Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: September 2016


Saint Viator Students Confront Race, Religion and Class as Jurors in Courtoom Drama


Kimm Beavers, managing producer, encouraged dialogue after the verdict was read.

Racial profiling, anti-semitism, interfaith marriage and segregation.

Those were just a few of the underlying themes in a courtroom drama that played out Thursday before Saint Viator’s upperclassmen.

Every junior and senior, as well as Querbes Scholars, heard a highly charged defamation case brought before them by members of Canamac Productions, in a presentation called, “Defamation.”

“This play illuminates our ability to be objective—and how that is swayed by our own biases,” said Kimm Beavers, managing producer. “You can’t escape your own biases; we all have them. It’s how we look at things.”

Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal, agreed and thought Saint Viator students needed to confront their own perceptions.

“As our school becomes more diverse, we need something effective that examines these issues,” she said. “We all need reminders.”

The case involved a professional African-American woman, who was invited to the home of a successful Jewish man for a potential business project. After their meeting, he realizes that his family heirloom watch is gone.


Cast members of Defamation stand before the jury.

He accuses the woman of taking the watch, which ultimately leads to a significant loss of business and she consequently sues him for defamation. Beyond the facts, the principals in the case added to its dynamics, and potentially could cloud the verdict.

The plaintiff was Ms. Regina Wade, a pro­fessional black woman from the South Side, while the defendant was Mr. Arthur Golden, a successful North Shore businessman who is Jewish.

At the end of the trial, it was the students who served as jurors.

“This case is based on stereotypes,” said junior Fiona Conneely, after the first round of voting. “I’m still undecided.”

Her classmate, Kyra Smith, said she was equally as undecided at first.

“Just because (Wade) grew up and struggled, and then got everything before becoming financially strapped, doesn’t prove she stole the watch,” Kyra said.

Members of the production company said they had staged the trial over 300 times and before more than 45,000 people. Overall, 80 percent of the audiences had sided with Wade, the plaintiff, while 20 percent had sided with the defendant, Golden.

Saint Viator students voted to clear Golden, believing that the plaintiff had not presented a preponderance of evidence or met the burden of proof. Yet, they continued to talk about it long after the case closed.

“This was such an emotional roller coaster,” said junior Jack Austin. “I kept switching sides.”


Back row, from left: Alexander Horne, Daniel Morton, Stephen Hannon, Anthony Graffia, Patrick Harris, and Bryan Rapala. Bottom row, from left: Isabelle Brown, Kaitlyn Solarz, Paulina Piwowararczyk, Alexandra Recht, Grace Nessen-Gilligan, and Zachary Jones. 

National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Scholars Announced

Back row, from left: Alexander Horne, Daniel Morton, Stephen Hannon, Anthony Graffia, Patrick Harris, and Bryan Rapala. Bottom row, from left: Isabelle Brown, Kaitlyn Solarz, Paulina Piwowarczyk, Alexandra Recht, Grace Nessen-Gilligan, and Zachary Jones. 

Back row, from left: Alexander Horne, Daniel Morton, Stephen Hannon, Anthony Graffia, Patrick Harris, and Bryan Rapala. Bottom row, from left: Isabelle Brown, Kaitlyn Solarz, Paulina Piwowarczyk, Alexandra Recht, Grace Nessen-Gilligan, and Zachary Jones.

Saint Viator High School announced Wednesday that seniors Zachary Jones, Grace Nessen-Gilligan and Kaitlyn Solarz have joined an elite group: They were named semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Program, based on their preliminary SAT scores taken in 2015.

Officials with the National Merit Scholarship Program said that the semi-finalist pool represents the highest scoring entrants in each state, or less than one percent of high school seniors.

These students now will have a chance to advance to the finalist level, and continue in the competition for some 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.

National Merit Scholarship officials say 90 percent of semi-finalists advance to become finalists. They must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

In addition, these seniors were named commended scholars by the National Merit Scholarship Program: Isabelle Brown, Stephen Hannon, Patrick Harris, Anthony Graffia, Alexander Horne, Daniel Morton, Paulina Piwowarczyk, Bryan Rapala, and Alexandra Recht.

