Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: December 2016


Holiday Giving Sets New Record

holidaygiving16It’s a wrap! Saint Viator families once again gave generously—to a pair of holiday giving programs—to make sure Christmas is a merry one for families in Chicago and the suburbs.

Just this week, Br. John Eustice, CSV, and Mr. Bart Hisgen, director of Saint Viator’s Christian service and outreach office, delivered presents and gift cards to the Howard Area Community Center in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, as part of the Season of Giving campaign.

All of the gifts will be distributed to children served by the community center, today.

This was the 29th year that Saint Viator families have supported the center, whose mission is to empower families and individuals.

By its own description, the Community Center’s mission is to empower families and individuals in one of the most racially, ethnically and economically integrated communities in Chicago. Its families are often under-employed, underserved medically and confronted by gang violence.



“According to the Howard Area statistics, it was our most successful drive to date,” Mr. Hisgen says. “With the generous support of students, teachers, Saint Viator families and alums, we sponsored 86 families with nearly 300 gifts and raised $2,700 in gift cards.”

The Season of Giving came on the heels of another successful holiday drive, this one named for Hall of Fame Chicago Bear—and former Saint Viator parent—Walter Payton. His son, Jarrett, graduated from Saint Viator in 1999 and he continues to be an ambassador for the school.

For the last 11 years, Saint Viator students have sponsored the Walter and Connie Payton Holiday Toy Drive. This year, Tony Valentino ’17, Anthony Maraviglia ’18, Emma Abrahamian ’19 and Tara Valentino ’20 led drive as class leaders.

Their encouragement in getting their classmates and their families to donate toys for girls and boys of all ages was successful. During the first three weeks of November, they filled 17 huge boxes with toys, and in addition two basketball sets and five bikes.

For the record, the sophomore class won the in-school challenge by filling the most boxes and consequently they earned a dress-down day.

“For eight of the last 10 years, Saint Viator has placed first in a friendly competition between area high schools to see which one collected the most boxes of toys,” says Mrs. Cathy Abrahamian, who again helped coordinate the drive.

In all, the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation provides toys for nearly 20,000 children each year. They are distributed through the Department of Children and Family Services, to children in the city and the suburbs.

The foundation’s stated mission is to take an active role in helping those less fortunate find stability while providing positive opportunities needed to live their lives with dignity and pride.

“Saint Viator students’ generosity,” Mrs. Abrahamian says, “will be a blessing to many children during this holy season.”



Saint Viator Community Turns Out to Feed the Hungry

st-viator-feeder-group-photo-boys-at-fmscOne of the main tenets of the Viatorian Community is to fight hunger—locally and worldwide. That commitment could be seen last weekend, as more than 200 Saint Viator students and families participated in a Hope-Filled Holidays event supporting Feed My Starving Children in Schaumburg.

They were part of a massive meal-packing session that took place over three days at the Schaumburg Convention Center and drew 7,500 volunteers in all. At the end of the weekend, the combined support had packed a whopping 1.4 million meals.

Each was packed with nutritious meals of soy, vegetables, vitamins, and rice. They were loaded into boxes and will be shipped to mission partners in 70 countries around the world, including Haiti, whose livestock, crops, and seeding for next year was wiped out by Hurricane Matthew.

“The Saint Viator presence was significant at this weekend event,” says Mr. Bart Hisgen, director of Christian service and outreach, who helped to coordinate the event. “It was exciting to see so many families involved.”

4Saint Viator students included National Honor Society members, international students, and their host families, as well as those involved with Christian Service and even faculty and staff members.

A special Saint Viator group included 90 members of the feeder basketball program, including members of the sixth, seventh and eighth-grade teams, their coaches and families, who experienced the Viatorian charism of service, firsthand.

st-viator-volunteers-sarah-molly-younger-sister-delachLarry Perkins, who coaches the eighth-grade boys’ feeder team, joined with his players in packing meals.

“This is consistent with the goal of Saint Viator developing young men and women — rather than just basketball players,” Perkins said.

Sarah Delach signed up her freshmen, Molly and Michael, through the Christian Service office, and she ended up staying and volunteering with them.

“I wanted to teach them to help other kids, especially during the holidays,” Delach said, “but it turned out to be as fun to give as to get.”

Color Crest

Illinois State Scholars Announced

The latest group of Illinois State Scholars was announced last week, and Saint Viator High School seniors were well represented.

Approximately 30 percent of the senior class was named Illinois State Scholars by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission for their outstanding academic achievement.

Each year, Illinois State Scholars represent the top 10 percent of high school seniors from 765 high schools across the state. Earning this distinction means the student has scored in the 95th percentile or above on the ACT or SAT, and ranks in the top half of the class.

