Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: April 2015

Saint Viator Students Lead All Teams at Relay for Life

They danced, they did Yoga and even played Twister!

IMG_7676But make no mistake, the more than 80 students who turned out for the American Cancer Society’s premiere event, its Relay for Life, were serious about their commitment to fighting cancer.

“It was by far the biggest delegation from Saint Viator,” Fr. Corey Brost, C.S.V., president, said. “They raised more than $11,000.”

Saint Viator students have participated in Relay for Life in Arlington Heights for 12 years and they consistently are the largest team at the event and biggest fundraisers.

“I’m so proud of our kids,” Mrs. Cathy Abrahamian, moderator of the Students Against Cancer Club, said. “Saint Viator students started participating long before we established a Christian Service requirement.”

The event returned indoors this year, to the Arlington Park clubhouse, managed by Saint Viator parent, Tony Petrillo.

Emotions were running high right from the start, during the Survivors’ Lap, when Saint Viator faculty, alumni and a current student led the team during the opening ceremony. They included: Dr. Deb Scerbicke, Fr. Arnie Perham C.S.V., Mr. John Paulik; Matt Paolelli ’01 and Michael Dziedzic ’17.

More faculty and staff helped throughout the night, including: Mrs. Jean Dziedzic, Mr. Don Abrahamian, Coach Eric Abrahamian, Mrs. Rita Scully, Fr. Corey Brost, Mr. Chris Paolelli, Mrs. Lynn Slezak, Mrs. Ruth Stonecipher, and parent, Mrs. Sheryl Wolf.

“Our students really enjoy having faculty and staff come out to support the cause,” Mrs. Abrahamian added. “It is a moving event, especially with the luminaria memorial service and our own midnight prayer service led by our students.”

Feeder Basketball Players Work as a Team to Feed the Hungry

Station1 At Saint Viator, a commitment to serving others, starts young.

Recently, members of the 6th grade boys’ feeder basketball program gathered with their families, Saint Viator students and coaches for an evening devoted to supporting malnourished children in Third World countries.

They convened at the Feed My Starving Children warehouse facility in Schaumburg, where they hand-packed nutritiously rich meals for severely malnourished children in Haiti.

Working in teams around packing tables, they filled pouches with rice, extruded soy nuggets packed with protein, vegetable flavoring that contain valuable vitamins aStation2nd minerals, and dehydrated vegetables.

Their competitiveness and team building were clearly evident. In just one hour, they packed 89 boxes, or enough meal pouches to feed 54 children for one full year.

“By receiving that food, children are transformed from surviving to living,” Jason Kuffel, recruitment director and assistant varsity coach of basketball and lacrosse, said. “But then, that’s the mission of Feed My Starving Children. They know that proper food and nutrition are the fundamental building blocks that allow these children to lead better lives.”

This was the second time in less than a year that Saint Viator students havGroup_FMSCe volunteered at Feed My Starving Children. Last summer, Saint Viator students and alumni combined with Loyola Academy to pack a whopping 57,000 meals for children in Peru.

“My faith is renewed when I see young people like that working for a better world,” Fr. Corey Brost, C.S.V., Saint Viator president who pitched in to help, said. “I know that the word of God is alive.”

Feed My Starving Children has been drawing volunteers for more than 25 years in Chicago’s suburbs, and in 2013 surpassed 850 million meals. They have sent more than 6.5 million meals to children in Peru, alone. Pouches are distributed through missionary partnerships at orphanages, schools, clinics, refugee camps and malnourishment centers.

Rolling Meadows Judge Reflects on Role as Prosecutor in Eric Morse Case

Judge Kay Hanlon usually grills defendants who come before her bench at Cook County’s Third Municipal District Courthouse in Rolling Meadows. But on Wednesday, she found herself on the opposite side, as freshmen at Saint Viator High School grilled her.


Judge Kay Hanlon served as the prosecutor in the 1994 Eric Morse Murder Case.

She came near the end of the semester, when every freshman had read the book, “Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago,” and debated its many themes about growing up in the ghetto.

Prominent in the book is the story of the 1994 case of the two boys who threw 5-year old Eric Morse out a 14th story window, to his death. Hanlon was the prosecutor on the case, which eventually found them guilty and sentenced to prison.

Freshman Cody Weigand invited Hanlon to address his classmates. His parents are former colleagues of Hanlon’s, and they knew of her connection to the case, which dominated the news just over 20 years ago.

“I wanted her to discuss her role in the case and how difficult it was to prosecute,” Cody said. “And I wanted her to describe what she does and her role as a prosecutor, and now a judge.”

Right from the start, Hanlon put the case in perspective: During the 1990s, serious crimes committed by juveniles in Chicago were at an all-time high, with 1994 being the highest, with more than 900 murders committed overall that year.

