Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: August 2018

Class of 2008 Alumnus Named New Boys Lacrosse Coach

Gaeger_PatrickRecently appointed Athletic Director Jason Kuffel has announced the appointment of Patrick Gaeger as the new Lacrosse Head Coach at Saint Viator High School. Gaeger, a 2008 graduate, recently joined the staff as Assistant Director of Enrollment. He returned to his alma mater from Saint Laurence High School in Chicago where he had served as head coach of the lacrosse team.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a coach who helped build our young but successful tradition of success in lacrosse as a player, join us as our coach,” said Kuffel. In addition to his stint as head coach at Saint Laurence, Gaeger was Associate Head Coach at Robert Morris University and has been involved in the sport at the club level. After a stellar career at Saint Viator, Gaeger played collegiately at Adrian College. He replaces Bill Sanford who finished his head coaching career 3rd all-time in wins for Illinois Lacrosse, a 4x ESCC coach of the year and the 2011 IHSLA coach of the year.

“We fully expect that the standards established by Coach Sanford will continue under the stewardship of Patrick Gaeger,” said Kuffel. “We continue to raise the bar on expectations for our student-athletes not only in the field of play but in the classroom and in the community. Our athletics program stands firmly on our pillars of academic success and faith formation for young men and women, and as a graduate and employee of Saint Viator, Coach Gaeger is well-equipped to meet and exceed our expectations.”

In addition to his work in the Enrollment Department, Gaeger is also working as an Assistant Coach during the football season. “I am honored and humbled by this opportunity, and welcome the challenge of upholding the standards established at Saint Viator,” Gaeger said. “I look forward to getting to know our athletes and their families, and pursuing excellence in all we do in the lacrosse program.”

Last season the team finished with an overall record of 16-5, bowing out of the IHSA State Playoffs at the hands of the powerful New Trier program.

Saint Viator Celebrates Launch of New Incubator Program

DSC_0007A standing-room only crowd filled a classroom in the Boler Center Tuesday night. Parents, alumni, students and administration members all attended the launch of Saint Viator High School’s newest initiative: its incubator program.

Called INCubator.Edu, the year-long entrepreneurship class will help students conceptualize an idea for a product or service, and take it through development and its business plan, through marketing, financial budgeting and ultimately making a pitch to investors.

“It’s an exciting opportunity and new addition to our curriculum,” said Brian Liedlich, president. “This new class can help students develop critical thinking as well as important, marketable and valuable skills.”

Both he and Principal Karen Love described the new course as one that embodies the school’s vision statement, “Where innovation and tradition meet.” In fact, a mural with that tagline etched across the school’s logo graces the back wall of the classroom.

DSC_0003Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, former president of the high school who now serves as chaplain, was on hand to bless the incubator. He professed to love the new venture, describing the class and its students as “our future.”

“Seize the day,” he said. “Dreams are our hope, our inspiration, our life.”

David Lyons, a first-year teacher who formerly taught entrepreneurship at York High School in Elmhurst, will be working with John Aiello ’86, who has reached out to the alumni base to serve as coaches and mentors.

Aiello is the former founder, CEO and chairman of SAVO, a cloud-based software company, who after selling his company now teaches entrepreneurship at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

DSC_0018He and the coaches and mentors he has recruited, are eager to share their unique stories and experience with young students.

“The best innovation ideas do not come from a desire to make money,” Aiello said, “but from a desire to solve a problem.”

Students are brainstorming ideas right now and will begin streamlining the process next week. Soon after, they will divide into groups of four or five and be assigned a mentor, who will meet with them regularly to help advance their business concepts, while coaches will come into class regularly to teach their area of expertise.

Among the students on hand was Anna Haas, who came directly from her volleyball practice.

“I want to major in management in college,” Anna said. “This is a great opportunity to get some business experience before I get to college and just understand how things work.”

DSC_0019Her classmate, Jimmy Hamilton, agreed, adding: “I always wanted to learn about start-ups, and what it takes to develop new ideas to solve problems.”

This is the first year of what administrators hope will be a successful collaboration between young entrepreneurs and their mentors and coaches.

“We’re definitely looking to grow the program,” Mr. Liedlich adds, “and would welcome any additional funding to help us accomplish this.”

Interested supporters should contact Tom Ramsden, director of institutional advancement, at



Photos: Campus Ministry Core Team Explores New Heights on Retreat

The Campus Ministry Core Team stepped out of their comfort zone and into the trees at Bemis Woods Forest Preserve’s Treetop Adventure. Check out photos from the retreat below.









