Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: November 2014

Lend Me a Tenor! Sophomore Choral Student Advances to IMEA District VII District Festival

Matthew Fecko is only a sophomore, but at the prestigious Illinois Music Educators Association District Festival, held at New Trier High School Saturday, Nov. 8, he represented Saint Viator High School’s choral program.

After a rigorous audition process in October, Matthew learned he had been chosen as an all-district selection to sing at the festival, which takes in students from more than 30 high schools in Northwestern Cook, Southern Lake and part of Kane and McHenry counties.

“(Matthew) shows great promise as a musician,” said Saint Viator Choral Director Kristina Sandrock. “I know he will carry this experience forward with him into the rest of his years in the Saint Viator choirs.”

Participating in the daylong festival was no walk in the park. The choir rehearsed under guest conductor, David Holdhusen, who is the director of choral activities and a distinguished professor of choral music at the University of South Dakota.

“We sing not to impress, but to inspire,” he told the students during their rehearsal.

Their selections were serious, befitting of an elite concert choir.

They opened with Mendelssohn’s, “There Shall A Star Come Out of Jacob,” before singing the lyrical, “I Am Not Yours,” by Randall Stroope, as well as the Kenyan folk song, “Wana Baraka,” arranged by Shawn Kirchner. They closed with the powerful anthem, “Battle of Jericho,” arranged by Moses Hogan.

Audience members appreciated their musicianship and versatility. At the end of the concert, they gave them an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Singing comes naturally to Matthew. His mother, Lucy, sings in the choir at St. James Church and he also follows in the footsteps of his sister, Sara ’13, who was an all-district selection her senior year.

She also starred in the musicals and participated in virtually every choir at Saint Viator, including serving as a guest soloist with the jazz band. She now is pursuing a double major in music and biology at Loyola University Chicago.

As for Matthew, beyond singing in Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, he was just cast as one of the brothers in this year’s musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Look for him to have a featured solo.

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Saint Viator Announces 2015 Distinguished Alumni Honorees

Saint Viator announced the individuals to be recognized as its 2015 Distinguished Alumni. Fr. Corey Brost, C.S.V., has accepted the recommendation of the Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee by approving the nominations of Rev. Scott Donahue, C.S.V. ’72, President of the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago, and attorney Kerry Lavelle ’77, founding partner of Lavelle Law, Ltd.

In announcing the honorees, Fr. Brost acknowledged the extraordinary achievements of both alumni not only in their professional lives, but in their overwhelming commitment to service to others.

“What Fr. Scott and Kerry have accomplished in their careers is very impressive and the committee members and I feel that their success demonstrates that our curriculum is not designed just for what it accomplishes in four years but for what begins after four years,” said Fr. Brost. “Well beyond that professional success, these two individuals set a bold and uncompromising goal of using their positions to serve the world around them. They have shown that service in any career can be ingrained and it is not an either/or choice. They serve as an inspiration to current and future students.”

Rev. Donahue has built an incredible legacy in providing hope to young men and women in
underprivileged communities through the development of the Mercy Home. Joe Farwell, an Arlington Heights Village Trustee and new member of the selection committee spoke earnestly about Rev. Donahue’s commitment.

“There are many people who help raise funds, there are many who spend time with at risk kids, there are many who help train and educate children,” said Farwell. “But this man does it all, and has for many years and simply refuses to back away or be intimidated by the odds against him. He exemplifies the belief that Saint Viator prepares our students to serve and improve the world around them.”

Saint Viator Shines at Blue Ribbon Award Ceremony in Washington

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President Fr. Corey Brost C.S.V. and Principal Eileen Manno stand with Aba S. Kumi, the director of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Office of Communication and Outreach, at the November awards ceremony.

The Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence medallions went up — both inside and outside the school — earlier this month, and the flag hangs prominently near the front entrance.

But the formal acknowledgment came earlier this month, when Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, and Mrs. Eileen Manno, traveled to Washington DC to accept the award at the recognition ceremony hosted by the U.S. Department of Education.

“I am humbled beyond words to be here,” said Fr. Brost, moments before he and Mrs. Manno went up on stage to accept the award.

Out of 326 schools — including 270 public, 50 private and six private high schools — Saint Viator High School was the only high school in Chicago Archdiocese to receive the Blue Ribbon Award for Academic Excellence — their second successive one.

Specifically, Saint Viator was recognized for its integration of technology into the curriculum, the Rev. Mark R. Francis, CSV, International Program, as well as its Campus Ministry, Christian Service and Querbes Scholars programs.

Also highlighted were the Class of 2014’s composite ACT scores (26.3) and the drug and alcohol testing program.

“This Blue Ribbon award recognizes Saint Viator High School’s on-going commitment to the academic, spiritual and emotional growth of our students,” Fr. Brost said, “by providing the curriculum, technology and facilities that students need to succeed in an ever-changing world.”

Saint Viator Graduates Named Illinois Student Laureates by Prestigious Lincoln Academy

Two Saint Viator graduates were among an elite group of statewide scholars earlier this month, when they were honored by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

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David Lewis and Allyson Joyce, both of the Class of 2011 were recognized by the Academy for being at the top of their class during the annual Student Laureate Convocation, held Nov. 1 at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield.

David is currently a senior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in both political science and international studies, while Allyson is a senior nursing major at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“I want to commend these students for their hard work, both in the classroom and in their communities,” Governor Pat Quinn said. “Their achievement and dedication attests to the value of higher education in Illinois, and the high quality students our schools produce.”

The Lincoln Academy’s Student Laureate Awards are presented for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities to seniors from each of the state’s four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities, and one student from among the community colleges in Illinois.

At the Student Laureate Convocation, each student received a Student Laureate Medallion, along with a $1,000 educational grant and a certificate of achievement. This was the 40th year that the Lincoln Academy has showcased students’ excellence in Illinois.

The Lincoln Academy is unique among the 50 states, was established more than 50 years ago to honor distinguished citizens with the state’s highest award, the Order of Lincoln.

Saint Viator Euphonium Player Advances to IMEA District VII District Festival

For band members, it’s the equivalent of going to sectionals and advancing to the state championship series, yet few outside the music world understand its value.

Tim Schade '15

Tim Schade ’15

After a rigorous audition process, senior Tim Schade auditioned — and made — the Illinois Music Educators’ Association District VII District Band. He was one of seven euphonium players selected from high schools in northwest suburban Cook and southern Lake counties.

As a result, Tim has been in rehearsal and will perform Saturday, Nov. 8 at New Trier High School, under a guest conductor with the rest of the senior band members selected from throughout the district.

Just to audition, Tim had to prepare all the major and minor scales, as well as two etudes selected specifically for his instrument, and play from a sight reading selection.

During the audition process, all students go through a blind audition where they play for three different judges. Their scores are compiled and the student is then notified whether they have been accepted to participate in the ILMEA district VII honor band.

“We are in a very selective and difficult district,” says Band Director Vince Genualdi. “This is a great accomplishment.”

Saint Viator has advanced other band students — and choral students — in district competition, but Tim is believed to be the first euphonium player.

At last week’s Fall Fine Arts Concert and joint concert with Our Lady of the Wayside, Tim was a featured soloist during both pieces performed by the combined bands, the Second Suite in F from Fantasia on the Dargason, as well as during The Tempest by Robert Smith.

He hopes to stand out at Saturday’s concert as well, with the hopes of being chosen for the IMEA All-State conference. Candidates who are selected then will play with the all-state ensemble, at the Illinois Music Education Conference in January at the Peoria Civic Center. Results will be announced later this month.

Saint Viator and Our Lady of the Wayside Celebrate the Arts In Concert

Audience members who poured into Saint Viator’s Jeuck Auditorium on Thursday night, knew something was different right when they waked into the school: A vibrant mural of the risen Christ greeted them.

Saint Viator students worked with Our Lady of the Wayside students to create the mural of Christ on display Thursday night.

Saint Viator students worked with Our Lady of the Wayside students to create the mural of Christ on display Thursday night.


Turns out, it was a series of individual panels, each painted in oil and pastels by Saint Viator students in Introduction to Art, as well as 8th grade students from Our Lady of the Wayside School.

The larger than life piece signaled a night devoted to the arts, and showcased the second cultural exchange hosted by Saint Viator’s fine arts department with one of its feeder schools.

“For Wayside students, this is a vision of what high school is going to be like,” said Wayside’s band director, Rich Pancratz.

Last spring, Saint Viator hosted a similar event last spring with art, band and choral students from St. James School.

“It’s an evening devoted to the arts,” Fine Arts Department Chair Bill Faltinoski said, “that features individual and combined performances.”

Our Lady of the Wayside brought its fall vocal ensemble and honor band, or more than 100 students, who spent the afternoon rehearsing their respective parts with members of Saint Viator’s Treble and Concert choirs and Chamber Singers, along with the combined symphonic and concert bands.

“I lost my voice,” said seventh grader Sophie Landoch. “I’m not used to practicing that much. But it was fun.”

Likewise, sixth grader Connor Flynn nearly lost his lip after practicing with the band on his trumpet. But sitting next to high school musicians and playing in a large, concert band, was inspiring, he said.

“It was cool,” Connor said simply.

Ensembles from both schools played and sang separately, before coming together for a joint choral number — “Yonder Come Day” — and a dramatic, combined band piece, “The Tempest.”

The evening concluded with all of the choral and band students filling the stage — a total of 213 students — for a moving performance of “America the Beautiful.”

“It was energizing to see the stage filled with so many students,” Mr. Faltinoski added. “There’s a real educational component in having the students collaborate like that, but just hearing the power of all those voices and instruments blew me away. It was just great energy.”

Recent Graduate Scores Among Top Students on National Spanish Exam

Alex Glinos ’14 was one of only 16 students – out of 154,000 who took the exam – to win a scholarship from the National Spanish Exam. News of her scholarship came early this semester, and it detailed the extent of her accomplishment. In addition to sitting for the exam, Alex (also known as Lexi) had to submit an essay and a video interview, all in Spanish.

Alex Glinos '14

Alex Glinos ’14

“This is quite a prestigious award,” AP Spanish teacher, Mr. John Fuja, said. “Lexi did an amazing job.”

Each year, Saint Viator students in upper level Spanish classes take the National Spanish Examination and often score gold, silver or bronze awards. The exam is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, and was designed to recognize student achievement and promote language proficiency.

As an AP Spanish student, Lexi and her classmates knew to leave their native English language at the door when they entered Mr. Fuja’s class.

“We work on all modes of written and oral communication, including reading, writing, speaking and understanding Spanish, and being able to critically analyze different sources,” Fuja said. “We also use authentic print, audio and visual materials intended for native Spanish speakers.”

According to Fuja, Lexi’s passion for Spanish was more than a desire for proficiency. A recent trip to Spain with her family inspired her love of the culture, especially its music. During her four years at Saint Viator, Lexi went out of her way to converse with native Spanish speakers on staff and she was also an active member of the Spanish Club.

“Without a doubt, she is one of the most passionate students about learning the Spanish language and about the cultures of Spanish speaking countries that I have ever taught,” Fuja said. “She truly deserved this award.”

Apparently, Lexi absorbed all that she learned and now plans to advance her knowledge in college. She currently is a freshman at Miami University in Oxford, and though she has not declared a major yet, this much she knows: At least one of her majors will be Spanish.

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