St. Rita Announces the 2014 Smialek Award Winners!

IMG_3800 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.