“We’re thrilled,” said Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal. “Illinois State recognition reflects all their hard work, as well as the school’s com­mitment to academic excellence.”

While state scholar recognition does not include a monetary prize, the distinction does help students stand out in the application process, because of the work ethic and academic success it represents, says Eric Zarnikow, ISAC executive director.

“Students have a lot to contend with as they move through high school,” Zarnikow said, “from increased testing to extracurricular activities to highly competitive college admissions.

“Kudos to these students and also to the teachers, parents, coaches and other mentors,” he added, “who contributed to their success and helped them navigate a path towards college and career success.”

Congratulations to the Illinois State Scholars from Saint Viator’s Class of 2017:

Elizabeth J. Airan
Stephen E. Battin
Nicole Bavaro
Nicholas Bavaro
Kaitlyn M. Baxendale
Katherine L. Boler
Michael J. Boler
Genevieve M. Breslin
Samuel J. Brey
Isabelle A. Brown
Orest Byskosh
Clara B. Carlson
Susan M. Carlson
Xiangming Chen
Mary Ann Cortese
Melissa Cortese
Louise M. Deardorff
Olivia Emli Dominguez
Michael D. Flis
Gabriella E. Gaffney
Ludovica Garro
Nicholas W. Garth
Sara E. Gasey
Nicholas J. Gattuso
Anthony R. Graffia III
Stephen F. Hannon
Patrick M. Harris
Alexander C. Horne
Miranda L. Hutchinson
Zachary D. Jones
Grace M. Kaiser
Luke R. Koehler
Thomas J. Majerus
Ian W. Malek
Carolina Matuk
Sean McAteer
Daniel J. Morton
Caroline M. Mroz
Grace C. Nessen-Gilligan
John M. Neubauer
Sarah A. Niesman
Sean T. O’Grady
Brian O’Hara
Sehee Park
Paulina Piwowarczyk
Alexander J. Prazuch
Geping Qu
Bryan J. Rapala
Alexandra T. Recht
Shannon Roney
Tobias C. Schwartz
Claire M. Slaski
Kaitlyn G. Solarz
Matthew K. Stack
Ryan D. Suhanek
Mia Szela
Hugh W. Tully
James A. Valentino III,
Rachel Varvara
Rebecca A. Vibbert
Jason M. Vivit
Holly C. Westerkamp
Claire T. Williams
Colleen R. Williams
Wentao Yang
Gi Shun Yeung
Mark T. Young
Allison T. Zajakala


The Power of One: Alum Shares His Story of Successful Bone Marrow Transplant

A 2009 Saint Viator High School graduate, Phil Costello, is at the center of a video campaign making its way across the DePaul University campus. Its focus? Promoting the National Marrow Donor Program and the lifesaving benefits of joining the “Be the Match Registry.”

“I don’t consider myself to be an inspirational story,” Phil says at the outset. “Whatever life throws at me, whatever hurdles, I’ll try to be positive about it and work through it.

Phil was crowned Homecoming and Prom King during his senior year at Saint Viator.

Phil was crowned Homecoming and Prom King during his senior year at Saint Viator.

“That’s my outlook on life,” he adds. “Once you reach your lowest point in life, there’s nowhere else to go—but up.”

November is National Marrow Awareness Month, when donors are sought for the national registry, especially college students. They are encouraged to join the “Be the Match Community” and experience the power of one, in changing the life of a patient with blood cancer.

Helen Pazen, a DePaul student and daughter of Sacred Heart of Mary alumna, Angela Murphy ’70, produced the video with classmates in her documentary production class.

Phil has a compelling story to share. He was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 2 ½, leading him to endure rounds of chemotherapy. Some two years later, he relapsed and needed to undergo more chemotherapy and radiation. The doctor held out one more treatment that could be a game changer: a bone marrow transplant.

His entire family was tested, including his parents, James and Kate, and three older brothers, Jack ’99, Robert ’02, and Paul ’05, and three out of the five of them turned out to be perfect matches.

“It was a miracle,” says his mother, Mrs. Kate Costello, who teaches film and theater and also directs Saint Viator’s plays and musicals.

svhs_gr035pcIn the end, his brother Paul volunteered to be the donor (his brother Robert was a backup) and the transplant was successful. He recovered in a few days and Phil eventually returned to school.

While attending Saint Viator, Phil appeared in nearly all of the plays and musicals and he returned to his alma mater during college to help with the productions. He graduated from DePaul University and now works full time for Costello, McMahon, Burke & Murphy.

The video opens with Phil demonstrating one of his passions: cooking, which he does regularly for family and friends.

“I feel normal,” he says. “I’ve known so many people in the hospital who were a lot worse than me. I’m just lucky for what I’ve got.”

To learn more about joining the Bone Marrow Registry—and the power of one—visit:

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