Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: June 2018

Saint Viator Alumnus Jason Kuffel Announced as New Athletic Director

Kuffel_JasonJason Kuffel, a graduate of the Class of 1999, has been appointed as the school’s new Athletic Director. In making the announcement, Saint Viator High School President Brian Liedlich noted that Kuffel is the first alumnus of the school to serve in this capacity.

“I am exceptionally pleased to announce today that Jason Kuffel has accepted my offer to become the new Athletic Director for Saint Viator High School,” Liedlich said in an internal memo to the faculty and staff of the school. Kuffel has served as our Director of Enrollment for the past four years while also serving stints as an Assistant Coach in the school’s successful basketball and lacrosse programs.

According to Liedlich, “Jason stood out among the more than 90 initial applications we received from many qualified individuals across the Chicago area and beyond. While rapid, our search was intense and thorough, and I believe with certainty that Jason is the right person to guide us into the next era of Saint Viator Athletics.”

For his part, Kuffel welcomes the challenge to continue his service to his alma mater. “It has been an honor to help expand our student body numbers through my role as Director of Enrollment for the past few years. It has allowed me to get to know so many families throughout the entire region. I look forward to the challenges of now working with our outstanding coaches and trainers to guide many of those students through their athletic pursuits in a Saint Viator uniform.”

Kuffel will be replacing his close friend Marty Jennings who has accepted a role in the Development department at his alma mater, Loyola Academy in Wilmette. Both Liedlich and Kuffel thanked Jennings for his service over the last four highly successful years for the school’s athletic teams.

“Jason not only follows Marty Jennings, but a succession of outstanding Athletic Directors at Saint Viator including Fr. Pat Cahill who our gym is named after, and Bob Artman, whose name is associated with one of our highest student awards. I know that Jason is more than up to the task,” Liedlich said, noting that the decision to select Kuffel was unanimous among the seven-member search committee.

“Our mission for Saint Viator athletics goes well beyond excellence in the field of competition. We are committed to having our coaches and athletes not only be leaders on their teams and exhibit the highest levels of respect and sportsmanship but to use their place on a Saint Viator team to set an example in service and sacrifice in the world around them. Jason has exhibited an exemplary commitment to integrity, ethics and Catholic tradition in his work as Director of Enrollment and I know he will do the same as Athletic Director.”

Kuffel noted that the environment has changed a great deal since his playing days at the school with year-round programs, the addition of an on-staff strength and conditioning coach, some of the summer camps for grade school and junior high students, and the rapid expansion of technology in training and coaching. “I am excited to implement some of the innovative technology that is now available to student-athletes while upholding the more than 55 years of Saint Viator Lion tradition.”

Kuffel will begin his new role immediately.


Christopher Erdmann Award Reaches Major Milestone

152 (1)One of Saint Viator’s most prestigious awards announced at graduation, reached a milestone this year. The Christopher Cup, created in memory of Christopher Erdmann ‘68, who passed away from leukemia during his senior year, turned 50 this year.

Its latest recipient, Jeremy Yoder ’18, was recognized during commencement exercises and his name will be the 50th to be etched on the historic cup. Formerly, the trophy sat on a pedestal in the president’s office, but it now sits on display in the school’s main hallway, along with a portrait of its latest recipient.

Turns out, that’s all there is room for: 50 names.

Christopher Erdman

Christopher Erdman

“I can’t imagine that it won’t continue,” says Fr. Mick Egan, CSV, ’69, former president of the school and chairman of its board of governors. “In my mind, it is the oldest and most prestigious award the school gives.”

The award was created in 1968 by Erdmann’s parents after the loss of their son, who passed away in the fall of his senior year, on Oct. 1, 1967, at Oak Park Hospital.

According to an archived story in the Daily Herald from 1968, George Erdmann and his wife donated the trophy “to show our appreciation to the school, faculty, and students in the hopes that a perpetual trophy would be a reminder and inspiration.”

The first recipient was Gary Rogowski, who ran track, played football, served on Student Council and in the Sodality Club, as well as on the yearbook and newspaper staffs, and was an honor roll student.

Rogowski now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he designed custom furniture for 25 years before he opened The Northwest Woodworking Studio, where he teaches classes and continues to promote the art medium. He majored in literature in college and for 15 years was a contributing editor to Fine Woodworking magazine.

