Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: May 2016 (Page 2 of 2)

Color Crest

Golfer, Cross Country Runner and Family Tradition: Class of 2016 Valedictorian and Salutatorians Announced

Class of 2016 valedictorian, Liam Warner.

Class of 2016 valedictorian, Liam Warner.

Seniors Liam Warner, Mark Perkowski, and Nicholas Spanier have been enrolled in many of the same honors and AP classes since freshman year and it resulted in a friendly competition that pushed the three to the top of their class. Literally.

This spring, Saint Viator administrators announced that Liam had been named valedictorian and Mark and Nick were co-salutatorians for the Class of 2016.

“We are extremely proud of these young men,” says Principal Eileen Manno. “They are all taking the most rigorous curriculum possible and have risen to become the intellectual leaders of the school.”

All three are part of the Querbes Scholars program, and their intellects were on display at both of the academic symposiums presented this semester. The forum pushed participants to think on their feet and articulate their positions on matters of public policy, before an audience of their peers, faculty and family members.

Class of 2016 co-salutatorian, Mark Perkowski.

Class of 2016 co-salutatorian, Mark Perkowski.

Yet, the three scholars have more going for themselves than their smarts.

Take Liam. He served as captain of the golf team last fall, as co-editor in chief of the Viator Voice newspaper and as a leader on the Scholastic Bowl team. Closer to his home in Barrington, he regularly volunteers at the FISH food pantry in Carpentersville.

This fall, he will be heading to Columbia University, an Ivy League research university located in Upper Manhattan. Liam plans to study economics, with the hopes of learning more about the “physics of people,” as he calls it and learn about major socio-economic trends in the world.

Mark follows in the footsteps of his older brother and sister, who both were salutatorians of their class—Greg in 2011 and Renee in 2014. Both went on to major in pre-med, and Greg now is enrolled at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, while Renee just completed her junior year at Loyola University.

Class of 2016 co-salutatorian, Nicholas Spanier.

Class of 2016 co-salutatorian, Nicholas Spanier.

In keeping with the family tradition—their father, Dr. Adam Perkowski is a cardiologist on staff at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village—Mark has been accepted into the University of Illinois at Chicago’s pre-med program, which guarantees him a spot in its medical school.

“I’m excited to get ahead on something I feel so passionately about,” says Mark, who has participated in the Spanish and Math clubs at Saint Viator.

Nick is a state qualifier in cross country and an Eagle Scout. Consequently, he brought that goal-oriented attitude to his studies, where he excelled in math. He will be attending Miami University in Oxford, Ohio this fall, which he chose for its math program, which will allow him to pursue an accelerated master’s degree in statistics.

“My teachers and classmates here at Saint Viator,” Nick says, “have helped to create an environment where exploring and understanding math was encouraged.”

Manno (second from right) with baseball coaching staff in 2006.

Milestone Victory for Head Baseball Coach


The 2016 varsity baseball team on Senior Night Monday, May 2.

Saint Viator’s baseball team still has six more regular season games before starting sectional play June 1, but its head coach already recorded an important victory earlier this month, when he reached 200 victories.

It came in dramatic fashion. The Lions came from behind to beat ESCC foe, Marian Central Catholic High School, 8-7 in 10 innings.

Manno (second from right) with baseball coaching staff in 2006.

Manno (second from right) with baseball coaching staff in 2006.

Coach Mike Manno has led the Lions as head baseball coach since 2006, after becoming the assistant athletic director in 2005. He is a 1994 Saint Viator graduate, who returned to his alma mater to begin coaching in 1998-99 as an assistant coach for soccer, basketball, and baseball. Since the 2013-14 season, Coach Manno also has been the head sophomore boys’ basketball coach.

Already this year, Coach Manno has seen four of his current players sign letters of intent to play in college, including Mike Ragauskis, who will be playing for the University of Oklahoma, Jack Coney at Purdue, Kevin Napoleon at Butler and Shaun Falbo at the University of St. Thomas.

The milestone victory drew attention in the media as well as from the president’s office at Saint Viator.

“This is something special,” says Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, president. “For many years, Mike has mentored boys into becoming young men of integrity, hard work, passion, commitment, selflessness, and faith.