Hanlon put forth many of the mitigating factors in the case: from the backgrounds of the 10 and 11-year olds who committed the murder, including their family situations and their criminal backgrounds, to and their IQs.

She also described the civil case which followed, during which the Eric’s parents sued the Chicago Housing Authority for wrongful death, and eventually settled for $2.175 million.

“As the prosecutor, I felt they had an intent to kill,” Hanlon said. “They wanted to get back at him, they wanted to hurt him. They tried once and his brother saved him. But then they did it again.”

In their defense, their lawyers argued that they were boys, whose brains had not fully developed and consequently, they did not fully understand what they were doing.

Freshman Jack Austin asked a question of Hanlon that many in the audience were wondering.

“Did you ever feel bad for putting them in jail?” he asked.

Hanlon admitted that 20 years later, and after re-reading the book, her perspective had in fact changed. But back in 1994, she had no doubt that she was doing the right thing, she said.

“My role as prosecutor was that I represented the state of Illinois—and the victim,” Hanlon said. “They did it, there was no question about that.”

Some students in the audience thought she could have recommended a different sentence to the judge.

“I think residential treatment might have helped them learn right from wrong,” freshman Peter Lambesis said.

In the end, Hanlon said, that the judge weighed all of the mitigating circumstances and she sentenced them to jail.

The debate came to an abrupt end, as the dismissal bell rang, but students walked away still thinking about the case, the book and meeting the prosecutor.

“It was interesting to hear all the different perspectives that went into the case, that we didn’t necessarily read in the book,” freshman Jill Nuelle said.

Her classmates agreed.

“It was just cool to meet someone we read about in a book—in person,” freshman Ava Pretto added.

The presentation by Judge Hanlon culminated an inquiry-based project for freshmen English students and underscored Saint Viator’s commitment to promoting intellectual independence, rooted in Catholic principles.

“This book was exciting for them to read and certainly opened their eyes to a world quite unfamiliar to most of them,” English Department Chair Nancy Kieffer said.

“It also got them thinking about the responsibility we all must assume for those not given as much as we have been given,” she added. “In the end, most of the students felt that ‘Our America’ is really not as united as it should be.”


Junior Girls Explore Careers in Science at Argonne National Lab

For the seventh time, girls at Saint Viator who are interested in science came face to face with women actually working in the field.

A pair of teachers from the physics department, Mrs. Jan Grana and Mrs. Cate Majka, led the group of juniors to the 28th annual Science Careers in Search of Women Conference at Argonne National Laboratory.DSC01151

The daylong field trip included a tour of the nation’s first national laboratory, which conducts leading-edge research in virtually every scientific discipline.

By its own description, women at Argonne stand at the forefront of scientific discovery and engineering excellence. They lead multi-disciplinary research projects that range from curing diseases and improving human health to developing sustainable sources of energy while protecting our environment and combating climate change.

Students learned about many of these as they shared lunch with PHD scientists, engineers and researchers, who described their jobs and how they came to enter the science field.

“It was very informative and allowed me to connect with professionals in all science careers,” Olivia Michalik said.

Her classmates agreed.

“It allowed me to see all kinds of careers in science for women that I didn’t even know existed,” Lucy Shiller said.

Caroline McAndrews added that the conference opened many doors for her.

“I was able to learn about all of the different fields in science that women can go in to and the many and varied ways of getting there,” Caroline said.

A highlight of the day was the keynote address given by Carolyn Phillips, a computational scientist in Argonne’s mathematics and computer science division. She called it: “Figuring It Out,” which reflected her journey to becoming a scientist.

“I saw science and math not only as something I could pursue, but something I could be passionate about,” Phillips said. “After (attending a STEM summer camp during high school), I became driven to find my own place in the world of scientific research.”

Paige Smith said she came away from the day with a renewed sense of confidence and purpose.

“This experience gave me a sense of empowerment as a woman considering a career in science,” Paige said.

Sophomore Behind Pink Polos Invited to Join Gilda’s Club’s Major Donors at Chicago Dinner

An idea pitched last fall by sophomore Ashley Suchyta to the school’s administration, is drawing attention far beyond the school’s walls.

IMG_2604 - Version 2

Sophomore Ashley Suchyta, third from right.

In September, Ashley approached administration members with the idea of adding another colored polo to the approved uniform shirts: 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.

She made such a compelling case that members of the administration approved the new uniform color in four days and sent pre-order forms to homeroom teachers in order for students to begin wearing them in October.

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

In the end, she sold 357 shirts, to more than one third of the school, and raised more than $1,000.

Ashley decided to donate the funds to Gilda’s Club Chicago, which is an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community and serves cancer patients and survivors in the wider Chicago area.

