Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: August 2017

International Students Address the Faculty

international2At a professional development meeting for faculty members on Tuesday, Joanne was the leading voice when she and a few of her international classmates, mostly from China, shared their hopes for the year ahead as try to assimilate into the American and Saint Viator culture.

In all, there are more than 85 international students attending Saint Viator this school year, making it the largest group since the school instituted its Rev. Mark R. Francis, CSV, International Program. Launched in 2012, it was designed to provide a supportive environment that helps students develop cultural understanding necessary to succeed in school.

“I wanted to come to America because I knew I’d have a better chance to learn and experience more,” Joanne said, echoing the sentiments of her classmates.

Alice Wang ’18, a native of China, hopes to attend medical school and she said Saint Viator could help her get there, while senior Andy Wang said he wanted more opportunities and more choices in colleges, which Saint Viator could provide.

“I came here because I wanted to experience another culture and see other parts of the world,” said Krystal Zheng ’18. “And here, I found more activities to become involved with.”

In fact, Krystal plays piano in the music ministry ensemble, but her classmates also described playing in the band, participating in lacrosse, competing on the math team and playing piano in the jazz band.

internationalStill, they shared that they sometimes struggle with the language barrier and are too shy to ask the teacher for help. They also voiced concerns about making friends with American students.

“I think it’s important for American students to learn our culture, too,” said Yiran Liu ‘19. “If they knew more about our culture, maybe they would talk to us more.”

Mrs. Rose Ruffatto directs Saint Viator’s international program, with the assistance of Mrs. Stephanie Spiewak. At the faculty meeting, they urged club moderators to reach out to international students and invite them to participate.

“Our growing international program offers all of our students a chance to embrace cultural differences and create lifetime friendships,” Mrs. Ruffatto says. “As we get to know our international students better, we realize that learning about differences in our cultures doesn’t really make us different, it just makes us better.


#TeacherTuesday: All the World is a Physics Lab for Teacher Cate Majka

Majka_CatherineThis year, physics teacher Cate Majka puts on her lab coat to begin her 28th year of teaching at Saint Viator High School, and it promises to be fun.

Think labs and hands-on learning, both inside and outside of the physics lab.

Over the years, Mrs. Majka has seen many changes in the school and taught different courses, including integrated science as well as the variety of honors and AP physics classes. But this much she knows: She comes back each year because her students are excited to learn.

Cate Majka with students after the WYSE competition last year.

Cate Majka with students after the WYSE competition last year.

“We have wonderful kids who are kind, considerate, generous and eager to do well,” Majka says. “They keep me young.”

Her labs are definitely for the young at heart. Some of her more memorable ones take students out onto the football field for orienteering, using walking vectors, as well as for projectile labs.

One of her favorite trips is taking physics students to Physics Day at Six Flags Great America, where its carnival rides transform into an outdoor learning lab to study the difference between velocity and acceleration.

Cate Majka with Class of 2017 alumni and former honors physics students, Aria Bernardi, Luke Koehler, Charlie Trunk and Charlotte Aichele.

Cate Majka with Class of 2017 alumni and former honors physics students, Aria Bernardi, Luke Koehler, Charlie Trunk and Charlotte Aichele.

Hands-on learning drives her classes, consequently, Majka is as comfortable demonstrating electrical circuits as she is around airplanes, teaching students about riveting and their role in aircraft design.

In July, she returned from taking junior and senior Querbes Scholars on a trip to Oshkosh to its world famous air show. Once again, it was more than a sightseeing trip. Students rolled up their sleeves and helped in the KidVenture area, which offers hands-on activities and learning opportunities to young, aspiring pilots.

Which is exactly the type of learning that Majka delivers in her classroom each year, hands-on labs and learning opportunities.

“To me everything is physics,” Majka says, “so I try to give real world applications and practical labs.”

Cross Country Invitational Proves a Popular Draw

At the second annual Saint Viator Cross Country Invitational on Aug. 19, the junior high runners from St. Thomas of Villanova in Palatine proved their mettle. Both their boys and girls teams successfully defended their titles and retained the heavy hardware, the Saint Viator Traveling Trophy.

Jason Kuffel, who helped bring the event to Saint Viator, said the event was successful on several levels, including its growing popularity. The pre-season invite drew nearly twice as many young runners as last year.

“It was an unbelievable day to be a Lion and a member of the Saint Viator High School Community,” says Jason Kuffel, director of recruitment. “The outpouring of thanks from parents, grandparents, coaches, athletes, and siblings was overwhelming.”

In all, the event drew nearly 482 youngsters from 15 different feeder schools in the surrounding suburbs. That’s nearly 200 more runners than last year and from three new feeder schools, located mostly in Lake County. They ran a course that stretched around the Saint Viator campus before returning inside the Boler Center for the awards ceremony.