“The 200th victory is wonderful,” Fr. Brost adds. “But even more wonderful is the fact that it causes us to think about the hundreds of young men whose lives have been shaped by Viatorian values because of Mike’s commitment—win or lose.”

The girls water polo team with head coach Lisa Torii and boys water polo assistant coach Maureen Martin.

Girls Water Polo Returns to Saint Viator

The girls water polo team with head coach Lisa Torii and boys water polo assistant coach Maureen Martin.

The girls water polo team with head coach Lisa Torii and boys water polo assistant coach Maureen Martin.

The Saint Viator girls water polo team lost their opening sectional game on Tuesday to the Lady Grenadiers at Elk Grove High School—but the Lions may have won the war.

This season, the Lady Lions fielded a full varsity team after drawing only two girls last season, who wound up playing on the boys junior varsity team.

They finished their regular season with a record of 3-14, and lost in the first round of Metro Catholic Aquatic Conference (MCAC) to DeLaSalle Institute before their quick exit at sectionals.

Credit senior Megan Drake with bringing the team back. When she saw that 10 freshmen came out last fall for girls swimming, she quickly began campaigning for them to join water polo.

“I felt I had to keep the program alive, for all of the upperclassmen who had built the program,” said Drake, a driver on the team and senior captain who scored the team’s only goal at sectionals. “I wanted to keep the legacy growing. It’s such a great sport.”

Of the 10 freshmen swimmers, few, if any, had ever played water polo before.

“It’s so intense,” said Julie Warren ’19. “It’s not like swimming, which is pretty much an individual sport. We all had to learn to play as a team.”

Her teammate, Paige Laskiewicz ’19, agreed: “It took a long time to learn all the rules, and just what’s a foul and what leads to an ejection.”

They had a good mentor in head coach Lisa Torii, ‘08. She played water polo at Saint Viator before playing for the Division II Pioneers at Utica College in upstate New York. Torii stayed at Utica for another three years after graduation, earning her doctorate in physical therapy.

“The girls have exceeded my expectations,” Torii says. “They’ve picked up the game quickly and continue to grow as a team. Every time they’re in the water, they’re growing. As a core group, if they stay together they can really make a splash at sectionals.”

Mrs. Cairo this winter.

#TeacherTuesday — Mrs. Eileen Cairo

Mrs. Cairo in 1996.

Mrs. Cairo in 1996.

Who: Mrs. Eileen Cairo

Classes: Science (Biology, Honors Biology, AP Biology, etc.)

Also serves as: Science department chairperson

Contributed to: The implementation of the 1:1 iPad program, the selection of the new school president, Mr. Brian Liedlich (among other initiatives)

You may also know her: sons, Sam ’07 and Louis ’10; best friend and former science teacher, Patty Bruce

Remembered by recent alumni:

“Thanks, Mrs. Cairo, for teaching me everything I need to know for college and life in general.”
-Caitlin Bremner ’14

Mrs. Cairo this winter.

Mrs. Cairo this winter.

“Thanks, Mrs. Cairo, for being the best teacher of all time–amazing teacher and overall awesome person.”
-Megan McCollum ’14

“My favorite memory from my time at Saint Viator is 4th period AP Bio with Mrs. Cairo my junior year.”
-Gregory Perkowski ’11



Math Team Brings Home the Hardware From State Contest at University of Illinois

IMG_1129Saint Viator High School is making a name for itself in mathematics circles. For the second straight year, the entire math team qualified for the state championship, hosted by the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The championship took place last weekend, in historic Altgeld Hall—home of the mathematics department—on the campus of the University of Illinois at Champaign.

Overall, the team placed 12th at state—out of 48 teams—in its 2A division.

“I am very proud of our math team,” says Mrs. Cheryl Nowak, math team moderator. “We moved up to 12th place this year, from 16th place last year. We will be losing some valuable seniors but we have strong sophomore and junior representation that will be with us next year.”

The oral team—that included Patrick Harris and Orest Byskosh—took 3rd place in the division. They were coached by Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV.

In pre-calculus, the Saint Viator team took 5th—out of 28 teams—and included Drew Morton, Jenny Chen, Michael Zhuang, Si Wu, Simon Mo and Jiayi Lu.

As part of the individual competition in pre-calculus, Drew Morton took 9th—out of 116—and Jenny Chen placed 18th in the Class 2A division.

Saint Viator’s algebra II team came in 9th—out of 31 teams—in its division. Members included: Kaitlyn Solarz, Patrick Harris, Orest Byskosh, Eun Jung You, Wentao Yang and Cassie Zhang.

Among individuals, junior Kaitlyn Solarz placed 17th—out of 137—in Algebra II.

In geometry, Saint Viator’s team came in 15th—out of 30 teams—in Class 2A. Its members included Thomas Stanila, Joanne Jun, Meghan Fleming, Greta Zimmerman and Marcus Lannie.

Additionally, Thomas Stanila took 12th—out of 131 in the individual competition in geometry.

Saint Viator’s Junior/ Senior 8 person team took 16th—out 26 teams—and included Joanne Jun, Thomas Stanila, Kaitlyn Solarz, Eun Jung You, Jaiyi Lu, Si Wu, Jenny Chen and Wentao Yang.

The calculator team took 8th—out of 23 teams—and included Marcus Lannie, Greta Zimmerman, Patrick Harris, Cassie Zhang and senior Drew Morton.

Finally, Saint Viator’s Junior/ Senior two-person team took 10th—of 22 teams—fueled by the success of Simon Mo and Michael Zhuang.


Freshman Places Sixth at USA Gymnastics Eastern Championships

Isabella Pierce '19.

Isabella Pierce ’19.

Each day after school, Saint Viator freshman, Isabella Pierce, makes the 45-minute commute from school to Aerial Gymnastics Club in Downers Grove, where she trains four hours a day, six days a week, year-round in competitive gymnastics under USA gymnastics coaches.

Then, it’s another 45-minute ride to her home in Elgin, where she continues to work on her homework.

“It’s late nights,” Bella concedes.

Her dedication is paying off. Just last weekend, Bella competed in Level 9 at USA Gymnastics’ Eastern Championships—considered the national championships for the Midwest and Eastern states—in Virginia Beach.

FT4T3205_fbIn doing so, she was one of just two Illinois teenage gymnasts to advance, as part of the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics program—and one of the top seven gymnasts from Region 5, which takes in athletes from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Her specialty is balance beam, but the all-around competition is a close second. At regionals, held last month in Bourbonnais, Bella took first place in beam and second in all-around, propelling her to nationals.

At the three-day national tournament, held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Bella placed among the top six gymnasts on the balance beam, in her 14-year old age division, while also scoring a 9.475 out of a possible score of 10 in the vault event.

For the vault alone, Bella completed the difficult Yurchenko layout, which starts out with a roundoff, flip-flop entry onto a springboard, before landing over the vaulting table.

FT4T3247_4x6“I took one step on the landing,” Bella says, “so they docked my score.”

She has been practicing the move since last summer, but this week she starts taking her skills up a level, in order to begin competing at Level 10, or the highest level in USA Gymnastics.

“My goal is to compete in college,” Bella says. “I’d love to go to the Olympics, but those athletes train 40 hours a week and that’s way too intense. My dream is to earn a scholarship to college.”

Her extracurriculars should help. Bella also sings in the Treble Choir, made up of freshmen and sophomore girls, and she serves in the Ambassador Club.



Varsity Softball Seniors Honor Their Favorite Teachers During Pre-Game Ceremony

Saint Viator’s varsity softball team will hold its Senior Day May 17 when they host Highland Park High School, but they launched a new tradition Monday when the Lady Lions hosted Marion Central Catholic High School, and this year’s four seniors honored their favorite teacher during a pre-game ceremony.

“I have often heard teachers say that what they find most rewarding is when graduates come up to them years later and say how much they how much they enjoyed their class or how inspiring the teacher was,” says Head Coach John Scotillo. “We thought it would be nice if our seniors were able to say that thank you, today—rather than years from now.”

Coach Scotillo told the seniors to take a few days to think it over, but they didn’t need that much time.

“The four teachers they selected must have made quite an impression because none of the girls needed even a moment to think about it,” he says. “They answered right away with the names of the teachers that meant the most to them during their four years at Saint Viator.”

