Latest News

This Saturday - Winterfest XI

Winterfest Join us for an evening of fun at Winterfest XI at St. Rita High School on Saturday, January 24, 2015 from 6:30 p.m. to Midnight.

Live entertainment includes Final Say and the Larkin & Moran Brothers!

Grand Raffle -- $20,000 Grand Prize and nine $1,000 prizes.  Only 800 tickets will be sold.

Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door.

Visit or call the St. Rita High School Advancement Office at (773) 925-5029 to purchase raffle and event tickets.

Silent Auction and Raffle Baskets donations are currently being accepted.  Items can be dropped off at the St. Rita High School Advancement Office.

St. Rita Announces Expansion of the SR 1:1 iPad Program











Dear St. Rita Parents and Guardians,

It is with great enthusiasm that St. Rita High School announces the extension of our SR 1:1 iPad Program.  All students will be required to have an iPad to use in their classes beginning August 2015.

The implementation of the iPads as a primary teaching and learning tool for our freshmen has gone very well this semester, and we believe there are even greater possibilities with our upperclassmen.

integration of this tool into our curriculum offers exciting opportunities in teaching and learning, student initiative and leadership, presentations, streamlined communication, organization and innovative assignments and assessments.

All teachers will be required to replace the current traditional textbooks with electronic texts and/or primary and secondary materials available on the internet, and students in the classes of 2016-2019 will be required to purchase an iPad.  Our recommendations are outlined below.

While we know this is an investment of your family resources, we believe this will help prepare our students for college and the working world, and there will be a savings on textbook purchases.

As always, families who have demonstrated financial need in meeting their tuition and school-related expenses will be able to apply for tuition-related assistance.

If you have general questions about the iPad initiative, please direct them to Brendan Conroy, Principal, at or phone extension 6615.  For technical questions, please contact

Paul Harrington, Director of Technology, at or phone extension 6675.



Brendan Conroy, Principal

Paul Harrington, Director of Technology

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New Referral Program Helping Freshmen Stay on Task

DSC_9409Getting off to a good start academically in your freshman year goes a long way in the college application process that begins during a student’s junior year.  Teachers and Parents realize that, but convincing a 14-year old freshman that his grades in his 1st semester of high school can make or break his ability to attend the college of his choice four years later isn’t always as easy.  That’s why St. Rita has instituted a new referral program that affects all freshmen and their teachers for this school year. Each week freshmen teachers are required to fill out a referral for any student in their class that has a (D) or an (F) at the time of Wednesday’s weekly grade checks.  Those referrals are then delivered to one of the teachers who are in charge of our Villanova Testing Center (Mrs. Misiora, Mr. Sieloff, or Mrs. Landstrom).  Students are then required to spend one afternoon in the Villanova Testing Center that week either doing make-up work that they had not completed on time, or they are to be tutored on the particular skill that is affecting their grade.  Mrs. Landstrom and Mr. Sieloff spend every day after school in the center along with members of The National Honor Society and a volunteer parent tutor, Mrs. Colleen Larson.

Knowing that St. Rita attracts students from well over 100 different grammar schools every year with each student coming into high school with varying levels of preparedness, the school has made a commitment to do everything possible to help those students who are struggling as well as give those students who aren’t performing up to their capabilities a much-needed kick in the rear.  Statistics of the effectiveness of the program are currently being collected, and if the program proves effective for the freshman St. Rita may decide to implement the program in the near future for sophomores, juniors, and seniors as well.

Article written by John Nee '93

Doyle Stadium Rededication!

DSC_7322 A packed house and picture-perfect weather framed the night for the re-dedication of St. Rita High School’s Doyle Stadium on the South Side of Chicago at 77th and Western Avenue on Friday, September 26th.

Over 30 Augustinian Friars attended St. Rita’s homecoming football game vs. Providence Catholic High School.  The Friars, along with Larry Doyle and family, St. Rita President Ernie Mrozek, and representatives from all St. Rita’s sports teams and clubs participated in the re-dedication of Doyle Stadium, including a pre-game Holy Water Blessing of the new turf field.

Eleven years ago, St. Rita High School was the first Chicago-area high school to install a new-generation turf field.  This year, with the help of generous donors, they become the first Chicago-area high school to replace the field with the same updated turf that the Indianapolis Colts use on their home field.

Mom's Shadow Day Draws Large Crowd

DSC_8079St. Rita High School held its annual Mom's Shadow day on Thursday, October 23.  Dozens of future Ritamen's moms were treated to a continental breakfast and heard presentations from the Provincial of the Midwest Augustinians Fr. Bernie Scianna, O.S.A, St. Rita Principal Brendan Conroy, and Admissions Director Ed Leiser '04. After breakfast, the moms observed several classrooms, gaining a Ritamen's perspective of St. Rita's college-preparatory curriculum.

The shadow day concluded with a question-and-answer session with Mr. Conroy, several current St. Rita High School seniors and the moms.  After the program was complete, moms were invited to stay for tours of the beautiful St. Rita campus on Western Avenue.

Please join the St. Rita Family at the upcoming open house on Sunday, November 2 and the Discover St. Rita evening on Tuesday, December 2.  For more information call (773) 925-RITA.


St. Rita Basketball 3-on-3 Tourney - Nov. 8th

St. Rita High School and Coach Gary DeCesare invite 5th through 8th grade students to participate in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament on Saturday, November 8th at 10:00 a.m. Coach DeCesare has led the Mustangs to three straight Catholic League titles and its first regional championship since 2003.

Teams are allowed four players per team.

All games will be played on half-court.

Walk-up registrations accepted too!

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2014 3 on 3 Tourney-2

SR Basketball2014 Drills for Skills copy2014 Drills for Skills copy

St. Rita Basketball - Drills for Skills - Nov. 3rd & Nov. 9th

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All grade school boys in 5th through 8th grade are invited to St. Rita Basketball's Drills for Skills sessions with Coach Gary DeCesare and the St. Rita Mustangs!

Session 1 is Monday, November 3 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Session 2 is Sunday, November 9 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Both Drill for Skills nights focus on the fundamentals of passing, ball handling, shooting, defense and rebounding.  Campers will be divided according to grade and ability. They will have opportunity to become better basketball players through individual contests and competitive team play.

What to wear: Gym/Basketball shoes, socks, basketball shorts, t-shirt

Walk-up registrations accepted!

Each camper will receive a free T-shirt!

$25 registration fee for each session.  Checks should be made payable to Gary DeCesare.

Please don't bring your own basketball.

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October 2014 Edition of The Natir Now Available Online!

Classic SRThe first issue of The Natir for the 2014-2015 academic year is now available online. The Natir is St. Rita High School's satirical publication. The Natir was born from the English IV Advanced class’ studies of literary satire.  The Natir is "Ritan" spelled backwards, as well as a tongue-and-cheek homophone of “nadir,” meaning “the lowest point.”  Tim Baffoe moderates The Natir Staff.  Mr. Baffoe, writes for, in addition to his duties at St. Rita High School.

The Natir - October 2014 Edition

St. Rita Mustang Stampede Marching Band Competition - Sunday, October 5

2014 Stampede Website Schedule (1) Sheet1 The 15th Annual Mustang Stampede will be held at St. Rita on Sunday, October 5, 2014.  Featuring over 10 bands, this competition is sponsored by the St. Rita High School Band and Band boosters and is coordinated by Cindy Gradek, Director of Bands.  The bands will be adjudicated by top university and Drum Corp International judges.

The competition begins at 1:30pm and will be open to the public. Tickets for adults are $10, senior citizens are $6, and children under five will get in for free. There is also a Family Plan ticket for $25 (2 adults, 2 students or senior citizens). Concessions will be available all day and the festivities will end with an award ceremony.



SR Band

St. Rita Celebrates Homecoming Week

St. Rita High School celebrated homecoming week starting with the dance on Saturday.  When students returned to school on Monday, they were prepared for a week filled not only with classes, but also school-wide, indoor and outdoor activities.  Picture perfect weather set the scene for a wiffle ball tournament, a faculty/student basketball game, football drills and a human pyramid competition, among others.  The week was capped off by the re-dedication of Doyle Stadium and our homecoming game vs. our sister Augustinian school--Providence Catholic. DSC_6685

St. Rita Writing Workshop Prepares Seniors for College

Early Monday morning, an hour before school, on September 22, 16 seniors attended a college writing seminar hosted by guidance counselor Brian Hagen. Mr. Hagen says the workshop gives the students an understanding of the different essay formats they may see on college applications, and helps them prepare ideas about how to start the process.  The workshop also teaches students the basic "dos" and "don'ts" with college essays, and opens up lines of communication so they know St. Rita High School guidance counselors are here to help them through the process.

