Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: October 2014

Sophomore’s Request Turns Saint Viator Pink in Support of Breast Cancer Awareness


Sometimes, all you need to do is ask.

That was the case in September, when sophomore Ashley Suchyta approached administration members with the idea of adding another colored polo to the approved uniform shirts available to students in the bookstore: pink, as in the international color for breast cancer awareness.

“I wanted Saint Viator to be more involved in the breast cancer movement,” Ashley said. “I thought by selling the shirts, we could raise money to help in the fight against the disease and raise awareness around the school.”

She made a compelling case to members of the administration, even researching the availability of pink shirts with the Saint Viator’s uniform company, BlueGeneration, and the margin for profit.

“I was just praying they would approve it,” Ashley added.

They did. In less than four days, administration members approved the new uniform color and sent pre-order forms to homeroom teachers in order to have students wearing them during October, recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

They quickly sold 357 shirts to girls and boys.

“Some of my teammates from football are wearing them,” junior Joey McIntyre said. “I thought it was cool, and since my dean (Dean Deborah Scerbicke) is a breast cancer survivor, I wanted to support it.”

Administration members found Ashley’s appeal to be well-researched and deserving.

“She really did an excellent job in convincing us,” Principal Eileen Manno said. “Her goal is to support breast cancer research.

“Many members of our Saint Viator family have been touched by this disease,” Manno added, “and we are pleased to be able to support continuing research into defeating this disease.”

Just last week, Ashley hand-delivered a check in the amount of $1,068 to Gilda’s Club in Chicago, which is an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community and opened last year to serve cancer patients and survivors in the wider Chicago area.

Saint Viator High School Launches Innovative Corporate Work Study Program

Saint Viator High School already offers a rigorous college prep education. But this summer administrators are offering a one-two punch: They are launching a Corporate Work Study Program aimed at helping students pay some of their tuition — and gain invaluable work experience in the process.

Dean Niro '83 (left), stands with summer interns, Elizabeth Krause '15 and Anna Krause '17, and Andy Kelleher '86 (right) stands with summer interns, Rachel Varvara '17, Jake Meister '18. The four students were the first to participate in Saint Viator High School's new Corporate Work Study Program.

Dean Niro ’83 (left), stands with summer interns, Elizabeth Krause ’15 and Anna Krause ’17, and Andy Kelleher ’86 (right) stands with summer interns, Rachel Varvara ’17, Jake Meister ’18. The four students were the first to participate in Saint Viator High School’s new Corporate Work Study Program.

The new program will place up to 15 students in entry-level summer jobs at local corporations, where they will work 35-40 hours a week for six weeks. Organizers expect positions to vary, but students will be able to earn up to $3,000 toward their tuition.

“We’re committed to making a Saint Viator education available to kids at all income levels,” President Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, said. “We’re also committed to cutting edge ways to prepare kids for today’s professional world. This program keeps both those commitments.”

Stephanie Spiewak, a guidance counselor at Saint Viator and an alumna of the school, helped shape the innovative program. She points out that school officials will hold a training session for students to prepare them for their jobs and for what to expect in the corporate environment.

“Students can participate in this program in addition to receiving other financial aid,” Mrs. Spiewak added. “Between taking ownership of their education and building relationships with professionals in the corporate world, we think it’s a win-win.”

Last summer, the school ran a pilot program which offered four students jobs at two law firms run by Saint Viator alumni, including Andy Kelleher of Kelleher & Buckley, LLC in North Barrington and Dean Niro, of Niro, Haller & Niro in Chicago.

Their jobs ranged from preparing spreadsheets and assisting with payroll and other accounting responsibilities, to organizing files, typing documents, and other clerical responsibilities.

“I was thrilled that our law office was part of the pilot program,” Niro said. “As an alum, I know how Saint Viator has been a valuable part of my life, and I want as many kids as possible to share that same experience. Plus, the kids were valuable employees who exceeded our expectations.”

Kelleher said his firm felt it was important to give students a chance to learn and gain new skills, and all in a safe environment.

“The biggest gift was their presence,” Kelleher said, “seeing their excitement and desire to learn, working to improve themselves and making a positive impact on the business they were supporting.”

Office Manager Jill Bogaerts, summed it up this way: “They were a ray of sunshine.”
Matt Hower, another alumni and member of Saint Viator’s finance committee, said the school is looking at adding jobs this summer with law firms, insurance companies and possibly a graphic design firm. They also plan to expand the program annually to offer more and more students the opportunity to be part of it.

“We’re looking to integrate ourselves into the community,” Hower said, “and draw more outside support in helping students afford tuition.”

Senior Elizabeth Krause and her sister, Anna, worked at Niro’s law firm in Chicago. They both described it as a highlight of their summer, commuting into the city and working in a professional setting.

“Not only are you helping your parents with your tuition, but you’re also helping yourself,” Krause said. “In the next few months, I will be applying to colleges, and they will love seeing on my resume that I spent my summer working at a law firm.”

