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Weekly Newsletter Archive



McNicholas welcomes artist in-residence

Posted April 16, 2014


The McNicholas religion hallway is a little brighter thanks to artist in-residence Gerardo Arias. During the first three weeks of March, Arias completed the mural focusing on the theme of “service and faith,” and in May, he will return to McNicholas to complete another mural in the stairwell connecting junior and sophomore halls.

Immaculate Heart of Mary parishioners and former McNicholas parents Sue and Pat Keefe, along with Director of Campus Ministry Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth and religion teacher John Norman, helped arrange for Arias to be in Cincinnati from the end of February to the beginning of June to complete murals at McNicholas, Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School, and St. Ursula Academy.

Arias teaches art at the Cultural Center of Batahola Norte in Manugua, Nicaragua. The Cultural Center was co-founded by Sr. Margie Navarro, a 1949 graduate of St. Joseph Academy (which eventually became McNicholas High School), and in 2000, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish entered into a formal covenant agreement to form a “twinning relationship” with the Cultural Center. Sue Keefe, one of the lead organizers for the twinning relationship, leads yearly immersion trips and has hosted visitors for the Cultural Center during their time in Cincinnati. Over 150 IHM parishioners have visited through annual immersion trips since, and 13 members of the CCBN community have visited IHM and the Greater Cincinnati area during that same time period. McNicholas partnered with Keefe and IHM several years ago and send a group of students on the immersion trip each June.

Norman said he is excited for this opportunity to have Arias on campus to complete the two murals. “Having Gerardo here interacting with our students and faculty solidifies and nurtures the relationship we’re cultivating between McNick and the Batahola Cultural Center. Gerardo lives in a world where for many, it is a struggle every day just to get by, and we’re called to reach out to people in these countries to walk in solidarity with them in their journeys from poverty to a fuller life. The more we can build relationships between McNicholas and the cultural center, the better,” Norman said.

The mural in the religion hallway focuses on the theme “Inspired by Faith to Serve,” and the second one Arias will complete in May focuses on the theme of “Stewardship and Service.”

The inspiration for the first mural came to Arias from the life of Sister Margie Navarro who worked in solidarity with people from Central American countries. “Sister Margie and the work of the [Sisters of St. Joseph] represent a person who protects life,” Arias said. The mural depicts several people working together to cultivate a community that helps one another: people working together to carry a cross and cultivating food together for those in need.

Arias used the Cubismo technique, so he could fill the strokes and shapes with joy using the colors of orange, yellow, and purple to show harmony among people. “The harmony in the colors is essential; you can see the colorful details of the people and that there is joy in the work they do. The key words in the mural are love, solidarity, and spirituality,” he added.
A donation from the Parent Teacher Student Association and money raised from a jeans day in February helped cover the cost of paint and other materials needed to complete the murals.

“We often don’t put a face on poverty, but as we build relationships with Gerardo and the Batahola Cultural Center, we begin to discover them as people, and the gifts they bring and the relationship they offer enriches us as well. It is a mutual relationship that enriches both parties,” Norman said.




Students participate in ‘Hear Ted Talk’ Leadership Conference

Posted April 16, 2014; Written by Sarah Ruwe '14

On Friday, March 28, a day off for most students, 60 McNicholas students participated in the Hear Ted Talk Leadership Conference led by Ted Wiese.

Wiese is a nationally acclaimed youth leadership speaker who works with thousands of students every year. His program focuses on encouraging positivity and teaching students to believe that they have the ability to make a difference. The attending freshmen, sophomores, and juniors were nominated by their teachers based on leadership potential.

Guidance Counselor and Event Coordinator Kaitlyn Richter believes that the leadership conference was a success and a great opportunity for students. “[Wiese] is so dynamic and outgoing. He does a great job,” Richter said. “The students were also really excited and proud that their teachers [chose them].”