Alumnus Demonstrating Commitment to Service

DSC_0001Saint Viator’s 2014 valedictorian, Tyler Harris, earned a prestigious scholarship to Notre Dame, which enabled him to work with the university’s chief investment officer and ultimately opened the doors to internships from California to South Africa.

Tyler’s global experiences landed him a job as a business analyst with one of the leading management consulting firms, McKinsey & Company in Chicago, where he will start next month.

Yet, before he starts, Tyler wanted to spend his time giving back, in service to others. For the last two months, he has been helping the young men at Viator House of Hospitality, a safe home started by the Viatorians for young men seeking asylum in the United States.

Tyler is the fourth Saint Viator graduate to serve as a summer intern at the home, run by Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, and Br. Michael Gosch, CSV. He followed Jason Wilhite, Annie Slusher and Steven Bonica.

DSC_0004“I am just so impressed,” Fr. Corey says. “It shows the effect of a Viatorian education, of wanting to integrate into their lives the need to stand with people on the margins.”

Summer interns spend anywhere from six to 15 hours a week at the house, located in Des Plaines, which currently has 21 young men living there. They do a variety of tasks, from tutoring and driving them to school and jobs, to organizing activities and volunteer opportunities.

“It’s a chance to learn about immigration and help young men around their age seeking asylum,” Fr. Corey adds.

Just this week, Tyler and some of its residents worked in the Viatorian Community Garden, that grows fresh produce for families served by area food pantries. In fact, the young men of Viator House have their own bed of plants, and Tyler led them in harvesting some of their tomatoes, which they then brought to Catholic Charities in Des Plaines.

DSC_0002It’s a far cry from the work he’ll be doing with McKinsey, which will immerse him in data analytics and problem-solving situations, while working collaboratively with corporate clients to find solutions.

However, Tyler says his Saint Viator education opened his eyes to the importance of direct service, as well as preparing him to do well in his finance and economics majors at Notre Dame.

“Saint Viator has challenged me not only to pursue a rigorous academic education, but to balance it, spiritually, socially and through service,” Tyler said before he graduated. “That’s what has separated a Viator education.”

Third Saint Viator Senior Earns Perfect ACT Score

Lavender_CarolineCaroline Lavender ’19 joined an elite group this summer when she earned a perfect score on her ACT. Nationally, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earns the top score.


Yet at Saint Viator, Caroline is the fifth student over the last two years—and the third in this year’s senior class—to achieve this rare feat.


She succeeds Katie Solarz of Arlington Heights, who starts her sophomore year at the University of Notre Dame; Thomas Stanila of Algonquin, valedictorian of the class of 2018 and a freshman at Loyola University; and her classmates, Thomas Constertina and Maura Hogaboom, both of Arlington Heights.


“We certainly think that these students are products of our rigorous academics and high expectations,” says Principal Karen Love. “But they have come to us with God-given talent and a tremendous work ethic. We just hope that we have nurtured that.”


While at Saint Viator, Caroline has played on the girls’ golf team, performed in the school musical and participated in music ministry. She also returned as a leader to this summer’s Service & Song camp and attended the Viatorian Youth Congress for the second time.


She is currently enrolled in four AP classes as well as multi-variable calculus, the highest math class Saint Viator offers, and she points to this type of challenging classwork that helped her achieve this perfect score.


“All of my classes helped me, but my junior year was particularly challenging,” Caroline says. “They taught me a determination and diligence that I hadn’t had before.”


A common thread through many of her activities is her love of playing the piano, which she does by ear. Caroline can be found accompanying the choir at school liturgies or playing the piano for residents at an Arlington Heights memory care facility, where she regularly volunteers.


Caroline is the oldest of two children of Timothy Lavender and Dr. Nancy Sonego, and she attended Our Lady of the Wayside School in Arlington Heights. Her brother, David, is a sophomore at Saint Viator.


“All of my teachers over the years helped me achieve this,” Caroline says. “They gave me a diverse set of skills—and the confidence—needed to do well on standardized tests.”

Saint Viator Rolls Out the Red Carpet for New Freshmen and Faculty Members

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

Consider 18 new faculty members, 22 new transfer students, and 232 new freshmen—up 10 percent for the second straight year.

The Class of 2022 represents 44 communities and more than 45 different schools, including 11 international students, says Mrs. Jean Dziedzic, assistant director of recruitment.

“We are excited to welcome the Class of 2022,” Mrs. Dziedzic says. “The future of Saint Viator looks very bright.”

President Brian Liedlich agreed. At the opening faculty meetings, he proudly pointed to the incoming freshmen numbers as exceeding the school’s projections.

“We’re thrilled,” Mr. Liedlich said. “These strong numbers confirm that our commitment to providing a Catholic education—that strives to create young men and women of faith, integrity, and character, who are willing to serve others—is valued.”

