February Mustangs of the Month

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.

Senior Mustang of the Month – Cameron Bartmann

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The member of the Class of 2019 selected to be our February Senior Mustang of the Month is Cameron Bartmann.  Cameron is a graduate of Summit Hill Junior High and is a member of St. Stephen Deacon and Martyr Church in Tinley Park.

Cameron has been a member of the St. Rita Varsity Basketball Team for all four years and is also a member of the National Honor Society.  He hopes to also try out for Varsity Volleyball.  When not at St. Rita he has a part-time job as a busboy.  He has had a very successful academic career at St. Rita being on the Gold and High Honor Roll for all semesters and achieving a Heeney Award for Straight As during four semesters.

One teacher said of Cameron, “Cameron is a great example of academic excellence and represents the St. Rita spirituality.  He is always dedicated and focused of having the higher grades by utilizing every minute in class.  I see Cameron regularly checking and sharing his ideas with classmates.”

Speaking about his experience as a Ritaman, Cameron said, “My time at St. Rita has gone by quick.  I am glad I was able to experience it with my Rita brothers and I will miss all of you.”

Junior Mustang of the Month – Jimmy Larkin

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Representing the Class of 2020 as our February Junior Mustang of the Month is Jimmy Larkin.  Jimmy is a graduate of Queen of Martyrs School where he is also a member of the parish community.

Jimmy is a member of St. Rita’s Hockey Team and is also involved with the Stock Club, Social Justice Club.  He is currently working toward induction into the St. Rita Chapter of the National Honor Society and has been a Heeney Award Recipients for earning Straight As.  Outside of St. Rita Jimmy is active with Queen of Martyrs Youth Ministry.

In his nomination the following was said of Jimmy, “Jimmy is a fine young man who traveled to Harlan, Kentucky to help build houses with his Youth Group and will be serving as a leader for this year's trip.  He excels in academics and has been on the honor roll since he began at St. Rita.  Jimmy is kind to everyone and is a great role model to fellow students.”

Jimmy spoke of his experience as a Ritaman by saying, “It feels like yesterday that I was just a freshman, and I have loved every moment at St. Rita since day one.”

Sophomore Mustang of the Month – Michael Gaughan

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Representing the Class of 2021 as our February Sophomore Mustang of the Month is Michael Gaughan.  Michael graduated from Century Junior High and is a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

Michael is a member of St. Rita’s Football and Lacrosse Teams and is involved with the SpikeBall Club.  He is also an elected Student Government Officer for the sophomore class and in the future hopes to get involved with the STEM Club.

The following was said of Michael, “Michael has been a great example for other Ritamen during his time at St. Rita.  He is a respectful student and well-respected by his classmates.  He is always positive and upbeat.”

When asked to speak about his experience as a Ritaman, he replied, “It has been a great two years and I cannot wait to see what the next two will bring me.  Thank you to everyone especially Gavin Kelly.”

Freshman Mustang of the Month – Michael Baniewicz

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The member of the Class of 2022 chosen to be our February Freshman Mustang of the Month is Michael Baniewicz.  Michael comes to us from St. Christina School and is also a member of the St. Christina Parish community.

Michael is a member of the RitaMen Weep Improv group, ran Cross Country and is now a part of Track & Field.  He also assists with school liturgies as an altar server.  Outside of his time at St. Rita Michael is also involved with the McAuley Theater as a cast member in “Wendy & Peter Pan” and performs improv at Second City.  He hopes to get more involves at St. Rita with our theater productions.

One member of our St. Rita faculty said, “Michael performs very well academically.  He also carries himself very well and is a true example of a Ritaman.”

When asked about his experience as a Ritaman, Michael replied, “I have enjoyed every second I have been at St. Rita.  I appreciate all the opportunities St. Rita has to offer.  All of my teachers and classmates have been very helpful throughout the year and I look forward to the years to come.”

Large Crowd Attends St. Rita's Junior Ring Mass and Heeney Awards Ceremony

St. Rita is known for its well-rounded graduates and family atmosphere. Throughout their four years in high school, Ritamen are taught that well-rounded individuals are likely to succeed. Also, Ritamen know a key ingredient in success is academic achievement; thus they are challenged academically at St. Rita High School, to prepare them for continued success in college and beyond. This past semester 67 Ritamen responded to St. Rita’s academic challenges with exemplary results.

On Sunday, February 3, a large crowd of over 400 members of the St. Rita Family attended St. Rita’s Junior Ring Mass and Heeney Awards Ceremony in the landmark St. Rita Shrine Chapel at 77th Street & Western Avenue, with head of school, Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D. as the celebrant.

After Fr. Paul’s homily, the Class of 2020 had their rings blessed. Following the conclusion of Mass, the Heeney Award recepients were recognized.

St. Rita's Prestigious Heeney Award is named after Michael Heeney '71. It is awarded to all St. Rita students who earn straight As for a semster.

CLASS YEAR FIRST NAME LAST NAME
Class of 2019 Zackary Aleman
Class of 2019 Cameron Bartmann
Class of 2019 Michael Benson
Class of 2019 Thomas Connolly
Class of 2019 Liam Daly
Class of 2019 Quinn Eaheart
Class of 2019 Salvador Guel
Class of 2019 Kyle Gustafson
Class of 2019 Michael Henze
Class of 2019 Myles Montaque
Class of 2019 Kevin O'Hara
Class of 2019 Timothy Regan
Class of 2019 Henry Ryan
Class of 2019 Edwardo Serrano
Class of 2019 Kyle Somrek
Class of 2019 Luis Treto
Class of 2020 Nicholas Adent
Class of 2020 Christopher Cherullo
Class of 2020 Patrick Cranley
Class of 2020 Justin Darwin
Class of 2020 Griffen Drebing
Class of 2020 Ryan Fidler
Class of 2020 Tahrhon Haynes
Class of 2020 Jacob Kuska
Class of 2020 Juan Sanchez
Class of 2020 Evan Wojcicki
Class of 2021 Conor Aguilar
Class of 2021 Robert Atkinson. Jr.
Class of 2021 Brandon Buday
Class of 2021 Aidan Connolly
Class of 2021 Brian Deenihan
Class of 2021 Burke Eaheart
Class of 2021 Matthew Fogarty
Class of 2021 Mel Gade
Class of 2021 Sean Galbraith
Class of 2021 Saul Garcia
Class of 2021 Thomas Gikas
Class of 2021 Thomas Gleason
Class of 2021 Mykhai Harris
Class of 2021 Cristian Herard
Class of 2021 Adam Iwaniec
Class of 2021 Kyle James
Class of 2021 Jason Koch
Class of 2021 Devin Luckett, Jr.
Class of 2021 Michael Mixan
Class of 2021 Noah O'Grady
Class of 2021 Jesus Pedroza
Class of 2021 Ryan Reid
Class of 2021 Thomas Rooney
Class of 2021 Zack Rotkvich
Class of 2021 Evan Schoenberger
Class of 2021 Eric Seo
Class of 2021 Angel Valdes
Class of 2021 Wenseslao Zavala, Jr.
Class of 2022 Luke Bonnett
Class of 2022 Sean Dahill
Class of 2022 Elwyn Geisert
Class of 2022 James Healy
Class of 2022 Jakob Marszewski
Class of 2022 Brendan Martin
Class of 2022 Connell Moonan
Class of 2022 Nathan Pruszewski
Class of 2022 Luis Salgado
Class of 2022 Trent Scianna
Class of 2022 Maxwell Sun
Class of 2022 Anthony Youssef


January Mustangs of the Month

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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.

Senior Mustang of the Month – Clifford Williams

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The member of the Class of 2019 selected to be our January Senior Mustang of the Month is Clifford Williams.  Clifford is a graduate of Clifford Pierce Middle School and is a member of New Smyrna Church of God and Christ.

Clifford has been active during his time at St. Rita playing football and bowling and also being involved with the Cooking Club.  This past year he put together a Caritas Project “Bowling for a Cause” which raised money for homeless individuals.  Clifford plans to attend college and major in physical therapy and loves being around family and friends having a good time.

One teacher said of Clifford, “Cliff is just an all-around positive student who is respective to those he encounters.  He embodies what it means to be a Ritaman through his daily actions.”Speaking about his experience as a Ritaman, Clifford said, “My time at St. Rita has been well spent with the various activities I have been involved with.  St. Rita is like a second home to me filled with love and happiness.  Overall St. Rita has been an amazing experience to me, having life-long friends that I will always remember.  When I graduate I am going to miss them all.”

Junior Mustang of the Month – Carlos Sanchez

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Representing the Class of 2020 as our January Junior Mustang of the Month is Carlos Sanchez.  Carlos is a graduate of St. Gall School and belongs to St. Rita of Cascia Parish.

Carlos is a member of the St. Rita Soccer Team and he is also involved with the Spanish Club.  Outside of St. Rita he is active with the St. Rita Parish Youth Group and just recently traveled to Panama for the Augustinian Youth Encounter.  He also helps coach soccer at St. Gall.  He is working to be inducted into St. Rita’s chapter of the National Honor Society.

In his nomination the following was said of Carlos, “Carlos is a wonderful student to have in class.  He studies well and has a calm, positive attitude.”

Carlos spoke of his experience as a Ritaman by saying, “Coming to St. Rita was one of the best decisions I ever made.  It has been an interesting time here and I have made life-long friends.  I hope for the best in the next year to come.”

Sophomore Mustang of the Month – Danny Fleck

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Representing the Class of 2021 as our January Sophomore Mustang of the Month is Danny Fleck.  Danny graduated from Central Middle School and is a member of Most Holy Redeemer Parish.

Danny is a member of St. Rita’s golf and volleyball teams and is also involved with The Cascian, our school yearbook.  Outside of his time at St. Rita Danny helps out those who live in his neighborhood.  He hopes to apply to be a Big Brother at the end of this year.

The following was said of Danny, “Danny has a heart of gold and is a great example of a St. Rita Mustang. He is kind to all students, faculty and staff. He is also very good at giving back with community service. Just recently, he has helped neighbors with snow removal and cleaning out a basement.”

When asked to speak about his experience as a Ritaman, he replied, “I went into St. Rita only knowing a couple of people, but now I have met a ton of new people.  I’ve noticed the brotherhood around me is strong and that there are many people around me who care for me.”

Freshman Mustang of the Month – Jake Marszewski

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The member of the Class of 2022 chosen to be our January Freshman Mustang of the Month is Jake Marszewski.  Jake comes to us from Mount Greenwood Elementary School and is a member of the St. Christina Parish community.

Jake is a member of St. Rita’s golf and hockey teams and he is also involved with The Natir, our satirical newspaper.  Outside of his time at St. Rita Jake helps out in his community.  In the future he hopes to get involved with St. Rita’s Stock Club and also plans to try out for baseball.  He enjoys learning and art.

One member of our St. Rita faculty said, “Jake is such a kind and helpful student in the classroom. He is always willing to help out his classmates.”

When asked about his experience as a Ritaman, Jake replied, “I have had a great time at St. Rita so far.  I have made a lot of friends and am really enjoying my time here.  I truly feel like at home at St. Rita.”

A Well-Earned "Merci Beaucoup" to St. Rita's Winterfest Committee

By: Mike Swanson

St. Rita’s Winterfest, the annual, all-parent-run "friendraiser" has become a legendary event that encourages the entire St. Rita family to come together. Over the past 15 years, Winterfest earned it’s unofficial tag line of the “Best party on the southside". It’s all thanks to the hard work and dedication of St. Rita High School parents. This year, Winterfest veterans Kim and Mike Patton took the reigns of chair couple from Todd ’89 and Kim Lefebvre (parents of Ryan ‘17 and Shawn ‘21). Kim and Mike are parents of Jack ’08 and Brendan ‘19, and their daughter Cassidy is married to Bill Newman ‘05. The Pattons were also very involved in the inaugural Winterfest. Mike and Kim are examples of parents who have stayed involved for more than a decade. Not only do parents stay involved, but each year new parents join in the fun. This year saw a large, strong group of freshmen parents take leadership roles on the committee, including Hannah Dillon, Eileen and Kevin Durkin, Maura and Brian Quigley, Blanca Leonas, Greg ‘91 and Sandy Maza, and Mike Flannery.

The Winterfest XV effort started almost a year ago. The Winterfest committee quickly decided on the French theme of "Vive La Rita!" Countless hours of behind-the-scenes work went into making Winterfest 2019 a great success, including reorganizing four rooms according to class year to make sure that everyone felt they could take part. Freshmen parents were responsible for the McCarthy Center, The Dining Hall was run by the sophomore parents, the Western Avenue entrance was run by the junior parents and finally the senior parents were in charge of the gym, including the construction of St. Rita’s very own version of the Eiffel Tower thanks to Mark Benson. All the hard work of parent volunteers culminated on Saturday, January 26, 2019, as more than 750 St. Rita parents, alumni, faculty, staff and friends braved travel in the middle of a snow storm to enjoy a fun-filled evening, many food carts from local vendors, open bar, live entertainment, and often-imitated—but never-duplicated St. Rita hospitality. The decorations transformed the St. Rita campus so much that many Winterfest goers commented they almost forgot that they were in a high school in Chicago and not on the streets of Paris!

St. Rita Winterfest started as a “Friendraiser” and it continues each year...friends, family and memories from the best party on the southside!
— Kim Patton - St. Rita Winterfest Chair

This year, the new Mustang Raffle drawing also coincided with Winterfest. Near the end of the night St Rita’s head of school and CEO, Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A, Ph.D. and the Pattons gathered on stage to draw the Mustang Raffle winner. This year’s winner was Celia and Maureen Coyle. They will have their choice of a brand new Ford Mustang or a large cash prize. It seems the Mustang Raffle was the single most successful raffle in St. Rita’s venerable history, generating over $140,000 in revenue to help offset athletic expenses and keep tuition as affordable as possible for working families.

While Winerfest is technically a fundraiser; St. Rita strives to make sure the "Friendraiser" tradition and heritage of the event keeps the St. Rita Family growing year after year, because the St. Rita community truly is a family. Family - that’s important at St. Rita. Around Winterfest time many of us are reminded that “Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family.” The concepts of loyalty, commitment and family are the main ingredients to Winterfest’s success.  Thanks to all of Winterfest’s volunteers, donors, attendees and sponsors.

A special thanks to Kim and Mike Patton, Kim LeFebvre, Karen Manning, Laura Nolan, Hannah Dillon, Eileen and Kevin Durkin, Maura and Brian Quigley, Blanca Leonas, Brigid and Terry Hixon, Christine and John Tolley, Kerrie and Mike Cleve, Cathy and Dan Larkin ‘82, Laura and Mark Benson, Kathleen and John Daly, Ruth Cotugno, Margaret Regan, Greg ‘91 and Sandy Maza, Mike Flannery, Gerry McKillop, Patti Chiappetta, Larry and Keli Serven, Maria and Bob Flores, Kevin Gibson ‘76, Margie Hopkins, Maureen Revers, Gary DeCesare, Brendan Garrett, Sue Connolly, Josh Blaszak, Laura Fleck, Laura Kennedy, Eileen Spulak, Jay Standring, Mike Zunica, Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., the St. Rita Fathers’ Club and many, many more! Without the work and leadership of all of these people, Winterfest could not occur.

 

Please patronize our generous Winterfest sponsors:

Americano’s (A.J. Castillo ‘08)

The Bev Girls

Calabria Imports

Swanson’s Deli

Horse Thief Hollow

Barraco’s Pizza

Open Outcry Brewing Co.

Bob Wirtz ’86 – Wirtz Rentals

115 Bourbon Street

Lakeshore Beverage - Mike Cummings '04

AthleteX - Thomas Mulvey

Binny’s

The Wine Steward

Portraits Plus (Mike & Kim Patton)

Pollyanna Brewing Company

Jack Gibbon’s Gardens

Entertainment Cruises

Ravisloe Country Club

Michael V. LoCicero, Esq.

Professional Holiday Lighting

Key Carpet, John McGowan ‘76

Kevin Gibson ‘76

Samuel Hubbard Shoes

Clancy’s Pizza

Core Fitness Physical Therapy

Fox’s Restaurant & Pub

Flapjack’s

Huck Finn’s Restaurant

Golden Griddle

Running Excels

Steuber Florist

S & T Provisions

Nino’s Pizza

Herff Jones

Marinelli’s

Jewel Food

Little Company of Mary Hospital

Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School

Hillside-Chatham Florist

Larry and Keli Serven

County Fair Foods

Schools Are Us

Arena Lanes Bowling Center

Jr’s Hot Dogs

Midwest Sports Lab

Maria & Bob Flores

Big N Little Shoes

Papa Joe’s

Park Schwinn Cyclery

Jenny’s Steakhouse & Pub

Jack & Pat’s Old Fashioned Butcher Shop

Running for Kicks

Heine’s McCarthy’s Chicken

Palermo’s Pizza

Tuzik’s Bakery

Kenwood Liquors

The Larkin and Moran Brothers

Tim Larkin ‘81, Dan Larkin ‘82, Mike Larkin ‘89, Joe Larkin ‘92, & Dan Larkin, Jr. ‘04

The Dancing Noodles (Ed Kammerer ‘72, Glenn Oskvarek ‘82, Brian Sarna ‘73)

SunFallen (Jay O’Malley ‘01)

Krapil’s Steakhouse

Lush Salon & Color Bar

Rhinestone Glitzwear

Lagunitas Brewing Company

Chicago Bears Football

Chicago White Sox

Lou Malnati’s Pizza

Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants

KD & Sons HVAC Services

Brookfield Zoo

Lang Ice