Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: January 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Saint Viator Students Usher in the Year of the Rooster

IMG_8855Chinese dragons, zodiac symbols, and red tablecloths, oh my! One step into Querbes Hall on Friday and students knew this was no ordinary lunch period.

In fact, students in the Rev. Mark R. Francis, CSV, International Program, as well as those studying Chinese and in the Chinese Club had decorated the dining area for the Chinese New Year, which was officially celebrated Saturday.

Students found placemats explaining each of the zodiac signs—including the Year of the Rooster—set out on red tablecloths, symbolizing good fortune and joy. Menu options included pot stickers and egg rolls, a beef noodle bowl, sweet and sour chicken, dumplings and a Chinese meat bun (baozi).

IMG_8869“This is awesome; it makes me feel like home,” said Nuo Xu ’17.

Andy Jiang ’19 explained that every year, his extended family would gather to celebrate the Chinese New Year. They would have an elaborate meal, with a similar menu that included dumplings, fish, beef, sweet rice balls and other traditional delicacies.

Of course, children always received money in little red envelopes from their elders, to symbolize good luck.

“Students here never experienced this,” Andy says. “This is a good way to learn about our culture.”

Linzi Zheng ’18 said that the only thing missing were the fireworks.

IMG_8872“It’s like a festival,” Linzi added, “for people to come together.”

In all, there are 70 students in Saint Viator’s international program this year, including 50 Chinese students, 16 from Korea, and one each from Colombia, Italy, Mexico, and Russia.

“They’ve been a wonderful addition to our school family,” says Principal Eileen Manno, “and contributed greatly to our diversity.”

We Love You, Conrad: Bye Bye Birdie Opens at Saint Viator High School


IMG_1849 (2)There’s a whole lot of screaming going on at Saint Viator High School. The latest teen sensation, Conrad Birdie, is in the building and the excitement is contagious.

That’s right. Saint Viator presents Bye Bye Birdie as its 51st musical and its timeless songs—The Telephone Hour, Kids, and Put on a Happy Face—conjure up a simpler time when going steady was all the rage and a teenage idol could reduce a girl to tears. It opens Feb. 3.

“We have a terrific bunch of kids in our production,” says director Kate Costello. “Being young, having fun, and forming relationships are a large part of what we are celebrating here today.”

One of the hallmarks of a Saint Viator production is that every role is double cast, allowing as many students as possible to participate. Consequently, nearly 200 students are involved, between two casts, stage crew and pit orchestra members. With all that young talent, the stage bursts with energy.

Senior Miriam Varvara of Arlington Heights as Mae Peterson, senior Bryan Rapala of West Dundee as Albert Peterson, and sophomore Kevin Wilhite of Barrington as Conrad Birdie in Saint Viator High School’s 51st annual musical production, “Bye Bye Birdie.”

Senior Miriam Varvara as Mae Peterson, senior Bryan Rapala as Albert Peterson, and sophomore Kevin Wilhite as Conrad Birdie in Saint Viator High School’s 51st annual musical production, “Bye Bye Birdie.”

“Working with these kids keeps me feeling young,” adds assistant director Tony Calzaretta.

Bye Bye Birdie’s roots date back 60 years, to the 1957 drafting of Elvis Presley into the Army, which inspired the musical. Yet even today’s teenagers can relate to its story lines, principals say.

Junior Laura Kuper of Wheeling and senior Shannon Roney of Barrington share the role of young Kim McAfee, the one girl from Sweet Apple, Ohio, chosen to receive a kiss from Birdie before he ships out to the Army. Both agree that every teenage girl can relate to worshipping a celebrity.

“I can totally relate to Kim,” Kuper says. “She’s this bubbly character who reacts like any other teenager. And the music reflects that. It’s upbeat and catchy.”

The two students who share the role of Conrad Birdie—junior Kevin Goss of Arlington Heights and sophomore Kevin Wilhite of Barrington—say a guy can get used to girls falling all over them.

groupshot“He’s overconfident, conceited and over the top,” Wilhite says of his first principal part, “but it’s the experience of a lifetime to be able to play him.”

Goss agrees though he adds playing the role involves more than doing an Elvis impersonation.

“We’ve had to work a lot with the choral director (Ms. Joleen Kragt) to polish our singing,” says Goss, a two-time state qualifier in cross country. “She taught us new mechanics to use and new techniques. It’s been a lot of work.”

