Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: March 2016


Spring Break Means Travel for These Saint Viator Clubs and Teams

Mr. Genualdi, Mrs. Zhang, Mrs. King, Mrs. Manno, Ms. Gosch, Mrs. Giusti, and Ms. Miskowicz in Shanghai.

Mr. Genualdi, Mrs. Zhang, Mrs. King, Mrs. Manno, Ms. Gosch, Mrs. Giusti, and Ms. Miskowicz in Shanghai.

Think spring break is about rest and relaxation? Think again.

Saint Viator’s Spanish and Chinese clubs, as well as the boys’ baseball team, girls’ softball team and boys’ lacrosse team all traveled during the break, learning lessons in historic cities around the world—and on the ballfields playing teams from around the country.

Members of the Chinese Club covered five cities in eight days. They started in Beijing, where they saw Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Temple of Heaven, before learning to do Tai Chi, and eating roasted duck at Beijing’s famous Da Dong restaurant. They also traveled to Xian, Hangzhou and Wuzhen, the so-called Venice of the east, all before winding up in Shanghai.


A highlight there was visiting a middle school, where Mrs. Amy Zhang’s sister is the principal, before taking the Maglev train, which is the fastest commercial train in the world.

“China was such an amazing and unique experience. We saw so much in such a short amount of time. This was definitely a trip of a lifetime,” says Ms. Maggie Miskowicz, who went along as a chaperone. Joining her and the 10 students were: Mr. Vince Genualdi, Ms. Peggy Gosch, Mrs. Vicki Giusti, Mrs. Rita King, Mrs. Eileen Manno, Ms. Maggie Miskowicz and Mrs. Zhang.

A total of 24 students from the Spanish Club traveled to Spain, with Mr. Kurt Paprocki, Mrs. Jan Tan and Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV. Their whirlwind trip started in Barcelona before they took a high-speed train to Madrid for two days. A day trip took them to the small mountain town of Segovia, before they spent some of Holy Week in Sevilla.

“Overall, our students had a wonderful time experiencing the culture and language firsthand,” Mr. Paprocki said. “We learn material in class, but actually seeing this up close is a priceless learning experience.”

The boys’ lacrosse team traveled to Florida to play high level teams in advance of their season, and they found some.

“We played some excellent competition from four different states—Oregon, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Virginia,” said Mr. Bill Sanford, head coach.

Overall, the team finished 3-1 over the break, he adds, and they enjoyed the sunshine and beach, and plenty of team bonding.

The girls’ softball team also finished the week with a 3-1 record, after defeating teams from Madison, Washington DC and New York City, while losing to a team from New Castle, PA.

“We accomplished what we needed to do,” says Head Coach John Scotillo. “We got a lot of softball in during the day and we were able to get to the (Disney) parks at night.”

A highlight, he added, was the afternoon they spent volunteering at the Orlando Boys’ and Girls’ Club, playing softball with more than 60 youngsters.

Members of the varsity and junior varsity baseball teams traveled with Head Coach Mike Manno and Coach Richard McLoughlin to sunny Phoenix for a series of games at both levels. Once again, the varsity recorded a 3-1 record, while the junior varsity came up a bit short in both contests.

While there, the team took in a Cubs’ spring training game at the new Sloan Park, and hiked as a team up Camelback Mountain. Talk about team building!

See more photos on our Spring Break storify.

Senior Simon Mo.

Academic Team Advances to State Finals

Senior Simon Mo.

Senior Simon Mo.

Junior Steve Hannon.

Junior Steve Hannon.

The stakes keep going up for Saint Viator students who competed for the first time in the Academic Challenge, sponsored by the University of Illinois and its Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering initiative.

Not only did they come away as regional champs in February, but they medaled at the sectional meet earlier this month and as a result four students from Saint Viator’s academic team will be competing at the state meet in April.

“We had a really strong showing at both regionals and sectionals,” 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.”

Competition at the sectional meet was tough. It took place at Vernon Hills High School, where 10 teams from the division — who all had placed first or second at their respective regionals — went head to head.

Saint Viator medalists included:

  • Senior Liam Warner took first place in English
  • Senior Simon Mo took second place in Math
  • Junior Steven Hannon took third place in English
  • Senior Mark Perkowski qualified to advance to state

The Academic Challenge dates back more than 25 years, but this was the first year Saint Viator entered a team. Each year, the contest 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 and sectional meets, building toward the challenging state finals, which open April 11 in Champaign.


Viator Voice Student Newspaper Earns Awards

IMG_0383The award-winning student newspaper, the Viator Voice, added more feathers to its cap.

At the 24th annual journalism conference last week, sponsored by the Scholastic Press Association of Chicago and the McCormick Foundation, staff members took home four awards—two individual and two overall.

Awards included:

  • Sophomore Emma Perry won an excellence award for her column, “Vaccines Prove Essential for All.”
  • Sophomore Maeve Schumacher won a superior award for her sports feature, “Young Athletes Incorporate Faith into Sports.”
  • Excellent overall newspaper
  • Excellent overall layout
  • Superior overall website.

IMG_0385In all, nine staff members from the newspaper’s staff attended the daylong event, including writers, editors and artists. It took place at Roosevelt University’s Chicago campus and featured different workshops for students to attend as well as timed “write-off” contests.

Saint Viator students Anthony Novak, Nicole Marcinkus, and Maeve Schumacher, all sophomores, and senior co-editor in chief, Liam Warner, competed in the write-off contests, all before attending the awards luncheon at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Mr. Chris Paolelli serves as moderator of the Viator Voice, which this year launched its own web site and digital version of the paper. Overall, students who join the staff learn to employ the principles of the Associated Press journalistic style in their reporting, writing and editing of stores.

Staff members also are involved in creating art and photography to accompany stories, as well designing pages in the World, Local, Opinion, Entertainment and Sports sections.

Mr. Paolelli said Viator Voice students faced stiff competition from more than one dozen, large Chicago high schools, most of which require aspiring writers and editors to enroll in journalism classes.

“Quality work always stands out,” Mr. Paolelli says. “Our kids work really hard, especially considering that this is an extracurricular, so the only rewards they get are intangible.”


Ms. Miskowicz Recognized as Local PBS Digital Innovator

MAGGIELast fall, Ms. Maggie Miskowicz, instructional technology coordinator, helped earn Saint Viator its Apple Distinguished School award for its innovative technology programs, and now, she is leading the charge to teach coding to all students.

Her efforts are getting noticed. Earlier this week, school administrators learned Ms. Miskowicz was named a Local LearningMedia Digital Innovator by PBS.

The honor is more than just a title. Ms. Miskowicz now joins a robust professional development community that PBS officials think will drive student achievement by making innovative use of technology.

Its benefits include a year’s worth of virtual professional development opportunities, on topics that are trending in technology and 21st century learning. Some of these include digital literacy and citizenship, project-based learning and technology and strategies to promote design thinking.

Ms. Miskowicz also has the potential to partner with PBS by attending specific education events in the Chicago area community.

“I am excited because this really reflects our community’s commitment to technology in education,” Ms. Miskowicz says. “Our faculty has done a tremendous job in incorporating tech tools into the curriculum to enhance the learning experience for our students.”

Ms. Miskowicz joined Saint Viator’s staff in the summer of 2013, in advance of the school adopting its 1:1 iPad program and immersing students and faculty into its technology-driven curriculum.

She is a graduate of Wheeling High School and Lawrence University, in Appleton, WI, with undergraduate degrees in psychology and education. In her first job out of college, as a social studies teacher, Ms. Miskowicz began incorporating more and more technology into her classroom.

Her interest led Ms. Miskowicz to pursue a master’s degree in educational technology — a groundbreaking program at the time — at Concordia University in River Forest, which she completed in 2012.

“We all know that she is extremely important to our community — and this award only validates her value to our faculty and students,” said Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal. “We are so fortunate to have her on our staff.”


The Arts Are Everywhere: Fine Arts Week Celebrates Talented Students

Students entering Querbes Hall on Monday found an intriguing invitation awaiting them: Put your thumbprint here.

That’s right, led by students in the National Art Honor Society, lunch-goers had their chance to put their stamp on a “participation project,” as the thumbprints begin to fill in and its shape takes form.

The unique art project—and “Student Showcase” displays of NAHS members’ work around the building—was just the start of the annual Fine Arts Week at Saint Viator High School. The annual celebration allows students enrolled in all of the fine arts—band, choir, theater and the visual arts—to surround their classmates with demonstrations of their specific media.

The end result of Monday’s student thumbprint project: the Saint Viator Lion.

Fittingly, this week’s theme is called: “The Arts are Everywhere.”

“Fine Arts Week allows us to bring the talents of our arts students out of the studios and practice rooms—and share them throughout the building,” says Mr. Bill Faltinoski, fine arts department chairman.

Consider the schedule the rest of the week: On Tuesday, the Saint Viator concert and symphonic bands will perform during lunch periods in Querbes Hall, before hosting the “Arts in Concert” that night. Once again, they will combine with feeder school bands in a joint concert. This time, they will perform alongside of musicians from St. Mary School in Buffalo Grove and St. Hubert School in Hoffman Estates.

Wednesday features the Fine Arts Assembly for the entire school. Some of its highlights include the Concert and Treble choirs performing Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer,” accompanied by instrumentalists from Music Ministry and jazz band, while the Chamber Singers will perform an a cappella version of “Hello,” made by popular by Adele.

Orchesis members will join in the fun when they perform to “What Kind of Man,” choreographed specially for the company by professional choreographer, Katie Rafferty, from Giordano Dance Chicago. They also will perform a number choreographed by junior Bella Perez, which will also feature seniors Paige Smith and Fiona Dolce, as well as Bella.

Look for members of Saint Viator’s choirs to perform “circle songs” during lunch periods in Querbes Hall. This improvisatory method of creating a cappella music, uses pitches and syllables as their springboard.

Friday night kicks off the Orchesis Show, which also takes place Saturday afternoon. This year’s show is called “Synergy,” and reflects the combined power of its various members to create this memorable show.

All of its numbers are student choreographed, with the exception of the one by the Giordano choreographer. New this year will be self-made videos of each member playing between dances. The show returns to the auditorium this year and is the first year with Mr. Joe Giovannetti serving as moderator.


Pep Band Cheers on Seton Hall University Pirates to Victory at Big East Conference

The Saint ViatoIMG_4577r High School pep band scrambled to learn some new songs last week: the Seton Hall University alma mater and its fight song, Onward Setonia.

Thanks to a connection made between Band Director Vince Genualdi and a member of the Big East Conference, Saint Viator’s pep band was asked to sit in and play for the Pirates during an early round of the Big East Women’s Basketball Conference tournament, which opened Saturday at the McGrath-Phillips Arena, on the campus of DePaul University in Chicago.

“The game was televised on Fox Sports,” said Mr. Genualdi. “It was a great opportunity for our band.”

Students and their band director donned specially made T-shirts for the appearance, featuring the Seton Hall Pirates on the front. They even wore pirate hats to show their school spirit.

Seeded No. 3 going into tournament play, Seton Hall faced conference rival, No. 6 Marquette University. The two teams had split their two prior match-ups during the season, each winning on their home court.

But aided by their enthusiastic pep band, the Pirates (23-7) broke open a tight game in the second half and turned back several surges by the Marquette Warriors (14-16) to advance to Monday’s semifinals against Creighton. Saint Viator’s band was not able to return, so the Pirates secured the University of Chicago pep band to take their place.

Ms. Maggie Miskowicz, instructional technology coordinator and an assistant girls’ basketball coach, accompanied the band members as a chaperone.

“The kids had  so much fun playing,” Ms. Miskowicz said. “It was an excellent experience for them to participate in a college conference tournament—and to see an actual college band, since Marquette brought their pep band. It was just a great opportunity to promote our band.”

One of those who was impressed, was Karen Loiacono, associate athletics director for marketing and licensing at DePaul, and a 1976 Sacred Heart of Mary High School alumna, whose nephew, Stephen Cienawa, attends Saint Viator.

With her office located in the Sullivan Athletics Center, near the McGrath-Phillips Arena, Loiacono came out to hear the band and congratulate its members on their first college performance.

Color Crest

Bullying Presentation: Use Your Heart to See Classmates

Michael Pritchard.

Michael Pritchard

Michael Pritchard is no stranger to a microphone. In his career as a stand-up comedian, he has appeared with Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, Dana Carvey and Whoopi Goldberg — to name a few. But his presentation on Thursday to Saint Viator freshmen and sophomores, was no laughing matter.

He came to talk about bullying, consequently his topics covered everything from respect and doing the right thing, to the value of friendship and respecting others.

“As your parents and teachers, we want you to be focused—and to see with your hearts,” Pritchard told the students. “Do you see the suffering that kids go through?”

“We have to act as a community,” he added. “The teasing, the ridiculing, the name-calling, the trash talking, it’s not us. It’s not how we roll.”

Halfway through the presentation, Pritchard surprised his audience by asking students to come down to the microphone and share their story, to tell how it feels to be picked on.

After some hesitation, students began volunteering. He limited the number to six and each told of being ridiculed, mostly in middle school, and of feeling isolated and depressed.

Classmates applauded vigorously after each testimonial and Pritchard affirmed each student for displaying courage.

“I’m honored to be in your presence,” he told each one. “You’re going to remember this day for the rest of your life.”

Before they returned to their seats, Pritchard asked each student what they would ask of their classmates. Without hesitation, they all responded with the same answer: acceptance and compassion.

One student implored this of his classmates: “Think before you say something.”

Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, president, watched the presentation and afterward quietly recognized each of the students who had come forward. He thanked Pritchard for incorporating Catholic values into the presentation and making them applicable to the lives of 14 and 15-year olds.

“In a culture that celebrates bullying in our presidential race,” Fr. Brost added, “this presentation stands for something very different: gospel values.”

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