Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: January 2016


Freshmen Take on “Hour of Code” with Dot and Dash

IMG_5406There are two new members of Saint Viator’s Technology Department and their names are Dot and Dash.

During an activity period Thursday, the entire freshman class was introduced to the dynamic duo, a pair of robots used to teach coding, while participating in the school’s second “Hour of Code” event.

“This is fun, I’m excited for the class,” said Matthew Fassett.

Literally, students experienced robotics in their hands as they used the mobile app, Blockly from Wonder World, to move the robots. The drag and drop type of visual programming allowed students to make the robots move, light up andIMG_5420 spin.

“When we did this with the sophomores, they found it fun,” said Principal Eileen Manno to the class, assembled at tables in Querbes Hall. “I hope you do, too.”

Students found the introduction to coding to be easier than they thought, and accessible.

“They’re cool,” said freshman Payton McDonnell of the colorful robots. “It’s not hard at all.”

Students aIMG_5397lso worked through a series of 15 Star Wars-themed puzzles, dragging and dropping their droids— and using JavaScript — to write their code, much like sophomores did in December during Saint Viator’s first Hour of Code event.

“We believe coding is the way of the future,” said Mrs. Manno said to the class. “All of you, in one way or another in your future careers, will be involved in developing some type of coding.”

Joining Mrs. Manno in leading the presentation were Ms. Maggie Miskowicz, instructional technology coordinator, and Mr. Jim Williams, Mobile Apps programming I and II teacher. They all stressed the importance of learning to code at an early age.

“Students who know coding,” Mr. Williams said, “will be in great demand in the future.”

Read about Saint Viator’s first “Hour of Code” event.


Junior Matthew Fecko (center) plays Harold Hill in Saint Viator's 50th anniversary musical, 'The Music Man,' opening Friday, January 29.

Saint Viator’s 50th Musical Hits the Stage: The Music Man

Don’t look now, but the Wells Fargo Wagon is coming to town, with 76 trombones leading the way. That’s right. The Music Man returns to Saint Viator High School’s stage for the school’s 50th anniversary musical and Shipoopi, everyone’s talking about it.

Junior Matthew Fecko (center) plays Harold Hill in Saint Viator's 50th anniversary musical, 'The Music Man,' opening Friday, January 29.

Junior Matthew Fecko (center) plays Harold Hill in Saint Viator’s 50th anniversary musical, ‘The Music Man,’ opening Friday, January 29.

“It’s perfect, since it’s about how the arts and music can transform a community,” says Director Kate Costello, who appeared as a sophomore in Music Man in 1968 when the school first staged the classic.

Mrs. Costello calculates 230 students are involved with the production—or more than 20 percent of the student body—including double casting roles and taking in the 20 musicians in the pit orchestra and more than 30 students working behind the scenes in the tech crew.

“We’re joined by several faculty and staff members and a veritable army of parents, loyal alumni, and other wonderful Saint Viator friends who have come together to produce this show,” Mrs. Costello says. “It’s a true community.”

The principal roles feature a mix of veterans and students who are new to musical theater. Take sophomore Laura Kuper of Prospect Heights, who shares the role of Marian Paroo with junior Olivia Dominguez of Mount Prospect.

Senior Megan Daugherty as Mrs. Shinn.

Senior Megan Daugherty as Mrs. Shinn.

While Laura was among the finalists in last summer’s Suburbia’s Got Talent contests, this is her first leading role that combines singing and acting.

“I love all the songs, but they’re a challenge to sing,” Laura says, “because they have so much meaning behind them. I’m trying to convey so much emotion behind each of the words.”

She also has worked to develop Marian’s characterization, from prim and proper in the first act, to a softer and more vulnerable side in the second act as she falls for Harold Hill.

Speaking of Harold Hill, a pair of juniors shares the role. Matthew Fecko of Arlington Heights is an accomplished singer, having advanced to the Illinois Music Educators’ Association district festival for the last two years, but even he has to work on mastering Meredith Wilson’s tricky songs.


Zaneeta and friends.

Trouble is a tough one for me,” Fecko concedes. “It’s sung so fast and with so many lyrics, I’m really having to work on my diction and articulation.”