Wiese’s program was centered on the phrase ‘I feel great!’ Wiese came up with this because he realized that when asked how they’re doing, many people tend to respond with ‘I’m fine’ or ‘I’m okay’ almost automatically out of habit. Wiese’s philosophy is that if people always say that they are only fine or okay, they will only ever feel fine or okay. Each person determines his or her own attitude, and Wiese challenges each of the students to try responding to that question ‘I feel great!’ as much as possible.

“If we chose to say ‘I feel great’ every time, it’s a paradigm shift in our heads,” Richter said. “It makes us think about what in our lives is great.”

The students who attended said that the conference was a great experience that they really enjoyed. Wiese’s incorporation of games and his own personal enthusiasm for the program made the conference both enjoyable and inspirational for all the students who attended.

“I absolutely loved the conference,” freshman Noah Pasco said. “It was fun, challenging, and it really left you with a positive attitude, ready to take on the world.”

Freshman Christiane Hazzard said Wiese did a great job of leading a program that both inspired the students and brought them together. “I very much enjoyed the conference. It wasn’t just a lecture but an interactive environment where we learned to rely on each other and support each other in the various games we participated in,” Hazzard said. “[Mr. Wiese] was very funny and into what he was teaching us, and he made us feel welcome in his attitude and personality.”

Junior Emma McDermott agreed, saying, “I loved the conference because Mr. Wiese was a great speaker and made the conference really entertaining and meaningful. We were able to come together and know that we are a team of leaders and that we can make a difference.”


Improvements continue at McNicholas because of generous donors

Posted April 16, 2014

During the spring and summer of 2013, McNicholas began renovations in many areas of the school, and because of continued support from donors and the Parent Teacher Student Association, improvements are planned to continue through the summer of 2014.

The largest renovation to the school involved the Beechmont lobby entrance. During the years of 2011, 2012, and 2013, the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) donated over $60,000 toward this project, which began at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Funds raised during the “last call for cash” at McNick at Night 2012 were also earmarked for this project.


The lobby renovation, led by a subcommittee of the Facilities Committee which includes Carl Lamping, Tracey Garrison ‘86, Sr. Judi Keehnen ‘59, Dana Baker, Mike Grever ‘83, and Patty Beckert, included the following improvements:

  • New trophy cases were installed and old ones were removed
  • Men’s and women’s bathrooms were gutted and completely renovated
  • New carpeting was installed and fresh paint was applied
  • Center section of the ceiling was raised
  • Vending machines and drinking fountain were relocated to enhance appearance of the lobby space
  • Tables and chairs were added to provide gathering space for students, faculty, parents, and visitors
  • Etching of the McNicholas crest to the lobby doors
  • Custom Celtic cross designed and created by faculty member Mr. Gerard Kissel and hung in the lobby

In addition to the lobby space renovation, new windows were installed in the religion and social studies classrooms in the Upper and Lower Marian halls. This project was completed in March 2014.

“The generosity of those who continue to give to McNicholas shows the true meaning of ‘Once a Rocket, Always a Rocket.’ For many, there is also a labor of love in helping complete the current and future projects,” Beckert said.


Future renovations, expected to begin during the summer of 2014, include a new electronic sign that will be able to be updated more frequently and will be more visible from Beechmont Avenue, and completion of Phase II of Project Paradise, which includes completion of the surface area in the South End of the pavilion area, construction of ticket booths on both ends of the stadium, and completion of decorative fencing and landscaping. The electronic sign is being made possible from the special appeal at McNick at Night 2014 as well as by an anonymous donor. The completion of Phase II of Project Paradise is made possible by a generous donation from Total Quality Logistics.


“The gifts these donors have given will allow us to move forward to inspire the minds, hearts, and spirits of our students now and in the future,” Beckert added.




McNicholas choirs work with award-winning vocal group

Posted on April 14, 2014; Written by Hannah Van Zant '15


On Friday, April 11, the McNicholas Liturgy and Concert Choirs participated in a workshop with the GRAMMY® award winning acapella ensemble, Chanticleer. Chanticleer, called “the world’s reigning male chorus” by The New Yorker magazine, is an all-male vocal ensemble based in San Francisco, California who covers and performs songs ranging from Renaissance-dated music to the popular music of today.

The workshop came to reality when Choral Director and voice coach Chris Albanese met with the members of Chanticleer during their performance in Cincinnati during the spring of 2013. “We began the initial talks about bringing the group to McNick for a workshop,” Albanese said. “It wasn’t until December of this past year that I got the official word that they would be able to make it work. I couldn’t be more excited!” Albanese said. The cost of the workshop was made possible by an anonymous donation made to McNicholas.

Chanticleer began the one hour master workshop by singing one song but then spent the remaining time hearing and working with the concert and liturgy choirs. The Concert Choir performed “Will There Really Be a Morning,” music by Victor Johnson and lyrics from a poem by Emily Dickinson; and Orlando DiLasso’s “O occhi manza mia.” The Liturgy Choir sang “Freedom Train” by Rollo Dilworth and “Sov, sov, liten gut” by Frank Havroy.

After each selection, the members of Chanticleer offered suggestions for improvement in the areas of remembering to maintain good singing posture, diction, and understanding stylistic differences between songs.

“I gained a new appreciation and commitment to music and a new perspective on how to take the songs to a new level,” senior Liturgy and Concert Choir member Kayla Woods said.

In an effort to share this experience with others, Albanese invited choral directors and students from surrounding elementary schools, high schools, and universities to observe the workshop.

Named for the “clear-singing” rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis Botto, who sang in the Ensemble until 1989 and served as Artistic Director until his death in 1997.

Chanticleer performed that evening at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral. For more information about Chanticleer, please visit



McNicholas students journey to Capitol Hill with Close Up Program

Posted April 10, 2014; Written by Lauren Fisher '15

During the week of March 26, six students were given the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. in order to take part in the nationally-recognized Close Up Program. Within a span of six days, juniors Meghan Baker, Lauren Fisher, Andrew Parra, Anna Pierce, Gabrielle Quesnell, and Emily Rivard joined students from around the country as they toured the nation’s capital, explored the inner workings of government, and discussed some of the most talked about topics in American politics.

Throughout the week, McNicholas students were able to observe nearly every facet of current issues as they lived and worked with students from eight other states, realizing Close Up’s mission to “inform, inspire, and empower young people to exercise the rights and accept the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy.”

“My absolute favorite part of the trip was getting to meet and talk to a bunch of new people from different parts of the US,” Rivard said. “It was exciting to hear about their different political views and talk to them about what their life is like back home. Listening to the different views really gave me another look at several topics such as education, gun control, and social security.”

On Wednesday, the students split from the larger group and had the chance to tour Capitol Hill alongside their teachers, where they met with staff members from the offices of both Ohio Representative Brad Wenstrup and Ohio Senator Rob Portman. Later that evening, the students posed as committee chairs, lobbyists, and members of Congress as they debated a wide variety of topics ranging from education vouchers to gun control, and Social Security to illegal immigration.

“I think meeting students from around the country has changed my perspective on national issues,” Baker said. “Before I went, I didn’t understand why gun rights were such a big deal. But after talking to kids who live in places where everyone has a gun, I understand why people would be opposed to this bill.”

For part of each day, students were split up into six different workshops, where they focused on topics that ranged from Supreme Court cases to political efficacy in the public sphere. Additionally, they were able to choose from a series of specialized workshops that dealt with larger modern issues, including the recent NSA dispute, the controversy over illegal immigration, and the ongoing debate over drug legalization.

“I took so much away from the trip,” Parra said. “It taught me a lot about how the system works, which I really was not expecting. It greatly widened my views on different issues and helped me see them from a variety of angles, and it taught me a number of ways in which I can become more involved.”