While they are not eligible to continue in the competition, they do represent the top three percent of students who took the PSAT test back in 2015. The designation as a National Merit Commended Scholar also helps to separate them during the rigorous college admissions process, Saint Viator Principal Mrs. Eileen Manno adds.

“This makes them even more desirable to colleges who are seeking this kind of well-rounded student,” she said.

All 12 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.

Mrs. Manno said all of these students excel in and out of the classroom and have scored well on their pre-college testing, in part because of their rigorous course work pursued at Saint Viator.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for these students and their families. National Merit recognition reflects their dedication and openness to learning, as well as the school’s dedication to academic excellence.”

National Merit Semifinalists: 
Zachary Jones
Grace Nessen-Gilligan
Kaitlyn Solarz

National Merit Commended Scholars: 
Isabelle Brown
Stephen Hannon
Patrick Harris
Anthony Graffia
Alexander Horne
Daniel Morton
Paulina Piwowarczyk
Bryan Rapala
Alexandra Recht




Lions’ Hockey Opens Season Saturday at New Home: Mount Prospect Ice Arena

hockeyThis year’s home opener for the Saint Viator Lions hockey program promises to be exciting, with a new team and a new home—all debuting at 5:50 p.m. on Saturday. The non-conference, varsity matchup features the Lions and the Chiefs, made up of players from Conant, Fremd, Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg high schools. Junior varsity teams face off at 7:50 p.m.

They will take the ice at the recently opened Mount Prospect Ice Arena, the new home of Saint Viator’s hockey program. The 71,000 square foot arena features two full NHL-size sheets of ice, with seating for 450 fans at each rink, and a restaurant on the second floor, overlooking the ice.

Best of all for Lions’ fans, the rink is close to home. For years, the Lions played at the Polar Dome Ice Arena in East Dundee, before bouncing between the Rolling Meadows Ice Arena, and the Triphahn Community Center & Ice Arena and the Sears Centre Arena, both in Hoffman Estates.

This is your chance to see top notch hockey talent, as the Saint Viator hockey program has a long tradition as one of the premier high school hockey programs in the state for more than 40 years.

The Lions play in the Chicago Catholic Hockey League, which is one of the most competitive leagues in the state, producing several state championship teams and finalists over the years.

In its history, the Lions have advanced to three state championship finals, two Scholastic Cup championships and they have won the competitive Blackhawk High School Hockey Classic Tournament as well as the Loyola Thanksgiving High School Tournament.

Several of its alumni have gone on to play in the junior leagues as well as at prep schools and at the collegiate level, on both varsity and club teams.

The Lions are coached by Dave Mugavero, who played college hockey at Fredonia State University of New York.  He also played Jr. A hockey for the Lakeland Jets, the Soo Indians of the North American Hockey League and the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the U.S. Hockey League.

His assistants include Lee Bigott, who played Division I college hockey at Merrimack College in North Andover, MA, and Devin Fracassi, who played prep hockey while attending Palatine High School, under Coach Mugavero, and in junior hockey with the Central Wisconsin Saints and the Cincinnati Swords.

The home opener looks to be a good tune-up for Lions, who open conference play on Sept. 30, when they play the Fenwick Friars at Ridgeland Commons Ice Arena in Oak Park.



Class of 1966 Goes Back to the Future as They Return for 50th Class Reunion

img_7924It was during a tour of Saint Viator High School, when Larry Forsberg from the Class of 1966 stopped in his tracks.

“This is where I was, when I heard that President Kennedy had been shot,” Forsberg said, standing on the second floor, outside the chapel.

He and the rest of his classmates then saw the flag in front of the school being lowered to half mast, and they knew the president had died.

Memories like those came rushing back to the alumni who returned for their 50th reunion. While seeing their classmates again after so many years was rewarding, it was the chance to walk the familiar halls again and talk with some of the teachers and coaches who had shaped their lives, that left an impact.

“Saint Viator gave us a strong Christian foundation that has successfully supported us throughout our lives,” says Bill Demmert, who chaired the reunion. “We did not fully appreciate the value of our Viator education until it stood the test of time, but when the winds of change were shifting, we were rooted with a strong foundation that withstood the storm.”

In all, more than 50 alumni returned for the reunion weekend (nearly 80 with spouses) which opened Sept. 9 at Morris Field in Arlington Heights, for the Lions’ home game against conference rival Marian Catholic.

img_7955They included Bill Roser, who played football all four years during his time at Saint Viator, and was the team’s leading receiver his senior year. He addressed all levels of the football program on Sept. 8 at the teams’ Thursday night pasta dinner.

Roser talked about overcoming adversity in the game by playing for their teammates, and “playing for the guy next to you.” He also encouraged them not only to show up for the game, but to bring their effort.

“Win or lose, your teammates expect you to bring your best effort to the game,” Roser said.

But it was when he closed, and referenced the legacy they shared as “ye fighting men of Viator,” that he drew the biggest response.

Alumni who attended the game, gathered at a sideline tent and formed a tunnel as the Lions took the field. At halftime, they were introduced to the crowd.

“We all noticed that the game was far more enjoyable with female cheerleaders,” Demmert quipped, “versus the male only cheerleaders we had back in the pre-coed days.”

Saturday’s activities started with a Mass in the Alumni Memorial Chapel, celebrated by Fr. Dan Hall, C.S.V.

The liturgy opened with a tender moment when classmates carried a rose up to the altar for each of their 17 deceased classmates, including Jack Jage, who passed away in May before the start of their senior year.

mpp_3250Tours of the school followed, and alumni marveled at such improvements as the Marie Gallagher Academic Commons, the state of the art Querbes Hall dining facility, the updated fine arts facilities and the Murphy Wellness Center on the third floor.

“The tours were a bit surreal,” Demmert said. “One moment we were in a familiar classroom where we could see ourselves being taught algebra by Fr. Perham, and the next minute it felt like we stepped into the future.”

In fact, they had returned to the future and they took comfort in seeing how their beloved school had been updated and adapted to meet the needs of the iPad generation of students.

“We’re proud to see all the changes,” Denny Wilkinson said, “and that our school is still state of the art.”


Coach Jack Halpin with team members from left to right: Jackson Elstro, Nick Bavaro, Sean O'Grady,  Nathan Anderson and Jack Neubauer. Not shown: Matt Denniston

Boys Golf Team Heads West

Coach Jack Halpin with team members from left to right: Jackson Elstro, Nick Bavaro, Sean O'Grady, Nathan Anderson and Jack Neubauer. Not shown: Matt Denniston

Coach Jack Halpin with team members from left to right: Jackson Elstro, Nick Bavaro, Sean O’Grady, Nathan Anderson and Jack Neubauer. Not shown: Matt Denniston

The boys golf team traveled last weekend to Scottsale, Arizona to play in the Antigua National High School Golf Invitational, considered to be one of the premier high school tournaments in the country. This was the 7th annual event and Saint Viator has been invited all seven years.

“The course was played at 7,300 yards and was truly a championship test,” says Varsity Coach Jack Halpin.

The event drew 39 high school teams, from nine states and from Canada. They were challenged to 36 holes of tournament play, set at the historic McCormick Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale, where its two 18-hole courses are nestled between the Camelback and MacDowell mountains.

“The competition was intense,” Coach Halpin adds. “To put it in prospective, Saint Viator holds the IHSA state championship record for 36 holes with a 583 (+7 over par), set in 2008. The winning team in Arizona this year shot a tournament record 576 (even par).”

Fr. Charles Bolser, right, distributes communion to Nick Bavaro, left, and Matt Denniston during a home Mass on Saturday

Fr. Charles Bolser, right, distributes communion to Nick Bavaro, left, and Matt Denniston during a home Mass on Saturday.

The trip is reserved for seniors and of the six that made the trip, they were led by Sean O’Grady, who had a team low round of 76 on the second day of the tournament. Other participants included: Nate Anderson, Nick Bavaro, Matt Denniston, Jackson Elstro and Jack Neubauer.

Team members said that a real highlight of the trip was the addition of team chaplain, Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV. He is a former president of Saint Viator High School and an avid golfer.