Anna agreed. “The Corporate Work Study Program gives students at Saint Viator a jump start on life experiences.”

Scholastic Bowl Team Starts Out Strong

The Scholastic Bowl team kicked off its competition season this month and the team is off to a great start.

The Scholastic Bowl team started their season on a high note. The team won their first tournament of the year.

The Scholastic Bowl team started their season on a high note. The team won their first tournament of the year.

Team members won their first tournament — sponsored by the Illinois High School Scholastic Bowl Coaches’ Association this month — which took place at Auburn High School in Rockford.

In all, the tournament drew 12 teams and by the end of the day, Saint Viator students emerged as champions.

“The kids did a great job, winning the tournament, with a record of 7-1 in regulation,” Mrs. Jan Grana, moderator, said. “and winning the playoff round versus St. Charles East.”

Mrs. Grana offered special congratulations to team captain, sophomore, Stephen Hannon, who was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Team members who competed include sophomores, Jack Neubauer, Patrick Harris, Hugh Tully, Rebeca Vibbert, and freshman, Tim Witek.

Scholastic Bowl is an extracurricular activity, which meets from 3-4 p.m. every Wednesday and Thursday to practice.

Its tournaments take place most Saturdays through early March, when the IHSA regional tournaments begin, kicking off the state championship series, which culminates March 20 at the Peoria Civic Center.

Looks like the Lions, who have a strong tradition of being contenders, and even boast a Jeopardy champion among its alumni, are off to a great start!

Saint Viator Students Attend Youth Conference Designed Around the Feast of St. Viator

To Viatorians around the world, the feast of St. Viator is the biggest day of the year. This year, celebrations took place in Canada, Chile, Colombia, Japan, France and Spain, as well as countries in Central and South America, and Africa.     VDAY VDAY2

At the same time, Saint Viator High School students gained a greater appreciation for the special feast day. They not only celebrated Mass, but they attended what amounted to a youth conference designed around faith and the Viatorian mission.

“Several of us here have thought that we needed to do more than celebrate Mass,” President Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, said. “We wanted to try something new, and provide a low-stress day where kids could think about life, values and what it means to be Viatorian. And the kids responded.”

Jarrett Payton ’99 opened the day with a keynote address directed at inspiring students to work hard and aim toward leadership.

“What drives you?” Payton challenged them. “What pushes you? What makes you passionate?”

Students had their choice of workshops to attend for the rest of the morning, led by fellow students and young alumni, that tackled topics like “Faith and Sports,” “Prayer for Busy People,” “Taking Faith to College,” and “Faith and Relationship Problems,” as well as “Leading a Life of Service” and “Being Viatorian.”

During the “Faith and Sports” session, seniors Madison McAteer and Brian Peters shared how they work at demonstrating their Catholic faith during hotly contested athletic contests.

“You can still be physical, you can still be competitive,” Brian said, “but wear your faith. It should still be evident when you walk on the field.”

Likewise, in the “Being Viatorian” session, senior Jason Wilhite and junior Rebecca Fahy shared how attending the Viatorian Youth Congress — with students from schools and parishes where Viatorians minister around the country — had impacted them.

“If I could tell you one thing, it would be to go on a retreat,” Jason said. “Build relationships with those around you. Get to know the Viatorian mission and together we can change the world.”

That same message resonated at the all-school Mass, which took place in the Cahill Gymnasium and drew Viatorian associates, brothers and priests to attend. Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial, presided at an altar, positioned beneath flags from the many countries where Viatorians serve.

He drew back on a motto he used when he served as president and principal of the school: “Give each other a break.”

“We live in a world that’s already fragmented and full of hatred and intolerance,” Fr. von Behren said. “Give each other a break. Build each other up. Take up the cross and together we can change the world.”

Boys’ Cross Country Team Partners with Marine Cadets to Cheer Marathoners from Salute, Inc


For the fifth year in a row, members of the boys’ cross country team turned out to support runners in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon — and along the way, they learned some Marine Corps chants.

Once again, the Lions partnered with Marine cadets from the ROTC program at University of Illinois at Chicago. Together, they cheered on the 95 marathoners who ran to support Team Salute and its mission to help meet the financial, physical and emotional needs of returning military.

They stood along the marathon’s Charity Cheer Block — strategically located just past the halfway mark, near mile 14. In the end, Salute runners combined to raise more than $100,000 in support of Salute’s emergency financial assistance program.

“It’s so cool, knowing we’re helping veterans,” said junior cross country runner, John Duffy. “The whole day just helps bring the team together.”

Leading up to the marathon, cross country team members joined with Salute runners at a special Mass last week, offered by Fr. Matt Foley, pastor of St. James Church.

Fr. Foley blessed all who were running in the marathon, and he reflected on their roles in helping military families, from his perspective as a former Army chaplain, having served four tours in Afghanistan.

