Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: November 2016


Coach Mike Manno Named Area Coach of the Year


Mike Manno, varsity baseball coach, with Bill Pirman, former and longtime Saint Viator baseball coach.

A little more than five months after Saint Viator High School’s baseball team recorded one of its best seasons ever—finishing fourth in the state in Class 3A—the hits just keep on coming.

Earlier this month, Coach Mike Manno learned he was named Coach of the Year for the northern area of the state by the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association. He will accept his award in January at the state coaches’ clinic.

The award affirms Coach Manno’s leadership during the team’s historic run, advancing to the state semifinals while winning 25 games, which is the most in the school’s 55-year history. Along the way, Coach Manno reached his 200th victory as a head coach.

“This award recognizes coaches who led their teams admirably while achieving excellence during the past season,” says Brian Wujcik, vice president of the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association.

Coach Manno has led the Lions as head baseball coach for 10 seasons. 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.

Manno, far right, with the 2016 varsity baseball team.

Manno, far right, with the 2016 varsity baseball team.

Since the 2013-14 season, Coach Manno also has been the head coach for the sophomore boys’ basketball team, and he serves as assistant athletic director.

“Mike leads a great staff and does a terrific job with our kids,” says Athletic Director Martin Jennings.

The team graduated 11 seniors, including four who play at the college level—Mike Ragauskis at the University of Oklahoma, Jack Coney at Purdue University, Kevin Napoleon at Butler University and Shaun Falbo at the University of St. Thomas—but Coach Manno expects to have a solid core returning.

Saint Viator junior Elizabeth Drab advances to IHSA state diving championships on Friday.

Senior Diver Seeded Among Top 10 Heading into State Meet on Friday

Saint Viator junior Elizabeth Drab advances to IHSA state diving championships on Friday.

Saint Viator senior Elizabeth Drab advances to IHSA state diving championships on Friday.

Last year, Elizabeth Drab ’17 surprised the diving world when she won the Metro Catholic Aquatics Conference and the Barrington sectional, by setting a school record and advancing to the state championships.

One year later, she has a state title under her belt—she is the school’s first individual state champion after winning the 400-meter dash in May—and she won her second consecutive sectional diving title, this time at Stevenson High School, breaking her own school record by nearly 40 points.

Can anything stop her?

On Friday, Elizabeth will compete at the IHSA state diving championships taking place at Evanston Township High School, where she is seeded 10th in a field of 48 divers from across the state.

Her success is no fluke. Elizabeth is a year-round athlete, who prepares through a variety of cross-training workouts.

For diving, she trains privately with Glenbrook Aquatics in Glenview during the off-season, and privately with its head coach, Tony Santucci during the season. For the past few summers she has attended the dive camp at the University of Indiana, training under Drew Johansen, the Hoosiers’ head coach and 2012 U.S. Olympic head coach.

Her training includes hours in the gymnastics gym refining dives while wearing a harness, as well as hours in the weight room and practicing gymnastics. During practices in the pool, she runs through each of her required dives as many as three times in a row before moving on.

Athletic Director Martin Jennings says Elizabeth’s work ethic leads to her success as a standout student athlete.

“She is an incredible talent and we are privileged to have someone like Elizabeth representing our school at the IHSA state series,” Mr. Jennings says. “She is our shining star.”

Read about her State visit last year.

Paulina Piwowarczyk '17

Saint Viator Senior Honored by Arlington Heights VFW

Paulina Piwowarczyk '17

Paulina Piwowarczyk ’17

What started out as an effort to earn some extra credit for her AP European History class, has turned into an award-winning essay for senior Paulina Piwowarczyk, and the chance to win $30,000 in college scholarship money.

On Veterans’ Day, Paulina learned she won first place in the VFW Post 981’s “Voice of Democracy” essay contest. The Arlington Heights post awarded her a $150 cash prize and an automatic entry in the district level contest, which will be announced in January.

Should Paulina win at the district level, she would continue to the state and ultimately national level, where prizes include various levels of scholarships, up to $30,000 for the national winner.

“That would mean so much to me,” says Paulina, who has applied to top-tier colleges, including Northwestern and the University of Chicago.

In order to enter, students had to submit a recorded essay—of up to five minutes in length—interpreting this year’s theme: “My responsibility to America.”

“I’m a first generation American, so the topic hit home with me,” Paulina says. “It just means more to me to be an American. I take that responsibility seriously.”

Both of her parents came to the United States at the age of 18, from a mountainous region of southern Poland, where they had grown up in rural villages.

“They came for economic opportunity,” Paulina says.

In planning her essay, Paulina says she found the topic to be an interesting one given the backdrop of this year’s presidential election and the contentious nature of the campaign trail.

“We need to unite as a country,” Paulina said in her essay, “and go beyond political parties, back to the roots of our democratic society. Our country has to stay true to its name. We are the United States of America.”

Additionally, Paulina called for active defense of American principles.

“We have to stand up for the policies we believe in,” she said. “As Americans, we’re called to act and do more than just talk.”

Paulina and her family will be recognized by VFW officials on Dec. 7, at their next monthly meeting at AMVETS Post 66 in Wheeling. In the meantime, her classwork in her five AP classes keeps her busy, along with her role in this year’s musical, choir and in student council.


Boys Cross Country Team Celebrates Record-Breaking Season

The records keep falling in boys’ cross country at Saint Viator High School.

For the fifth time in six years, the boys’ team qualified for the IHSA state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

“This team did far better than I would have ever thought,” says Head Coach Wayne Edelman, who finished up his ninth year at Saint Viator. “They truly did some amazing things.”

He points to these accomplishments: The Lions won regionals for the first time in school history, before taking second at sectionals—and ultimately, finishing 14th at state in the Class 2A division.

“These were all school records,” adds Coach Edelman, who is assisted by Bill Stanczak.

A pair of upperclassmen led the team. Sam Brey ’17 finished with a time of 15:37 to place 54th overall, while Kevin Goss ’18 finished in 97th place overall, with a time of 16:06. They finished 1-2 at regionals, and Sam Brey also took first at sectionals. “He was our first sectional champ (at Saint Viator) since Tim Philips in 1984,” Coach Edelman adds. Rounding out the team were: Richard Rinka ’18, Brady Collis ’18, Patric Natindim ’20, John Leininger ’18 and Dan Dababneh ’18.

Looking back over the record-breaking season, Coach Edelman pointed to a few keys to their success: It was a tight-knit team of 17 runners, who pushed themselves harder than any other team he has coached, he says.

“I knew that with a small team, we had to avoid injury,” he says, “and not one guy got injured all year.”

Looking ahead, Coach Edelman is excited. Nearly all of his runners are returning, except Sam Brey, whom he expects to run in college, leading him to think the team will be even better next year.


Faculty and Staff Working Together to Feed the Hungry

img_1786 Students at Saint Viator aren’t the only ones completing service hours. Faculty and staff members have committed to providing food for the homeless, once a month.

What started last year with a commitment to feed the hungry in the northwest suburbs, has grown to a once a month, hands-on meal project.

Just last week, teachers and staff met in Querbes Hall after school to prepare 70 brown lunches for clients of Catholic Charities in Des Plaines.

They worked in assembly line fashion to pack the lunches, which include sandwiches, drinks, fresh fruit, individually wrapped dessert treats as well as bags of chips and pretzels. Faculty and staff members also generously cook, bake and purchase any needed food products to complete the lunches.

img_1783“We also placed an inspirational scripture verse of encouragement in each bag, to offer hope and to let the client know that someone is thinking about him or her,” said Mrs. Rita King, who is coordinating these service opportunities for the faculty and staff with Fr. Dan Lydon, C.S.V.