Olivia Michalik selected religion teacher and Saint Viator President, Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, while Roxanne Kowalczuk chose guidance counselor, Mr. Joe Majkowski. Catherine Hafner chose math teacher, Mrs. Cheryl Nowak, and Meg Naughton chose biology teacher and science department chair, Mrs. Eileen Cairo.

“Teachers, for the most part, are unsung heroes,” Coach Scotillo adds. “I think the girls just wanted the teachers to know how much they meant to them these last four years.”


From Cheerleading to Service Leader: Busy Saint Viator Junior Earns Perfect ACT Score


Kaitlyn Solarz ’17.

Kaitlyn Solarz, a junior at Saint Viator High School from Arlington Heights, will join the math team on Saturday when they travel to the University of Illinois in Champaign, to compete at the state contest hosted by the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

But Kaitlyn brings an added layer of confidence: She learned last month that she earned a perfect score on the ACT, a 36. In doing so, she joins a select group. Nationally, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earns the top score.

“Kaitlyn is a terrific young lady, who is an all-around, excellent student,” says Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal. “She loves to learn and that’s really evident.”

Currently, Kaitlyn is in the midst of taking AP exams. To date, she has taken six AP courses and next year, she is enrolled in four more. What’s more, she is currently enrolled in the school’s highest level math class, its AP calculus BC, as well as honors physics and honors French IV among her academic load.

Kaitlyn attended Juliette Low School in Arlington Heights, where she skipped kindergarten and entered first grade. Consequently, she is just 15 years old. She then attended Holmes Junior High School in Mount Prospect before attending Saint Viator.

“I started out on the honors track, but my teachers here really helped me accelerate,” Kaitlyn said. “They took an interest in me and helped me personally to succeed.”


Kaitlyn Solarz (far right) with classmates at Argonne National Lab.

Kaitlyn learned of her perfect score online, but she received a follow-up letter from Marten Roorda, CEO of the ACT, recognizing her for her exceptional achievement.

“Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare,” Roorda said. “While test scores are just one of multiple criteria that most colleges consider when making admission decisions, your exceptional ACT composite score should prove helpful as you pursue your education and career goals.”

Kaitlyn says she loves math and science, and she recently joined her physics teacher and six other classmates in visiting Argonne National Lab and its Science Careers in Search of Women conference.

“It opened up a world of new possibilities for my future,” Kaitlyn said afterward, “and I am eager to find a path which blends my passion for both math and science.”

Earning a perfect ACT score, she admits, opens up a whole new spectrum of possibilities, but so should her involvement in wide-ranging activities.


Kaitlyn Solarz (third from right).

Kaitlyn is a junior captain of the varsity cheerleading squad, and she also helps to lead the Service & Song Camp at Saint Viator during the summer. Along with the math team, she also is a co-leader of the Youth for the Elderly Club and accompanies classmates to St. Joseph Home for the Elderly in Palatine every other week to visit with residents.

“She’s really driven and somehow finds time to do all these things,” says her counselor, Mr. Joe Majkowski. “I’ve really seen her blossom over her three years. She’s become increasingly independent and assertive, and her peers see her as an academic leader.”


Awards, Ovations and Tributes: 2016 Night of the Lion Also Raises Funds for Scholarship & Grant Program


Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV and Fr. Corey Brost, CSV.

The Night of the Lion fundraiser for Saint Viator High School turned out to be a historic event last month. It started with a tribute to its president, Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, who announced in November that he will pursue a ministry in peace and justice at the end of his three-year term.

“You have had a passion for the ministry of a president that all of us have witnessed,” Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial and president of the board of governors. “Your passion for teaching students has called them to something greater, and for your passion and leadership, we thank you.”

Fr. Brost drew a standing ovation from the crowd gathered at the Stonegate Conference and Banquet Centre in Hoffman Estates. He described his years at Saint Viator as an “incredible blessing.”

“It’s so important that we are here tonight to celebrate the excellence that is Saint Viator High School,” Fr. Brost said. “We form kids in faith and service—as well as in academics.”


Brian Liedlich.

“I am a better man, a better religious and a better priest because of the kids, parents and supporters here at Saint Viator High School,” he added. “I have seen the face of God in these students, and I will be eternally grateful.”

Fr. von Behren also introduced the incoming president, Mr. Brian Liedlich, a sitting member of the board of trustees, former administrator, and current parent.

