Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Category: Student Accomplishments (Page 1 of 13)

New Show Choir Strikes All the Right Chords

DSC_0027Auditions just wrapped up for Saint Viator’s newest choral ensemble: The Revelations, a co-curricular show choir, and the excitement is contagious.

More than 50 students tried out for this high-energy, vocal performance ensemble, which includes choreography as well as dynamic singing on a grand scale. In all, more than 40 students will participate during this inaugural year.

Saint Viator’s new choral director, Mrs. Joleen Kragt, brought the idea to the school. She has been involved with show choirs at Fenton and Johnsburg high schools, as well as volunteered at Hersey High School’s Chicagoland Showcase and show choir camps at Millikin University in Decatur, IL.

DSC_0004“When I looked at the talent we have here, I realized we have super dynamic kids, who wanted to create something even more musical and they’re so happy doing it,” Mrs. Kragt says.

That excitement was palpable at their first rehearsal Tuesday night, when they learned of the music they will perform this semester. They range from Broadway, pop and swing selections to their finale from “The Greatest Showman.”

“I like to sing and I like to dance, so this is good combination,” said Ava Zawilenski ’21.

DSC_0007Freshman Julia Domagala is one of the few members who has performed in a show choir before auditioning. While in middle school, she performed with Center Stage, based in Arlington Heights.

“It’s exhilarating to perform on stage with such a large group,” Julia said. “There’s just so much energy that you can’t get from just dancing or singing alone. When you put them all together, it’s pretty exciting.”

Principal Karen Love welcomed this new fine arts opportunity for Saint Viator students, but already she has been surprised at how much excitement it has generated.

“Show Choir has created a buzz at Saint Viator,” Mrs. Love says, “and we’re excited to share the journey with this talented group of students.”

DSC_0018Mrs. Kragt stresses that while they build the program in this first year, The Revelations will not compete. Instead, look for the group to perform at school events and out in the community.

“They’re just learning the ropes,” she says. “And it’s not just the choreography. Show choir is a vocal style that is much more dynamic and broader than traditional choral music. Everything is amped up.”

Mrs. Kragt stresses that this new vocal ensemble offers more than a new performance venue for students.

“Students not only blossom in their musical abilities, but they gain a huge amount of confidence,” she says. “We call it, the show choir swagger.”

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.

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.”




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.”

Saint Viator Lacrosse Nets an All American and Academic All-American

SVHS_122Saint Viator’s boys’ lacrosse team learned this month that one of its players was named a High School All-American and another was named an Academic All American, as determined by U.S. Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport.

Elijah Black of Mundelein, an Ohio State recruit, was named an All-American while Drake Imhoff of Barrington was named an Academic All American. Both selections recognized their achievements on and off the field.

Their selections come on the heels of a standout season for the Lions, in the first year of IHSA lacrosse. They advanced to the sectional semi-finals, before losing to perennial powerhouse, New Trier. However, they posted a 15-4 season and had four players make all-state, including Kyle Pearce ’18, Wyatt Rich ’18, Luke Baer ’19 and Elijah Black.

Coach Bill Sanford described both Elijah and Drake as tremendous leaders on the team, who led their teammates by example.

“Elijah put a tremendous amount of pressure on opposing defenses, which helped create space for his teammates,” Coach Sanford said. “He was more than willing to share the ball, which led to a really balanced offense.

“I think his game has grown a tremendous amount in two years,” Coach Sanford added, “and will continue to do so over the next year before he heads off to Columbus to play for Coach Myers at OSU.”

Elijah came into lacrosse season, coming off wrestling, where he was one of only two Lions to advance downstate, eventually losing in the second round. This versatile athlete also plays football. As a running back, he helped lead his team to a consecutive Class 5A playoff appearance last fall.

Drake is a two-time captain and he was an All-Conference selection this year in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. While he fielded offers to play NCAA lacrosse at schools like Haverford and Middlebury out east, he chose instead to concentrate on academics and attend Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.

“Drake consistently lived up to our expectations, on and off the field,” Coach Sanford said. “He was a two-year captain that brought maturity and focus to our team, and he was able to apply those traits to all of his endeavors.”

Service & Song Returns for 6th Annual Summer

Service & Song 2017

Service & Song 2017

A tradition of immersing incoming students into Saint Viator’s commitment to service continues next week at the sixth annual Service & Song Camp.

More than 150 students will turn out for the five-day camp, its largest group ever. They include junior high students and incoming freshmen as well as current Saint Viator students and young alumni serving as leaders.

Service & Song 2016

Service & Song 2016

When the camp begins next week, the students will be divided up into 10 teams, grouping junior high and incoming students with teen leaders from Saint Viator. Each afternoon starts out with a reflection on their service and people they impact, as well as a song led by the student musicians and choral members.

Some of the destinations group have previously volunteered at include Community Threads, Sisters of the Living Word, Wheeling Township Food Pantry and the Viatorian Community Garden.

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.

Class of 2018 Graduates Reflect on their Journey of Faith

Four years ago, members of the Class of 2018 added their signatures to a mural designed around this Biblical phrase, taken from Matthew’s gospel: “For wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am, in the midst of them.”

On Monday night, they walked past that mural one last time, this time as graduates and surrounded by family and loved ones. However, this much school officials know: They did indeed made a lasting imprint on the Saint Viator school community.

Not only did the 235 graduates earn nearly $29 million in scholarship money, but they also compiled nearly 24,000 hours of service during t heir four years.

“This has been a great class and I am very sad to see them leaving,” said Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, vice president for Viatorian mission and identity. “But I am very proud of what they have accomplished — and the personal growth I have seen over the past four years.”

As freshmen, they chose a theme for their class that seemed to guide their time at Saint Viator: Journey of Faith.

Take Jake Wolf ’18, for starters. He was a standout on the football team and was a state qualifier in wrestling this year, but he says the most memorable part of his high school career was getting involved in service.

Jake woke up early every Thursday morning in order to arrive at 6 a.m. — before school — at a Palatine church, where he helped clean up after PADS guests had left. Not only that, but he recruited many of his classmates to help.

“Over time, it grew on me so much,” Jake said. “I know where I am in life. I consider it a blessing and a privilege to be able to do this.”

Jake wound up winning the Johnstone Award, considered one of the most prestigious honors at graduation. The award 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 more than 25 years, his parents have presented the award personally to recipients.

Salutatorian Jeremy Yoder earned the night’s other prestigious honor, the Christopher Erdmann Award. Jeremy was the 50th Saint Viator grad to win the award and now his name will be etched on the Christopher Cup, along with the other prestigious winners.

The award was created in memory of Christopher Erdmann ‘68, who passed away from leukemia. It was designed to recognize a student who has taken an active involvement and leadership in the improvement of Saint Viator High School.

Jeremy did that and so much more. He was an active member of Student Council and the Link Crew, as well as the academic and math teams. He also had principal roles in the musical, played trumpet in the band and most recently qualified for state in the long jump. He will be attending the University of Notre Dame this fall.

Still, as the youngest of three Yoder siblings who attended Saint Viator, he urged his classmates not to take their high school education for granted.

“Give back to the community that has given us so much,” Jeremy said at the baccalaureate Mass. “Cherish the lessons and the love Saint Viator has brought into our lives, and pay it forward to those who will follow in our footsteps.”

Valedictorian Thomas Stanila has achieved so much during his four years at Saint Viator, including earning a perfect ACT score — not once, but twice — as well as medaling at state for the math and academic teams, and all before earning a full ride to attend Loyola University, where he plans to pursue a degree in pre-medicine.

Yet, in his valedictory address, he reflected on his awkward start at Saint Viator, when he knew no one at a basketball game and pizza party held for incoming freshmen. Thomas arrived overdressed for the event and was about to turn around and rush for the door, when another student invited him to sit at his table.

“Because of this simple act of kindness,” Thomas said, “I knew I had found my home for the next four years of my life.”

He concluded by thanking parents, teachers, administrators, staff, coaches, directors, and everyone else who have guided he and his classmates on their journey.

“Our success is your success as well,” Thomas said, “for no greater testament can be made to your sacrifices than our very presence here.”

President Brian Liedlich encouraged graduates not to be strangers, to return often and remember that they are Lions for Life.

“We hope you look back fondly on your time with us,” Mr. Liedlich said, “and continue to value the Viatorian mission wherever life takes you.”


Freshman Awards

Freshman Award Recipients

Principal’s Honor Roll Recipients:
Lucas Lorenz Barisas
Nicholette A Bentz
Jayne E Bottarini
Gabriella C Brown
Patrick S Burns
Robert C Cagann
Mary Kate Cambria
Gaetano Console
Alexis M Covey
Brenna M Dooley
Brenna R Drabik
Isabella V Dudas
Connor J Flynn
John J Franczyk III
Olivia G Gauthier
Tyler A Haisman
Kathleen M Hannon
Christi M Hansen
Ryan J Jasinski
Matthew R Johnson
Austin D Jones
Kaitlyn E Kellar
Kyung Ah Kim
Nathan C Kochera
Joseph R Laterza
David T Lavender
Sophia J Limberakis
Xuanning Liu
Abigail N Longstreet
John M Lynch
Keely I McClellan
Ava R McClellan
Amelia C McKenna
Callie R Mulligan
Mathew D Oleksyk
Zophia A Perez
Mia R Pistone
Sarah J Schultz
Anne E Sheriff
Jaclyn M Sloan
Joseph R Taylor
Morgan E Trunda
Alyssa N Wojtowicz
Madison A Wrzos
John M Zajakala

Department Awards

Computer Technology:
Mobile Apps II:
John Franczyk

English Outstanding Achievement:
Brenna Drabik
Gabriella Kull
David Lavender
Abigail Longstreet
John Lynch
Matthew Oleksyk
Zophia Perez

Fine Arts Outstanding Achievement:
Instrumental Music:
Robert Cagann

Visual Art:
Brenna Drabik
Danielle Panzeca
Mia Pistone
Yingtong Ruby Ren

Choral Music:
Sophia Limberakis

Math Outstanding Achievement:
Nathan Kochera
Xuanning Liu
Abigail Longstreet
James Nottoli
Matthew Oleksyk
Zophia Perez

Modern World Language Outstanding Achievement:
Mandarin Chinese Level III:
Kyung Ah Kim

French Level I:
Austin Jones

French Level II:
Sophia Limberakis

Italian Level I:
Ryan Jasinski

Spanish Level I:
Xuanning (May) Liu

Spanish Level II Accelerated Honors:
Christi Hansen

National Language Contest Exam
French Level 1B Bronze Award:
Helena Chuchala

French Level II Bronze Award:
Sophia Limberakis

Italian Level 2A Bronze Medal:
Giancarlo Pieri

Spanish Level I Silver Award:
Lucas Barisas
Nicholette Bentz
Patrick Burn
Jillian Doherty
Kaitlyn Kellar
Jack Lynch
Patrick McAndrews
Jaclyn Sloan

Spanish Level I Gold Medal:
Abigail Longstreet
Abigail Longstreet was awarded 11th place in the Chicago area Chapter for the Level 1 National Spanish Exam.

Spanish Level II Silver Medal:
Kathleen Hannon
Callie Mulligan
Matthew Oleksyk
Zophia Perez
Christi Hansen

Spanish Level III Gold Medal:
John Montesinos

Physical Education Outstanding Achievement:
Serafina DeMunno
Aidan Harrington
Isabella Izquierdo
Nathan Kochera
Joseph Latrofa
Patrick Scales

Science Outstanding Achievement:
Kathleen Hannon
Kyung Ah Kim
Melissa Malone

Social Studies Outstanding Achievement:
Katherine Castelli
John Franzyk
Christi Hansen
Sebastian Howarth
Cassie Limberakis
Callie Mulligan
Ian Myers

Theology Outstanding Achievement:
Brenna Dooley
Kathleen Hannon
Austin Jones
Jeremiah Pittman
Joseph Ruben
Trinity Schiff

Recognition for participation in the Catholic Math League:
Patrick Burns – Algebra 1 Second Place
Milan Dzupin – Pre-Algebra Third Place
Tianning Gao – Algebra 1 First Place
Ashley Jarvis-Flinn – Pre-Algebra Second Place
Ryan Jasinski – Algebra 1 Second Place
Xuanning Liu – Geometry Second Place
Joseph Lara – Pre-Algebra First Place
Abby Longstreet – Geometry First Place
Amelia McKenna – Algebra 1 Second Place
Elizabeth Rymarcsuk – Pre Algebra Third Place
Jackie Sloan – Algebra 1 Second Place
Gregory Wilson – Pre-Algebra Third Place

Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional and State Team
Our math team represented Saint Viator High School in the state contest which was held Saturday, May 5 at the University of Illinois in Champaign. The freshmen on the team are as follows:
Alice Cao
Matthew Johnson
May Liu
Matthew Onischuk
Nora Tang

Viator Voice Outstanding Service:
Kate Hannon

Scholastic Bowl Outstanding Service:
Kate Hannon
Jack Lynch

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