Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: June 2017

Get to Know New Saint Viator Principal, Mrs. Karen Love

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Q: Tell us a little about your background.

A: I have enjoyed a very challenging, diverse and rewarding career in Catholic education, serving most recently as Assistant Principal for Instruction at Loyola Academy in Wilmette. Previous to that I had served in a variety of roles in both the classroom and administration at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon.

Q: What attracted you to the Saint Viator opportunity?

A: So many things. Certainly, from a career development point of view, the opportunity to achieve a position of leadership has been a decision which I have given a great deal of thought. Becoming a principal provides me with a tremendous professional challenge. But it was essential to me, that if I were to accept a position like this, it had to be in the right environment and I cannot think of a greater institution than Saint Viator. The history of the Viatorian community’s commitment to quality Catholic education is exceptional. I am following a strong leader in Eileen Manno and have the chance to help shape the future of Saint Viator High School with Brian Liedlich and Fr. Dan Hall, a leadership team that is extraordinarily talented and committed to excellence. The faculty, Board of Trustees and even the parents I have been able to meet have all reinforced what a unique and inspiring community this is. The more I learned, the more I knew this was an amazing opportunity.

Q: It sounds as if you are well acquainted with the Viatorian mission in education.

A: During my tenure at Loyola Academy I was able to witness the Viatorian charism from a distance. Once I began to research the school and as I went through the interview process the mission permeated every discussion. What impresses me about it is the way the Viatorian leadership, really around the world, merges quality education, a world-view of equality and justice, and the commitment to building lifelong relationships, all based on an adherence to Jesus’ call to serve. It is not without significant effort that this can all happen together but the Viatorian community is and has been, committed to it for centuries. I see it as my top priority to maintain their commitment and their record of success in everything we do.

Q: What should parents and students know about the transition that will take place as you begin your role this summer?

A: First, that it will be highly organized and well planned. I have the good fortune of following the transition to a new President and Vice President for Viatorian Identity and Mission just this past year so I think everyone in the administration and faculty has a heightened sense of awareness of where the pain points may be. The academic achievements of the student body in recent years and the recognition as a Blue Ribbon School and an Apple School tell me that my role will be to fine-tune, not conduct a major overhaul. There are many challenges in education today and to stay among the finest schools in the country we need to monitor trends, evaluate new methodologies, refine the commitment to technology and understand and adapt to new curricula. We have built a transition team that will look at all aspects of what we do, identify areas for improvement or that require change, and use thoughtful, open discussion among all contributors to arrive at sound decisions. We will be ready for the students to arrive in August.

Q: What does the future of Saint Viator High School look like?

A: I’m here because I think the possibilities are endless. High school education is so different than it was even a decade ago partly due to technology. It’s possible that we can’t even imagine what new technologies will be available to us 5 or 10 years from now, but we will be positioned to integrate 21st-century skills for our students to adapt to new and unchartered territory. Saint Viator has an exceptional history of preparing students to not just get into the finest colleges, but to excel there. To maintain that level of achievement we need to monitor the changes in the college experience and make sure we are aligned with those changes. Those elements aside, we will always maintain a strong commitment to Catholic faith development in all that we do.

Q: What is your mindset at this point? Anxious, excited, overwhelmed?

A:  All of the above. I am very excited to begin this journey and the significance of the job is not lost on me. That being said, I feel that I have been preparing for this job for many years and with the support of Brian, Fr. Hall, the Board of Trustees and the faculty, I am really excited about what we are going to be able to accomplish together.

Q: Are you ready to be A Lion for Life?

A: I am! I’m so impressed with that all-encompassing view of welcoming middle school students into our school, of course caring for the young men and women who spend four years with us and then staying connected as they evolve from young alumni into successful careers as active alumni, and hopefully, someday, Viator parents. This truly is a community and I welcome the opportunity to work with all constituents that help make Saint Viator such a unique place.

In Just Two Years, Lions Softball Goes from 5-32 to Super Sectionals

softballSaint Viator girls softball team used a hashtag for their record-breaking season: #belegendary.

Head Coach John Scotillo coined the phrase and preached it from the beginning of the season through the team’s dramatic post-season surge. Seeded fourth in the Class 3A sectional in Antioch, they pulled off two upsets to win the sectional title on Friday—and this when the team was playing in its first sectional game in school history.

“We stress that they can be legendary—if they believe in themselves and each other,” Coach Scotillo says.

Scotillo guided the team not only into post-sectional play, but through a complete turnaround over the last two seasons, when they were 12-21 last year, and went 5-32 in 2015.

“This team has been together since they were sophomores,” Scotillo says, “and I knew they could do something special this year.”

He points to his senior leadership—Jenna Breslin, Cara Haubner, Grace Kaiser, Adeline Swiderski, Cameron VanValkenburg and Aryana Ziakas—who helped their teammates stay grounded and focused. The team enjoyed team-building events, including sponsoring a book club, donning Sacred Heart of Mary High School jerseys in a throwback game and holding a special ceremony for seniors to thank influential teachers.

Scotillo also laces his tweets with inspiring quotes from everyone from legendary North Carolina State Coach Jim Valvano, to basketball great, Michael Jordan, who said: “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”

Their season may have ended on Monday, but the Saint Viator community is still celebrating their historic success.

NHS Drive for Clearbrook Remains a Winning Tradition

IMG_2958There are many traditions at Saint Viator High School, but one that benefits thousands of people across the Northwest suburbs might be little known.

It took place last month when the newest members of the National Honor Society organized their first group service project: an in-school collection drive for Clearbrook, the Arlington Heights-based agency that serves children and adults with disabilities.

IMG_2962In doing so, Saint Viator was one of 10 schools that Clearbrook officials partnered with years ago in expanding the reach of Jelly Belly Days, one of their largest fundraisers. On May 12 and 13, Clearbrook volunteers collected donations at storefronts and intersections throughout the Chicago area, but Saint Viator students held their own drive, in school.

NHS members signed up to volunteer before school and during their lunch periods, over the two-day drive. Wearing Clearbrook’s traditional yellow vests, and handing out the agency’s signature jelly beans, NHS members collected donations from students, faculty and staff members, and parents.

IMG_2954All donations benefit the 8,000 children and adults served by Clearbrook, whose mission is to create opportunities for their clients with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We appreciate all the support and look forward to working with Saint Viator again,” said Hillary Mittelman, special events coordinator for Clearbrook. “The more people who participate, the more opportunities are generated to benefit our programs and services here at Clearbrook.”

Donations are still coming in, but NHS moderators Ms. Annette Bochenek and Mr. Kurt Paprocki expect the total to come in around $500, which far exceeds their goal.

“We were blown away by the generosity of the entire Viator community,” Mr. Paprocki says. “We always hear about how much the Viator community supports our neighbors, and this demonstrates that part of our school’s mission.

“The students deserve all the credit,” Mr. Paprocki added. “They gave up their time outside of their schedules to collect donations for a good cause.”

Saint Viator Students Work the Land

IMG_0423.JPGA new club is taking root at Saint Viator High School: the Veggie Lions.

Elise Horbach ’19 created the club, recruiting several classmates to join her in this farming caper, and Mrs. Kathy Gallagher has agreed to be their moderator.

They take their name from their gardening mission. This summer, they will be tending a vegetable plot at the Viatorian Community Garden—one of 14 raised beds—in the enclosed garden on the grounds of the Viatorian Province Center, located just south of the high school campus.

Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, started the garden in 2012, with a single mission in mind: to provide nutritious vegetables to families in the Northwest suburbs, struggling to put food on the table.

Right from the outset, all of the garden’s output was intended to be donated to the more than 400 families per month, served by the Wheeling Township Food Pantry.

IMG_04202“It’s all about feeding the hungry,” Fr. Hall said at the start of the garden.

The Veggie Lions now will join in that mission. They are part of a growing ministry that helps animate one of the core objectives of the Viatorian Community, to fight hunger.

In years past, early harvests have yielded radishes, lettuce, beets, peppers, zucchini, squash, and eggplant, while the late summer led to hundreds of pounds of tomatoes.

The soil for the garden is rich, reflecting its early heritage as a working farm and nursery. In fact, over the last five years, Viatorian gardeners have donated nearly 9,000 pounds of vegetables to the food pantry, and nearly 2,000 pounds each of the last two summers.

The Veggie Lions will be working alongside other gardeners—who run the gamut from Viatorian associates and professed, to staff members and alumni—in furthering their goal of making fresh vegetables accessible to local families.

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