“We were able to find not just a good person, but the right person,” Fr. von Behren said.

The evening also showcased a pair of distinguished alumni. Dr. Mildred Olivier, a 1978 Sacred Heart of Mary graduate and ophthalmologist, introduced them. Dr. Olivier herself received the award in 2012 for her work in Haiti in preventing glaucoma—and blindness—in the Third World country.


Kate Costello ’70, Dr. Mildred Olivier ’78, and Chuck Heinrich ’65.

She introduced Chuck Heinrich, class of 1965, first. He worked as a police officer in Arlington Heights for 21 years before serving another 20 years as an air marshal for the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Homeland Security. He, too, received a standing ovation.

“Along with other Viatorian alumni, we share a very special pedigree,” Heinrich said. “When you’re a Lion, you’re a Lion for life.”

Mrs. Kate Costello received the second alumni award. She has directed fall plays and musicals at Saint Viator High School for 17 years, giving back to the same theater program and stage where she got her own start.

Mrs. Costello described her job as a labor of love, especially when she works with a student who’s not the star, and might be having trouble communicating or fitting in.


F. Michael Covey III and Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV.

“My real reward is the opportunity to try and work small miracles every day with the young men and women at Saint Viator High School,” Mrs. Costello said.

Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, a former president of Saint Viator, introduced the recipient of the first Loyal Hearts Leadership Award, Frank M. Covey, Jr. Mr. Covey, who passed away in 2012, helped guide the merger of Sacred Heart of Mary and Saint Viator into a co-educational institution as its first board president.

“Frank was a great servant leader,” Fr. Bolser said, “who gave us vision—and hope.”

In accepting his award, his son, F. Michael Covey III announced the formation of the Frank M. Covey Jr. Endowment for Faculty Fund to be set up at the school.


Steve Cashman and Fr. Corey Brost, CSV.


“Faith, family, and education,” Mr. Covey said. “Those are the values my dad instilled in us and they continue to guide us to this day.”

Members of the Cashman Stahler Group of architects received the first Lion Business Partner Award. The Lombard-based architecture company has helped shape the modern footprint of Saint Viator High School, transforming everything from its Boler Center fieldhouse and classrooms, to its new Querbes Hall dining center, fine arts facilities, and Academic Commons.

“They have gone above and beyond,” said Steve Burks, director of building and grounds, “in supporting and embracing the mission of Saint Viator High School.”



Mr. Tom Nall in 1988.

#TeacherTuesday — Mr. Tom Nall

Mr. Tom Nall in 1988.

Mr. Tom Nall in 1988.

Traditional is probably the last word alumni would use to describe former Saint Viator history teacher, Mr. Tom Nall.

“Being in his classroom was an experience that no student forgot and one they looked forward to each day,” Principal Eileen Manno said at the 2012 faculty luncheon, Mr. Nall’s last end-of-the-year luncheon after 28 years at Saint Viator. “He was innovative and entertaining, and loved by his students and colleagues.”

Class of 2015 valedictorian, Mack Rooney, may have only had Mr. Nall for his freshman year Modern World History class, but his teachings still resonated as he prepared to graduate.

“Mr. Nall had a lot of interesting views, he opened my mind to different viewpoints and opinions,” he said.

Mr. Nall with Sean Ivers '06.

Mr. Nall with Sean Ivers ’06.

While many students remember him for his history classes like Western Civilization, Mr. Nall’s career at Saint Viator began in athletics. He started at Sacred Heart of Mary High School as a coach and athletic director in 1984 before coming to Saint Viator in 1987 when the two schools merged. Over the years, he also served as a department chair and Social Action Tribe club moderator.

He was known to challenge his students and encourage critical thinking by asking a lot of questions in class.

“By asking those questions, I’m bringing out ideas and knowledge that’s in your head,” he said in

Mr. Tom Nall in 2011.

Mr. Tom Nall in 2011.

an interview with Ben Paolelli ’15 in the December 2011 Viator Voice. “The trick is trying to get the

kid to ask those questions, because you don’t want me running around with you for the rest of your life.”

Little did he know, he and his teachings would live on in nearly three decades’ worth of Saint Viator alumni…and when asked to describe him, he’s remembered by many as “the best teacher I ever had.”

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