Forty-two bright, eighth-grade young men, from 22 grade schools, earned the 2014 Andrew Smialek Leadership Award. These young men received recommendations from principals, teachers, coaches and other mentors, wrote an essay on leadership and successfully completed in-person interviews--before being chosen as award recipients.
On Sunday, November 23, 2014 Andrew Smialek's mom and sisters, the award winners, and the St. Rita Family gathered for a Mass and award presentation at the St. Rita Shrine Chapel on St. Rita High School's campus at 7740 S. Western Avenue.
Fr. Tom McCarthy, O.S.A. '83, St. Rita High School Chairman, spoke about the courage, leadership and perseverance that Andrew Smialek '08 displayed as a student at St. Rita, while battling Hodgkins Lymphoma. Fr. Tom gave examples of Andy's leadership and devotion to St. Rita, including his achievement of "Straight A's" during an exceptionally challenging year and continuing as an altar server after graduation from high school. He also told the crowd about how Andrew lived the Augustinian values of Veritas (Truth), Unitas (Unity) and Caritas (Love). Andrew is described as "the epitome of a Ritaman," by those who knew him well. He studied hard, played football and was a true gentleman.
Fr. Tom challenged this year's eighth graders to build on the solid foundation they have received from their families and teachers. He also told them they should accept the Smialek Leadership Award as a sign that they are capable of even greater accomplishments in the future.
Andrew Smialek 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 have a sense of responsibility and self-discipline. Smialek Award winners are young men 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.
This year's Andrew Smialek '08 Leadership Award Recipients are:
Victor Aguilar - St. Walter
Daniel Brannigan - Old Quarry Middle School
David Bauer - St. Benedict
Matt Callahan - Independence Junior High
Angelo Cantelo - St. Walter
Joseph Carroll - St. John Fisher
Luke Castelli - Central Junior High
John Cleary - Christ the King
Quinn Coghlan - St. Cajetan
Pete Conroy - St. Barnabas
Ryan Dangles - Mt. Greenwood
Patrick Flynn - Queen of Martyrs
Sean Giltmier - St. Christina
Daniel Glynn - St. John Fisher
Hugh Gorman - St. John Fisher
Brian Gralak - St. Linus
Jonathan Halisz - Bridgeport Catholic Academy
Thomas Hanrahan - Oak Lawn Hometown Middle School
Jonathan Hernandez - Mt. Greenwood
Paddy Jacobus - Queen of Martyrs
Kyle Jennings - Cardinal Joseph Bernardin
Evan Kirts - Central Junior High
Kyle Laird - Cardinal Joseph Bernardin
Conor Larkin - St. Christina
Connor Marth - St. John Fisher
Nathaniel Martin - St. Walter
Sammer Marzouk - Oak Lawn Hometown Middle School
Jack McWilliams - St. John Fisher
Kevin O'Hara - St. Christina
Raymond O'Neill - St. Bede the Venerable
Brendan Patton - St. Cajetan
Brendan Quinn - Independence Junior High
Daniel Reardon - St. Gerald
Kyle Somrek - St. Barnabas
Robert Streater - Henry J. Clissold
Ryan Strelczyk - St. Christopher
Thomas Troesch - St. Barnabas
Zachary Vrbancic - St. Patricia
Jeremy Whistenton - Henry J. Clissold
Nikolas John Wiak - Our Lady of the Ridge
George Raymond Witowski - St. Symphorosa
David Wolf - St. Barnabas
The St. Rita Family congratulates the 2014 Andrew Smialek Leadership Award winners.
*Pictured are Andrew Smialek's mom and sisters at the St. Rita Shrine on Sunday, November 23, 2014.