Last month, volunteer faculty members prepared hot food at home as well as salads, bread, and dessert, and brought them into school where they were delivered to JOURNEYS/The Road Home, a resource center for the homeless in Palatine.

They plan to continue these efforts—alternating agencies each month—for the duration of the school year.

“I am always impressed,” Mrs. King says, “by the generosity and giving spirit of our community members.”



Creating Animated Scripture Verses: It Takes More than Meets the Eye


Screenshot of project by Cece Kaiser ’19.

Students in Mr. Matt Gruenfeld’s iPad Media Arts class are learning how to make an animated movie and they drew inspiration from an unusual source: scripture verses.

Their 10-second animation short can be seen on the electronic message board in the front lobby of the school. They debuted last month and have captured the interest of students and visitors, alike.

It turns out that it took painstaking work to create them.

“Students used a stop motion app on their iPads in order to create the 10-second animation,” Mr. Gruenfeld says. “They were asked to choose a scripture quote that inspired them or had personal meaning for them. In all, the 10-second animation required them to shoot 150 frames.”

It’s all part of the skills students learn that they can apply in their further endeavors, whether in college or the business world.

The course introduces students to the aesthetics of photography, videography (using iMovie), and animation through use of an iPad. Students learn to create still and moving images, composition, elements and principles of design and creative expression.

Ryan Flynn ’18 enrolled in the course because “it sounded like fun,” he says, but he has come away with more skills than he realized.

“We’re spending a lot of time on photography,” Ryan says, “going out on shoots on the weekends and trying to emulate some of the styles of photographers from the 1900s.”

As for creating his animated scripture verse, Ryan says he was surprised how much time it took.

“It was a lot of stopping and starting,” he says. “With each frame we made, we had to stop and take a picture.”

But he likes the end result, he says, and he knows the experience will help him in his next media arts presentation, whether it’s editing a photo, filming a video or created an animated short. He’s gaining the skills he needs, and it turns out to be a lot of fun in the process.


Learning about China’s First Emperor and his Terracotta Warriors—Outside the Classroom Walls

img_3137The mystery of the Terracotta Warriors and their role in defending the tomb of China’s first emperor—Qin Shihuang of the Warring States period (475-221 BC)—came to life for all four levels of Querbes Scholars and those students studying Mandarin Chinese.

On Friday, they traveled to The Field Museum in Chicago and spent the morning exploring its rare exhibit, “China’s First Emperor and his Terracotta Warriors.”

Little was known about King Qin, who assumed the throne at the age of 13 and governed over a unified China, that is until his tomb and the massive underground empire that surrounded it was discovered in 1974 by a Chinese farmer.

Among the figures discovered at the site—near the city of Xi’an in Shaanxi province in northwest China—were 8,000 life-sized warriors made of terracotta that had been commissioned by the king in order to protect his empire.

img_3134The Field exhibit includes more than 170 objects, including 10 of the large-scale terracotta warrior, associated with the transformative reign of King Qin, more than 2,200 years ago.

“I loved being able to learn about the terracotta warriors and all the different types of soldiers that were in the tomb,” said Kiana Resch ’19. “I am new to the Querbes program this year. It was great to be able to have this experience.”

Her classmates agreed, adding that seeing some of the warriors up close, and viewing their intricate detail—each one with different features—was fascinating. They also learned that archaeologists estimate that more than 1,000 peasants who had been conscripted into the Chinese army were ordered to create them.

img_3131“It was a completely fascinating exhibit,” added Caroline Lavender ’19 “to see the whole display of terracotta warriors and understand how much time and effort went into making them. Wow!”

Members of the Querbes Scholars Program take a trip every semester as part of enrichment opportunities designed to foster personal growth, intellectual independence and faith enrichment.

The trip also furthered the study of Chinese history and culture for those students studying Mandarin Chinese. Each of Saint Viator’s three levels of the language aims to teach students more than how to construct its characters and pronounce its sounds. They learn Chinese culture, history, and geography, as well as cross-cultural differences and current events.

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