Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: February 2016

Director of Bands Mr. Vince Genualdi stands with Mr. Frank Rice and Mr. Michael Ferreter, co-chairmen of the State of the Art Catholic High School Band Competition at last year's competition.

Saint Viator’s Bands: Drawing Praise and Awards at State of the Art Catholic Band Competition

IMG_3766-2At the annual State of the Art Catholic Band Competition, Saint Viator’s symphonic band had a unique role: as last year’s grand champions, they returned this year as the 2016 honor band, playing in exhibition and setting the bar for excellence.

“Their performance was well done and well received,” said Mr. Vince Genualdi, band director, of the symphonic band’s three classical pieces that build toward a dramatic conclusion with “Italian in Algiers” by Rossini.

With the symphonic band out of the competition, that left it up to Saint Viator’s concert band to carry the torch and compete on their own in the Class A division for smaller ensembles.

The concert band, made up mostly of freshmen and sophomore musicians were up to the task. They took second place in the class, out of 10 schools, and won best in percussion for the group.

Their repertoire included a lyrical set, starting with “British Isles Suite” by Larry Daehn, before they played “Heaven’s Light” by Steven Reineke and concluded with “Celebration Tribalesque” by Randall Standridge, which showcased the band’s talented percussion section.

“Both ensembles performed with great musicality and attention to detail,” Mr. Genualdi added. “Our main goal was to perform each piece with the composer’s intent in mind.”

Members of the Knights of Columbus launched State of the Art in 1982 as a way to showcase band programs in Catholic schools and encourage music education. This year’s festival took place at Marian Catholic High School and drew bands from Notre Dame, Resurrection, Nazareth, Fenwick, St. Patrick’s, Mount Carmel, De LaSalle, Brother Rice, Mother McAuley, St. Laurence and Queen of Peace high schools, as well as Bishop Noll Institute, from Hammond, IN.

“This festival is a great way to take what we’re doing inside our band room out to the public,” Mr. Genualdi said. “Our goal will always be to perform at a high level of artistry.  We strive to share our hard work with our audience members and hope that everyone leaves enjoying our performance.”


Lady Lions’ Memorable Season Comes to an End

Regional Win vs. Vernon Hills

Saint Viator Girls’ Basketball Team Surging at the Right Time

Saint Viator celebrates its come-from-behind victory over Antioch during Tuesday’s sectional semifinal in Arlington Heights.

The Lady Lions are walking tall these days.

One day after knocking off the top seed in their sectional, Antioch, they are gearing up for the final, when they take on the No. 2 seed, the Skyhawks of Johnsburg High School. The featured matchup takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Cahill gymnasium. Admission is $5.

It is only the second time in school history, that a Saint Viator’s girls’ basketball team has advanced to the sectional final.

“We play a lot of (Class) 4A teams throughout the season and our conference is one of the toughest in the state of Illinois,” says Ms. Maggie Miskowicz, instructional technology coordinator and sophomore girls’ basketball coach. “Playing so many tough teams during the season really prepared us for the post-season, where we see the best in our class (3A).”

To date, the Lions have compiled a record of 18-14, while winning the Ridgewood Regional title last week (only the third in the program’s history) and taking down the fourth-seeded Lady Cougars of Vernon Hills High School.

Regional Win vs. Vernon HillsMs. Miskowicz credits their post-season run to team’s tenacious defense and ability to rebound when the going gets tough. She points to the first half of the game against Antioch, when the Lions were down by as many as 16, but they found the resolve and eventually won the game by 13, with a score of 58-45.

“Defense has been stressed all season — throughout the program,” Ms. Miskowicz says, “and the girls know that is the end that it starts on.”

The team is coached by a trio of Saint Viator alums who are getting the most out of their players, including first year head coach Jason Raymond, ’92 and his two assistants, Charlie Stempien ’92 and Taylor Skala ’11.

Come cheer them on! The winner advances to play in the semi-finals of the super sectionals at Concordia University in River Forest.


Four Seniors Join Elite Group as National Merit Finalists

scholars23Four Saint Viator seniors learned last fall that they were among the top one percent of high school seniors, after being named National Merit Semi-Finalists. This week, they just joined an even more select group. All four—Drew Morton, Max Paulus, Mark Perkowski and Liam Warner—were named National Merit Finalists.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for these students and their families.” said Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal. “National Merit recognition reflects their dedication and openness to learning, as well as the school’s dedication to academic excellence.”

In order to advance to become finalists, these students had to demonstrate an outstanding academic record through­out high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirmed their earlier performance on the qualifying test.

They now will have the chance to compete for some 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring. Those include 2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.

In addition, about 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 250 corporations, while 3,900 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards are expected to finance some for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

These finalists reaffirm Saint Viator’s commitment to offering a rigorous college-preparatory education, steeped in moral teaching and Catholic formation.

Mrs. Manno pointed to the school’s commitment meeting ACT standards—which includes identifying benchmarks for college readiness—as well as its expanded Advanced Placement class offerings, equally focused on content and skill development.

“The rigorous course of study offered to our students,” Mrs. Manno added, “helps boost their performance on tests.”

In addition to these finalists, four more Saint Viator seniors were named commended scholars in September by the National Merit Scholarship Program: Emily Hayes, Danielle Laterza, Nicholas Spanier and Matthew Trimberger. While they were not eligible to continue in the competition, they represented the top three percent of students who took the PSAT test back in 2014.

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

Rounding out the list was senior Michael Baker, who was named a National Hispanic Scholar by the College Board. In earning the recognition, he was one of about 5,000 of the highest-scoring students from over 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT.




Saint Viator high school football players, Javier Sanchez ’19, Jack Ruth ’17, Austin Ruetsche ’17, and Sam Calmeyn ’17, with Mike Kordecki ’77.

Class of 1977 Alum Donates Latest in Shoulder Pad Technology to Football Program

Saint Viator high school football players, Javier Sanchez ’19, Jack Ruth ’17, Austin Ruetsche ’17, and Sam Calmeyn ’17, with Mike Kordecki ’77.

Saint Viator football players, Javier Sanchez ’19, Jack Ruth ’17, Austin Ruetsche ’17, and Sam Calmeyn ’17, with Mike Kordecki ’77.

What’s one thing the Saint Viator Lions varsity football team has in common with the Chicago Bears? Both teams will wear Riddell RipKord shoulder pads this fall, designed by Saint Viator alum, Mike Kordecki ’77.

While the Bears—and players from all 24 NFL teams as well as 57 collegiate teams—have been wearing the shoulder pads since 2011, Kordecki just donated 40 sets to Saint Viator’s football program last week.

Kordecki now is the principal owner of Praxis Physical Therapy in Vernon Hills. Back in 2008, he patented the technology for this new type of shoulder pad that allows them to be removed when a player is treated for any type of spinal or head injury, and ultimately sold the license to Riddell.

“My hope is that all of the football players will be protected just a little better,” said Kordecki, who is a sports physical therapist who worked with Bears’ training camps in the 1980s and ’90s, among his many credentials.

“God forbid any type of spine or neck injury to happen to one of the players,” Kordecki added, “but by getting these new shoulder pads, it brings Saint Viator in line with the new protocol by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.”

That protocol was announced in June, and at least one of the members of its task force called the RipKord shoulder pads and the ease of removing protective equipment prior to transport off the field, one of the most sweeping changes.

“Removing equipment on the field provides access to the airway and chest in the event of life threatening emergencies and facilitates packaging,” said Ron Courson, a member of the NATA Joint Task Force and University of Georgia’s Director of Sports Medicine. “Upon arrival at the emergency facility, it facilitates physician evaluation and diagnostic testing.”

Assistant Football Coach Mike Tubridy helped facilitate the donation from Kordecki. He says these new shoulder pads will advance Saint Viator’s commitment to limiting serious injury to its football players, at all levels.kordecki3.JPG

Tubridy, who also teaches religion at Saint Viator, says that over the past three years the Saint Viator Athletic Boosters have helped the team replace older helmets, with the upgraded Riddell Speed helmets. As team officials continue with its replacement program, they hope to look into the Riddell Speed Flex, the type of helmet worn by Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler, among others.

“All our athletes take a pre-season concussion test to establish a baseline measurement, which helps trainers know if there have been changes,” says Coach Tubridy. “We also limit hitting and contact during pre-season and weekly practices. All of these actions have helped us reduce concussions on the varsity level.”

Kordecki’s company works with student athletes at five high schools in Southern Lake County, all located near his physical therapy location, while he also works directly with student athletes at Carmel Catholic High School and is on the field during its football games.

Ironically, he says, he was too small to play football at Saint Viator, but he earned varsity letters in swimming as a diver and in soccer. He also played in the band and appeared in its musicals, where he ultimately met his future wife, Diane Dahlborn, class of 1978 from Sacred Heart of Mary High School.

“I have very fond memories of my years at Saint Viator,” Kordecki says. “It gave me great educational opportunities.”


Saint Viator Takes First at Regionals of World Youth Science & Engineering Contest

IMG_2478Saint Viator students competed for the first time in the Academic Challenge, sponsored by the University of Illinois and its Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering initiatives—and they came away as regional champs.

The contest took place earlier this month at Oakton Community College. A team of 14 juniors and seniors—selected by honors and AP teachers in the science department—displayed their mettle in a wide range of subject areas, and now will advance to sectionals on March 3 at Vernon Hills High School.

“This contest has been going on for 25 years, but this was the first time we learned of it,” said Mrs. Cate Majka, who accompanied the team with Mrs. Jan Grana, both physics teachers. “Personally, I think it speaks to the rigor of our schoolwide curriculum, that we won medals in each of the five subject areas and took a clean sweep in two of the areas.”

Here are the individual results:

In biology, Mark Perkowski ’16 took first place, followed by Paulina Piwowarczyk
IMG_2483’17 in second and Max Paulus ’16 placed third.

In chemistry, Patrick Harris ’17 took second and Simon Mo ’16 placed third.

In physics, Drew Morton ’16 took second.

In math, Simon Mo took first place, followed by Drew Morton in second.

In English, Liam Warner ’16 took first place, followed by Paulina Piwowarczyk ’17 in second and Stephen Hannon ’17 in third.

Team members also included seniors Emily Hayes, Ryan McMahon, Paige Smith, Thomas Swiderski and Matt Trimberger.

“It was nice to compete so well with other schools in the area,” senior Matt Trimberger said.

His classmate, Paige Smith, agreed: “This was a great opportunity to represent Saint Viator’s academic fortitude—in a challenging environment.”IMG_2482

Each year, the Academic Challenge is offered to high school students in Illinois and Missouri, by more than 50 community colleges and universities. Test material is drawn from senior high school and freshman level college curricula and is
written by teams of college and university faculty.

Levels of difficulty increase through the regional, sectional and state finals, which open March 11 in Champaign.

Lauren Prazuch '13, middle, during a live interview on WKOW's "Wake Up Wisconsin" show

2013 Graduate Puts a Different Spin on Super Bowl Weekend

Lauren Prazuch ‘13 was a member of the LINK Crew and a retreat leader during her years at Saint Viator, while traveling each summer with her parish’s mission trips to Catholic Heart Work Camps.

Now, the junior journalism major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison continues her commitment to community service, by helping to coordinate Saturday’s Souper Bowl event near the Madison Campus.

Lauren Prazuch '13, middle, during a live interview on WKOW's "Wake Up Wisconsin" show

Lauren Prazuch ’13, middle, during a live interview on WKOW’s “Wake Up Wisconsin” show

That’s Souper Bowl, not Super Bowl, and that’s part of the appeal. It takes place every year on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, and it has proved to be the largest fundraiser for the university’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Would you believe it draws nearly 1,500 people?

This year is its 20th edition and it continues to draw lots of interest.

“There’s food, art, entertainment and celebrity food servers,” Lauren said during an interview on WKOW’s “Wake Up Wisconsin” morning show. “And all the proceeds go toward our 16th student built house.”

Each guest may pick out their own decorative bowl

Each guest may pick out their own decorative bowl

Lauren and her classmate, Erin Rieser, figure it takes more than $90,000 to build each home and they hope to raise more than $20,000 from the Souper Bowl. Students work on erecting the houses with the new owners on Fridays and Saturdays during the school year.

Their 16th student-built home will be located in West Madison, and just working alongside of the family who will live there is part of the appeal, Lauren says.

“The family we are building the house for is at the fundraiser and speaks to the crowd,” Lauren says. “Overall, it’s just great to see how many people come out each year to support us.”habitat for humanity

Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, shared Lauren’s story with faculty members, pointing to her leadership as another example of a graduate carrying forward the values she learned at Saint Viator. She’s a Lion for Life!

Ashley Steadman, Maggie Leazer, Grace Ross, Jackie Rose, Connor Phelan, Anthony Pineda, and Kevin Napoleon.

National Signing Day Draws Seven Students To Sign Letters of Intent to Play College Athletics

Saint Viator students from left to right: Ashley Steadman, Maggie Leazer, Grace Ross, Jackie Rose, Connor Phelan, Anthony Pineda, and Kevin Napoleon.

National Signing Day was a busy one at Saint Viator, with seven student athletes signing letters of intent to play college sports.

“It is a select few, who can navigate the rigors of being a student-athlete—and have the will to continue to the next level,” said Athletic Director Martin Jennings in congratulating the students, their families and coaches.

At the Division I level, Kevin Napoleon committed to playing baseball at Butler University in Indianapolis. He follows in the footsteps of his older brother, Bobby, who is left handed pitcher for the Bulldogs, headed into his senior season this spring.

Head Coach Mike Manno points to Napoleon’s nine wins last year, which was a school record. He had 2.176 ERA, with 66 strikeouts and 16 walks, and was the Lions’ most dependable pitcher.

Jackie Rose signed a letter of intent to swim at Southern Illinois University. The freestyler was named all-conference in the rugged Metro Aquatic Conference this year in the 200 and 100 freestyle events and freestyle relays.

She has been voted the team’s MVP all four years that she swam with the Lady Lions and has been named all-sectional the last three years, including her senior sectional, when she broke school records in both the 100 and 200 freestyle events.

“Jackie has been the heart and soul of the team for four years from a leadership perspective—as well as a standout athlete,” says Head Coach Jamie Klotz.

Another Saint Viator student headed to a Division I program is Maggie Leazer, a senior defender with the Lions soccer team, who signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Evansville in Indiana. Leazer was all-conference last year in the East Suburban Catholic Conference and an honorable mention in the Daily Herald all-area team. She is a standout athlete in volleyball, basketball and soccer, but chose to pursue soccer in college.

“She’s been a starter since freshmen year,” said head coach, Mike Taylor. “She’s been an integral part of the success of our team both as a defender and midfielder.”

Three more soccer players signed letters of intent to play at the Division III level, including Grace Ross, who will play at Loras College in Dubuque, IA, Ashley Steadman who will play at Benedictine in Lisle, and Anthony Pineda at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisc.

“I’m so excited, this has been a dream of mine to play at the college level,” Pineda said. “St. Norbert’s was the first school that was interested in me and I’m so grateful.”

Finally, Connor Phelan of Elk Grove Village signed a letter of intent to play football at the University of Chicago. The Maroons play at the Division III level and Saint Viator Assistant Coach Kyle Jenkins says Phelan will be able to contribute on both sides of the line.

Last season, he played offensive tackle and defensive end and had four solo tackles, eight assisted tackles, for 12 total tackles.

With the latest Lions to sign letters of intent, that brings the number of college bound student athletes to 13. Last November, six Saint Viator students signed letters of intent during the early signing period for the NCAA.

They included Jack Coney, who will play baseball at Purdue University; Mike Ragauskis who will play baseball at the University of Oklahoma; Andrea Renner will play hockey at Northeastern University in Boston, Ellie Meyer will play volleyball at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, while brothers Kevin and Patrick Murphy will both play lacrosse, with Kevin headed to Salisbury University in Maryland and Patrick headed to Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

Senior Liam Warner hosted the Academic Symposium.

Senior Querbes Scholars Host Academic Symposium

Senior Liam Warner hosted the Academic Symposium.

Senior Liam Warner hosted the Academic Symposium.

Senior Liam Warner serves as co-editor of the Viator Voice student newspaper and he captained the boys’ golf team last fall. But after hosting a first ever Academic Symposium at Saint Viator High School, he may have a future in moderating political debates.

The symposium was a presentation of the senior Querbes Scholars. They came up with the concept, planned the questions and participated in the forum discussion.

Their topic? Exploring the conflict that exists between Western-style democracy and Middle-Eastern cultures.

“These are urgent, world issues,” Liam said before taking the microphone, “and discussions about them shouldn’t be limited to professional pundits.

“We’re all nearly of voting age,” he added. “We should be able to consider the bigger issues of today. We’re concerned with what’s going on in the world.”

Right from the first question—framed around the influence of the Islamic State on its neighboring Mideast countries, and its ramifications on the rest of the world—the opinions were flying and audience members took DSC_0007note.

Senior Max Paulus admittedly took on the role of the devil’s advocate in the early discussions.

“I think ISIS is filling the role of what everyone in the Middle East wants, and that is structure and stability,” he said.

His classmates disagreed and stated that ISIS is imposing its extremist type of religion on other countries, using brute force to do it.

DSC_0008_crop“It has led to the polarization of ideals,” said senior William McEvoy. “As time goes on, people become more extreme.”

The discussion lasted nearly one hour, as students explored whether democracy is possible in the Middle East, as well as the religious influence on national identity, and ultimately globalism versus protectionism in the emerging 21st century.

“I know we’re all kids from the Northwest suburbs, and it’s hard to talk about some of these subjects,” said senior Emily Hayes, “but it’s good to be aware of what’s going on around the world.”

More than 100 people attended the symposium—held in Querbes Hall—including Querbes Scholars from every grade level, teachers, Viatorians and parents.

“This is our first academic symposium and it’s exciting that it’s all led by students,” Mrs. Eileen Manno said. “It’s critical thinking and being able to speak articulately about difficult issues.”



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