Head Coach Wayne Edelman said working the marathon comes at a good time for his boys’ team, who ran in the East Suburban Catholic Conference championships in South suburban Midlothian the next weekend.

“Working the marathon gives the kids a chance to see all kinds of runners — from the Kenyans, to the recreational runners and those in costume,” Coach Edelman said. “They really see the perseverance it takes and the dedication.

“The kids get service hours for doing it, but they enjoy it,” he added. “We all work together and it really forms lasting bonds on the team.”

Saint Viator High School Presents: The Ninety-Nine Minute Romeo and Juliet

“Oh, Romeo, Romeo. Wherefore art thou, Romeo?”
Those classic lines come to life this weekend when Saint Viator High School mounts a 99-minute version of one Shakespeare’s most famous works, Romeo and Juliet.

Saint Viator High School students are taking a different approach to Shakespeare in The Ninety-Nine Minute Romeo and Juliet. Pictured from left to right: Sophomore Zac Jones of Des Plaines as Romeo, senior Nick Crothers of Arlington Heights as Father Laurence and senior Maria Werba of Prospect Heights as Juliet.

Saint Viator High School students are taking a different approach to Shakespeare in The Ninety-Nine Minute Romeo and Juliet. Pictured from left to right: Sophomore Zac Jones of Des Plaines as Romeo, senior Nick Crothers of Arlington Heights as Father Laurence and senior Maria Werba of Prospect Heights as Juliet.

“It’s a classic,” said Director Kate Costello. “It gives students a chance to be exposed to the greatest dramatist in the English language.”
The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, and continues with performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25, as well as a matinee performance at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the door.
Since Romeo and Juliet was written more than 400 years ago, it now is in the public domain, and can be adapted for modern audiences without fear of copyright infringement.
Knowing that, Costello shortened the drama and placed it in 1920’s Chicago, a time and place famous for violence. Think Al Capone and his Italian mob versus Dean O’Banion and his Irish gang, during their bootlegging wars.
“I’ve shortened the long monologues,” Costello said, “yet the end result keeps all of the plot and characters from Shakespeare’s original work.”
Costello and her production staff made one other key addition to the work: they’ve added a dance scene during the Capulet ball that includes the entire ensemble.
“It’s fun,” said sophomore, Jenna Breslin of Barrington who plays Mrs. Montague. “I even get to have an Irish accent.”
In all, nearly 75 students are involved with the production, including two casts and a tech crew. All of them were familiar with Romeo and Juliet, having read it in their freshman English literature classes.
Yet they quickly found out that reading it and performing it were two different experiences.
“Knowing about iambic pentameter helps,” said senior John McManus of Deer Park, who plays Romeo along with sophomore Zac Jones of Des Plaines. “It gives the lines a sort of rhythm.
“But still, it’s a lot of lines,” he added. “But once you have them down, you realize how deep and clever they are.”
Senior Maria Werba of Prospect Heights, plays the role of Juliet as does sophomore Olivia Dominguez of Mount Prospect.
“I love the way it’s written,” Werba said. “I don’t think people today fully appreciate the Shakespeare’s writing style, but it’s like music or poetry.”
Dominguez agreed, adding that she is enjoying playing a character with such depth and passion.
“Once you put yourself into the character and understand her, you can take (the characterization) to a whole new level,” she said.
Sophomore Caroline Sevilla of Mount Prospect, plays Lady Capulet, with junior Megan Daugherty of Arlington Heights.
“We’re thrilled that as sophomores we’re getting to play such major parts,” Sevilla said. “And it’s fun to play such emotional characters.”

Saint Viator Students Named National Merit Commended Scholars

Eight Saint Viator seniors received letters of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation last week, in recognition of their outstanding academic promise.

Michael Baxendale, Clare Hannon, Ben Paolelli, Mackenzie Rooney, Timothy Schade, Kathyrn Vanderbosch, Peter Wilson and Alexander Witek were all named National Merit Commended Scholars, and consequently were among the top 3 percent of students across the country who took the PSAT as sophomores in 2012.

“We’re thrilled,” Saint Viator Principal Eileen Manno said. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment for these students and their families. National Merit recognition reflects all their hard work, as well as the school’s commitment to academic excellence.”

With eight commended scholars and two semifinalists, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s competitive program recognized twice as many outstanding Saint Viator students this year in comparison to 2013.

All 10 students are members of the Fr. Louis Querbes Honors Program, which launched in 2010 to offer additional challenges and enrichment opportunities for motivated students.

These students were selected from the 1.5 million competition entrants nationwide. They are among the 50,000 students with the highest PSAT scores (based on tests in critical reading, mathematics and writing skills scores).

While commended students do not continue in the competition for National Merit® Scholarships, they may become eligible for special scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

“The designation as a National Merit Commended Scholar also helps separate them during the rigorous college admissions process,” Manno said. “This makes them even more desirable to colleges who are seeking this kind of well-rounded students.”

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