As spring draws near, and playoff season approaches for many high school athletes, Saint Viator seniors Mack Rooney of Arlington Heights and Clare Hannon of Palatine are gearing up for their respective activities.
Mack is a guard on the Lions’ basketball team, currently tied for second in the hotly contested East Suburban Catholic Conference, while Clare is a top scorer on the school’s Scholastic Bowl team, seeded fifth going into the IHSA regional tournament.
However, these student athletes have more on their minds than advancing in state competition. Saint Viator administrators announced this week that the pair had emerged at the top of the Class of 2015.
Mack was named valedictorian, while Clare was named salutatorian, after they both compiled grade point averages of over 104 percent.
“They are both taking the most rigorous curriculum possible,” says Principal Eileen Manno.
Both Mack and Clare are members of the Querbes Scholars class. The honors program was designed to enable highly motivated students to excel in academics and prepare them for admission to some of the leading colleges and universities.
They reflected on the rigor of their academic loads and the value in taking so many AP classes recently after hearing the announcement from school officials.
“I guess it’s nice to see all the hard work materialize,” said Mack, who attended Our Lady of the Wayside School in Arlington Heights before attending Saint Viator.
Clare attended St. Theresa School in Palatine before Saint Viator, and right from the start she enrolled in honors classes and joined the newspaper staff and Scholastic Bowl. By graduation, she will have taken nine AP classes.
“It was hard, but it was worth it,” Clare said. “I enjoyed going in depth in class.”
In looking back, both students pointed to influential teachers who had helped them along the way and encouraged them to succeed.
“Fr. (John) Van Weil helped me develop an interest in science,” Clare said. “On Scholastic Bowl, my teammates look to me for questions on history and literature, but after taking honors chemistry with Fr. Van Weil, I gained confidence in science.”
Mack pointed to Mr. Thomas Nall, who taught him Modern World History in freshman year and though he has retired, his class still resonates.
“Mr. Nall had a lot of interesting views,” Mack said. “He opened my mind to different viewpoints and opinions.”
Both students have multiple college acceptances to choose from, and have not formally declared their decision. But this much they know: They are a Lion for Life, and have benefited from attending Saint Viator, which is a community made up of people who are invested in their growth, development and success.