Seniors Matthew Fecko of Arlington Heights and Bryan Rapala of West Dundee share the role of Albert Peterson, Birdie’s agent and songwriter, performed by Dick Van Dyke in the movie version.

“He’s henpecked by his mother and his girlfriend, Rosie,” Fecko says. “He’s timid and afraid of confrontation.”

All of which are captured in his many songs in the show, often accompanied by ensemble members.

“My favorite is Baby Talk to Me,” says Fecko, who is an accomplished singer, having advanced to the Illinois Music Educators’ Association district festival. “It’s a ballad that I love.”

Friday, Feb. 3 – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 4 – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 5 – 1:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 10 – 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 11 – 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 12 – 1:30 p.m.

Ticket information


Saint Viator Trivia Night a Rousing Success

IMG_2580Matt Murphy ’88, his wife, Julie Enright Murphy ’88, and a table filled with current parents won their second consecutive title at the Athletic Booster Club’s Trivia Night fundraiser.

Their panel of trivia experts included Gary Purk, Kristen and Steve DeJohn ‘81, Claire Hanlon, Jim and Toni Sullivan, and Steve and Christy Napoleon. True to form, the table donated their prize money back to the athletic program.

Dave O’Grady ’87 and president of the Athletic Boosters, described Trivia Night as a “tremendous success” led by the efforts of Kathy Gallagher and Chris Efken. He added that this year’s raffle prizes—two sets of Cubs tickets and a Dallas Cowboys jersey signed by Emmett Cleary ’08 and the entire team—helped to drive up profits to nearly $15,000.

trivia niteHe adds that 100 percent of the proceeds are returned to the athletic department, to meet the ongoing needs of the coaches and their student-athletes.

“I think the magic of Trivia Night is the people who come to support the event every year,” O’Grady said. “As President Obama said when he welcomed the world champion Chicago Cubs, sports has a way of bringing us together.”

“I more than agree,” he added. “My table had three Hersey grads, one Prospect, one Palatine, one Norte Dame and two Saint Viator alums. It really is a community of people who grew up in this area coming together to support Saint Viator athletics. Now that is pretty special.”

IMG_2650Once again, the evening sold out with 500 people in attendance. Among faculty and staff spotted in the crowd were Mr. Chris Paolelli ’02, Mrs. Rita King, Mr. Michael Tubridy, Mrs. Julie Reedy, Mrs. Donna Benedict, Mrs. Kate Costello ’70, Mr. T.J. King ’04 and Mrs. Kathleen Lynde ’05, alumni relations director.

Many coaches also turned out to support the event, including Charlie Curtin, girls’ varsity volleyball coach: Jason Churak, varsity wrestling coach; Amanda Ray, cheerleading coach; Casey Lynde ’06, assistant football and baseball coach; Mike Taylor, soccer coach; and strength and conditioning coach Rich McLoughlin ’10.

Alumni tables from nearly every decade helped fill the room as well as those of current and former parents. Even President Brian Liedlich and his wife, Maria, participated in the event.

One table has come each of the nine years it has been held. Led by Mrs. Susie McNamara, athletic department assistant, the group included John McNamara ’68, Pat and Betsy Martin McAvoy ’81, Glenn and Kathleen Guth, Dan and JoAnn Murphy, and Corky and Eileen Cairo, head of the science department.

Summer Work Study and Internship Program a Win-Win for Students and Employers

DSC_0013_cropAs Saint Viator’s innovative Summer Work Study and Internship Program enters its fourth summer, numbers are growing—both in participating students and supportive business partners.

After launching in 2014 with two students placed with a pair of law firms—Kelleher & Buckley in North Barrington and at Niro, Haller & Niro in Chicago—that number grew last summer to include 17 participating companies who employed or sponsored 43 students.

Their support of the program added up to a total of $120,000 of tuition assistance earned by partnering with students.


Saint Viator Controller, Nora Boka with Investment Board members, Mick Solimene (left) and Bob Shanahan (right.)

A reception held Wednesday drew business leaders from across the Northwest suburbs who expressed support for the program and a continued desire to hire Saint Viator students in an effort to make a Catholic education accessible.