When asked how he motivates students to get up early and arrive at school before classes, Mr. Hagen points out how self-motivated St. Rita High School seniors are.  He adds, "If you are able to speak with students to identify a shared need many of them have, they are willing to come get the extra help at any time.  College essays are very daunting for most seniors; therefore, offering any kind of support is motivation in itself to help the students create the best essay, and let them know that the faculty and staff are here to support them through the process."

6th Annual Jim O'Neill Scholarship Fund "Day at the Races" - Nov. 1st

Jim_O'Neill_Day_at_the_Races._11.1.14_Page_1 Please mark your calendar for Saturday, November 1st, 2014 for the 6th Annual Jim O'Neill Scholarship Fund "Day at the Races" during the Breeder's Cup.  The event starts at 1:00 PM in the Turf Room at Hawthorne Race Course, 3501 South Laramie Avenue in Cicero.

Jim was a 1966 graduate and a longtime friend of St. Rita High School.  All the proceeds from this great event go directly to the Jim O'Neill Scholarship Fund established at the school to help those needy families with tuition assistance and financial aid.  During the 2013-2014 academic year, St. Rita distributed over $ 1.4 million in tuition assistance and financial aid and the demand has not subsided.  Every dollar raised through this event goes to help a family maintain their dream of a single-sex Catholic education for their son.

Please see the flyer for information to purchase tickets.  Thank you in advance for your consideration.


St. Rita Students' ACT Scores Soaring!

College admission gets tougher every year for prospective students as the number of applicants continues to increase at select colleges and universities throughout the country.  This, along with rising tuition costs, has put a premium on college admission tests such as the ACT.  The ACT is an important factor not only in admission to these select colleges and universities, but also in securing necessary financial aid to offset skyrocketing tuition costs. With that being said, the St. Rita of Cascia High School Class of 2014 secured 15.3 million dollars in college assistance (mostly academic) based on their performance as a class on the ACT.  Additionally, almost half the entire Class of 2015 (48%), who takes at least two honors level courses, scored an average of 29 on the ACT, while almost three out of four (74%) in the class who had taken at least one honors level course scored an average of 25.  These impressive numbers are proof of the high level of teaching and learning that goes on every day at St. Rita.  It also speaks to our belief at St. Rita that students who continue to challenge themselves every day and seek the most rigorous class schedule available to them benefit greatly in the end.


Father Brecht Enters Eternal Life

David L. Brecht, OSA died in the late afternoon of September 6, 2014.  He was 75. He had been battling a leukemia-like condition called myelodysplasis since 2012.  His bone marrow did not make enough healthy blood cells.  The blood cells did not mature into healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. The immature blood cells did not function normally and either died in the bone marrow or soon after they entered the blood.

David underwent chemotherapy treatments. A series of blood transfusions gave him some relief, but the transfusions had become increasingly less effective.

As he grew weaker, he made the decision at the end of the 2013-2014 school year to retire from teaching and campus ministry at Austin Catholic Academy, Ray, Michigan.

Early Life, Formation, and Education

David was born on October 17, 1938, in Detroit, Michigan, to John Lloyd and Mary Brecht.  He met the Augustinians when he attended Austin Catholic High School in Detroit.  He entered the Augustinian Order as a Novice on September 8, 1956 and professed his first vows on September 10, 1957.  He professed his solemn vows exactly three years later in 1957.

Father Brecht holds two academic degrees from Villanova University including a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Classical Languages.  He later earned a Diploma in Counseling from Salesian University in Rome.  He attended Loyola University Chicago where he also earned a Master of Education and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Administration.  Amidst his studies, he was ordained to the priesthood on February 6, 1965.

