington. The team will perform their highflying routine in the Cahill Gym at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, before they leave for the opening day of competition on Friday.

“We are so proud of the amazing 16 athletes that make up our varsity team,” says Head Coach Amanda Ray. “They’ve had one heck of a season.”

Last weekend, the Lions took third place at sectionals, and were among the top five teams to advance to state. Even better, the team earned its highest score this season—87.23—putting them among the top five squads in the medium school division, going into prelims.

In all, 25 teams qualified at sectionals to earn a state berth. They will perform their routines on Friday with the hopes of scoring well enough to make the top 10, which advance to the state finals.

“We’re really focusing on the execution of every skill in our routine,” Ray adds. “Hitting zero (deductions) and advancing to the state finals on Saturday is tops on the list for this resilient team.”

They have a secret weapon. Among their coaches is Kathaleen Murphy ’12, who was on the Saint Viator squad that won the state title in 2012. She has worked with the team during summers and on breaks from Indiana University, but now that she has graduated she is one of their assistant coaches.

“We are very excited to have her back with us full time this season,” Ray says. “She knows firsthand what it’s like to represent Saint Viator at such a high-level competition.”

Follow the Lions as they compete at state. Performances will be live streamed by the IHSA on the NFHS network. For live performances, visit:

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