Yet, beyond the numbers, all the new freshmen and faculty members walked the same hallways where Saint Viator students have crossed for more than 50 years.

“This is such a welcoming place,” said Mrs. Karen Love, who starts her second year as principal, aided by new Assistant Principal Michael Field. “You feel the warmth. I love the fact that we’re walking this path together.”

Trusty LINK Crew leaders helped ease the transition. Dressed in neon pink T-shirts, the nearly 50 upperclassmen were assigned to small groups and they helped freshmen learn about one another, the school’s traditions and generally just how to get around.

LINK leaders worked under the leadership of first-year Student Activities Director, Ms. Anne Marie Lowry. They met with students in large group assemblies as well as small group discussions, 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.

School starts officially on Wednesday.

History of the Saint Viator High School Crest

crestDepending on your age, you may have seen it thousands of times in print, at school events and even on clothing, but what do you really know about the school crest?

While many things have changed since the doors to Saint Viator opened over 50 years ago, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the crest, and more importantly, what it stands for.

According to our history, the school seal incorporates the red lion and white fleur-de-lis from the coat of arms of the city of Lyon where Fr. Louis Querbes began his work that led to the formation of the Viatorian community. Surrounding the letters IHS, is a crown of thorns. IHS or “In Hoc Signo” in Latin translates to “In this sign,” and the letters are centered on the cross, which is the seal of the Clerics of St. Viator. The three orbitals symbolize scientific learning. The torch behind the shield is a symbol of knowledge, truth and the Catholic faith.

That’s quite a message for a single seal, but one which clearly represents all that Saint Viator High School stands for.

International Program Leads to Lasting Friendship and Global Awareness

Haoqing & Jack in BeijingWhat started out as a way to help one of the new international students transition into Saint Viator, led to a lasting friendship that not even Jack Geary ’18 and Haoquing Bi ’18 could have predicted.

“Our friendship grew tremendously from his first day at Viator,” Jack says. “We always talked about me possibly going back to China with him, but the closer we got to senior year, the more serious we got about it.”

Sure enough, the two flew to Haoquing’s native Bejing earlier this summer, for what turned out to be a once in a lifetime trip.

“Before I knew it, I was sitting next to him on a 12-hour trip to China,” Jack said. “It still didn’t feel real when we landed that I was on the other side of the world.”

Mrs. Rose Ruffatto, director of the Rev. Mark R. Francis International Program, says that while the program is intended to help international students succeed academically and socially, the benefits for Saint Viator students are just as important.

“We hope to create lifelong friends and global awareness with our students.” Ruffatto says, “but as far as I know, Jack was our first student to visit one of the international students in their home country.”

Over the next two weeks, Haoquing showed Jack everything from the Forbidden City and its miles of palaces to the emperor’s Summer Palace and the Great Wall.

“It was a breathtaking view every step of the way,” Jack says.

The second half of their trip included a bullet train ride to Shanghai, as well as a trip to the bottom of Mount Huangshan and hiking up the Yellow Mountain, and taking in the famous Terra Cotta warriors, all before heading back to Jack’s home in Beijing.

“I’m truly grateful to have experienced such an amazing trip. But it wouldn’t have been possible without Haoqing,” Jack says. “Saint Viator provided me with a friend for life and a trip full of memories that will last a lifetime.”




New Faculty & Staff 2018-2019

Join us in welcoming Saint Viator’s newest faculty and staff members:

Theology Department

Patrick McGarry joins the Theology department from Mount Carmel High School with a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Saint Xavier University. Patrick will be teaching Christian Discipleship.

Zach Wulbert comes to Saint Viator after completing his BA in Theology and Secondary Education from Creighton University with field experience in four Catholic schools in the Omaha area. Zach will be teaching Fundamentals of Catholic Faith and Catholic Exploration of the Bible.

Science Department

Neil (Nels) Flink joins the Science department from Wauconda High School with a BS in Chemistry from Northeastern Illinois University and a BA in Communication from the University of Illinois. Nels will be teaching Chemistry.

Rachel Mroz comes to Saint Viator from Trinity High School with a BS in Biochemistry and MA in Teaching from Dominican University. Rachel will be teaching Biology and Mobile Apps.

English Department

Adam Galvez joins the English department from Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Salt Lake City with a BA in English from Gonzaga University and an MA in Education from the University of Portland. Adam will be teaching American Literature and British Literature.

Scanlan Center

Br. Peter Lamick ’07 joins the Scanlan Center as a full-time program assistant after completing his MA in Education and Secondary History at DePaul University. Peter will be teaching Learning Strategies III and IV.

