St. Rita Earns Top-Ranked Catholic School Finish In STEM Competition

On Thursday, October 3rd, St. Rita sent six teams (comprised of four students each) to compete in the inaugural IBEW-NECA STEM competition, hosted by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers - Local 134 and co-sponsored by Northwestern University. St. Rita students performed exceptionally well, and St. Rita took home 3rd Place overall honors and was the top-ranked Catholic school in the competition.

Overall, 40 teams competed from 10 high schools in the Chicagoland area. The competing schools were:  St. Rita, Downers Grove North, Maine East, Stagg, Lockport, Downers Grove South, Andrew, Chicago Agriculture of Science, Brother Rice and St. Laurence. St. Rita’s top-ranked team scored 292.5 points which was just five points away from first place. The top-ranked St. Rita team consisted of seniors Nick Adent (Mt. Greenwood), Justin Darwin (St. Christina), Ryan Fidler (St. Barnabas) and junior Eric Seo (Lakeview Junior High). They went by the name of “Team Ric”.

St. Rita’s other teams placed very well, too.  Team members include:

  • Team Pangrazio: (named after Department Chair, Mrs. Maureen Pangrazio): Junior Brian Deenihan, Junior Noah O’Grady, Junior Mike Gaughan, Junior DJ Luckett

  • Team Mustangs: Junior Quincy Sanders, Junior Jesus Flores, Junior Saul Garcia, Junior Nick O’Neill

  • Team “Todd Father”: (named after Science Teacher, Mr. Todd Kuska ’90): Senior Pat Cranley, Senior Jake Kuska, Senior Chris Cherullo, Senior Connor Earley

  • Team #StangGang: Senior Tito Reyes-Binfa, Senior Justin Rosenau, Senior Peter Viz, Junior Evan Schoenberger

  • Team Two-Star Athletes: Senior Jimmy Larkin, Senior Brendan Breslin, Senior Luke Manning, Senior Evan Wojcicki

 The competition consisted of three phases for all teams to complete, and these were timed events that tested not only getting the work done, but also stressed time management. 

Phase One was Residential Load Analysis, where competitors had to collect energy consumption data from appliance and equipment specification sheets. As the teams began Phase One, Phase Two was announced: Solar Photovoltaic Equipment Selection. This phase required teams to evaluate the power-producing system equipment and examine solar PV modules, record data and perform calculations. 

Phase Three, the final test of the competition, was Practical Application of PV System Design. There, teams had to assess the physical area where the PV systems would be mounted and finalize their choices of solar PV equipment by applying their calculations of available space to their equipment options.

After all was said and done, St. Rita’s “Team Ric” was in 3rd place overall among the 40 teams there with their 292.5 points. St. Rita also had another team score 279 points, which was also more than any other Catholic school.

Senior Ryan Fidler, St. Rita Student Government President and member of the St. Rita Band said that the competition “was nothing like I thought it would be, but we absolutely loved it.  The entire day was cool…we felt we learned a lot.”

Of the 24 Ritamen who participated, they represented a total of 10 sports, and over 20 different clubs and student activities groups, which showcased the overall balance of our St. Rita students.

All participants received a ticket to a Northwestern Wildcats football game, and St. Rita’s 3rd Place overall team received tape measurers as their take-home prize. 

This competition was the latest example of St. Rita’s new partnership with the Local 134 Electrical Union, based out of Alsip.  Earlier in the school year, St. Rita students visited Local 134 for a full day of activities, hands-on learning and demonstrations by the staff and workers of Local 134.  St. Rita also plans to launch partnerships with other trades in the coming year and continues to seek options for our students in our College Prep-Plus curriculum.

The competition was certainly one to remember for our students and was another great event in what’s been an amazing start to our 115th year of educating some of the finest young men on the south side of Chicago.



St. Rita High School Starts Partnerhip With IBEW 134

On Wednesday, September 18, St. Rita High School partnered up with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134 Union, based out of Alsip, for an interactive, hands-on experience for our Ritamen. This is the beginning of our partnership with IBEW Local 134 which will stretch out over the coming school year and beyond. Seventeen St. Rita seniors were at Local 134 for the day. They met with four apprentice school instructors. The day began with a little “PT”—physical training or exercise that apprentice students do every day, to give our young men a realistic look at the things they may do in the first 11 weeks of their electrical construction program.

The Ritamen also took a tour of the facility, while wearing hard hats, gloves, glasses and tool bags, to simulate the equipment needed and used for Electrical workers. Among the demonstrations seen, Ritamen learned measurements and how to do quick math work in their heads, and also spent hours on tasks such as bending pipes, climbing pipes, and solar paneling work. The director gave them information about applying for this trade and what the benefits were. The 17 Ritamen also had the opportunity to meet several Illinois state representatives and state senators that were spending the day there as well. Our St. Rita STEM program will be competing in a STEM competition later this year, which will be sponsored by Local 134, and members of the junior class will be able to visit in the coming months as well. It was a fantastic day for our Ritamen and we are fortunate to be able to provide interesting experiences and opportunities for outside the classroom learning.

Thank you to the staff and instructors at Local 134, we look forward to continuing our partnership!

St. Rita Honors Physics Class Holds Regatta

The Honors Physics class spent more than three weeks planning for the event. They began by learning about Archimedes’ Principle and how an objects density, weight, and how much fluid it displaces all relate to if an object sinks or floats. They did practice problems, a demonstration in which we had to manipulate an object to make it sink and float (without adding water to the object), and followed that all up with a lab on Archimedes’ Principle.

From there students made scaled prototypes out of index cards and packing tape and tested how much mass (pennies) their boat could hold before sinking. After analyzing the test, some had to redesign and others were ready to move on to sketches and calculations. Before they could build their life size boat, they had to complete multiple 3D sketches to scale, pages of calculations such as the cost and weight of their boat, surface area, volume of boat, and the waterline to ensure their boat would not sink, as well as analysis questions.

Once approved, they were able to begin constructing their boat. They had constraints to work within such as a length and width, the use of only corrugated cardboard and duct or packing tape, using no more than 2 inches of tape on either side of a seam, thickness of cardboard not exceeding one inch and no trapping of air between layers, etc. There were 26 constraints they had to work within! The day before the race they had to complete a technical inspection and any rules they did not adhere to had to be fixed before the race. Grading on race day pertained to things like safety, how much of the race they were able to complete and average speed. Students were also to create a theme for their boat and crew. Students worked in groups of 4-5 and two members were in each boat. There were nine boats total.

The Awards were:

The Titanic Award: Flying Dutchman

People’s Choice (for best theme): Hawaiian 

Innovator (for out-of-the-box thinking in construction): The Bobcat

1st place (for speed): the Quinjet

2nd place: Racecar

3rd place: Noah’s Ark

St. Rita Celebrates National Foreign Languages Week

The week of March 4 was a time of celebration and learning at St. Rita High School as students and faculty alike joined schools across the country recognizing National Foreign Language Week with several special events.

First the entire on campus St. Rita community was present for a multi-lingual Mass celebrated by head of school, Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D.

Not only did St. Rita celebrate languages themselves, they also learned about different cultures and traditions from countries all over the world. Each day, a variety of activities were available for all students.

International dishes were available during lunch periods in the St. Rita Dining Hall, and Ritamen voted on their favorite.

During all lunches last week Ritamen sold and bought bracelets and purses for their family members and friends made through The Pulsera Project, a fair trade project that supports young artists in Central America.

Also, there was a fun, international-travel-based, faculty trivia contest during lunches periods.

Students learned about other cultures thru a creative campus-wide scavenger hunt, complete with QR codes to access the clues.

On Friday, St. Rita celebrated with a Foreign Language Expo, including live entertainment, activities and food tastings, during G and F periods in the Van Leuven Family Research Center and McCarthy Student Center on campus.

The foreign language department truly does a great job of uniquely engaging students to learn more about other cultures as they continue to help Ritamen hone their skills in all the foreign language classes available at St. Rita.