The St. Rita Family Unites with Giving Tree Initiative

As Catholics, we are called to love Christ above all. But how do we show our love for Christ? In Hebrews 6:10, we are taught “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones”. God tells us that through serving, loving, and tending to others, we are serving and loving Him.

Giving Tree Leaders: Ms. Missy Smialek, Eddie Fidler, Isaac Gaytan-Reilly, Dylan Cooney and Diego Carrillo (Not pictured: Jack Esselman & Tadhg Scanlon)

It has been a tradition here St. Rita for the last several years to have our Giving Tree Initiative in the month of December—2018 was no different. The Giving Tree helps Ritamen show that the core values of Caritas and Unitas are not just slogans, but things that St. Rita students strive to live out, especially during the holiday season.

Each year, through the Giving Tree, several St. Rita families are given donations by the St. Rita school community to help offset the ever-rising costs of the Christmas season through food and gift donations.

Hebrews 13:16 teaches “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.” Ritamen were encouraged to make the sacrifice of sharing what they have in an effort to love others who are in need and therefore, love God. Some were able to give more than others, but all were encouraged to look into their own lives and determine where a sacrifice could be made. For instance, some sacrificed vending machine snacks and donated that money, others brought lunch from home and donated lunch money.

In the end, so many Ritamen put money toward those in our St. Rita family who are struggling. The St. Rita community ultimately raised $4,882.85 and helped ten families this Christmas.

St. Rita Band Concert Spreads Christmas Cheer

On Monday, December 17, just before the start of final exams, the legendary St. Rita Band performed in the St. Rita Shrine Chapel, before the entire student body. The concert was well-received, with the St. Rita Choir accompanying.

The concert was an interactive event as the students joined in the merry atmosphere by signing some favorite Christmas Carols.

What a great way for our Ritamen to enjoy some family atmosphere and have a little fun, before buckling down for some last-minute studying for finals.

In addition to the concert, our students and faculty have been wearing Christmas sweaters to school for the past week. Check out some of the festive sweaters in the crowd!

December 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 – Kavari Cunningham


The member of the Class of 2019 selected to be our December Senior Mustang of the Month is Kavari Cunningham.  Kavari is a graduate of St. Etherlreda School and is a member of New Faith Missionary Baptist Church.

Kavari is a Big Brother and is a member St. Rita’s Football and Track Teams.  Outside of his school involvement he helps out with his former football team the Brainerd Park Bengals.

One teacher said of Kavari, “I feel that Kavari is a great candidate because he embodies what it means to be a Ritaman.  He is respectful and kind to all those he encounters, he is very hard-working in and out of the classroom, is humble and a great role model for the underclassmen.”

Speaking about his experience as a Ritaman, Kavari said, “My experience at Rita has been exactly what I expected, filled with good times and memories with my brothers.  I am definitely going to miss all of the guys when I graduate.”

Junior Mustang of the Month – Ahmonte Harris


Representing the Class of 2020 as our December Junior Mustang of the Month is Ahmonte Harris.  Monte is a graduate of St. Sabina School and belongs to the El Shaddai Miracle Temple Community.

Monte is a member of the St. Rita Band a baritone sax player, Video Games Club, RitaMen Weep Improv group and is a Big Brother.  He hopes to get even more involved in clubs later this year.

In his nomination the following was said of Ahmonte, “He is an exceptionally kind and bright young man. He always greets those around him with a smile and is the first to act in a way that helps the group.  He is a talented and hardworking student.”

Monte spoke of his experience as a Ritaman by saying, “I have had my ups and downs but my Rita Brothers have always made my day better and I truly cherish all of them and genuinely love all my brothers.”

Sophomore Mustang of the Month – Thomas Gleason


Representing the Class of 2021 as our December Sophomore Mustang of the Month is Thomas Gleason.  Thomas graduated from Central Middle School and is a member of St. John Fisher Parish.

Thomas is a member of the St. Rita Golf Team, a writer for The Natir and is in the Superhero Club.  He also plays in the Illinois Junior Golf Association.

The following was said of Thomas, “Thomas is quick to help his peers without instruction, he helps because he can and knows it is the right thing to do.  Thomas is an accountable Ritaman perpetuating the core values of Truth, Unity, and Love.”

When asked to speak about his experience as a Ritaman, he replied, “I love St. Rita and I have fun here every day.”

Freshman Mustang of the Month – Luis Salgado


The member of the Class of 2022 chosen to be our December Freshman Mustang of the Month is Luis Salgado.  Luis comes to us from Cardinal Joseph Bernardin School and is a member of the St. Julie Billiart Parish community.

Luis is a member of the Respect Life Club, Spanish Club and played soccer this fall.  In the spring he plans to be a part of the St. Rita Volleyball Team.  Outside of his time at St. Rita Luis is an altar server and plays travel soccer.

One member of our St. Rita faculty said, “Luis is such a humble and kind student.  He always turns in excellent work and participates in class.  He is always willing to help out those around him.”

When asked about his experience as a Ritaman, Luis replied, “Even though I have not been at St. Rita for very long it has become by second home.  The atmosphere he is unlike anything I have seen before.  I look forward to being here the next four years.”

St. Rita High School Announces 19 Illinois State Scholars from the Class of 2019


CHICAGO - At St. Rita High School’s weekly All-School Mass, 19 seniors were honored for being selected Illinois State Scholars for the 2018-19 academic school year. In order to be selected an Illinois State Scholar, a student must perform in the top one-half of his high school class at the end of the third semester prior to graduation, and/or score above the 95th percentile on the ACT or SAT. Each State Scholar will receive a congratulatory letter from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC).

The list of seniors who were recognized, include:

  • Zackary Aleman (St. Catherine of Alexandria - Oak Lawn)

  • Michael Benson (St. Cajetan)

  • John Cleary (Christ the King)

  • Thomas Connolly (St. Barnabas)

  • Peter Conroy (St. Barnabas)

  • Liam Daly (St. John Fisher)

  • Quinn Eaheart (Annie Keller Regional Gifted Center)

  • Kyle Gustafson (Lakeview Junior High - Downers Grove)

  • Michael Henze (Everest Academy - Lemont)

  • Samuel Macander (St. Barnabas)

  • Robert McDonald (St. Barnabas)

  • Myles Montaque (Summit Hill - Frankfort)

  • Kevin O'Hara (St. Christina)

  • Liam Ohle (St. Barnabas)

  • Henry Ryan (St. Christina)

  • Edwardo Serrano (St. Joseph - Summit)

  • Kyle Somrek (St. Barnabas)

  • Thomas Troesch (St. Barnabas)

  • Jacob Waller (St. Barnabas)