September Mustangs of the Month

Freshman – Juan Fulgencio


The member of the Class of 2022 chosen to be our September Freshman Mustang of the Month is Juan Fulgencio. Juan comes to us from St. Procopius School where he is also a member of the parish community.

Juan is currently a member of the freshman football team and plans to get even more involved as the year goes on with the Paintball Club, Chess Team and Video Games Club. Outside of St. Rita Juan plays chess and assists at his local library with community service projects.

One member of our St. Rita faculty members said of Juan, “Juan is an awesome kid. He has not been here long but he is truly becoming a great Ritaman.”

When asked about his experience as a Ritaman, Juan replied, “I really enjoy the school thus far. I love all my classes and teachers.”

Congratulations Juan!!

Sophomore – Mykhai Harris

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Representing the Class of 2021 as our September Sophomore Mustang of the Month is Mykhai Harris. Mykhai graduated from Southwood School and is a member of Mars Hills Baptist Church.

Mykhai currently plays football and plans to get even more involved now that he is a sophomore with Basketball, the STEM Club, Paintball Club and Spanish Club.

The following was said of him, “Mykhai is an excellent student in class. He is a serious student, does his work, ask questions, and participates in class discussions. He is a respectful and kind individual who is the kind of guy constantly radiating positive energy.”

When asked to speak about his experience as a Ritaman, he replied, “My time here has been a lot of fun. I hope to have many more laughter filled moments at St. Rita.”

Congratulations Mykhai!!

Junior – Kevin Murphy


Representing the Class of 2020 as our September Junior Mustang of the Month is Kevin Murphy. Kevin is a graduate of St. Symphorosa School and a member of St. Rene Parish.

Kevin is very active with his involvement in Soccer, Swimming, Water Polo, Big Brothers, Scholastic Bowl, French Club and the Knights of Augustine. Kevin also assists with his parishes food drive and currently in the process of applying for the National Honor Society.

In his nomination the following was said of Kevin, “Kevin is a great student. I hear so many wonderful things about him. He is one of the first to always volunteer his time. He quite simply is a really nice young man.”

Kevin spoke of his experience as a Ritaman by saying, “My time here has been amazing. I have met some of the best people ever here. I cannot wait for the next couple of years.”

Congratulations Kevin!!

Senior – Raymond O’Neill


The member of the Class of 2019 selected to be our September Senior Mustang of the Month is Raymond O’Neill. Raymond is a graduate of St. Bede the Venerable School and he is also a member of the parish community.

Raymond is involved in numerous activities at St. Rita including Band, Jazz Band, National Honor Society, Theater, and the Ritamen Weep Improv Group. Raymond also plays the trumpet at St. Rita’s Monthly St. Rita Novena Masses. Raymond is does not plan to slow down during his senior year, and he even wants to become more active with the Social Justice Club.

One teacher said of Raymond, “Ray has shown tremendous growth in his time at St. Rita. He has proven to be not just a talented student, but a kind, respectful, and energetic one at that. He is a model team player when he is working in a group and a very hard worker.”

Speaking about his experience as a Ritaman, Raymond said, “My time here at St. Rita has been the greatest experience of my life and I cannot believe I have less than a year left before I have to leave my second home. I have met so many wonderful people that I hope to carry on in my life. A special shout out to the Class of 2019. I love you guys!”

Congratulations Raymond!!

Each month St. Rita of Cascia High School honors one student from each class to be the Mustang of the Month. In order for a student to be considered for the Mustang of the Month Award, he must excel or stand out in at least two of the following areas: academics, activities, athletics, spirituality or community service projects or programs. Nominees for Mustang of the Month are those students who are vital elements to what St. Rita of Cascia High School is all about and whose efforts, accomplishments and contributions to our community sometimes go unnoticed.

Nominations are open to all faculty and staff and final selection is determined by members of Administration and Student Life & Ministry.

St. Rita Announces New Administration

By: John Nee '93

St. Rita of Cascia High School has restructured its Administrative Team for the 2018-2019 school year.

Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D. will continue in his role as Head of School and is joined by Mr. Wes Benak '81 who has been elevated to the role of Dean of Academics in his 25th year at St. Rita, and Mr. Josh Blaszak '02 who, after 11 years of service at St. Rita, has been elevated to the role of Dean of Student Leadership to form St. Rita’s Academic Administration. Mr. Mike Zunica (HON) will remain in his role as President of St. Rita and Ms. Eileen Spulak will remain in her role as Chief Financial Officer to form St. Rita’s Corporate Administration with Fr. Paul.

 St. Rita Administration (L to R): Mr. Wes Benak, '81, Dean of Academics; Mr. Josh Blaszak '02, Dean of Student Leadership; Fr. Anthony Pizzo, O.S.A., Prior Provincial of the Midwest Augustinians, Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D., Head of School, Ms. Eileen Spulak, Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Mike Zunica, President

St. Rita Administration (L to R): Mr. Wes Benak, '81, Dean of Academics; Mr. Josh Blaszak '02, Dean of Student Leadership; Fr. Anthony Pizzo, O.S.A., Prior Provincial of the Midwest Augustinians, Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D., Head of School, Ms. Eileen Spulak, Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Mike Zunica, President

Working under the Administration will be Director of Facilities, Mr. Gary DeCesare (HON); Director of Discipline, Mr. Andrew DiMarco; Director of Technology, Mr. Paul Harrington; Director of Enrollment Management, Mr. Ed Leiser '04; Director of Guidance, Mrs. Jill Nagel; and Director of Athletics, Mr. Roshawn Russell '08, who will also serve as the Assistant Director of Discipline.

These are just some of the very exciting things happening around St. Rita, which is about to begin its 114th School Year. The St. Rita Dining Hall has been air-conditioned. The Mrozek Family Fitness Center construction will be complete in mid-October and John McNicholas Baseball Clubhouse and the St. Rita Gymnasium renovation are nearing completion. St. Rita has been able to raise close to $6 million through its capital campaign concurrently with an increase in student enrollment. With this momentum, 2018-19 promises to be one of the most exciting academic years in the history of the school.

St. Rita's Academic Convocation Marks the Beginning of 114th Year

By: Mike Swanson

A convocation is a group of people that comes together, formally assembled for a unique purpose. St. Rita of Cascia High School is a very unique and special institution for many Chicago-area families.

On the morning of Wednesday, August 22, 2018 the St. Rita of Cascia High School community, including parents, gathered in the St. Rita Shrine Chapel for the Annual Academic Convocation that has quickly become a cornerstone ceremony for the members of the St. Rita family. The tone of the day was set by the music which was provided by the legendary St. Rita Band under the direction of Mr. KC Perlberg. The convocation (which marks the official beginning of St. Rita’s 114th academic year) celebrates the school’s academic excellence, ancient and venerable Augustinian heritage and the traditions that developed over the course of the last 113 years the greatest of which is the bond that exists among all Ritamen brothers.

"We are indeed blessed and that is why the theme of this year will be “Thankfulness.” We have been given much and so we must give back much." - Fr. Paul

For this year’s freshmen class, that bond is especially relevant. The 158 freshmen, the Class of 2022, physically signed their names on parchment paper, enrolling them in the sacred “Book of Brotherhood” at St. Rita. After signing, each freshman received from a student government representative his St. Rita chapel tie which is worn each Wednesday for all-school Mass.

The event's master of ceremonies, Dean of Student Leadership Mr. Josh Blaszak '02 introduced three student government leaders, Stedmon Ihejirka, Michael Henze and Liam Ohle who spoke about St. Rita’s core values: Veritas (Truth), Unitas (Unity) and Caritas (Love), respectively.

As the ceremony continued, the crowd heard remarks about St. Rita’s academic excellence and college-preparatory curriculum from Mr. Wes Benak ‘81, Dean of Academics. Mr. Mike Zunica, President, gave remarks about the storied history of St. Rita.

Finally, St. Rita’s Head of School and CEO, Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D., gave the crowd an overall “State of the School” address and then took the time to speak directly to the freshmen telling them what is expected of a Ritaman and what the school community has to offer them. At the end of his remarks, Fr. Paul lit the 2018-19 “Lamp of Learning” from the flame of the Easter Candle in the St. Rita Shrine Chapel.

Fr. Paul said, "St. Rita of Cascia High School is a Catholic college-preparatory high school in the Augustinian tradition. The beginning of the academic year is a rite of passage for our freshmen. The Academic Convocation marks this important milestone while teaching new students and families the history and traditions of our school and reminding us all of the unique opportunities that exist here. This is a very exciting time at St. Rita with multiple new construction projects nearing completion and enrollment increasing. The excitement for our future was palpable at the Convocation. People want to be a part of St. Rita. I’m very pleased with the direction our school is headed thanks to our dedicated and talented faculty, staff, parents and students. We are indeed blessed and that is why the theme of this year will be “Thankfulness.” We have been given much and so we must give back much. We must be the example for others to emulate."

After the formal gathering was over, St. Rita parents and students enjoyed a quick reception with light refreshments.

St. Rita’s Academic Convocation is a unique tradition. It’s very important to Ritamen and their families because it is a public statement of all that St. Rita stands for: academic and athletic excellence, student involvement and Catholic, Augustinian affiliation and leadership. The Convocation displays and solidifies St. Rita’s welcoming environment for all to see.

Matthews Stars for Michigan in Run to Title Game

By Tim O'Brien, The Beverly Review

Earning a three-seed in the west region of the NCAA tournament, the University of Michigan men’s basketball team was rolling.

The Wolverines had won via buzzer-beaters and blowouts, advancing all the way to the national championship game.

 Photo courtesy of University of Michigan

Photo courtesy of University of Michigan

Then, it all came crashing down on April 2 in San Antonio; Michigan fell to top-seeded Villanova 79-62.

However, despite the obvious disappointment, St. Rita grad Charles Matthews just tried to take it all in.

“Playing in the national championship game, that’s a great learning experience,” Matthews said. “You learn a lot playing on that stage. You’re playing at the highest level of college basketball. We learned from it, and we hope to get there again next year.”