That’s where the story picks up again. Earlier this month, officials with Gilda’s Club wrote to Ashley inviting her and her mother to attend their gala fundraising dinner on June 18 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago.

“We were impressed by her project and thought her story was truly inspiring,” said Maggie Bahler, spokeswoman for Gilda’s Club in Chicago, “and we thought Ashley should be recognized for her efforts.”

Ashley will be in attendance at the club’s so-called, Agents of Hope dinner, which features testimonials by Gilda’s Club members, describing their experiences with some of the club’s 350 free programs each month, as well as the city’s major business, sports and philanthropic leaders.

Officials expect 400 people to be in attendance.

“We view the entire evening as a place of hope,” Bahler added, “with members giving each other hope, and certainly our donors providing hope with their donations.”

Ashley says she chose Gilda’s Club because of its wider mission of serving all cancer patients.

In its stated mission, Gilda’s Club Chicago “supports everyone living with cancer – men, women, teens and children – along with their families and friends, as well as those who have lost someone to cancer.”


Patrick Mahoney Inducted into ESCC Hall of Fame

Patrick Mahoney devoted his entire working career to Saint Viator High School, and only retired last year, after 47 years.

But it all started on the baseball field.M28

He was hired in 1967 to coach baseball and quickly was tapped to be the dean of men, through the years as a faculty member, assistant football coach, and development director. Through it all, he remained one of the school’s biggest ambassadors.

Now, the East Suburban Catholic Conference has joined in honoring Mr. Mahoney.

Coach Mahoney was among 13 former athletes, state champions and coaches inducted on Thursday into the 10th class of the ESCC Hall of Fame. He was one of three former coaches, with at least 30 years coaching experience, to be inducted.

Athletic Director Martin Jennings introduced Mr. Mahoney to the crowd and presented him with the award, and afterwards said simply, “It was an honor.”


Fr. Corey Brost, C.S.V., president, said Mr. Mahoney is a true, Lion for Life, as he demonstrates to the wider Saint Viator community, which is made up of people who are invested in the growth, development and success of the school and its students.

“He brought so much love and dedication to this place,” said Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, president, of Mr. Mahoney, who also committed to be a Viatorian associate in 2009.

Members of the Saint Viator administration, athletic and development departments were on hand for the ceremony, as well as former players and his family, including his son, Pat Mahoney, who serves as athletic director at Loyola Academy.

“You all know how I feel about this place; it’s never been a job,” Mahoney told the crowd. “It’s a loving, caring, wonderful community and I’m so proud to have been a part of it.”Mahoney 22

Color Crest

Saint Viator to offer half tuition discount to Catholic parish and school educators

Color CrestThe Board of Trustees of Saint Viator High School agreed on a new policy at its April meeting, intended to make a Catholic school education more accessible for one of its most loyal constituents: Catholic school employees.

Trustees approved awarding up to a half tuition discount for the children of full-time Catholic school and parish educators working in local parishes and schools. The discount will go into effect for the 2015-2016  academic year.

“The tuition discount reflects our desire to reward people who devote themselves to Catholic education,” said President Fr. Corey Brost, C.S.V. “This is what it means to be Catholic. We take care of each other.”

Catholic school educators would receive an automatic discount on their tuition bill, depending on their years of service. Those with between one and two years of full-time employment would receive a 25 percent discount, while those with three to four years of full-time employment would receive a 33 percent discount. Those with five or more years of full-time employment would receive a 50 percent reduction in tuition cost, right off the top.

Together with the associates, brothers and priests of the Viatorian Community, trustees are driven to ensuring parents that students receive a quality Catholic education that integrates faith formation with academic excellence.

Students Join Efforts to Rescue North Koreans, One Refugee at a Time

From left to right: Brandon Calderon '15, Conor Loy '15, Justin Cruz '16 and Patrick Gallant '15 sold Korean snacks to raise money for Korean refugee relief.

From left to right: Brandon Calderon ’15, Conor Loy ’15, Justin Cruz ’16 and Patrick Gallant ’15 sold Korean snacks to raise money for Korean refugee relief.

Students are spending the week devoted to changing the narrative about North Korea. Specifically, they are rallying around the theme, “Korean Refugee Rescue Week.”

Driven by seniors Patrick Gallant, Taesik Won, and Yoon Chang, who have spearheaded this awareness effort, students are learning about the immense injustices taking place under the current North Korean regime.

Chang said they came up with idea to start the Saint Viator Rescue Team while studying for finals in January.

“YoonGeol mentioned something about wanting to create a club where Korean and American students share each other’s culture, and we started complaining about how we always get asked if we are South Korean or North Korean when we mention that we are Korean,” he said. “The conversation eventually led to all of us wanting to create a club to address the situation that is going on in North Korea, and a week later, we started connecting with LINK (Liberty in North Korea) and talking to both students and teachers at Viator.”