Participating schools included: Our Lady of the Wayside and St. James schools in Arlington Heights, St. Mary School in Buffalo Grove, St. Alphonsus School in Prospect Heights, St. Gilbert School in Grayslake, St. Hubert School in Hoffman Estates, St. Emily and St. Raymond schools in Mount Prospect, St. Thomas of Villanova, St. Theresa and Immanuel Lutheran schools in Palatine, Sts. Peter and Paul in Cary, Frassato Academy in Mundelein, St. Francis de Sales in Lake Zurich, and St. Patrick in Wadsworth.

Members of the Saint Viator cross country team took a lead role in the event. Two members led each race, carrying the Saint Viator flag, while other students helped encourage runners around the course. Each runner wore a traditional cross country bib with a number and crossed the finish line in front of a crowd of parents and coaches.

“We pride ourselves on running a great event that showcases these young student athletes,” adds Mr. Kuffel, who also is an assistant boys’ lacrosse coach. “Our goal is simple: To make it fun, introduce cross country to new and young runners, and provide times for runners and their coaches at the beginning of their season, to work toward improving throughout the season.”

Mr. Kuffel adds that the event was designed as an opportunity for students to visit Saint Viator’s campus and meet student athletes and coaches.

“I think it created some team camaraderie early in the year,” he adds, “and went a long way toward giving these kids a chance to envision themselves as high school cross country runners.”

Welcome Back, Fr. Charlie Bolser

Bolser&FriendsFr. Charlie Bolser is no stranger to the halls of Saint Viator. Serving for 12 years as President, which included the transition to a coeducational institution, and even taking a Spanish class here in 2016.

Fr. Bolser will be taking on a new role within the Viatorian community; this time as the school’s Chaplain. His office will be located in the Marie Gallagher Academic Commons (formerly the library).

While Bolser admits he, Fr. Dan Hall and Fr. Dan Lydon ’73 are still evaluating the position, “with the strong academic presence we felt like there needed to be a strong Viatorian presence to help out with Spiritual life.”

Fr. Bolser will be available to celebrate liturgy, help with reconciliation at retreats, will be involved with Family masses, and available to students and faculty.

Fr. Hall joked, “trying to get office hours out of Fr. Charlie is like pulling teeth.” So if you don’t find him in his office he is probably on the golf course or cheering on the White Sox. We’re happy to have Fr. Bolser back in the building.

Needless to say, we’re happy to have Fr. Bolser back in the building.

Alumni Ambassador Q&A: Chuck Heinrich ’65


Chuck Heinrich, Class of 1965, Monaco, April 2017.

Chuck Heinrich ’65, Monaco, April 2017.

What are you doing professionally?

I’m a retired United States Department of Homeland Security agent and Arlington Heights police department officer.

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

It had no influence on my choice of career but definitely in my success over 43 years of investigating criminal activity and being able to think, assemble and write complex reports, interact with individuals from every walk of life and do the best job possible.

What are some of your favorite memories from high school?

Opening day of Saint Viator High School, September 1961; 1965 State Baseball Championship game; my teammates on four football and four baseball teams; classmates and everyone I ever shared a lunch with in the old Red Lion room.

Did any teachers have a positive influence on your life?

Yes, every one of them, especially Fr. Dan Mirabelli, the late Paul Gilgallon, Fr. Ed O’Neill, Fr. Gene Mierzwinski, Coaches Frank Mariani and Joe Gliwa.


Chuck (center) with classmates from the Class of 1965 at Night of the Lion 2016.

Have you stayed close to any friends from high school?

Definitely! Teammates, classmates, and class reunion committee members.

What advice would you give to current students?

Do the best you can in every undertaking while at Saint Viator and after graduation, make time to keep in touch with your classmates and attend your class reunions!

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

Expensive but worth the sacrifices that will have to be made.

What one high school moment would you like to go back and experience again?

1965 State Baseball Championship game but with a different final score.

What team, group, club or organization was important to you in high school?

Every team I played on while at Saint Viator.

Why have you decided to take on the role of Alumni Ambassador?

I hope to help guys and girls stay in touch with their fellow classmates and inform them about what is happening on East Oakton Street.

Saint Viator Students To Collect Data for NASA during Eclipse

eclipseFor the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will be visible across the entire continental United States—and the science department at Saint Viator High School is ready.

For starters, the Academic Commons will run the live stream of the eclipse through NASA’s coverage, which will be captured by 11 spacecraft, at least three NASA aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons, and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Saint Viator students also will have access to an app designed by NASA allowing them to become global observers and collect data to report back to the space agency.

