Smialek Awards

St. Rita High School Announces Andrew Smialek '08 Leadership Award Winners

Chicagoans are resilient. One example of this resilience is our ability persevere through the winter snow. The last two years, the St. Rita Family has prepared for one of the most important days of the academic year--the Andrew Smialek '08 Leadership Award Presentation and Mass--during early-morning snowstorms. On Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, the date of last year's Smialek Award ceremony, we experienced our first significant snowfall of the year. Flash forward to 2016 and we again witnessed significant snowfall on Sunday, Dec. 11--the date of the 2016 ceremony and Mass. The award winners were once again treated to a snow-filled St. Rita campus that enhanced the festive Christmas-season atmosphere.

On Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, 26 eighth graders and their families packed a warm and welcoming St. Rita Shrine Chapel. Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D. celebrated the Mass. Principal Mr. Brendan Conroy, Director of Admissions Mr. Ed Leiser '04, Assistant Director of Admissions Mr. RoShawn Russell '08 and Faculty Members Ms. Martha Dion and Mr. Josh Blaszak '04 were on hand to help present the awards to the students.

The Andrew Smialek Award recognizes young men of exceptional caliber with great potential for the future.

Andy was a St. Rita student who was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma before his freshman year at St. Rita; but he persevered through his illness and medical treatments with love and support his family at home and his St. Rita family. He has been described as the "epitome of a Ritaman" by those who knew him well. He studied hard, played football and was a true gentleman.

Andrew Smialek '08 Award winners are outstanding, both academically and in extracurriculars. They show strong involvement in school activities and give evidence of having strength of character, creativity and initiative. They have the ability to influence others, and a sense of responsibility and self-discipline. Smialek Award winners are people who will help enrich the religious fabric of the high school they choose to attend, especially by helping to create a robust sense of community.

St. Rita of Cascia High School honors the young men who are presented this Award because their lives reflect the core values of the Augustinians - Caritas (love), Unitas (unity) and Veritas (truth). We recognize the young men for their pursuit of excellence in academics, athletics, and activities and for their commitment to spirituality. This is what St. Augustine challenged students to do.

Young men applied for the Award from grammar schools from the south side of Chicago and surrounding suburbs. The quality of all the applicants was exceptional. The selection process was difficult, and in the end 26 of these young men were named winners of the Smialek Award for 2016.

To the 2016 Smialek Leadership Award recipients, we wish you success as you prepare for your high school years. You have proven to be young men of outstanding leadership and achievement. We at St. Rita salute you.

Award Winner's Name - Grammar School
Gabriel Arteaga - Mt. Greenwood
Conor Aguilar - St. Walter
Emilio Alvarez - St. Walter
Nicholas Capuano - Queen of Martyrs
Colin Cleary - Christ the King
Ethan Comer - St. Daniel the Prophet
Daniel Cook - Most Holy Redeemer
Jaylon Cox - St. Barnabas
Brian Fitzmaurice - Queen of Martyrs
Ryan Hixson - St. Daniel the Prophet
Adam Iwaniec - Prairie Hills Junior High
Owen Kelly - St. Cajetan
Jason Koch - St. Daniel the Prophet
Brett Laird - Cardinal Joseph Bernardine
Devin Linson - St. Bede the Venerable
Jack McKenna - Queen of Martyrs
Donovan Mottl - St. Christina
Matthew Orta - St. Daniel the Prophet
Ryan Reid - Cardinal Joseph Bernardin
Liam Reidy - St. Barnabas
Ian Reidy - St. Barnabas
Liam Reilly - St. John Fisher
Jacob Roeske - Queen of Martyrs
Jalen Sledge - St. Walter
Frank Schmitt - Queen of Martyrs
David Tolley - St. Cajetan