Advice Beyond the Classroom Holds Awards Banquet

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What started some three years ago as a simple idea now has blossomed into a legitimate networking giant, known fondly at St. Rita as the ABC’s Program, or “Advice Beyond the Classroom.”  The program, started by visionary alumnus and Board of Directors member, Nick LoMaglio ’04, is comprised of St. Rita students, alumni, board members, faculty members and others.  On May 16th, the ABC’s program held their Awards Banquet and Dinner Reception, with nearly 90 in attendance. 

The ABC’s program offers college scholarship opportunities, internship experience at UBS Financial, and great networking programs as well, through various off-site trips (including visits to the Chicago White Sox, Baker-Tilly, JB Industries, and various banks and investment firms).  It is a class that meets at 6:45 am on Mondays at St. Rita, before the official start of the school day at 8:00 am.  In the class, there are grading protocols and actual assignments, along with group and individual work.  To gain entry into the program, sophomores, juniors and seniors must apply and complete a rigorous application.  The program is selective and kept to within 20-30 students.

During the Awards Banquet, Mr. LoMaglio, gave Ritamen and others advice on various topics, including networking, persistence, relationship-building, teamwork and communication.  After a great dinner was finished, several awards and special recognitions took place. 

First, the top Sophomore of the class was named.  Michael Henze (Everest Academy, Lemont) will gain automatic entry into next year’s ABC’s program as his prize for the year.  The top Junior, Payton Condon (St. Catherine of Alexandria, Oak Lawn), will be named Managing Partner/Teacher’s Aide for the 2017-18 school year and work one-on-one with Mr. LoMaglio on course layout.  The top Senior, Joey Henze (Everest Academy, Lemont) was awarded a college scholarship for next year, when he enrolls at Clemson University.  Two other seniors, Theo Phipps (Heritage M.S., Lansing) and Andy Prado (St. Joseph, Summit), also were awarded college scholarships for next fall.

Additionally, to recognize the top group projects throughout the year, Mr. LoMaglio awarded a week-long externship during the summer to five students: seniors Jack Owens (St. Christina), Colan Fitzgerald (St. John of the Cross), Theo Phipps, Joey Henze and sophomore Kyle Somrek (St. Barnabas).  This group of five was named the top team of the year having won various team-based competitions.  Their week-long experience will consist of a five day rotational program that will give them exposure to some of the top Chicago area businesses.  Something many college students and young adults can only dream of—but they will experience it as high school students.

Several students weighed-in on the course, including senior Connor Kelly (St. Barnabas), who said, “The ABC program has taught me some of the most important aspects of the business world.  From handshakes to job interview skills, this program has given me the tools to succeed at the collegiate and professional levels.”

Fellow senior, Sean Coghlan (St. Cajetan) shared his thoughts, saying, “This program gave me the opportunity to learn about real business career paths, build my network with influential connections, and to take advantage of the off-site excursions at multiple businesses and companies.  None of which would have been possible without the ABC Program.”  Both Kelly and Coghlan are headed for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign next fall.

The St. Rita Family is grateful for the efforts of Nick LoMaglio, as well as fellow board members Jim Brasher ’71, Paul Dachota ’84, Sal Valela ’94, and Dave Conrath, as well as recent graduates and alumni of the ABC’s program, Connor Healy ’15 (Villanova), Eddie Hennessy ’16(Indiana) and Teddy McDemott ’16 (Kansas). Healy is currently interviewing with a mid market investment banking firm that typically only hires from Ivy League schools.

The goal of the ABC Program—and of Nick’s personally—is simply to help young Ritamen find their career path.  Through networking events and key business principles being taught, our students will certainly have a leg-up on many of their competitors in the college and professional world.  The real-life experience and skills being taught truly do go “beyond the classroom” at St. Rita.

Mr. Brendan Conroy, Principal at St. Rita, summed up the program well in saying , “Under Nick’s genius, the ABC program brings out the best in our Ritamen:  teamwork, orientation toward success, leadership—all wrapped up in the Augustinian values we hold dear.”