“Our goal is to increase the program by adding at least five new business partners or sponsors this year,” said Kirsten Nozime, coordinator of the program.

Once accepted into the internship, students work five eight-hour days for a period of six weeks during the summer at the employer’s workplace. They are paired with a business partner according to their interest and location and can earn $3,000 tax-free towards their tuition for the upcoming academic year.

“This relevant work experience not only provides our students with the opportunity to contribute financially to their education,” said Saint Viator President Brian Liedlich, “but it reinforces the thinking strategies and lifelong learning behaviors emphasized in the classroom.”

Anna Krause '17 working at Prospect Heights Village Hall to complete her required hours for Saint Viator's Corporate Work Study Program.

Anna Krause ’17 working at Prospect Heights Village Hall to complete her required hours for Saint Viator’s Corporate Work Study Program.

“This unique combination of classroom learning and workplace learning,” he added, “prepares our students for success in high school, college and in the years to come.”

Saint Viator alums, Dean Niro’83 and Andy Kelleher ’86, helped to create the work study program, and right from the start, their vision was to give students valuable work experience while helping them offset their tuition.

“The biggest gift is their presence,” Kelleher says, “and seeing their excitement and desire to learn, working to improve themselves and making a positive impact on the business where they were working.”

Tom O’Neill ’88, CEO of the Würth Group in Vernon Hills, agreed. He signed up last summer to hire his first Saint Viator student, then junior Alex Horne of Buffalo Grove, placing him in the IT department.

“I have to say, Alex did more for our company than we did for Alex,” O’Neill said. “His attitude and willingness to take on new projects changed the culture of our IT department.”

Alex is a member of the Querbes Scholars program, who handles a heavy course load of Advanced Placement courses, but he found his summer internship to be challenging and enlightening.

Alex Thorn

Alex Horne ’17 with the Würth Group IT Department.

His work ranged from sorting documents to resizing images to fit Google’s size requirement and learning HTML in order to code large images on the company’s website.

“I’ll tell you,” Alex told employers, “an eight-hour work day turned out to be exhausting like no other school day could.”

Junior Kacy Stodola spent the last two summers working for the law firm of Kelleher & Buckley, and she described the impact of stepping into the “adult working world.”

“My work included finishing tasks on deadline as well as handling ongoing projects,” Kacy said. “It’s taught me the value of accountability, responsibility and hard work.”


Veteran Soccer Coach Surprised at Pep Rally


It takes a lot to surprise Mike Taylor, the veteran head soccer coach at Saint Viator High School who has led the program for the last 36 years.

But Taylor found himself overwhelmed on Wednesday, when during the middle of a pep rally, he was honored by the founder of the PepsiCo Showdown, the country’s largest high school soccer tournament, for his work in making a difference—on and off the field.

“Coach Taylor has made a huge difference with his athletes,” said Joe Trost, tournament founder and creator of Buddy’s Helpers, the charity arm of the tournament.

“He has involved his players in helping women’s and children’s shelters,” Trost added, “and made major equipment donations to Chicago Public Schools, and even had some delivered on mission trips to Africa.”

Each month, Trost and Buddy’s Helpers surprise a different coach or student-athlete and reward them for their community outreach efforts. In Taylor’s case, he was given two tickets to see the Irish rock band, U2, appearing in June at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Taylor is a native of Zimbabwe in southern Africa and he referenced his upbringing during an interview after the surprise award ceremony. He recounted how when he was 9 years old his parents took in two children from the local orphanage in an effort to give them all the advantages their own children had.

“I’ve tried to raise my own kids like that, to give to others,” Taylor said. “And that’s the mission of Saint Viator, to do community service.”

Taylor formerly worked as a teacher before getting into real estate, which gave him a more flexible schedule and the ability to coach. But he still looks for educational opportunities for his players.

Boys Varsity Soccer Team 2016.

Boys Varsity Soccer Team 2016.

He began coaching Saint Viator’s boys’ soccer program in 1981 and added the girls’ program in 2010. Since then, he has more than 600 career games, two state championships, and 11 overall state playoff appearances.

Taylor also began taking his soccer teams to Europe every other year, beginning in 2003. Since then, he has led boys and girls teams overseas nine times and this summer will accompany them on a tournament trip to England and Ireland.

“Soccer is my life, but it’s more than about soccer,” Taylor added. “It’s an avenue to teach kids, to uplift people. Everyone needs to pay it forward just a little bit.”


Saint Viator Students March to Defend Life

MarchforLifeRallyBr. Peter Lamick, CSV, led a delegation of Saint Viator students on Sunday in the annual March for Life demonstration.

Marching through the streets of Chicago—with thousands of other people from diverse ethnic, social and religious backgrounds—they shared one common goal: defending and protecting all human life.

“Together, Saint Viator students, parents and Viatorians gave witness to the sanctity of human life,” Br. Peter said, “as we advocated for the protection of the natural rights of the unborn who are vulnerable and voiceless.”

March for Life took place in cities across the country. Collectively, it is the largest pro-life rally in the world. The rally takes place every year near the anniversary of legalized abortion, which took effect Jan. 22, 1973.

Its stated goal is to serve as a visual and vocal reminder that the people of Chicago and the Midwest stand for life.  By drawing together thousands of people, of all ages and from all walks of life, demonstrators hope to change perceptions in a society that thinks abortion is the answer.

The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Human Dignity and Solidarity organized the Chicago rally, and going forward, Saint Viator students plan to support all of their sponsored activities.

“As a Roman Catholic institution in the Archdiocese of Chicago, Saint Viator is a pro-life community,” says Mr. Bart Hisgen, director of Christian service and outreach. “When Cardinal Cupich invites us to advocate for life and defend the dignity of the most vulnerable, we respond.”


Varsity Baseball Coach Mike Manno Surprised with State Recognition


From left to right: Principal Eileen Manno, Mike’s wife, Stefanie Monaco Manno ’99, Mike ’94, Paul Manno, State Rep. David Harris ’66, and President Brian Liedlich.

Saint Viator students in fifth period lunch on Thursday experienced a rare special presentation: State Rep. David Harris arrived to honor Varsity Head Baseball Coach Mike Manno ’94 with a state proclamation issued from the Illinois House of Representatives.

The official proclamation was signed by House Speaker Mike Madigan and Timothy D. Mapes, House Clerk.

The honor came as a surprise to Coach Manno, who immediately was surrounded by his assistant coaches, players, and family members.

This weekend, Coach Manno will formally be named Coach of the Year of the Northern District of Illinois from the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association at their state coaches’ convention in Lombard.

“It’s great to be able to recognize you as the Coach of the Year for the Northern District of Illinois,” Harris told Manno, “but it’s just as great a thrill to be able to do so at my alma mater.”

Harris graduated from Saint Viator in 1966, ironically one year after its baseball team finished second in the state. Up until last spring’s historic run, when Coach Manno’s varsity advanced to the state semi-finals, they were the school’s only baseball team to advance downstate.


Mike with the 2016 Varsity Baseball team, State Rep. David Harris ’66, and President Brian Liedlich.

“I am truly honored. This is totally unexpected,” Coach Manno said. “But you don’t get awards like this without a great staff and great kids to work with, who work hard every day. I’m lucky that the administration and staff have allowed me to pursue my passion for baseball.”

Coach Manno has led the Lions as head baseball coach for 10 seasons. He is a 1994 Saint Viator graduate, who returned 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 coach for the sophomore boys’ basketball team, and he serves as assistant athletic director.

“Mike has been a terrific representative of Saint Viator and has built a well-respected and successful baseball program,” Athletic Director Marty Jennings said. “This additional honor is a welcome highlight for his great work.”

Saint Viator Students in the News


Patrick Harris ’17.

A pair of Saint Viator students joined a rare group last week when they were named to the Daily Herald’s Leadership Team. In both cases, seniors Patrick Harris and Gabriela Gaffney pointed to sustainable gardening initiatives as priorities in their community service profiles.

Patrick stood out with his three-week global leadership experience last summer in Soweto, South Africa. Working with a non-governmental organization, Patrick devised a mentoring system for 400 underprivileged children, as well as a vertical garden that used recycled, 2-litre soda bottles.

“This was for the poor areas of Soweto, where there was a basic lack of food,” Patrick says. “They had gardens, but the vertical gardening allowed them to increase their efforts.”

Patrick was featured on the front page of the Daily Herald with the rest of the team, and his profile ran inside. Besides his efforts with the African Leadership Academy, Patrick is a founding member of the E-Commerce Club and McKenna Marketplace at Saint Viator, and he volunteers in Campus Ministry and with a Boy Scout troop at Little City in Palatine.

“Beyond seeing the vast areas of Soweto and Johannesburg,” Patrick says, “the experience in Africa offered intensive leadership development as well as the opportunity to serve the poor.”

Gabriela Gaffney '17.

Gabriela Gaffney ’17.

Gabriela was named to the honorable mention leadership team. At Saint Viator, she serves as a retreat leader and with Campus Ministry, as well as helping to serve holiday dinners to the homeless through an outreach program at St. Benedict’s Church in Chicago. However, she listed her volunteer efforts with the Viatorian Community Garden, first.

Gabriela and her family take a plot each summer at the large garden located on the grounds of the Viatorian Province Center, where they grow fresh vegetables all summer for the 400 families served each month by the Wheeling Township Food Pantry.

Their commitment to serving the poor and marginalized is inspirational, says Mr. Bart Hisgen, director of Christian outreach and service.

“Saint Viator aims to shape both the minds and hearts of our students,” Mr. Hisgen says, “through academic learning—and encouraging students to prioritize those living at the outskirts of society.”


Students Close National Migration Week Working at Viator House of Hospitality

IMG_2125One of the goals of Saint Viator’s Christian Service program is to help young people see the connections between faith and service—and the issues of our day.

That connection was evident Saturday, when a group of Saint Viator students joined with their peers from Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep in Waukegan, at the new Viator House of Hospitality, which formally opens today.

IMG_1635The residence is located in the Chicago area. It is grounded in the Viatorian commitment to young people and to “those accounted of little importance.” Consequently, the house provides compassionate accompaniment of young adult male undocumented immigrants who have been released from federal detention.

Together with a residential staff, Viatorians accompany these young men by offering housing, case management, spiritual support, advocacy, referrals and volunteer experiences for up to two years.

IMG_1633On Saturday, Saint Viator and Cristo Rey students helped with cleaning and final preparations in the home before its first residents move in today.

“I believe that we’re all part of God’s creation and we are all called to be stewards of God’s creation,” said senior Elias Rivera, Jr. “We are called to be caretakers of each other, showing love and compassion to our brothers and sisters. This doesn’t just include people who look like us or just people who live similar lives as us.”

“This includes the migrant and the foreigner,” Elias adds. “I think that is the effect of Viator House.”

The service trip culminated National Migration Week, which was established by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops to remember the journey of the Holy Family as they had to live in the shadows and cross the border into Egypt to escape death at the hands of King Herod.

As Cardinal Blase Cupich said during the opening Mass held Jan. 8 at Holy Name Cathedral, the church calls parishes, Catholic schools, and religious communities to a heightened awareness of the difficult journey of today’s immigrants and to work as a community so migrants can “step out of the darkness.”



holocaust museum

Student Leaders Address Human Rights Abuses at Illinois Holocaust Museum

holocaust museum

Back row: Anthony Novak, Allison Bosshart, Amalia Sordo-Palacios and Kevin Wilhite. Front row: Gina Pieri, Sarah McDermott, Maura Hogaboom and Neda Kakish.

A total of eight Saint Viator students experienced a powerful day recently at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. Its Student Leadership Day took place last month, and it’s one they’re likely never to forget.

They all had been nominated by their respective religion teachers for having demonstrated leadership at school—and showing an interest in heightening awareness about human rights issues.

These Saint Viator leaders were among more than 100 freshmen, sophomores and juniors from across the state who gathered to learn more about lessons from the past, and about the close connection between the Holocaust and current day human rights abuses.

During the program, students heard some modern day hidden stories of human rights and atrocity, and they went on to explore why certain social justice issues and histories become marginalized.

They heard firsthand from Mr. Danny Cohen, author, educator and founder of the Unsilence Project, which was created to deliver engaging learning experiences about hidden, marginalized, and taboo narratives of atrocity and human rights. Cohen also was a Faculty Fellow of the Auschwitz Jewish Center.

The day culminated by challenging students to create action plans to “unsilence” prejudice, indifference, and injustice in their local and global communities.

For Saint Viator students, their action plans started with effective ways to become upstanders within their own school community, said Ms. Emily Egan, religion teacher and moderator of the Justice League.

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