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!

Large Crowd Attends St. Rita's Annual Andrew Smialek '08 Leadership Awards Ceremony

2019 Andrew Smialek Award Winners

2019 Andrew Smialek Award Winners

The word “leadership” has many definitions and meanings. It can be defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.” It can be defined as “having a vision and sharing it with others.” It can be defined as “creating an environment that will encourage all the members of a team to develop their skills.” There are dozens of ways to describe leadership. But what does leadership mean to you? When you hear the word “leader”, who do you think of? You may think of a teacher, or a coach, or a doctor or a community organizer.

On Tuesday, August 27, 2019 The St. Rita Family thought of 38 of the best and brightest 8th graders in the Chicagoland area in regards to leadership, as they received the Smialek Leadership Award.

The Andrew Smialek Leadership Award, formerly known as the Mustang Award, originated in 1983 to recognize young men of exceptional caliber and who have great potential for the future. 

Andrew Smialek, St. Rita Class of 2008, was a strong person who handled his battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with grace and humility.  Andrew loved his time at St. Rita and cherished the Augustinian values of truth, unity and love.  While maintaining a strong GPA, he was involved in many school activities and always put others before himself.  He was a wonderful role model for us all.

All of the recipients of the 2019 Andrew Smialek Award demonstrated their leadership skills already. To be named a winner of this award, the young men had to undergo an intense application and interview process. First, they were to submit their application, grades and a student essay that told us what they thought leadership was. Student recommendation letters were submitted as well, along with many letters of support from teachers, coaches and family friends. Then came the hard part: a 20-minute, face-to-face interview with a St. Rita faculty member. No doubt, the young men may have been nervous before their interviews, but they handled themselves quite well and were very impressive.

Screen Shot 2019-08-28 at 4.01.54 PM.png

Over 250 people joined in the celebration at the St. Rita Shrine Chapel on Tuesday evening. After remarks by Assistant Admissions Director Sharon Smolik about Andy Smialek and his legacy, each student leader was presented a Smialek Award plaque by Wes Benak ‘81—St. Rita’s Interim CEO and VP of Academics, and VP of Student Life Josh Blaszak ‘02.

Following the ceremony, a group photo was taken with Andy’s family and families were invited to the many shrines around the chapel for prayers, pictures, and finally a light reception in the St. Rita’s breathtaking chapel foyer.

Congratulations to the 2019 Andrew Smialek Leadership Award Winners.

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

May 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 – Tim Regan

The member of the Class of 2019 selected to be our May Mustang of the Month is Tim Regan.  Tim is a graduate of St. Linus School where he is also a member of the parish community.


During his time at St. Rita, Tim has been the President of the Broadcasting Club, a Kairos Leader, part of the St. Rita Choir and has run Cross Country.  Outside of his time as St. Rita he is a COR Youth Leader at St. Linus and volunteers with St. Linus Mission Trips.  Tim is also an Eagle Scout and after graduation will be moving on to college to major in forensic accounting.

One teacher said of Tim, “Tim is a student who has gone above and beyond to make St. Rita a good experience for himself and his classmates. He is always there for his peers.  As his teacher, I admire Tim's commitment to expanding his worldview and becoming more aware of who God is call him to be and what God is calling him to do.  He is a shining example of what it means to be a Ritaman!”

Speaking about his experience as a Ritaman, Tim said, “My experience at St. Rita has been nothing but good vibes.  I cannot believe it is coming to an end, wow, what a journey.  I feel like I am leaving home.  I am going to miss all my Rita brothers so much.”

Junior Mustang of the Month – Eric Barcelona

Representing the Class of 2020 as our May Mustang of the Month is Eric Barcelona.  Eric comes to us from Queen of Martyrs School and is also a member of Queen of Martyrs Parish.


Eric is currently a member of Big Brothers, the Spanish Club, Stock Club, and he will be fully inducted into the National Honor Society this fall.  Eric is involved with Queen of Martyrs Youth Ministry which has changed his life in many ways, especially with the Mission Trip he went on to Kentucky.  He hopes to go on to college and earn a degree in Computer Science.

In his nomination the following was said of Eric, “His dedication to solve problems as well as his cooperation with other students so they can face their own challenges makes of Eric a good example of a good community and academic performance in St. Rita.”

Eric spoke of his experience as a Ritaman by saying, “I have loved my time here at St. Rita and I cannot believe I only have a year left.  The people here are just amazing and I have many so many friendships.  I cannot wait to see what next year brings.”

Sophomore Mustang of the Month – Noah O’Grady

Representing the Class of 2021 as our May Mustang of the Month is Noah O’Grady.  Noah graduated from Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School and is a member of St.  Germaine Parish.


In addition to excelling in the classroom these past two year Noah is involved in the Spanish Club and is a caddy at Beverly Country Club.  In the future he plans to work toward induction in the St. Rita National Honor Society and become a part of the Advice Beyond the Classroom program.

The following was said of Noah, “Always prepared for class and ready to participate.  Honest, genuine and very mature.  He is a very kind young man and is always willing to help out.”

When asked to speak about his experience as a Ritaman, he replied, “In my last two years as a Ritaman I have made many new friends and have had lots of fun.  I cannot wait for the next two years as a Ritaman and I cannot wait to see who I meet and what my future holds..”

Freshman Mustang of the Month – Connell Moonan

The member of the Class of 2022 chosen to be our May Mustang of the Month is Connell Moonan.  Connell comes to us from St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish where he is also a member of the St. Catherine Parish community.


Connell is currently playing volleyball here at St. Rita.  He also assists at St. Catherine School with their after school program.  Connell plans to work toward being inducted into the St. Rita National Honor Society and hopes to be a part of the Big Brother program in the future.

One member of our St. Rita faculty said, “Connell is an excellent student athlete and leader by example for his class. He takes pride in helping others and treating people nicely.  He works hard in the classroom and on the volleyball court.”

When asked about his experience as a Ritaman, Connell replied, “I have made a lot of new friends and have had a great time thus far.  I cannot wait for the next three years here at St. Rita.”