Counseling Department

Claudia Carone comes to Saint Viator from North Cook Young Adult Academy in Des Plaines with a BA in Psychology and Sociology and an MA in School Counseling from Roosevelt University. Claudia will be our Counselor for the Class of 2020.

Fine Arts Department

Joleen Sievers-Kragt joins the Fine Arts Department from Johnsburg High School as our Choral Director and Vocal Musical Director. Joleen has a BA in Music Education from the University of Northern Iowa and an MA of Music in Voice Performance and Opera from Northwestern.

Social Studies Department

Andrew Weber ’12 comes back to Saint Viator from St. Colette with a BA in History and Secondary Education and is working on his MA in Teacher Leadership. Andrew will be teaching World History, Civics and US History.

David Lyons joins Saint Viator from York Community High School with a BS in Business Management and will have an MA in Teaching and Secondary Education in August. David will be teaching US History, Intro to Entrepreneurship, and Personal Business Computing.

Math Department

Katie Anderson joins Saint Viator from Loyola Academy and will be teaching AP Computer Science. She holds BS in Mathematics with Computer Science from Loyola University Chicago and an MS in Mathematical Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as a Teaching Certification Secondary Education with a Mathematics Endorsement from National Louis University.

Assistant Principal

Mike Field joins Saint Viator from Deer Path Middle School in Lake Forest with a BA in American History from DePauw University and an MA in Educational Leadership from Northeastern Illinois University. Mike has taught Social Studies, been the Director of Educational Technology at District 225, and was an Assistant Principal at the 7th & 8th-grade level.

Director of Student Activities

Anne Marie Lowery joins Saint Viator from Loyola Academy with a BA in History and Human Development from Boston College and an MA in International Education from NYU. Anne Marie has taught German and Social Studies, coached basketball and was the Director of Student Activities at Loyola Academy.

Director of Enrollment

Christine Bremner joins Saint Viator from Our Lady of the Wayside as our Director of Enrollment. She has a BS in Elementary Education with a concentration in Biology from the University of Illinois-Champaign. Christine has taught Science and was the Technology Coordinator at Our Lady of the Wayside.

Assistant Director of Enrollment

Patrick Gaeger ’08 comes back to Saint Viator from St. Laurence High School as our Assistant Director of Enrollment. He has a BA in Business Communication and a Masters of Management from Robert Morris University. Patrick was the Admissions Recruiter and Head Lacrosse Coach at St. Laurence.

Return to Oshkosh: Querbes Scholars Immersed in Aviation Engineering

image1For the seventh time, Saint Viator students in the Querbes Scholars Program traveled to Oshkosh, WI, for its world-renown air show, run each year by the Experimental Aircraft Association.

It turned out to be a win-win. Not only did they experience the thrill of seeing so many aircraft in one place, not to mention meeting pilots and engineers, but they accrued service hours toward Saint Viator’s STEM designation since they were immersed in aircraft engineering.

IMG_0380The trip also offers hands-on service opportunities. Students worked with youngsters in the KidVenture area, which is set up in three hangars and offers hands-on activities and learning opportunities, but it turned out that the Saint Viator students learned as much as their pupils.

Mrs. Cate Majka, who teaches physics and moderates one of the Querbes’ homerooms, led the scholars to the annual fly-in convention, which this year drew a record crowd, or more than 600,000 people last week and 10,000 airplanes.

IMG_0370Dan Majka, a former Saint Viator teacher, provided the scholars with their credentials. He serves on the EAA board of directors and he chairs the KidVenture booths.

Their day started out in the morning, when 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.

“It was so much fun to work with children and learn more about airplanes,” said Katie McManaman ’20. “I was able to learn how carbon fiber is made and other STEM-related topics.”

IMG_0390Madi Walker ’19 agreed: “At KidVenture, I learned about airplane safety and then had the opportunity to share that knowledge and assist children in exploring aeronautical mechanics.”

They capped their day off by watching the air show itself, which showcased F-16 flights and the Blue Angels, as well as historical aircraft, warbirds and acrobatic displays.

IMG_0382“There were so many interesting people and planes, including the helicopters and drones, I would never have experienced without the opportunity to visit AirVenture and KidVenture today,” Brooke Puccini ’19.

Mrs. Majka has organized the trip every year and this time she was accompanied by staff member, Mrs. Donna Benedict.

“It was a long but fun, educational and rewarding day,” Mrs. Majka said. “I really enjoyed watching my students learn how to rivet so they could teach younger kids. It was great to see how excited they were about their volunteering experience and how much fun they had learning about aviation.”

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén