On Friday, August 26, St. Rita of Cascia High School welcomed friends of the school to a ground breaking ceremony to launch the start of construction of their new Student Commons. Special guests included donors and board members along with the entire St. Rita student body, faculty and staff. The Most Rev. Andrew P. Wypych, the newly ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago for Vicariate V, was also present to bless the event. The Student Commons, along with the recent complete renovation of all of the school’s science labs, mark the beginning of a multi-phased plan to enhance the facilities at the school consistent with the needs of 21st century teaching and learning. “The student center and science labs are cornerstones of Phase I of our Advancing Excellence…Changing Lives capital campaign,” said Ernie Mrozek, St. Rita’s Board Chairman. “In just one year, and despite a challenging economy, the campaign has raised almost $2.3 million. We are very grateful to our large and incredibly loyal base of alumni and friends for their confidence and generosity.”
During the ceremony, Mr. Mrozek made a surprise announcement that the new Student Commons would be named The McCarthy Center for Ritamen in honor of the school’s President, Fr. Thomas McCarthy, O.S.A., ’83, and his parents. “I am humbled by this gesture and especially excited that my parents were honored in this special way. Where would any of us be without the sacrifices of our parents?” said Father Tom.
The Advancing Excellence…Changing Lives capital initiative will allow the school to dramatically enhance academic and extra-curricular programs at all levels – and lay the foundation for continuing success for generations of future Ritamen. “Throughout this campaign, we have made it a priority that everything we do needs to make a difference in the life of every single young man that walks through our doors. The enhancement of our Science Labs, and now the building of this Student Commons are perfect examples of this,” added Father Tom. “St. Augustine said, ‘Wherever you feel satisfaction, there you will stop. Say, “It is enough,” and you are lost. You must look for more; walk onward; make progress.’ That is what we are doing with this Student Commons. We are proud of our programs at St. Rita. But we will never be satisfied. We are always looking at how we can improve for the benefit of our students.”
Subsequent plans for Phase II construction include a new health and fitness center and the transformation of the current library. Future plans will address additional athletic and academic facility needs. Principal, Brendan Conroy added, “We realize in this tough economy that our friends and benefactors are really making an investment in the young men of St. Rita--both current Ritamen and future students--when they contribute to the new Student Commons, the science labs, library and fitness center. We are immensely grateful for their generosity and are confident that their investment will result in campus improvements that will directly benefit our students academically, socially, athletically and spiritually. It is an exciting time at St. Rita, and the campus projects are evidence of that excitement.”
St. Rita of Cascia High School is looking forward to the future and to educating the next generation of young men. On Friday, August 19, St. Rita of Cascia welcomed the Class of 2015 – the school’s largest freshman class in more than seven years.