His most recent literary pursuit was a book, “Handmade: Creative Focus in an Age of Distraction.” In it, he describes how the discipline of working with one’s hands to create beautiful things, shapes the builder into a more complete human being.

Gary S. Rogowski

Gary S. Rogowski

Fifty years later, Rogowski still remembers winning the Erdmann Award at his 1968 graduation ceremony.

“It was a big deal and I’m quite proud of it,” he says. “Of course, I didn’t know the history of it or what it would become.”

In thinking back to his days at Saint Viator, Rogowski points to Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, as his favorite teacher. In fact, Rogowski vividly remembers competing on the math team, moderated then by Fr. Perham.

“I use math a lot with my students now and I often think of Fr. Perham,” Rogowski adds. “He had an openness to education and was able to communicate without talking down to people. He was a huge influence on me.”

Ironically, Jeremy also worked with Fr. Perham, who continues to tutor math team members and create projects for Querbes Scholars, of which Jeremy was one. Jeremy also was an active member of Student Council and Link Crew, as well as the academic team. He had principal roles in the musical, played trumpet in the band and most recently qualified for state in the long jump. He will attend the University of Notre Dame this fall, following his brother, Matt, ’14.

In announcing the first recipient, the Daily Herald described its requirements as a senior who “best exemplifies the ancient legend of St. Christopher and the living tradition of St. Viator.”

Over the years, the award has grown to recognize a student who has taken active involvement and leadership in the improvement of Saint Viator High School.

The cup itself was designed by Persin & Robbin Jewelers in Arlington Heights and had room for winners from 50 graduating classes.

Over the years, the selection process has not changed. Seniors vote for the recipient during the first round that narrows it down to the top five, from which faculty members vote to determine the winner.

The Sound of Innovation

dm2This past year, the Saint Viator music department upgraded its curriculum to incorporate the latest technology and innovation into the classroom with a Digital Music and Production class.

Led by Director of Bands Vince Genualdi, students in the class explored music composition and recording skills, developing knowledge of the music business, copyright laws, studio recording, and basic music theory needed to create electronic music. The class resulted in a SoundCloud account featuring music composed and performed by the students.

dm3“Over the last year, we’ve been collaborating with some of the industry’s leading artists, sound engineers, and producers. It’s such an amazing opportunity to learn the industry standard and gain real-life perspective and experience regarding this field,” said Genualdi. “The students are exposed to a whole new sector of the music industry and we were able to modernize our program, giving students access to the latest technology.”

New classes like this exemplify Saint Viator’s vision for the future – using the latest technology and innovation in the classroom while adhering to the tradition of academic excellence.

digital music“We thank the alumni and donors whose generosity allows us to continually serve the needs of this generation of students,” said Genualdi. “The tradition of Saint Viator calls upon Lions of the past to ensure innovation and opportunity exist for those in the future.”

Visit Saint Viator’s SoundCloud account and stay up to date on our students’ creativity and innovation and watch for other school updates with the Saint Viator & Sacred Heart Alumni Association Facebook page and LinkedIn group.

Alumni Business Profile: Dan Klein ’06

Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 11.14.29 AMSince the early 1960s, Saint Viator High School, and for several decades, Sacred Heart of Mary High School annually sent graduates off to college and eventually into careers of all types. The history of our alumni features success stories in medicine, law, the military, public service, and innumerable aspects of business, education, and athletics (read more).

Some success stories are often winding and built on perseverance. Several decades ago, career paths were different. The corporate ladder was to be climbed and great ideas often had to wait their turn. In today’s economy and business climate, entrepreneurship has opened a whole new world of opportunity. Junior executives are an anachronism and 20-something CEOs are leading the way in innovation and new product development.

Dan Klein, (SVHS ‘06) was recently recognized by INC. Magazine for the rapid and successful growth of Tiesta Tea, a company he founded with childhood friend Patrick Tannous while still in college. We invite you to check out the profile of this burgeoning business that Dan has cultivated. We are especially proud of the company’s commitment to giving back, a great example for current and future Lions of how Catholic values and commitment to service can be a part of any successful career.

“How 2 Tea Addicts Took Their Obsession From Farmers’ Markets to 6,500 Stores, Including Costco”

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