“Fr. Charlie talked in the team meeting before the event, about taking it one shot at a time,” Coach Halpin says. “He rode the course with me and said Mass for team members and their families that accompanied us.”

Now retired, Fr. Bolser said that he enjoyed making the trip and offering what he could about relaxation techniques and the importance of community. At Mass, he even encouraged team members to share their thoughts about the special gospel reading about the prodigal son.

Fr. Charles Bolser, left, rode the course with Coach Jack Halpin during the tournament

Fr. Charles Bolser, left, rode the course with Coach Jack Halpin during the tournament.

“It was a kind of dialogue,” Fr. Bolser says. “We talked about what it is that sets our school apart, and about the meaning of community and family. It’s a sense of belonging.”


Girls’ Volleyball Team Hosts 8th Annual Volley for A Cure

Walking into the Cahill gymnasium on Thursday, it was hard to tell the difference between the Saint Viator Lady Lions and the Cougars from Vernon Hills High School. Both teams wore pink T-shirts, designed with the logo, “Volley for the Cure.”dsc_2755

Even better, all the fans in the stands wore pink. Even the referee and officials at the scorekeeper’s table wore the game day T-shirt, and the gym itself was decorated with banners, a pink balloon arch and streamers.

It was a total pink-out!

For the eighth year, Saint Viator’s girls volleyball team partnered with the Cougars in a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, whose mission is to end breast cancer, forever. Since the start of their partnership, the teams have raised approximately $35,000.

Members of the varsity team pose with Assistant Coach Jim Neill, left, and Head Coach Charlie Curtain, right

Members of the varsity team pose with Assistant Coach Jim Neill, left, and Head Coach Charlie Curtin, right

The varsity game started with a moment of silence for women fighting the disease and those that have lost the battle. The teams even played with a pink ball.

Players said the competition started even before they took the floor — to raise money for the cause.

“We get really competitive about trying to sell more T-shirts than the year before,” says junior co-captain, Michaela Mueller. “It’s just such a fun tradition.”

She and her co-captains, Catherine Hickey ’18 and Katie Kerrigan ’17, helped organize a bake sale that took place during lunch periods and throughout the junior varsity and varsity games, as well as an extensive raffle table that featured more than 20 gift baskets. Even the ticket proceeds at the gate were dedicated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to raise as much money as we can for a cure,” Katie said.

Head varsity coach Charlie Curtin said the team has participated every year since the IHSA began the event. In his case, it is a personal cause, since his mother died of the disease when he was 12 years old.

“I love doing this event because breast cancer has had an impact on my life personally, but everyone knows someone who is affected by this disease, unfortunately,” Coach Curtin says. “It allows our girls to break out of their bubbles as high schoolers and really have an impact on a worldly issue.”


Sung Cheng, (or Jones, as he calls himself) and Fr. Simon Lefebvre, his first English teacher

A Lion for Life—In Taiwan

Sung Cheng, (or Jones, as he calls himself) and Fr. Simon Lefebvre, his first English teacher

Sung Cheng, (or Jones, as he calls himself) and Fr. Simon Lefebvre, his first English teacher

A recent visit to Saint Viator High School by Mr. Sung Cheng, a native of Taiwan, proves that the bonds of a Viatorian education do last a lifetime.

It was in 1967, or nearly 50 years ago, that Mr. Cheng first attended Wei Tao (Viator) School in Taichung, Formosa. His freshman year English teacher was Fr. Simon Lefebvre, C.S.V., who is retired and now living at the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights.

The former teacher—the oldest member of the Viatorian Community—and his student continue to stay in touch.

“At my other school, the teachers always shouted at us,” Mr. Cheng said. “At (Viator), they called me Mr. Cheng. That’s when I felt I was really respected.”

Viatorian missionaries arrived in Formosa, now Taiwan, in 1951 after all missionaries in mainland China were expelled from the country. Around the same time, Viatorians also established a mission in Kyoto, Japan and opened Rakusei-St. Viator.

Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, gives Mr. Cheng a tour of the school

Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, gives Mr. Cheng a tour of the school

“There were many missionaries in our country at that time,” Mr. Cheng says. “They made many sacrifices for us. They did everything for their students.”

