Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: May 2016 (Page 1 of 2)


#TeacherTuesday–Fr. John Van Wiel, C.S.V.


Fr. Van Wiel in 2012.

It’s no surprise that the Viatorians are beloved throughout Arlington Heights and the northwest suburban community. However, there is one, also a former Saint Viator chemistry teacher, that is particularly popular: Fr. John Van Wiel, C.S.V., who will celebrate 50 years of priesthood on Saturday, June 4.

“Our parishioners simply love him,” said Liz Mika of St. Thomas Becket in Mount Prospect, where Van Wiel has volunteered for many years. “He’s the old school good guy.”

Fr. Van Wiel’s 25 years at Saint Viator began in 1988. Previously, he served in a variety of teaching, coaching and administrative positions at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee, Alleman High School in Rock Island, and Griffin High School in Springfield.

Equipped with his masters in Chemistry from the Catholic University of America, he primarily taught Honors and AP Chemistry.

“Fr. (John) Van Wiel helped me develop an interest in science,” Clare Hannon ’15 said. “On Scholastic Bowl, my teammates look to me for questions on history and literature, but after taking honors chemistry with Fr. Van Wiel, I gained confidence in science.”

Fr. Van Wiel in 1988.

Fr. Van Wiel in 1988.

Like most Viatorians, his reach with students often exceeded the classroom. For example, in January, he celebrated with a former student, Br. Peter Lamick, C.S.V. ’07, as he professed the first vows of a religious brother. Fr. Van Wiel served as his novice director for the entire year before his ceremony.

Last summer, the two traveled out to the Villa Desiderata Retreat Center in suburban McHenry, which is run by Br. Patrick Drohan, C.S.V., to fish on Pistakee Bay. As alumni may not know, fly fishing has always been a hobby of Fr. Van Wiel’s.

This summer, however, Fr. Van Wiel has something a bit more special to look forward to. He will be celebrated, along with other Viatorians celebrating ministry milestones, at a jubilee mass in June during the Viatorian Assembly.  

Pictured from left to right: Jennifer Riehman (Assistant Principal at Thomas Jefferson), Larry Sasso (Principal at TJ), Jack Purcell (Scout), Sara Rossi (Reading Specialist at TJ)

Saint Viator Junior Stands Tall In the Free Little Library Movement

Pictured from left to right: Jennifer Riehman (Assistant Principal at Thomas Jefferson), Larry Sasso (Principal at TJ), Jack Purcell (Scout), Sara Rossi (Reading Specialist at TJ)

Pictured from left to right: Jennifer Riehman (Assistant Principal at Thomas Jefferson), Larry Sasso (Principal at Thomas Jefferson), Jack Purcell (Scout), Sara Rossi (Reading Specialist at Thomas Jefferson).

Junior Jack Purcell plays on Saint Viator’s varsity basketball team and for the Shooting Stars AAU team during the offseason. So it should come as no surprise that when brainstorming over an Eagle Scout project, he tossed around sports-related ideas first.

Instead, he wound up pursuing a project that involved his love of building with another passion: promoting reading.

Jack was a star attraction at a dedication ceremony at Thomas Jefferson School in Hoffman Estates, when administrators unveiled their new free little library—made and anchored to the school by Jack.

Wearing his Scout uniform and towering over the young students in attendance, Jack explained his project to the crowd on hand, which included Hoffman Estates village officials as well as administrators with Palatine Township Elementary District 15, and student families.

The new little library looks like a small house, but inside are donated books—in both English and Spanish—that may be taken by youngsters and adults alike from the surrounding community.

“The idea is to take a book, leave a book,” Jack said.

The little library movement was started in Wisconsin in 2009, and with this latest edition—soon to be registered with the Little Free Library organization—there will be more than 36,000 around the world.

Students from Thomas Jefferson placing books in the Little Free Library.

Students from Thomas Jefferson placing books in the Little Free Library.

“I had thought about collecting sports equipment for underserved children, but when I heard about this, I thought it was great.”

“I like building things,” he adds, “and I thought it was a great opportunity for children to love books—and promote literacy.”

He crafted the library out of Honduran mahogany, before adding copper roofing and a shiny lacquer that gives it a glossy shine.

“I thought it turned out well, especially after I applied the lacquer,” says Jack, who is a member of Troop 29, based at St. Anne School in Barrington.

He already is working on a second one, to be installed in the laundry room of the East Park Apartments in Rolling Meadows, where some of the Thomas Jefferson students live.

His project entailed not only the building of the libraries but fundraising for materials. Members of his troop helped him carry out a car wash at the school, which helped get the word out.

Larry Sasso, principal of Thomas Jefferson School, commended Jack—and Mrs. Sara Rossi, the reading specialist who spearheaded the project.

“Not only will this project encourage a love of reading,” Sasso said, “it will also promote a wonderful sense of community.”






Steen Metz at Saint Viator.

Saint Viator Students Asked to Partner with Holocaust Survivor

Steen Metz at Saint Viator.

Steen Metz at Saint Viator.

A Holocaust survivor and the grandfather of Saint Viator High School freshman, Sarah McDermott, appeared before the student body on Tuesday, and at the outset, he made one request: “Be my ambassadors.”

“You are the last generation to hear from a survivor,” Steen Metz of Lincolnshire told the more the nearly 800 freshmen, sophomores and juniors gathered. “I need you to tell my story so people never forget.”

Metz went on to ask them to tell at least four people about what they heard, and that way he will have reached nearly 30,000 people from that one appearance.

Since 2011, when Metz began telling his story to groups, he figures he has spoken to more than 28,000 people, most of whom he says have been students.

“If you multiply that by four,” he adds, “I’ve reached more than 100,000 people. It’s become my mission, my passion and my life’s work to talk to students like yourselves.”

Metz went on to describe his background of growing up in Odense, Denmark, near Copenhagen, when his world was shattered in 1940, the day the Nazis invaded Denmark.

At the time, Metz was 5. He and his parents lived in a third-floor apartment, and his father worked as a litigation attorney while his mother was a homemaker. The family continued their normal routine for three years after the occupation, until a fateful day in October of 1942, when the Gestapo knocked on their door.


Steen Metz with his granddaughter, Sarah McDermott ’19, presenting to the student body.

“I was very aware of the occupation. Bicycling to and from school, I would see the Nazi officers walking down the street and I avoided them,” he told the students. “But I didn’t know why they came to our apartment. I didn’t know I was Jewish. All I knew was that I was a Dane.”

He and his parents spent three days and nights in a boxcar—in complete darkness—jammed with others. Ultimately, they traveled 550 miles to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia.

Metz described how there was no gas chamber, but instead it was a forced labor camp, where prisoners slept in flea and lice-infested barracks, with soup made of broth and the skins of potatoes leftover from the Nazis.

His father died of starvation within six months after arriving, leaving Metz and his mother to carry on. She worked in a factory splintering minerals used in insulation of war machines while young Metz was a message carrier.

There was no school for the more than 15,000 children who passed through there. When Metz returned to Theresienstadt many years later, he learned that less than 10 percent of those children had survived.

Ultimately, on April 15, 1945, prisoners at Theresienstadt were liberated by the Red Cross from Sweden. Their release came less than one month before the end of the war and one month before the opening of a newly installed gas chamber at the camp.

Metz returned to his home in Odense, and his school. He went on to graduate from high school and commercial college before building a career in the food industry, which took him to England Canada, where he met his wife.

The couple moved to Chicago in 1962, but it wasn’t until a dozen years after his retirement in 1999 that he began to publicly tell his story. He now has written a book, “A Danish Boy in Theresienstadt: Reflections of a Holocaust Survivor.”

After his presentation, students had time for only a couple of questions, including one by freshman Brad Kessler: “How did you keep up hope?”

“I heard my mother tell a reporter that we never gave up hope, that we couldn’t afford to. But we often wondered where was God,” Metz said candidly. “How could God let this happen.”

Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, president, encouraged students to not only tell Metz’s story to four people but to stand up against bigotry, hatred and stereotypes of other religions.

“I feel like we’re standing in the presence of greatness, of goodness—of holiness,” Fr. Brost said to Metz. “We have been blessed to have heard this story from an angel.”

Afterward, students in the audience, led by junior Beau Kellner, gave Metz a heartfelt standing ovation.

“I just thought it was very moving to hear his story; I’ve never heard anything like that,” Beau said. “It’s so important that we never let this die.”

Watch his presentation below:


matt saey

#TeacherTuesday–Coach Matt Saey and Richard McLoughlin

matt saey

Coach Matt Saey with Class of 2015 alumni.

When Coach Matt Saey joined the Saint Viator community in August of 2010, he was the only full-time Catholic high school strength and conditioning coach in the northwest suburbs as well as in the ESCC.

Thanks to the generous support of donors at that year’s Million Dollar Classic golf outing, his position was made possible.

“As high school sports become more competitive, this will allow our students the resources to become faster and stronger as they work to continue the tradition of success in athletics here at Saint Viator,” said Tim Carlson, the school athletic director at the time.

Since 2010, the strength and conditioning coaching position has enabled coaches to focus more time on their team, strategy and game fundamentals, and has enhanced safety in the weight room and on the field.


Coach Rich McLoughlin, Saint Viator’s strength and conditioning coach.

When Richard McLoughlin ’10 took over the role in January of 2015, the Murphy Wellness Center had been completely updated.

“We got rid of the selectorized equipment and took down the cage that separated the room into two. Then we updated all the old equipment, added six-half racks, five leg stations, four functional trainer stations, and a lot of medicine balls,” Saey said of the renovation that was made possible by money raised at the 2012 Million Dollar Classic.  

The new and improved space now sees more students than ever, as over 80% of our students participate in one or more sport. Coach McLoughlin works with each in-season team once a week, and our athletes continue to improve.

“Rich’s ability to connect with the kids and coaches has allowed for a growth and passion for what happens in the Murphy Wellness Center,” said athletic director, Marty Jennings. “I am thankful for the MDC and Saint Viator High School’s commitment to this program, and I am thrilled that Rich is in charge of it.”

“We’re developing athletes for the future,” said Carlson. “They’re developing skills for lifelong fitness in addition to those that will help their specific sport.”

For example, just last week we celebrated another eight student-athletes commit to playing at the college level. And with the 13 students who signed letters of intent earlier this year, that means more than 20 Saint Viator Lions will pursue their sports in college.  

To continue to support Saint Viator athletes, sign up for the 21st annual Million Dollar Classic, which was established to benefit the entire Saint Viator Athletic Program. This day of fun has generated over $2.5 Million for Saint Viator’s athletic programs.

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Celebrating Heroism on the Baseball Diamond


Frank Saverino ’19 and Jim Trauscht.

A rare meeting took place Friday morning in Saint Viator’s administration office, between the starting catcher on the boys’ freshmen baseball team and the father of an opposing player from Benet Academy.

While these types of meetings usually result from a scuffle or poor sportsmanship during the heat of the moment, this meeting had a different outcome.

“Frank, you’re made out of the right stuff,” Jim Trauscht told freshman Frank Saverino. “When you do something right, you should be rewarded.”

Trauscht made a special trip to Saint Viator to present Frank with a gift certificate and to personally thank him for attending to his son, who had 190414collapsed at the plate after being struck in the face by a foul ball — that had careened off his own bat.

“He drilled it off the barrel of the bat,” Trauscht said, “and it came back and hit him right in the eye.”

Luckily, Matt Trauscht was wearing protective goggles, but the force of the hit caused deep lacerations above and below his eye and heavy bleeding. The blow caused him to collapse, his coaches said, and he covered his face with his hands.

What happened next, the Benet coach said, he will never forget.

“Your freshmen catcher, knelt down beside Matt, reached out and grabbed his hand,” says Michael Kazlauskas, head coach of the Redwings. “By the time I arrived to the plate, Frank was speaking to Matt trying to keep him calm.”

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Frank catching for the Lions at the April 16th game against Nazareth Academy.

“He was instructing him to breathe and assuring him that he would be OK,” Kazlauskas added, “saying that it was simply a cut and that his eye was fine.”

Matt was eventually carted off the field and rushed to the hospital, where he received several stitches to the wounds.

“Your diagnosis was spot-on. It was just a cut, there were no fractures,” Trauscht said. “You gave me the comfort I needed. When I got there and saw all the blood, I needed to hear that. One day, you’ll be a father and you’ll understand.”

Frank pointed to his cousin and uncle who are paramedics, as well as his father, who is a former police officer, as role models. He also pointed to his first aid training and CPR certification obtained through physical education classes at Saint Viator. He added that he hopes to become a paramedic, that is, if he doesn’t make it as a professional athlete.

Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal, observed the meeting and thanked Trauscht for coming, noting that as players for rival schools in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, the incident could have had a different outcome.

“This is what Catholic education is all about,” Mrs. Manno said. “We hope we’re teaching students about life and serving others, that it’s more than the competition on the playing field.”




Celebrating College-Bound Student-Athletes


From left to right, top row: Joey McIntyre, Joey Hynes, Patrick Hickey and Miles McDonnell. Bottom row: Eric Mitalo, Max Hogan, Shaun Falbo and Patton Fitzpatrick.

A total of eight more student-athletes took their seats at the signing table on Wednesday, signaling their commitment to play at the college level. All eight will play at the Division III or the NAIA level—and they will take their Saint Viator experience with them.

With the 13 student-athletes who signed letters of intent earlier this year, on national signing days in November and February, that means more than 20 Saint Viator Lions will continue to pursue their sports in college.

“You are all tremendous representatives of this high school,” said Mr. Martin Jennings, athletic director. “You have taken your passion and love of the game and are ready to take it to the next level, and we are extremely proud of you.”

One by one, students expressed their thanks to their coaches and parents for all of their guidance—and sacrifices—over the years.
“I want to thank Coach (Chris) Boylan, for all the life lessons I learned—that go beyond the playing field,” said Max Hogan, who only started playing volleyball in eighth grade and now will be playing at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA.
His classmate, Shaun Falbo, thanked Coach Mike Manno for his wise counsel in leading the baseball program.

“He always preached to us that it was a gift to be able to play the game, and I want to thank him for that,” said Shaun, who will continue playing baseball for the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.

Senior Patrick Hickey pointed to the soccer team’s triumphant trip to downstate, his junior year, only to lose in the semi-finals.

“That’s when I realized that I wanted to keep playing. I wanted to come back and finish business,” said Patrick, who now will play soccer at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.

His soccer teammate, Miles McDonnell, thanked Coach Mike Taylor for his encouragement through his four years.

“There were so many great moments during my four years playing here,” Miles said, “that I realized I really wanted to keep playing.”

Fr. Perham in 1965.

#TeacherTuesday — Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV

Fr. Perham in 1965.

Fr. Perham in 1965.

Fr. Arnold Perham celebrated a rare milestone in February: his 60th jubilee as a priest—and all but five of those years have been spent teaching mathematics at Saint Viator High School.

But don’t expect him to spend much time celebrating. He’s too busy. Although he retired from full time teaching in 2010, he continues to spend every morning at the high school, tutoring students in the math lab, preparing challenging projects for the Querbes Scholars and working individually with math team members.

Two of those math team competitors, juniors Patrick Harris and Orest Byskosh—the son of a former student of Fr. Perham’s—recently placed third in the state in their oral competition after working with Fr. Perham.

Fr. Perham was always an innovator in the classroom. He was an early proponent of computer technology and more recently, he has turned to mobile apps to advance students’ work.

Fr. Perham and Nina Byskosh.

Fr. Perham and Nina Byskosh ’14.

“I love it,” Fr. Perham says. “It gives me a reason to get up in the morning. Any time you can work with young people, it’s a good thing.”

Fr. Perham’s work continues to resonate with graduates. Take Jim Fruchterman ’76, a former rocket scientist who started his own nonprofit company in Silicon Valley, to empower persons with disabilities through technology.

“At Saint Viator, I met priests who combined a love of math and science, with a life of service,” Fruchterman said. “Especially Fr. (Arnold) Perham and Fr. (John) Milton, they were the ones who got me going and set me on this path.”

Join us in honoring Fr. Perham Saturday, March 4 at Night of the Lion.


Color Crest

Class of 2016 Earns Near Record-Breaking Scholarship Amounts

The numbers for the Class of 2016 are in—and they are top notch.

Before they graduate on Sunday, consider the amount of scholarship money class members have drawn, as well as some of the schools where they are being accepted.

In all, class members have been offered more than $26 million in scholarships—or a total of 555 scholarships awarded to 150 students.

They range from National Merit and Division I athletic scholarships; to presidential scholarships for merit, as well as Evans Scholarship from the Western Golf Association for full tuition and housing, and the Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Scholarship.

One student was awarded the Gina Giancola SAFE Foundation Scholarship, in memory of a former Hersey High School student, and another won the Girl Scout Gold Award Scholarship while Marquette University awarded nearly $2.5 million through its Pere Marquette Awards.

College choices for the Class of 2016 include some of the country’s most selective schools, including the Ivy League, Columbia University, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, University of Notre Dame, University of California, Berkeley, University of Southern California and Vanderbilt University.

Top choices of reporting seniors included Marquette University with 13, Loyola University Chicago with 12 and the University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign with 11.

Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal, says the amount of scholarship money and impressive college choices reflect the rigorous academic mission of the school. She points to Saint Viator’s college prep origin, in which the school aims to prepare students for college—and beyond.

“We shape young men and women to not only be successful in the classroom,” Mrs. Manno says, “but to be leaders in academics, athletics, faith and service to others.”

Class of 2016 College Choices:
Arizona State University
Auburn University
Augustana College
Ball State University
Baylor University
Belmont University
Benedictine University
Binghamton University
Boston University
Bradley University
Butler University
Carleton College
Carroll University (Wisconsin)
Central College
Clemson University
College of the Holy Cross
Colorado State University
Columbia College Chicago
Columbia University
Cornell College
Creighton University
Denison University
DePaul University
Dominican University
Drake University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach
Holy Cross College
Illinois State University
Illinois Wesleyan University
Indiana University at Bloomington
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Iowa State University
Lewis University
Loras College
Loyola University Chicago
Marquette University
Miami University, Oxford
Michigan State University
North Central College
Northeastern University
Northern Arizona University
Northwestern University
Purdue University
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Saint Louis University
Saint Mary’s College
Salisbury University
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
St. Ambrose University
St. Norbert College
Texas Christian University
Ohio State University
University of Alabama
University of Arizona
University of Iowa
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, San Diego
University of Chicago
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Dayton
University of Evansville
University of Houston
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Kansas
University of Kentucky
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
University of Miami
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
University of Missouri-Columbia
University of Notre Dame
University of Oklahoma
University of Rochester
University of South Carolina
University of Southern California
University of St. Thomas
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
University of Wisconsin, Madison
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
University of Wisconsin, Whitewater
Vanderbilt University
Villanova University
Western Illinois University
Western Michigan University
William Rainey Harper College

Check out the Viator Voice Senior Issue!

Connor Romenesko '11.

Alum Immersed in Criminal Justice Reform

Connor Romenesko '11.

Connor Romenesko ’11.

Connor Romenesko ’11 studied political science, international studies, and peace and justice studies during his four years at St. Norbert College in DuPere, Wisc. After graduating in 2015, he is now taking his passion for service into the real world.

Since August, he has been working as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, spending a year of service working at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, as a criminal justice intake specialist.

“I answer calls and letters from individuals who are incarcerated—and their loved ones—whose rights are being violated in the criminal justice system in Georgia and Alabama,” Connor explains. “I also work on investigations which can be as simple as going to a tiny courthouse in South Georgia, to picking up records or interviewing individuals who are incarcerated.”

Connor says he is surrounded by lawyers at the Southern Center for Human Rights, who provide legal representation to people facing the death penalty. They also challenge human rights violations in prisons and work to improve legal representation for poor people accused of crimes.

“I’ve always been interested in the law and policy,” Connor says. “When I started researching inequality in the criminal justice system, I began seeing a way to create an option for the poor and under-represented in the criminal justice system.”

“This ultimately led to me looking to serve at legal advocacy organizations through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps,” he adds, “and brought me to the Southern Center.”

Connor already has been accepted into several law schools, which he hopes to start in the fall. Earning his law degree, he says would allow him to continue his quest to advocate for the under-represented in the criminal justice system.

Ultimately, Connor points back to his years at Saint Viator as formative ones, which instilled in him a passion for serving the poor.

“The Viatorians have had a major impact on my college life,” Connor said during a 2013 interview. “My time on campus has involved doing service and working for justice. This passion was sparked during my religion class at Saint Viator—and the Viatorians have been helping me pursue this passion to this day.”

Nicholas Stodola '16.

After Summers Spent Caddying, Two Saint Viator Seniors Land Its Biggest Prize: the Evans Scholarship

Nicholas Stodola '16.

Nicholas Stodola ’16.

Angela Bogusz '16.

Angela Bogusz ’16.

Seniors Angela Bogusz and Nick Stodola joined an elite group this spring when they learned they had been named Evans Scholars by the Western Golf Association.

Their scholarships are awarded by the Evans Scholars Foundation, which is a charitable trust that provides full, four-year tuition and housing college scholarships to deserving caddies. The program dates back to 1930 and is named for Chick Evans, one of golf’s greatest amateurs.

Applicants must have a strong caddie record, including recommendations from members, as well as excellent grades, financial need and outstanding character, according to the WGA website.

For Angela, winning the scholarship will enable her to attend the University of Illinois in Champaign, where she hopes to major in speech pathology while Nick will attend Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he plans to major in biology.

Angela has worked the last three summers as a caddie at Park Ridge Country Club, literally following in the footsteps of her older two brothers, who also earned Evans Scholarships. Her oldest brother, Matthew, attended Northwestern and now serves as mayor of Des Plaines, while her middle brother, Phillip, attended the University of Illinois.

Although she had never played golf when she first attended caddie training, she quickly learned the course, as well which clubs to hand to members and even how to help players on the greens.

“I love to read putts,” she proclaims, pointing to the rugged nature of the 100-year old club.

Watching her older brothers earn the scholarship, motivated Angela, she says. Most days, she tries to go out on two loops—it’s a great workout, she says—and she has learned to think on her feet and talk to members.

“I’ve made relationships that will help for the rest of my life,” Angela says. “It’s a great network.”

Nick started caddying after seventh grade at Ivanhoe Country Club, located in Lake County near Mundelein. Unlike Angela, he was not aware of the scholarship, but he fit the profile of deserving caddies that WGA members are trying to help.

“I heard about the scholarship through my caddy master,” Nick says. “He knew I had a single mother.”

Adapting to caddying and carrying 40-pound golf bags was not as big a transition for Nick as it was for Angela. Nick played football during his four years at Saint Viator, playing both wide receiver and cornerback for the Lions. In fact, during summers, he would caddie in the morning and then head to school to workout at football camp.

Both students say the multi-step interview process was grueling, but they sensed WGA members were impressed with their level of involvement at school.

Angela has played tennis all four years, appeared in the musical during the winter and participated with Campus Ministry, as a leader on the liturgy team, while Nick played football and lacrosse each year.

Both students now join a brotherhood that spans generations. Currently, 910 caddies are enrolled in 19 colleges across the nation as Evans Scholars, and more than 10,000 caddies have graduated as Evans Scholars since the program was founded.

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