LINK is a refugee rescue and resettlement organization working to engage others in their efforts to rescue North Korean refugees hiding in China. Ultimately, they try to resettle these refugees in South Korea or in the United States, so that they can avoid being forcibly repatriated back to North Korea.

According to LINK officials, North Korea represents one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today, but the scale of international response has been severely lacking.

Its supporters are working to change the way the world sees North Korea, to advance international support for its people, and advance in their rescue.

As part of Korean Refugee Week at Saint Viator, the three seniors embarked on a fundraising campaign, aimed at covering the cost of rescuing one North Korean refugee.

LINK officials estimate that it costs $3,000 to rescue one refugee and assist in the resettlement, including providing basic needs, transportation during the 3,000-mile long journey, accommodations and resettlement assistance. The free passage model embraced by LINK, ensures that refugees are treated with dignity and respect throughout the risky journey, and it allows refugees to begin their new lives in freedom without debt.

“I think of raising awareness as questioning what they will do about it. It is up to that student to decide what to do with that reality,” Chang said.

On Friday, Saint Viator will hold a “dress down day,” awarding its nearly 1,000 students the chance to abandon their uniform for the day, in exchange for donating at least $3 towards the cause.

Update: The Rescue Team reached their goal of raising $3,000 to sponsor the rescue of one North Korean refugee.

Students in iPad Media Arts Draw the Interest of Professional Photographers

A photo taken by Saint Viator sophomore Matthew Dziubyk emerged as one of the top entries at the 6th Annual Student Art Contest sponsored by Visual Image Photography’s Wheeling studio.

Ten students from iPad Media Arts entered VIP's 6th Annual Student Art Contest.

Ten students from iPad Media Arts entered VIP’s 6th Annual Student Art Contest.

VIP is the exclusive photographer of Saint Viator activities, including athletics, yearbook and portrait shots.

“This was a professionally juried exhibition,” Myles Hayes, the VIP photographer who coordinated the contest, said. “There was no theme in particular, however, the matted or mounted pieces were judged by three professional photographers.”

Specifically, they judged entries on creativity, composition and technical ability. In the end, three winners were announced at a reception and gallery show of the students’ works, as well as ten honorable mentions.

"A Day at Sea," by sophomore Matthew Dziubyk.

“A Day at Sea,” by sophomore Matthew Dziubyk.

Matt’s photo, titled “A Day at Sea,” earned an honorable mention from the panel of working photographers, emerging from the nearly 90 entries.

In all, ten students from Mr. Matt Gruenfeld’s iPad Media Arts class entered the photo contest. Their submissions were displayed alongside photos taken by students from Belvidere, Buffalo Grove, Lake Forest, Lake Zurich, Mundelein, Rolling Meadows, Stevenson and Wheeling high schools.

“Matt’s image has excellent sharpness and color saturation,” Mr. Gruenfeld said. “I really like the symmetrical composition, too.”

The art contest came after students in iPad Media Arts spent the semester learning about the different composition and design elements that go in to taking a good photo, as well as the finer points of producing artistic videos and movies.

For most class members, this was the first time their work was judged by professional photographers, reinforcing Saint Viator’s commitment to accompanying students on a lifelong journey of learning and discovery.


Querbes Scholars Immersed In Cutting Edge Physics Experiments at Fermilab

Nearly every year since the Fr. Louis Querbes Scholars Program began in 2010, its students have visited the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, located just outside Batavia.DSC01138

The U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory specializes in high-energy particle physics, and last month, freshmen, sophomore and junior Querbes Scholars — led by AP and honors physics teacher, Mrs. Cate Majka — all toured the facility.

“Scientists at Fermilab are on the cutting edge of determining how neutrinos may help us understand what dark matter and dark energy is and why the universe is actually expanding rather than contracting,”Mrs. Majka says. “They are currently conducting leading experiments on particle accelerators and the measurements of the cosmos and work closely with 86 research universities around the world.”

Students were divided into groups and given an in-depth tour of the high-tech laboratory before meeting with scientists for an hour-long discussion on the science taking place at Fermilab.

“It is important for students to see firsthand what scientists do for a living,” said student teacher Chris Banaszak ’10.

For these Querbes Scholars, it was their second major field trip this year. Last fall, they attended an expanded performance by the Chicago Symphony last fall in a concert that featured music of three Russian composers, including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.

Senior Querbes Scholars attended a performance of the one-man show, “An Evening with C.S. Lewis,” described as something of a fireside chat with the famous, 20th century British novelist and poet.

Querbes Scholars are highly gifted and motivated students, who are invited to enrich their years at Saint Viator through activities that foster personal growth, intellectual independence and faith enrichment.

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