As a result, Mr. Cheng and his classmates developed special ties with their teachers that they cherish to this day.

Mr. Cheng went on to attend a university in Taiwan before establishing a career in management at a manufacturing plant in Vietnam.

When his classmates began holding reunions with their former teachers, he set out to document the history of the school, and by extension its founders, the Viatorians, as well as write biographies of their teachers. He ultimately plans to publish a book.

Mrs. Mary Lee DeBelina, Mrs. Eileen Manno, Mr. Cheng and Fr. Perham

Mrs. Mary Lee DeBelina, Mrs. Eileen Manno, Mr. Cheng and Fr. Perham

Some of his research took him to the Viatorian Archives, located at the Province Center in Arlington Heights. During his recent three day-stay, Fr. Arnold Perham, C.S.V., suggested he tour Saint Viator High School.

During his visit, Mr. Sung met Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal, and Mrs. Mary Lee DeBelina, assistant principal, before touring the school.

When asked about the impact of his years at (Viator), Mr. Cheng said simply: “There was a special spirit at the school, a sense of freedom. It was different than any other school at the time.”

Viatorians no longer sponsor Wei Tao (Viator), but its new administrators have kept the name.

J.J. Stamm, first musical director SVHS, 1967-84

Founding Director of Saint Viator Musicals Passes Away

J.J. Stamm, first musical director SVHS, 1967-84

Mr. James Stamm directing students in 1967 in the school’s first musical, Annie Get Your Gun.

The spring musical will celebrate its 51st anniversary next year, but without its founding director. Mr. James J. Stamm, who directed the school’s first musical in 1967 and set the bar for its excellence, died at his home in Florida. He was 93.

“It’s the end of an era,” said Fr. Mark Francis, C.S.V., a 1971 graduate who appeared in musicals and the St. Viator Chorale, both under Mr. Stamm’s direction, and he credits—in part—his experience on stage with preparing him for the priesthood.

“He helped me appreciate how these expressions of the human spirit can enliven and render more profound communicating the experience of God,” Fr. Francis said.

Mr. Stamm directed the musicals from 1967 to 1984, and in the beginning staged 10 shows over the course of three weekends.

He began with Annie Get Your Gun, and directed nearly every big name show for the next 17 years, including The Music Man, Carousel, West Side Story, South Pacific and Oklahoma, to name just a few.

The 1967 yearbook, Viatribe, described mounting the first show as five months of hard work, from the late rehearsals to writing out individual tickets, to making costumes and sets.

“It was all the glitter and appeal of show business,” yearbook editors wrote. “Annie was, most of all, successfully meeting the challenge of producing a professional Broadway show at Saint Viator.”

It was Fr. Paul Gilgallon, C.S.V., the school’s first fine arts director, who asked Mr. Stamm to come to the school to direct a musical. He had traveled to Taft High School in Chicago, where Mr. Stamm worked as a teacher and director, to see one of his shows. At the time, Mr. Stamm had a son at Saint Viator and daughters at Sacred Heart of Mary high schools.

In an interview for Saint Viator’s 50th-anniversary book, Mr. Stamm said he readily agreed, but he went into it as more than an interested parent.

“Right from the start,” Mr. Stamm said, “I wanted to make sure it was absolutely professionally done.”

Mrs. Kathy Koehl served as Mr.Stamm’s assistant director throughout his run at Saint Viator and she said his training as a teacher—and musician—made its impact on students.

“He was a taskmaster, but the kids loved him,” Mrs. Koehl said. “They knew what they could do and what they couldn’t, which wasn’t much.”

Mrs. Kate Costello performed under Mr. Stamm’s direction as a student and she inherited the musical when she returned to Saint Viator in 2002. She points to his practice of double casting his leads as groundbreaking since it allowed more students to be involved, and to his high standard for the music—setting it even higher than the acting.

“Mr. Stamm set the bar high, and we have endeavored to keep it there,” she says. “The musical offers so many opportunities for students. It expands their horizons and introduces them to so many aspects of the arts.”

“For most of us,” Mrs. Costello adds, “it’s something we’ve carried with us for the rest of our lives.”

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén