Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: May 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Class of 2017 Earns $29 Million in College Scholarships

The numbers are in—and they are impressive.

Out of the 219 graduates of Saint Viator’s Class of 2017, 34 of them were legacy students, or children of Saint Viator and/or Sacred Heart of Mary alumni.

The 219 graduates also earned more than 600 scholarships—amounting to a whopping $29 million.

SVHS_00182Those numbers beat last year’s awards when seniors won 555 scholarships for more than $25 million.

This year’s class includes three National Merit Scholars, several NCAA Division 1 athletic scholarships, as well as full scholarships to the U.S. Naval Academy as well as the Air Force Academy.

College choices include some of the country’s most selective schools, including Brown University, College of the Holy Cross, Harvard, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, and Yale, to name just a few.

Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, vice president of Viatorian identity and mission, offered the invocation at the start of the evening.

SVHS_01702“Lord, we place these graduates in your hands for the next journey in their lives,” Fr. Hall said. “Shine your light on their paths and infuse them with your spirit of joy.”

Mrs. Eileen Manno, principal, says the high achieving graduates reflect the rigorous, academic mission of the school.


“We shape young men and women to not only be successful in the classroom,” Mrs. Manno said, “but to be leaders in academics, athletics, faith and of service to others.”

Class of 2017 Legacy Students & Alumni Parents:

Hannah Barbour ’17 – Kristen Zbikowski ’95
Katie and Michael Boler ’17 – Michael Boler ’82
Emma Burky ’17 – Suzanne Motto ’89
Orest Byskosh ’17 – Arkadiush Byskosh ’86
Susan Carlson – Timothy Carlson ’87
Grace Cavanagh ’17 – Mary Kelly Finnegan ’83 and William Cavanagh ’82
Sheila Cavanagh ’17 – Gerald ’79 and Mary Kain ’83 Cavanagh
Steven Cieniawa – Mary Jean Loiacono Cieniawa ’79
Kelly Dietrick ’17 – Ellen Butler Dietrick ’77
John Donahue ’17 – Brian Donahue ’91
Jackson Elstro ’17 – Rhonda Starr ’87
John Finnegan ’17 – Joseph Finnegan ’82
Sara Gasey ’17 – Arthur Gasey ’85
Samantha Hamilton ’17 – Jim Hamilton ’88
Emily Jarosz ’17 – Joseph Jarosz ’85
Beau Kellner ’17 – Timothy Kellner ’83
Addison Lubert ’17 – Christine Efken ’79
Marion Madaras ’17 – Kathleen Egan Madaras ’83
John Marchiori ’17 – Teresa Murnane Marchiori ’86
Kaelee Martin ’17 – Daniel Martin ’86
Jonathon Murphy ’17 – James Murphy ’79
Grace Niezyniecki ’17 – Stacey Collignon ’85 Niezyniecki
Sean O’Grady ’17 – David O’Grady ’87
Brian O’Hara ’17 – Roseann O’Hara ’80
Isabella Pastika ’17 – James Pastika ’78
Isabella Perez ’17 – Ann Buonincontro Perez ’89
Alexander Prazuch ’17 – Thomas Prazuch ’86
Bryan Rapala ’17 – Bryan Rapala ’79
Shannon Rooney ’17 – David Rooney ’82
John Ruth ’17 – Melissa Miller Ruth ’87
Shannon Stanczak ’17 – William Stanczak ’85
Wilson Starr ’17 – Caroline Avell Starr ’91 and Dominic Starr ’91
Shanna Wosick ’17 – the late Kurt Wosick ’79

Saint Viator Graduation: More than Pomp and Circumstance

IMG_9880Saint Viator High School’s 54th annual commencement ceremony took place Monday and it was steeped in tradition, with awards, speeches and the procession of graduates set to “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Yet, the ceremony also established some new traditions. For starters, graduation took place on a Monday night, in order to limit any complications with college graduations. What’s more, President Brian Liedlich awarded diplomas to graduates in his first year as president.

IMG_9980“The class of 2017 is a truly remarkable group of young women and men,” he said. “They are highly intelligent, personally gifted and are genuinely good people.”

In keeping with tradition, Paulina Piowarczyk addressed the audience as valedictorian of the class. She used a road-trip metaphor to describe her four years at Saint Viator, with some detours and roadside attractions along the way, which have made the journey memorable.

“This is what I am challenging each and every person to do,” Paulina said. “Open your eyes, truly look around and realize how wonderful life is, even in its most mundane moments.”

IMG_0053The night also featured two of the most prestigious honors presented to outstanding seniors, the Andrew Johnstone Award and the Christopher Cup.

Senior Preetha Raj was named the 2017 winner of the Andrew Johnstone Award. The honor was created in memory of Andrew Johnstone, who died in the summer of 1991, before the start of his senior year, when he would have served as class president. For the last 25 years, his parents have presented the award personally to each recipient. This year, Mr. Lielich presented the award to Preetha, who was chosen for her outstanding leadership and spirit.

Preetha has served as secretary of her senior class, while also mentoring underclassmen as a LINK crew leader and as the senior goalie and co-captain of the girls’ lacrosse team. This fall, she heads to Chapman University in Orange County California to play lacrosse.

zacjonesThe final award of the night, the Christopher Erdmann Award, went to Zachary Jones, whose name now will be etched on the Christopher Cup, along with more than 45 other prestigious winners. The award was created in memory of Christopher Erdmann ‘68, who passed away from leukemia. It was created to recognize a student who has taken active involvement and leadership in the improvement of Saint Viator High School.

Zac is a National Merit Finalist and Fr. Louis Querbes Scholar, who served on Student Council and as a mentor to underclassmen as a LINK leader. He performed in nearly all of the school’s plays and musicals during his four years, but he also worked to heighten global concern and service among his classmates through Catholic Relief Services’ global awareness program. Zac will attend Yale University in the fall.

Celebrate! Seven More Seniors Commit to Playing Sports in College

IMG_9726Senior Preetha Raj never played lacrosse before her freshman year at Saint Viator High School, let alone stopping shots as a goaltender. But there she was, four years later, seated at the Spring Signing Celebration, hosted by the athletic department for seniors committing to play in college.

IMG_9758Preetha signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at Chapman University in Orange County, California. Over the last two years, she has developed into the starting goalie for the Lady Lions, who are 15-1 and conference champions heading into playoffs.

“I had never been a goalie before,” Preetha said. “I volunteered to do it. I thought it was just for practice.”

Stories like Preetha’s played out at the afternoon ceremony, led by Athletic Director Martin Jennings and attended by President Brian Liedlich, Principal Eileen Manno, parents, and coaches.

“To play a sport at the college level is a huge accomplishment,” Jennings said. “You’ve represented Saint Viator High School and Saint Viator athletics at such a high level. We’re extremely proud that now you’re going on to play in college.”

IMG_9803Another athlete who never thought he’d be playing in college was Kevin Hamilton. He plays wheelchair basketball for the Lincolnway Special Recreation Association, based in New Lenox, and now will play for the University of Nebraska Omaha, which started its competitive wheelchair basketball team last year.

“I love the sport,” Kevin says simply, “and the fact that the school had a team was part of the reason I chose to go there. But they also have a good journalism program, and with the College World Series taking place in Omaha, there are lots of opportunities (for reporting).”

IMG_9783Bobby Perna always loved to play baseball, but he never dreamed he would be playing in college. On Wednesday, he celebrated his commitment to play at Concordia University Chicago.

“I love baseball, but I found my calling as a pitcher here at Saint Viator,” Bobby said. “Thanks to my coaches, I improved my skills and technique enough to pitch, which is what I’ll be doing at Concordia.”

By contrast, Jack Heneghan always saw himself playing baseball in college, he says, and now he will be playing for the Rams at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

“I always loved the game and I never wanted to stop playing,” Jack said. “My first two years here, the coaches really worked with me on my mechanics and on the basics, and that really made a difference.”

IMG_9770A pair of seniors from Saint Viator’s golf team will be teeing off in college. Nick Bavaro will be playing at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, while Sean O’Grady will play at John Carroll University in Cleveland.

“My teammates pushed me to get better,” Nick said. “I wanted to be able to compete with them.”

Sean came up through junior high playing football and baseball, but after suffering injuries, he turned to a non-contact sport and he found his passion, he said.

“My coaches and teammates helped make me a better player,” Sean said. “Just being in the lineup forces you to play harder and take it to the next level.”

IMG_9791Anthony McHale-McFarlin played on the defensive line for Coach Dave Archibald and the Lions, who advanced to the second round of the playoffs last season. Anthony will play at Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin.

“I want to thank my coaches,” he said, “who were always there for me and pushed me to work harder.”

From Saint Viator to the Schaumburg Boomers: One Grad’s Journey to the Professional Level

John campanelli, annie campbell, and Cosimo Cannella at their 2012 graduation.

John Campanelli, Annie Campbell, and Cosimo Cannella at their 2012 graduation.

Saint Viator graduate, Cosimo Cannella ’12, is living the dream, literally.

In April, he was selected in the first round of the Frontier League by the Schaumburg Boomers and just last week he learned he made the final roster. The Boomers opened their season on Friday.

“This was a goal I set for myself and I made it,” Cannella said. “Of course, my ultimate goal is to make it to the big leagues, but this is a great start.”

During his years at Saint Viator, the Lions’ baseball team under Head Coach Mike Manno won its regional title his junior and senior years. Cannella went on to attend Des Moines Area Community College, whose Division II baseball program is nationally ranked before he transferred and played ball at Missouri Western State University.

“He played first base for us and was a power hitter,” Coach Manno said. “During his two years on varsity, he was one of our better hitters. He really worked at the craft of being a good baseball player.”

Cannella began his post-college career working for his father’s business, but he ended up taking a break to give his dream of making a professional team, one last chance.

cosimoCannella spent the winter months in Scottsdale, AZ, where he knew other players there who had played in the minor leagues. Together, they worked on explosive exercises, aimed at increasing his speed, agility, and quickness.

“I trained all day, every day,” he says. “I knew this was my only chance.”

In March, Cannella took a break from his training to practice with the Lions, who were on a training trip over spring break. Cannella spoke to the team about motivation and the benefits of hard work and dedication.

His visit with his former program proved to be a good luck charm. The very next weekend, Cannella went to his first tryout in California, for independent teams, where he caught the eye of the Boomers’ coaches.

At a subsequent tryout for all 12 teams in the Frontier League, which drew more than 350 players, Cannella was one of 24 players to get drafted.

“I was hoping to make the Boomers,” Cannella said. “I figured, if I was going to play, I wanted to play close to home.”

In part, Cannella credits his educational experience at Saint Viator with teaching him the value—and rewards—of hard work.

“At Viator, people are always pushing you, in the classroom and on the fields,” Cannella said. “That work ethic gave me an edge heading into college and I’ve taken that with me wherever I’ve gone.”

Saint Viator Theater Alum Nominated for Jeff Award


Joe Giovannetti ’10.

During his four years at Saint Viator, Joe Giovannetti ’10 auditioned for nearly every play and musical, and created memorable roles as Riff in West Side Story and the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.

Turns out, he still is drawing attention on stage. Performing in his first professional show, “The Most Happy Fella” at the Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre in Chicago, Giovannetti was nominated for a Non-Equity Jeff Award in the best supporting actor in a musical category, for his portrayal of Hermann.

The show closed in mid-May, but it led all musical productions with 11 nominations, including best musical, and was a Jeff-recommended musical.

It was his first role after taking a three-year hiatus from performing.


Joe Giovannetti ’10 performing with Viatribe in 2010.

“I started to take performing in musical theater more seriously in high school, but I decided to go to music school and become certified as a music educator,” Giovannetti says. “I received my Bachelor of Music Education from Indiana University in 2014.”

Even though Giovannetti was in Indiana’s acclaimed music school, he couldn’t stay away from the theater and performed in eight main stage musicals at IU.

“I was regularly the only person in the cast not from the theatre school,” he adds. “I really liked being able to perform while working on my teaching license. I felt like I got the best of both worlds.”


Joe Giovannetti ’10 teaching a Choir class in 2015.

One year after earning his music education degree, Giovanetti returned to Saint Viator to direct the choral program, where he collaborated with his former theatre director, Mrs. Kate Costello. He now is pursuing a master’s degree at Northwestern University, when he’s not performing on stage.

“Joe was one of the few triple-threat young men that I have ever had the pleasure to direct,” Mrs. Costello says. “He was a joy to work with as an adult as well. He is a brilliant choreographer and music teacher.”

Giovannetti not only earned a Jeff nomination for his first professional role, he earned rave reviews as well, including this one from in March from Chris Jones, theater critic for the Chicago Tribune: “The cast, especially Giovannetti, yet another big talent performing for the first time in Chicago, also imbues the total switcheroo that the score often requires.”

Looks like the Non-Equity Jeff Awards, whose ceremony takes place June 5 at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago, is just the beginning for this Saint Viator product. Break a leg!

Alumni Ambassador Q&A: Molly Broeren ’01 Kranovich

family pic 2017What are you doing professionally?

Staying home with my children and teaching yoga.

Did Saint Viator/Sacred Heart have any impact on your career choice or success you have had?

My master’s degree in Nonprofit Management was a direct result of the love of service I learned at Saint Viator.

What are some of your favorite memories from high school?

My favorite memories are dances, football games, and Kairos.

Did any teachers have a positive influence on your life?

Many! One, in particular, would be Mrs. King who introduced me to meditation in sophomore year religion class. I often am reminded of that as I teach others the importance of taking a few minutes of quiet in their yoga practice.

Have you stayed close to any friends from high school?

Yes, lots of good friends, three of my best friends from Saint Viator are the godmothers to my children.

What would you say to parents who are considering sending the children to Saint Viator?

Saint Viator is a wonderful place for a high-schooler to be where lifelong friendships are made and faith is prevalent in every day and every activity.

Character Counts for These Saint Viator Seniors

Cortese & Valentino EG ScholarshipTony Valentino ’17 earned a scholarship to wrestle at the Division I level at Brown University, an Ivy League college in Providence, Rhode Island. But this week he earned another scholarship that valued an often unsung quality: citizenship.

Likewise, Mary Ann Cortese ’17 applied for several college scholarships that leverage her passion for community service and academics, but the scholarship in her hometown of Elk Grove Village valued her character.

Both Tony and Mary Ann won the Elk Grove Fallen Soldier Memorial Scholarship, valued at $1,000 and offered each year by members of the village’s Community Character Coalition.

The scholarship honors the memory of four soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the conflicts following the attacks on Sept. 11.

In all, four scholarships were awarded and two went to Saint Viator students.

“This scholarship validates what we do here at Saint Viator,” said Principal Eileen Manno. “We try to build character as much as we educate young men and women who are successful in the classroom and in serving others.”

The two seniors received their certificates Tuesday during a meeting of the Elk Grove Village board of trustees.


Tony Valentino ’17.

“I’m really proud to receive this award,” Tony said afterward. “I’m happy that they valued my character. It gave me a sense that what I’m involved in, matters.”

Beyond his wrestling career, in which he earned more than 100 victories in his four years and a berth to the state tournament his junior and senior years, Tony led his class each year in the Walter Payton Toy Drive collection. He also volunteers at the Elk Grove Village Public Library and in community food drives.

Mary Ann has learned to take an active approach to her community service. Back in January, she participated in the March for Life in Chicago and one week later in the March for Life in the nation’s capital, which drew more than 500,000 people.


Mary Ann Cortese ’17.

She is passionate about standing up for the dignity of all persons and that can be seen in her perspective on citizenship, which she submitted in her scholarship application.

“Each and every citizen is granted certain rights,” Mary Ann wrote, “and you cannot abuse them. We must use these rights to serve others, for the betterment of the community.”

This fall, Mary Ann will attend Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, where she plans to double major in international business and political science, with a concentration in human life studies.

“Earning this scholarship—that values citizenship—is important to me,” she says. “I’ll be studying political science and I love community service, so this scholarship is what I’m all about.”

Girls Lacrosse: Taking it to the Next Level

Members of the girls’ lacrosse team have a little swagger these days.

Just two years after winning only one game, the Lady Lions are 14-1 this season and are currently ranked 12th in the state according to the latest power rankings.

The news gets better. Last week, the team won the East Suburban Catholic Conference title, after finishing fourth last year, defeating one of its biggest rivals, Carmel Catholic High School in a stunning upset.

On Tuesday, conference officials recognized their efforts. Senior co-captain Emily Jarosz was named East Suburban Catholic Conference player of the year, and she and six of her teammates were named to the all-conference team, including Georgia Christy ’18, Anna Gorman ’18, Colleen Martin ’17, Olivia Moorman ’20, Preetha Raj ’17 and Rebecca Wolf ’18.

In addition, varsity coach Suzanne Rich was named ESCC coach of the year.

“It’s been a total team effort,” Coach Rich says. “We have a solid defense, with a strong senior goalie, and we’ve got an attacking offense, with many players who can score goals.

“It’s just been a total change in culture,” she adds. “They believe in what I’m asking them to do. They’ve learned how to win—and they want to win.”

This is the second year Coach Rich has directed the team. She made an immediate impact last year when the team posted 11 wins and this year they are strong contenders heading into next weekend’s playoffs.

Coach Rich brings a Division I playing experience to the role. She was a four-year starting midfielder at the University of Richmond in Virginia, where the Spiders earned a berth to the national lacrosse tournament her freshmen year.

When she’s not coaching the Lady Lions, Coach Rich also directs the Illinois girls’ travel program for True Lacrosse, a premier club program based in Lombard.

In reflecting on the team’s dramatic turnaround, Coach Rich credits her assistant coach, Peter Bogle, who runs the offense; and junior varsity Coach Taryn Abbassian, who specializes in draw controls. Both assistants bring college experience to their roles, while her captains, Emily Jarosz ’17, Preetha Raj ’17 and Peyton Finnegan ’18, provide solid leadership.

“We have great athletes on our team, who I knew I could shape into great lacrosse players,” Coach Rich says. “They’re committed to working hard and playing in the off-season, and it shows.”

Girls Softball Honors Those Who Went Before Them

IMG_9671 It was throwback day on Saturday at Saint Viator’s varsity softball game, and the team pulled out their Sabers jerseys, from the days of girls’ softball at Sacred Heart of Mary High School.

A pair of alumnae from the class of 1967, who will celebrate their 50th reunion later this year, threw out the first pitch and they spoke to the team before the start of the game. Kathy Mueller Tiernan and Kathy Koren Weir both said they were pleased to see the heritage of their alma mater honored by current students.

“This kind of show of support is vital to keeping us connected,” Tiernan said.

The day drew other alumnae to attend as well as Mrs. Judith Amberg, who taught at both Sacred Heart and Saint Viator, before retiring and helping out with the Alumni Association.

IMG_9678She remembered that it was Mrs. Rosemary Sawin, the former Sacred Heart physical education teacher, who formed the Sabers’ softball team.

“She started with a freshmen team and made it a learning experience,” Mrs. Amberg said. “Girls were not thought of as position players but instead they were encouraged to try playing different positions.”

Head Coach John Scotillo helped inaugurate the throw-back event last year and he fully supported it again this year.

“It’s important that the girls know the tradition behind Sacred Heart,” Coach Scotillo said, “and recognize how tough it was for them to form a team and compete. We’re hoping that through this, the spirit of the Heart continues and remains a legacy to our students.”

Of this year’s current team, two players have mothers who attended Sacred Heart: Jessica Taylor ’18, whose mother, Jennifer Urso Taylor, graduated from Sacred Heart in 1986 and Gretchen Brauer ’20, whose mother, Patty Simmerman Brauer, graduated in 1979.

“I like being able to show off my mom’s school,” said Jessica, one of the team’s pitchers.

Both Tiernan and Weir spoke briefly about what it was like to attend an all-girls’ school back in the 1960s. Both remembered their years there fondly, of the friendships formed — with classmates and the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

IMG_9700Though neither played softball, they remembered that the rules were strict and that there was no talking allowed, even in the locker room.

Urso, who graduated from Sacred Heart one year before it merged with Saint Viator to form a co-educational institution, said she appreciated seeing her school showcased.

“It’s a nice way to remember our history,” Urso said, “and where we came from.”

Saint Viator Math Team: A Force to be Reckoned with at State Competition

image1 (1)Saint Viator High School continues to move up the ranks in the math world. For the second time in three years, math team members have qualified for the state championship, hosted by the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and they brought home some heavy metal.

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.

“These kinds of results are unprecedented for Saint Viator,” says Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, who co-moderates the Math Club. “When you consider the kind of competition they faced, it’s a huge accomplishment.” 

Overall, the team placed ninth at state—out of 49 teams—in its 2A division.

Seniors Orest Byskosh and Patrick Harris finished their last year on a high note. They tied for first place in the oral competition, after placing 3rd last year. They were coached once again by Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, who worked with them every morning during homeroom period.

The oral event is two-fold and is considered to be one of the most difficult in the competition.

In the first part, students are given 10 minutes to prepare their answers to a question—and then present their findings to the judges. In the second part, they have to solve a problem on the spot, orally. Making it even harder was this year’s subject in the oral competition: quadrant geometry.

Individual members—at every class level—helped to boost the team’s overall finish. They included:

Eric Ryu ’20, 1st place in Algebra 1
Shiyun Cheng ’20, 7th in Algebra 1
Zibin Gao ’19, 9th in Geometry
Thomas Stanila ’18, 9th in Algebra 2
Patrick Harris ’17, Wentao Yang ’17 and Jenny Chen ’17, all tied for 4
th in Pre-Calculus

Students competing in teams also performed well.

1st –  Pre-Calculus Team: Orest Byskosh, Jenny Chen, Patrick Harris, Kwanghee Han, Kaitlyn Solarz, Wentao Yang

1st – Frosh/Soph 8 Person: Shiyun Cheng, Eric Ryu, Junchen Guo, Jiayi Shi, Caroline Lavender, Zibin Gao

1st (tied) – Oral Team: Orest Byshkosh and Patrick Harris

5th – Calculator Team:  Marcus Lannie, Joanne Jun, Orest Byskosh, Patrick Harris
7th – Geometry Team: Junchedn Guo, Marcus Lannie, Yiran Liu, Caroline Lavender,
 Sumin  Yu, Zibin Gao

9th – Jr/ Sr 2 Person: Wentao Yang, Alice Wang

10th – Algebra 2 Team: Thomas Stanila, Meghan Fleming, Joanne Jun, Olivia Zhang, Greta Zimmerman, Alice Wang

Mrs. Cheryl Nowak, who teaches AP calculus and algebra, moderates the Math Team and Saint Viator’s Math Club with Mrs. Brigette Brankin, as the math team has grown close to 40 members over the past three years.

“The Math Team had a very successful year, moving up to 9th place from 12th last year,” Mrs. Nowak said. “We had a lot of fun and I’m very proud of the team.”

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