“The science department will be collecting data to report as well as researching and discussing a wide range of topics related to the eclipse,” says Mrs. Eileen Cairo, science department chairperson. “While we are not taking the students outside for the viewing, we are excited to be a part of this event.”

Some of those topics they will explore include how the eclipse will affect animal behavior, how solar power will be affected, and what physical changes will occur on earth, including temperature and atmospheric pressure.

“The last solar eclipse in our area was in the beginning of my teaching career when we watched it through eclipse viewers we made from shoe boxes,” Mrs. Cairo adds. “It is so fun to see the advancements in technology that give us so many opportunities, as well as the excitement in the students as we witness this rare event.”

The science department recommends the following resources to prepare for proper viewing:

Freshmen and New Principal Start School Year Together

IMG_0265Wednesday was a day of firsts at Saint Viator High School.

Consider one new principal, seven new faculty members, 30 new transfer students and 223 new freshmen—up 10 percent from last year.

Yet, they all walked the same hallways where Saint Viator students have crossed for more than 50 years.

IMG_0290“This is such a welcoming place,” said Mrs. Karen Love, who officially began her first day of school as principal on Wednesday with the rest of the freshmen. “You feel the warmth. I love the fact that we’re walking this path together.”

Trusty LINK Crew leaders helped roll out the welcome mat. Dressed in neon green T-shirts, the 49 upperclassmen outfitted their respective groups with distinctive props, from cereal boxes for the Breakfast Club, to beads and crowns for the “Mardi Graw krewe,” to Christmas decorations and patriotic gear.

IMG_0281Beyond the wacky antics, serious business was going on, says Mrs. JoAnne Francis, director of student activities.

Students sat in on two large group assemblies as well as small group discussions with their two LINK leaders, before having the tour of the school and photo sessions. They enjoyed lunch in the air conditioned Querbes Hall before going through a mini-schedule of their classes and meeting their teachers.

However, there was no homework assigned. This was orientation and a relaxed introduction to the school environment. Students were told to leave their iPads at home.

IMG_0285“We’ve been using LINK Crew as a high school transition program for more than 10 years,” Mrs. Francis says. “It’s built on the belief that students can help students succeed.”

That was the case for Kate Orrechio ’18, who vividly remembers her freshman orientation and the great friends she met her first day. Now a LINK leader herself, she knew just what sort of tone she wanted to set for her group.

IMG_0300“I want them to feel comfortable and connected,” Kate said. “I know that it can be scary starting freshmen year, so we want them to feel welcome at Saint Viator.”

Mrs. Francis points to studies that indicate that if students have a positive experience their first year of high school, their chances of succeeding in high school go up dramatically. The key, she feels, are the mentors that help them along the way.

IMG_0296Saint Viator’s LINK Crew leaders are recommended for the program by their teachers. They serve as mentors for freshmen and transfer students throughout the year, helping them to discover the culture of the school and what it takes to be successful.

Querbes Scholars Experience the Spirit of Aviation in Oshkosh

Querbes Scholars (and Mr. and Mrs. Majka) with the plaque they received for volunteering.

Querbes Scholars (and Mr. and Mrs. Majka) with the plaque they received for volunteering.

Members of the Querbes Scholars are flying high.

For the sixth straight year, several scholars enjoyed a trip to the air show in Oshkosh, Wisc, run by the Experimental Aircraft Association. The unique trip provided them an opportunity for hands-on service and a bird’s eye view of some of its most historical aircraft.

The trip also counted toward Saint Viator’s STEM curriculum since students were immersed in aircraft engineering and teaching it to youngsters.

Amalia Sordo-Palacios teaching a kid how to rivet.

Amalia Sordo-Palacios teaching a kid how to rivet.

Mrs. Cate Majka has accompanied the Querbes Scholars every year. This year, she and staff member Donna Benedict accompanied nine juniors and one senior to the annual fly-in convention, which draws an average of 500,000 people each July and 10,000 airplanes.

In staying with tradition, Saint Viator students spent the morning volunteering at the KidVenture area, which is set up in three hangars and offers hands-on activities and learning opportunities to young, aspiring pilots.

Senior Will Sheriff teaching a kids how to rivet.

Senior Will Sheriff teaching kids how to rivet.

Saint Viator students rolled up their sleeves and taught youngsters how to rivet (construct the standard aviation fastener using state-of-the-art rivet guns), shape props, and check electrical circuits.

The second half of the day was spent touring the show grounds and exploring the thousands of planes on display. They stayed long enough to take in the air show that night, which featured historic warbirds, B-52s, B-17s, two B-29s, and culminated with the Navy’s Blue Angels.

Junior Maura Hogaboom teaching a little kid next to her how to fly a plane.

Junior Maura Hogaboom teaching a little kid next to her how to fly a plane.

Students loved the day. In fact, junior Marcus Lannie returned for his second straight year.

“Oshkosh proved to be truly enriching and rewarding while fostering my love for aeronautics,” Marcus said.

His classmate, Kiana Resch, agreed, describing the day as “amazing.”

“I learned so much about airplanes,” she said. “I learned how to use a drill and rivet gun and then allowed to teach those skills to younger kids who made their own wing flap using the rivet gun.”

Junior Caroline Lavendar added: “This opportunity to learn about aeronautics and aviation, was one of the most enriching and intriguing endeavors of the Querbes Scholars program so far.”

(L-R) Mr. Bill Sanford, Mrs. Mary Lee DeBelina, Mrs. Karen Love, Mr. Brian Liedlich and Fr. Dan Hall discuss the new school year

Administrators Meet to Kick Off New School Year

Let the 2017-18 school year begin!

(L-R) Mr. Bill Sanford, Mrs. Mary Lee DeBelina, Mrs. Karen Love, Mr. Brian Liedlich and Fr. Dan Hall discuss the new school year

(L-R) Mr. Bill Sanford, Mrs. Mary Lee DeBelina, Mrs. Karen Love, Mr. Brian Liedlich and Fr. Dan Hall discuss the new school year

Days before the start of fall sports tryouts and one week before department heads meet, Saint Viator administrators convened and excitement was in the air.

President Brian Liedlich and Principal Karen Love gathered with the rest of the administration team for a “pull-away day” before the new school year starts on Aug. 17.

“With a change in leadership we have a new perspective and great enthusiasm,” Mr. Liedlich said, “with the momentum created by the new strategic plan and the remarkable student achievements of our graduating class of 2017.”

Administrators around the table included: Fr. Dan Hall, CSV, Vice President of

(L-R) Mrs. JoAnne Francis, Dr. Deborah Scerbicke, Mrs. Nora Boka and Mr. Martin Jennings listen during the meeting

(L-R) Mrs. JoAnne Francis, Dr. Deborah Scerbicke, Mrs. Nora Boka, Mr. Martin Jennings and Mr. Bill Sanford listen during the meeting

Viatorian Identity and Mission; Assistant Principal Mrs. Mary Lee DeBelina, Director of Student Activities Mrs. JoAnne Francis, Dr. Deborah Scerbicke and Mr. Bill Sanford, both Deans of Students; Athletic Director Martin Jennings and Controller Mrs. Nora Boka.

“As a group, we are enthused, inspired and ready to lead Saint Viator High School in a positive direction,” Mr. Liedlich added, “and on a strong path in living out our mission more effectively.”

As if to reinforce that Viatorian mission, the group met at the Viatorian Province Center, which is the headquarters of the Viatorian Community in this country and in Colombia. They convened in the shadow of a display of international solidarity promoting the more than one dozen countries internationally where Viatorians serve.

“International Viatorian solidarity challenges us to be sensitive and responsive to the world’s needs,” members of the Viatorian General Direction stated in 2012, “and calls upon us to be aware of what is going on and to respond with conviction.”




Head Football Coach Sets the Bar High This Season

DSC_1095Football season is underway and excitement is running high. Head Coach Dave Archibald enters his second season leading the Lions’ program and he looks to build from their 6-5 season last year when they made it to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.

We caught up with Coach Archibald, who also serves as Saint Viator’s assistant athletic director, to hear his thoughts about the upcoming season.

2016-2017 varsity football team.

2016-2017 varsity football team.

Q. Can you give us an idea of what you’re excited about as you start this new season?

A. “Last year’s seniors bought into our new systems and I am grateful for all of their contributions to the program. But this year is exciting in its own way because of the relationships I have been able to build with players over the last year and a half. I am convinced that the stronger relationships we have made us more prepared to take on the season, and we can talk about football at a higher level because of the experiences we had last season and over the summer.”

Q. How did your team benefit from camp over the summer and in particular the week you spent together at St. Norbert’s College?

A. “We have a solid group of players on our roster this season. This summer they showed an increased maturity in their knowledge of the game. They know what they need to do and now they need to go out and make plays. There will also be a lot of different players counted on to make plays. The trip to St. Norbert’s was a great capstone to our summer and gave us a chance to grow as human beings and football players.”

SVHS_221Q. Finally, how are you and the team preparing for your tough East Suburban Catholic Conference schedule?

A. “Our schedule is indeed a challenging one, as seven of our nine opponents made the playoffs last season. We will prepare the same way, however, which is to pay attention to detail and take things one step at a time. The main goal is to go 1-0 each week and then we reset that goal again and again. Our team and coaching staff also take the mentality that in every facet of the game we are never done improving. Complacency is dangerous to any team and I try to make sure the team focuses on how hard we are working rather than on a result, alone.”

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