Education Ministry through 1990

After ordination, Father Brecht was first assigned to Mendel Catholic High School in Chicago as a teacher and chaplain.  In 1967, he was assigned to Tolentine College in Olympia Fields, Illinois, where he served as sub-master of the professed, an academic dean, and a teacher.

In 1973, the same year in which Father Brecht completed his doctorate, he began teaching at Villanova University in Philadelphia and also held administrative positions there.  He was later assigned to serve as Principal of St. Rita of Cascia High School in Chicago from 1979 to 1983.  During this time, he also served as a member of the Provincial Council.  In 1983, he was named Superintendent of Augustinian Schools and Prior of St. Nicholas of Tolentine Monastery in Olympia Fields.  In 1985, Father Brecht was appointed Headmaster of Cascia Hall in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  While at Cascia Hall, Fr. Brecht was responsible for the school becoming co-educational and establishing a grade 6-12 education program.

Three Terms as Prior Provincial

In 1991, Father Brecht was elected Prior Provincial, the leader of the Midwest Augustinian Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel.  As Provincial, Father Brecht launched the Augustinians' Journey of a Lifetime capital campaign to benefit the needs of the the retiring Augustinians.  He served as Provincial for two terms until 1999, when he was assigned as the associate pastor of St. Jude Parish in New Lenox, Illinois.  He returned to Tulsa as a teacher at Cascia Hall in 2001.

In 2002, Father Brecht was again elected as Prior Provincial; he is only one of two Augustinians to serve as Prior Provincial for the Midwest Province for three terms.  At the end of his term in 2006, he was named Pastor of St. Clare of Montefalco Parish in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan.  He later served as the chaplain of Villanova College in King City, Ontario, during the 2009-2010 school year.  In 2010, he returned to St. Clare of Montefalco Parish as Pastor and also served as the Headmaster of Austin Catholic Academy, a new Catholic secondary school in Ray, Michigan.

Named an "Outstanding Educator of America" in 1972, Father Brecht was cited for his contributions to the advancement of higher education and service to the community.  He was inducted into the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor in 1980 "in recognition of service to all people regardless of race or faith."  Periods of archaeological research on Roman ruins in Tunisia and Algeria, where St. Augustine lived and ministered in the fourth and fifth centuries, gave Father Brecht material for numerous lectures, published papers, and a short documentary on the life and times of Augustine.  Additionally, Father Brecht has published several articles on educational themes and served on many educational commissions and task forces.  Father Brecht was recognized as an honoree for the Augustinian Gala in 2014.


Thursday, September 11th: Wake 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm St. Clare of Montefalco Parish 1401 Whittier Rd. Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230

Funeral Mass at 6:00 pm, followed by a reception in the Church Hall. Friday, September 12th: Burial at Augustinian Plot Mount Olivet Cemetery 17100 Van Dyke Ave. Detroit, MI 48234 Saturday, September 13th: Memorial Mass at St. Rita Chapel, 10:00 am Cascia Hall 2520 S. Yorktown Ave. Tulsa, OK 74114-2803

Saturday, September 20th: Memorial Mass at St. Rita Shrine Chapel, 10:00 am. St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel 7740 S. Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60620


St. Rita Offers New Digital Photography Class!

Last spring, veteran fine arts teacher Robyn Kurnat approached the St. Rita Curriculum Council with an idea of a new addition to the visual arts curriculum that “provides a different medium for student’s visual expressions and creativity.”  That idea came to be this fall with the addition of Digital Photography to the fine arts curriculum.Three sections of students (mostly sophomores) signed up for the new class, making it one of the most popular electives offered at St. Rita. According to Mrs. Kurnat, her goal with the class is to take an “artistic approach” that includes understanding what makes a good composition and having a good grasp on the principles of design (balance, variety, rhythm, proportion, emphasis, and unity).

The class has already been around the school building shooting the visual concept of “point of view,” and according to Mrs. Kurnat the students have been doing an amazing job thus far.  The students will continue to journalize their photo adventures throughout the semester-long class, all the while doing self-critiques on what went right and wrong and on what they learned on their adventure.

This is just one example of the great things going on in the classrooms everyday at St. Rita.  Stay tuned as we will continue to follow the most interesting classes and activities in the classrooms throughout the year.

St. Rita