His counterpart, Zac Jones of Des Plaines, says he enjoys finding the humor in the show and going back in time to a small town in Iowa.

“We’re all trying to adapt to the 1912 setting,” Zac says, “and the underlining humor that comes out in the show. It’s a universal story, that’s timeless.”

Luke Koehler, a junior from Rolling Meadows shares the role of Marcellus Washburn with junior Jeremy Yoder of Buffalo Grove. While they get all the laughs in the show, as Harold Hill’s sidekick, they both are finding it to be more work than they bargained for.

“I was never going to be in the musical,” Luke says, “but then my friends convinced me to try out. It’s a lot of work, memorizing all the lines and the long practices. But it’s been fun. There’s the whole social aspect to it, and it’s just fun to perform on stage.”

Showtime and Ticket Information:
Friday, January 29, 7:30pm (Alumni Night)…Meredith Cast
Saturday, January 30, 7:30pm (Alumni Night)…Willson Cast
Sunday, January 31, 1:30pm…Meredith Cast
Friday, February 5, 7:30pm…Willson Cast
Saturday, February 6, 7:30pm…Meredith Cast
Sunday, February 7, 1:30pm…Willson Cast

Tickets $12

Joe Schmidt speaking to Saint Viator students on Friday, January 22.

Notre Dame’s Joe Schmidt Visits Saint Viator

An optional assembly last week drew an unusually big crowd. That’s because Joe Schmidt, a co-captain of the 2015 Notre Dame football team, who went from being a walk-on to a scholarship player and defensive MVP last year, showed up to talk to students.Schmidt addressing students

Somehow, hearing about the value of goal setting, leadership and overcoming adversity, took on new meaning when coming from this all-star linebacker, who is being likened to Rudy for his work ethic that eventually landed him a starting position.

Even walking into the Cahill Gymnasium, the more than 400 students who attended gave Schmidt a standing ovation. Dean Bill Sanford, who had invited Schmidt to address students, coaches and faculty, introduced the linebacker and moderated a Q & A discussion format.

Joe Schmidt speaking to Saint Viator students on Friday, January 22.

Joe Schmidt speaking to Saint Viator students on Friday, January 22.

He began by asking Schmidt about a certain goal he had written and carried with him in his wallet. Schmidt went on to tell how when he was 5 years old, his father sat him down and told him write down five goals.

Schmidt finally did and he said the last one turned out to be prophetic: He wrote that he wanted to play football at Notre Dame.

“That goal became something I drafted my life around,” Schmidt said.

That was the start, Schmidt says, of a ritual he developed of writing down his goals. He went from carrying them in his wallet to posting them on the wall of his dorm room.

“I look at them every day when I’m brushing my teeth,” Schmidt said. “When you see something each and every day, your mind creatively finds ways to achieve them.”

IMG_5338When one student asked him what he did if he couldn’t achieve one of his goals, Schmidt said he broke them down into increments of daily, weekly and monthly goals.

“If you go after them like that,” he said, “you’d be surprised how much the arc rises.”

Schmidt said he took the responsibility of being a leader seriously, working to develop relationships on the team, as well as reading biographies of national leaders.

“I would say, seek out advice from other leaders and mentors you respect,” Schmidt said. “Meditate and visualize what you want your message to be.”

He pointed to four key components of leadership: clarity in the message, crafting a specific plan of how to improve the team, authentically caring about the people around you, and bringing positive energy, especially when adversity hits.

Dean Sanford said he originally invited Schmidt to address his lacrosse team and captains, as someone who is a good example of good leadership.

“I think Joe is that and more,” Dean Sanford said. “He is such a well-rounded, intelligent, faith-filled person that he’s a great influence for any of our students seeking his type of message.”

Watch him address students below:

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Freshman Author to be Featured at Book Signing Event

Freshman Shane Cloonan loves to write and he always dreamed of writing a book. But he didn’t think a writing assignment in his sixth grade religion class would launch his career as a published author.

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Shane’s book, “Journey to the Cross.”

On Friday, Shane will be featured at a book signing event—his third—promoting his children’s book, “Journey to the Cross,” which was published in September. His appearance will take place from 4-6 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Deer Park.

“It’s cool to have someone randomly coming up to you and being interested in your book,” Shane says.

It was at St. Anne School in Barrington, where Shane’s teacher assigned the class to tell the Christmas story of Christ’s birth through a unique perspective.

“I took it farther and just kept writing,” Shane says of his book, which is just over 40 pages and “goes up until Christ’s crucifixion.”

A menagerie of interesting pets at his home in Elgin inspired him, particularly the pair of miniature Sicilian donkeys they owned.


Shane Cloonan ’19

“I was always fascinated with the cross on their backs,” Shane says. “It’s really visible and goes all the way down their back to their tail.”

In fact, legend holds that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem before the crucifixion, which is why donkeys bear a cross on their bodies.

Shane took that legend one step further and theorized that it was a donkey—the Jesus donkey—that Mary rode to the manger in Bethlehem, where she gave birth, and that the donkey was an eyewitness to other events in Jesus’ life.

His mother, Debbie Cloonan, researched local publishers and together they found one interested in publishing his book: George Rawlinson of State Street Publishing in Elgin.

“It was a real task going through the publishing process,” Shane says. “There were multiple sets of eyes looking at it. I had to go through it so many times I could probably recite it.”

If the editing process was grueling, the chance to help in finding an illustrator was exciting, Shane says. He suggested his former art teacher, Richard Browning, for the role. Browning is a longtime educator at Elgin Academy and a Chicago area artist.

His pencil drawings throughout the book give the story depth and character, Shane says, but done in black and white they lend credibility to the serious nature of the story.

“The book’s ultimate message is imbued in the strength and simplicity of hearts that are linked to other hearts by Jesus,” writes Rawlinson in a publisher’s profile. “Journey to the Cross follows the light of hope that first appeared on that memorable night in Bethlehem.”

Currently, Shane’s book is available at The hardcover edition sells for $19.95.


Alum Lands Gold Medal in Figure Skating


Tarah Kayne and Danny O’Shea ’09.

When Danny O’Shea graduated from Saint Viator High School in 2009, he already was the 2008 novice champion with the U.S. Figure Skating Association as a singles skater, but he set his sights higher.

O’Shea wanted to medal at the senior level and he hit his stride when he switched to the pairs competition. He and his partner, Tarah Kayne of Fr. Myers, Florida, won the gold medal Saturday at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in St. Paul, MN, and they did it in dramatic fashion.

They unseated the defending champions and heavy favorites, Alexa Scimeca of Addison and Chris Knierim, who took ultimately took second.

“It felt really, really good,” said O’Shea, who now lives in Ellenton, Florida. “There’s not much more that we could have done better.”

O’Shea and Kayne entered the competition as the bronze medal winners from last year, and they sent a clear message on the first day, when they skated a clean short program — designed just one month ago — around the music, “Take Me to Church.”

“My partner and I have been working really hard,” O’Shea said in a phone interview Saturday afternoon. “Going into nationals, we were counted out and that we’d be fighting for second.

“It was a great feeling to show everyone that they were wrong,” he added, “and setting records doing it.”

Despite all the pressure and performing in front of a live television audience, O’Shea and Kane delivered. They skated an electric — and flawless — performance to the “Music of the Night,” from “Phantom of the Opera,” that audience members sensed was a gold medal performance.

“We have a throw quad salchow combination in our arsenal, but we went for a clean program,” O’Shea said. “We had a lot of fun doing our strongest elements.”

Their performance earned them a combined total score of 211.65, which is the highest score recorded in pairs since the USFSA began the current scoring system. A detailed look at their results indicated they received their highest score for performance/execution.

Mrs. Eileen Manno, who was principal during the years O’Shea attended Saint Viator, and helped adjust his schedule so he could make daily practice sessions at Twin Rinks Ice Arena in Buffalo Grove, said he seemed to balance it all: skating and academics.

“That was one of the best skating performances I’ve ever seen,” Mrs. Manno said Saturday. “But then Danny was a terrific young man, whose work ethic certainly predicted the possibility of a national championship.”

Watch the winning performance below: 



Saint Viator Announces New Football Coach

Athletic Director Martin Jennings announced on Friday the new football coach: Dave Archibald, who comes to the Lions from Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, where he has served as a position coach with the offense for the last eight years, including as co-passing game coordinator and wide receivers’ coach, as well as special teams coach.


David Archibald.

Archibald played his college football at St. Norbert College where he was a two-year starter at wide receiver for the Green Knights. During that span, he was the team’s leading receiver with 67 receptions for 1,023 yards. During those two years, the team went a combined 17-3, and earned a NCAA playoff appearance in 2001.

“His experience at the college level was something that intrigued us,” said Mr. Jennings, who added the position drew more than 45 applicants. “From everything people said about him, his name and resume moved to the top of our radar.”

Archibald currently teaches religion at Marquette University High School, his alma mater, since earning his master’s degree in education from the University of Notre Dame. He says he ultimately tried to discern whether he wanted to continue as a college position coach or look for a high school program he could lead. He chose the latter.

“I’ve been a high school educator for the last 13 years,” Archibald said. “I thought the best fit for my family and me was a place where I could be involved in football at the highest level and still impact the lives of student athletes.”

Consequently, Archibald pledges to foster a program built on selflessness, attention to detail, and toughness—both mental and physical.

While he concedes he brings extensive offensive experience to his role as head coach, he will be building a staff that excels on both sides of the ball.

“I think the program has great potential for success in the coming years,” Archibald added, “and I am going to dedicate myself in effort to capitalize on that potential.”

Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, president of Saint Viator High School was the last person to interview Archibald before the school hired him.

“By all reports Dave is a top-notch coach and a committed man of faith who respects young people and knows how to integrate Catholic values into athletics,” Fr. Brost said. “He will be a great role model — as well as a great head coach — for our football players.”




Saint Viator Senior Recognized by Daily Herald for Leadership

1032Senior Justin Cruz joined an elite group this month: He was selected to the Daily Herald’s Northwest Suburban Leadership Team.

Look for Justin to appear on the front page of the Herald on Thursday with the rest of the leadership team, while a profile of his community service will run in the paper’s Neighbor section.

Justin’s work as a YMCA counselor, as well as his volunteerism with children with disabilities through Glenkirk and Northwest Suburban Special Recreation Association drew the judges’ attention. But it was his leadership with a community youth center in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, that made him a standout.

“You were nominated by your high school for your outstanding work with volunteer and community organizations—and for the leadership you have shown in those endeavors,” wrote Renee Trappe, assistant managing editor for local news. “A panel of judges selected the team from a large number of high school students in the Northwest suburbs.”

Justin points to his week with gang members at the Peace Corner Youth Center in the Austin neighborhood—as part of his experience with the Peacebuilders’ Initiative—as transformative.


Justin (center) with LINK Crew leaders at Freshmen Orientation in August.

“Literally, the kids I was talking to had bullet scars,” Justin says. “But we spent four hours a day together and I really got to know them. I realized I had these stereotypes in my head, and they were all wrong. Despite the clothes, they weren’t that different from me, inside the center.”

Justin worked with Sean Colm ’15 to design a peace project that would give young gang members a way to socially connect with others and overcome perceptions.
Turns out, it was just a portion of the commitment to service that Justin has displayed since coming to Saint Viator. When he’s not helping out in the community, Justin juggles his time between playing soccer in the fall and skating as a left wing on Saint Viator’s hockey team.

He is a mentor for freshmen through Link Crew and serves as a retreat leader every year. Justin also is a co-editor of the Viator Voice newspaper and helps lead Saint Viator’s drum line, as an extension of his role in the symphonic and pep bands.

“Saint Viator’s commitment to service was an opening for me,” Justin says, “but I think I’ve taken it farther and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s sort of the expectation here. We’re expected to become leaders and along the way you get pretty comfortable in that role.”

Daily Herald editors thought Justin went above and beyond the school’s expectations for service.

“Congratulations on being named to the Daily Herald Leadership Team,” Trappe said, “and thank you for your exceptional commitment to volunteerism.”

VIDEO: Watch Justin talk about his experience at Saint Viator.

Life as a Saint Viator Lion from Saint Viator High School on Vimeo.

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