Funding for the trip was made possible through the generosity of Robert C. Fisher, McNicholas alumnus of 1955, whose Fisher Scholar Program provides yearly assistance with the $2,000 cost. Because of the money left through his estate, Fisher has ensured that students will continue to be able to attend the trip to Washington, D.C. each year.

“I plan to be much more involved in my Democracy after this trip,” Rivard said. “Close Up taught me that we are the government’s next generation, and we can all work to help make changes in it.”



Senior named Larosa's MVP of the Week

Posted April 10, 2014

Congratulations to senior Hannah Taylor who won the LaRosa’s MVP of the Week Award for April 8.

Taylor is a two-sport all-star in basketball and volleyball. On the basketball court, Hannah averaged 14.7 points per game and was GCL Co-Ed Central Player of the Year. She was also GCL Co-Ed Central Player of the Year in volleyball with 238 kills, 58 blocks, 50 digs and 23 aces. Coach Greg Flammer said, "Hannah is dedicated to the game and to her team. She works hard to improve. Hannah is a team leader and a pleasure to coach."   Click here to read more about Taylor's accomplishments.



Future Rockets learn from McNick students at Experience the Arts Day

Posted March 26, 2014; Written by Sarah Ruwe '14

Thirty seventh graders and three of their teachers visited McNick for the second annual Experience the Arts Day on Thursday, March 20.

Students attended from 10 local grades school including Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori, Nagel, St. Andrew -St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Bernadette, St. Gertrude, St. Louis, St. Mary Hyde Park, St. Nicholas Academy, St. Thomas More, and St. Ursula Villa, as well as one home-schooled student. The event had been expanded since its debut last year to include more art classes and a performance by the AP Music Theory students. Admissions Assistant and Event Co- coordinator Julie Dumont said she felt the day was a great success.

“This year students had the opportunity to choose between five different art classes. Having more options to select from, students could see a broader array of what McNicholas has to offer,” Dumont said. “I think all the students really enjoyed the day.”

This year, the students had the option to visit two new classes, Architecture and Graphic Arts, as well as Drawing and Painting, Ceramics, and Photography, which were offered last year. The students got to choose two classes and complete a project with the help of a McNick student. In Photography, the students developed a print in the dark room. In Graphic Arts, they experimented with Photoshop and edited a self-portrait of themselves. In Ceramics, the McNicholas students helped them spin a bowl on the potter’s wheel. In Architecture, the students worked in teams to build skyscrapers out of straws. Finally, in Drawing and Painting, they analyzed Van Gogh’s techniques in his famous painting Starry Night and created their own piece using those techniques while listening to “Starry, Starry Night” by Don McClain for inspiration.

Many students said they enjoyed the different art classes because they got to learn more about what they loved to do, and because they had the opportunity to try some new ways of expressing themselves firsthand.

Ashlee Gates from St. Bernadette said Photography was one of her favorites. “When we went to photo, it was really cool to go in the dark room,” Gates said. “It was cool to see how they made the pictures and the cycles they go through.”

Ben Fanning from St. Nicholas Academy said he learned a lot visiting Architecture. “Everyone was very nice and helpful,” he said. “In the Architecture class, I learned how important teamwork was to help make the project work.”
Sophia Sponsler from St. Thomas More liked the freedom of the Drawing and Painting class. “I really liked how we were given directions but then could make the art our own,” Sponsler said.

Erin Ashley from St. Andrew enjoyed Ceramics. “Ceramics was really cool, and I liked how we were able to make [our bowl] exactly how we liked.”

As a new addition this year, the visiting students had the opportunity to see a performance by the AP Music Theory class, where they performed an original composition. Dumont thought this was a great addition that the visitors really enjoyed. “It was nice to get a different aspect of the arts into the day as well,” Dumont said.

Dumont said the day was definitely a success, and they are going to make it an annual event. She also said that in future years the Admissions Department would like to expand the event to include the performing arts programs as well.

“It’s a great program, for both the visiting students and the McNick students,” Dumont said. “It allows the McNick students to share what they’ve learned throughout their time here with visiting students and inspire future Rockets.”


McNicholas students volunteer at Sem Haven Senior Prom

Posted March 26, 2014

On Thursday, March 20 approximately 50 McNicholas students volunteered at the 14th annual St. Patrick’s Day Senior Prom at the Sem Haven Health and Residential Care Center in Milford. Students began the event by bringing refreshments such as cheese and crackers, as well as a chocolate dessert, to the residents. After they distributed food, the students mingled while pinning corsages onto the residents. The dance floor was officially open when the guest singer arrived to entertain with music from the swing era.

During the dance, one male student and one female from McNicholas, along with a male and female from the senior center, were crowned king and queen. From McNicholas, junior Nate Hazzard and sophomore Kayla Adkins were selected by the Event Director as king and queen due to their compassion and kindness toward the residents.

"I was really surprised when they called my name," Hazzard said. "It was a great experience, and I was extremely honored to be named king."

Community Service Coordinator Sam Roflow was pleased with the turnout. "The event is often senior driven, but this year we had a really nice variety of every class represented," Roflow said. "Though we had a lot of seniors, I was especially impressed with the large contingent of sophomores this year."

In addition to the number of volunteers, Roflow was proud of the students' unconditional kindheartedness toward the clients. "Families of the residents are thrilled with us," Roflow said. "We hear from some families every year that this event is a highlight of the year for their loved one. Nancy Multry, the Event Director at Sem Haven, cannot say enough good things about our students or our school."

Hazzard, as well as many other students, found their time at the prom to be meaningful and rewarding. "It’s important to give to others because you never know if you’ll be in their position some day and want the same from others. It all goes back to treating others how you want to be treated," Hazzard said. "Many elders in our community have changed our lives greatly even though we don’t realize it, and this was a good, fun way to give back to them and make them smile."



Vote for MVP of the Week
Posted March 25, 2014

Vote for senior Hannah Taylor for this week's Larosa's MVP of the Week. Taylor is a two-sport all-star in basketball and volleyball.


On the basketball court, Hannah averaged 14.7 points per game and was GCL Co-Ed Central Player of the Year. She was also GCL Co-Ed Central Player of the Year in volleyball with 238 kills, 58 blocks, 50 digs and 23 aces.

Click here to sign up and vote.





Annual photography contest winners announced

Posted March 24, 2014

Congratulations to the following students and faculty members whose photos received the highest votes in this year's photo contest sponsored by the Photo Club. Winners received cash prizes; all photography submitted was displayed in the library during the week of March 17. Visit the Visual Arts Gallery to view the winning photos.

Photography I

  • 1st Place: Michelle Hollenkamp for “Feathers in the Wind”
  • 2nd Place: Sarah Ruwe for “Abandoned Farmhouse”
  • 3rd Place: Sarah Wilkinson for “Land of the Free”

AP/Photography 2

  • 1st Place: Danielle Piening for Untitled
  • 2nd Place: Megan Mottola for “Dancing the Night Away”
  • 3rd Place: Hannah Wagner for Untitled

General Submission

  • 1st Place: Molly Smith for “Bonfire Night”
  • 2nd Place: Lauren Fisher for “Snow Day”
  • 3rd Place: Jarrod Roetenberger for “A Dame's Rocket”

Teacher Category

  • 1st Place: Ms. Katie Ritter for “Queen City”
  • 2nd Place: Mr. Matt Wehrman for Untitled
  • 3rd Place: Mr. Shawn Young for “A Fishing Place”



Robotics Club places third in challenge

Posted March 24, 2014

On Saturday, March 22, the Robotics Club placed third at the annual Doo-Little ION Mini-Urban Challenge held in Dayton at the Nutter Center on Wright State’s campus.

According to moderator and physics teacher Mr. Jonathan Spurlock, the team barely missed out on second place and a chance to go to the national competition.

“It is really fun to watch the guys collaborate and share their ideas. This was a total team effort. They produced a really good working navigational program which fixed many problems they had in previous years. The club took on the challenging task this year of switching program languages. They taught each other how to use RobotC programming which is a better program, but a steeper learning curve than the previous language,” Spurlock said.

Congratulations to Robotics Club members: Cameron Roesel, Adam Baca, Jacob Woeste, Alex Ventre, Nick Robben, Noah Pasco, Adam Ramey, Sam Zou, and Kevin Zhang.



Sports teams featured in two city-wide competitions
Posted March 24, 2014

The McNicholas High School Track and Field Team and the Varsity Baseball Team will be competing in two city-wide competitions on April 4.

On Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5, McNicholas will welcome 25 Track and Field Teams to the Finn Track in Penn Station Stadium for the 2014 Division II/III Coaches Classic Track and Field Invitational. This is the largest invitational for Division II/III teams in the city, and only the second invitational to be hosted on McNicholas' new track, dedicated at the inaugural McNicholas Invitational May 4, 2013. Running event prelims and field events will begin at 4:30 p.m. on April 4. Finals will begin at 10 a.m. on April 5. McNicholas will host the 2nd Annual McNicholas Invitational on May 3, 2014 beginning at 8 a.m.


For the third year, the McNicholas Varsity Baseball team has been invited to participate in the Reds Futures High School Showcase. McNicholas will play Fenwick on Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. at Crosley Field in Blue Ash. A $5 ticket includes:

  • Admission to the McNick vs. Fenwick game April 4
  • A voucher for one ticket to a weekday Reds game in September
  • A coupon for a free cheese coney from Skyline
  • BOGO admission to Coney island for both the pool and rides

Tickets for the baseball game are available in the Athletic Office during regular school hours March 24-27. McNicholas will be on Spring Break March 28-April 4. To read the full press release from the Reds organization, click here.




McNicholas to perform Cats April 11-13

Posted March 24, 2014

On April 11, 12, and 13, the McNicholas High School Theatre Department will present the amateur production of Cats for their annual spring musical. Cats features original music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is based on the poetry of T.S. Eliot entitled "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats."

Cats tells the story of Eliot's poetry, in song and dance, of the annual gathering of Jellicle cats at which time one special cat is selected to ascend to the Heaviside layer. According to Rodgers and Hammerstein agency, Cats is a "true musical theatre phenomenon," which opened on May 11, 1981 at London's New London Theatre and ran for 21 record-setting years.


The musical is directed by theatre teacher Ms. Teresa De Zarn and produced by English teacher Ms. Julie Muething. De Zarn, a veteran Broadway actress, had her first starring role on Broadway as the lead of Grizabella in Cats. In the McNicholas version, the role of Grizabella will be portrayed by senior Mary Ingram. Click here for a full cast list.

Cats will be performed in the main gym on April 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m., and on April 13 at 2 p.m. To reserve a ticket for $12, contact Valerie Combs by email at Please include "musical tickets" in the subject line. Presale tickets are available to the general public beginning March 28.

The Theatre Boosters are also sponsoring a special Cats brunch before Sunday's performance. For $17 each, guests will receive a ticket to the 2 p.m. performance of Cats and will enjoy a light lunch with games and activities for children. Each child attending the brunch will receive a special gift. The order form for the brunch can be found by clicking this link.




McNicholas presents encore performance of Over the Tavern March 23

Posted March 19, 2014

For the second year in a row, McNicholas Theatre has been invited to the State Thespian Conference to perform their fall show in the coveted Saturday evening 8 p.m. performance.

To prepare for the conference, the Theatre Department will stage an encore performance of Over the Tavern by Tom Dudzick at McNicholas on Sunday, March 23 at 1 p.m. in the Jeanne Spurlock Theatre on McNicholas’ campus.

The State Thespian Conference is March 28-30 at Dublin Scioto High School in Dublin, Ohio. McNicholas has been invited to the State Thespian Conference for 20 consecutive years; this is the second year, under the direction of veteran Broadway actress Teresa De Zarn, that the thespians have been invited to perform the full length show on the Saturday night of the conference.

Once the thespians return from the conference, they will finish preparing for the Spring Musical, Cats. Performance dates for the musical are April 11-13.

Tickets for the encore performance of Over the Tavern are only $5 and can be reserved by emailing Val Combs at



Speaker from Islamic Center discusses faith with World Religion classes

Posted March 13, 2014; Written by Hayley Coldiron '14

On Tuesday, March 11, Umama Alam, a member of the Speaker’s Bureau of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, visited McNicholas World Religion classes to discuss the Islamic faith.

Alam first came to McNicholas to speak to classes about her faith in October 2013. World Religion teacher Teresa Davis had not previously met Alam before the presentation, but knew immediately after hearing her talk that she wanted to make her visit a tradition.

“Her reaction to the students was so kind and caring, and Mrs. Sandmann and I decided to book her for a second semester,” Davis said. “I think she’s the perfect speaker. She brings so many dimensions to the table because she's a female foreign Muslim. We hope that she can continue to join us.”

Davis and Alam agree that talking and interacting with people of other religions broadens one’s perspective of the world around them and fosters a mutual understanding of each other’s faith.

“I read blogs and magazines. There's so much negativity out there [regarding Muslims], and my desire is to remove those misconceptions,” Alam said. “There are more things to bring us together than to tear us apart. I want to build bridges now, and hopefully we can pass that onto the next generation.”

Alam spoke to the classes about her background as a Pakistani native living and practicing Islam in the United States, as well as her family and profession as a former teacher and principal. She then shifted the discussion to the similarities between Christianity and Islam.

“It was really interesting to see that we shared many similarities with Alam, even though she was from a whole different religion and culture,” senior Elliot Painter said. “She was very friendly and down-to-earth, and had a love for life and the people around her.”

Alam concluded by answering any questions students had. “Every time I come, the questions get deeper,” Alam said. “It makes me believe that people are opening themselves more and they really want to understand.”

Davis believes that getting to know Alam and the other two guest speakers she brings into her classes on a personal level and in a respectful and curious manner is an excellent way to learn about other faiths, but it is also how we are called to act around toward people, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. "These are all of God's people. That's reason enough,” Davis said. “If they breathe, we should know them."


Seniors receive National Merit honors

Posted March 13, 2014

Senior Grace Hiltz has been named a National Merit Finalist, and seniors Matthew Estes, Andrew Pearson, and Ellen Uhl have been named as Commended Students by the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program.


“Years of vocabulary, grammar, and mathematics practice helped prepare me to do my best…and McNick helped to cultivate [my talents] into the top percent of National Merit semifinalists,” Hiltz said.


Hiltz is the daughter of Dr. Rob Hiltz and Mrs. Amy Hiltz of Anderson Township and attended Immaculate Heart of Mary elementary school. Hiltz plans to study biomedical engineering but is undecided on the university.


Estes, Pearson, and Uhl are among approximately 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation who are being recognized for their academic promise.


The son of Paul and Alison Estes of Milford, Matthew attended St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton elementary school and plans to study business at either the University of Kentucky or University of Dayton. “McNick has helped me achieve this success through offering a rigorous curriculum and providing great teachers,” Estes said.


Pearson is the son of Mark and Ann Pearson and attended St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton elementary school. He plans to major in chemical engineering and is still undecided on the school he will attend.


Uhl, a Mt. Washington resident and former student of Guardian Angels elementary school, plans to attend the University of Dayton where she will major in mechanical engineering. She is the daughter of Mark and Pam Uhl.


About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQY). Hiltz is among the 15,000 finalists nationwide, approximately half of whom will receive Merit Scholarships.


Commended Students place among the top five percent of the more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors.


"This is a well-deserved accomplishment for Grace, Andrew, Matthew, and Ellen, and everyone at McNicholas is very proud of them. Their hard work and dedication over the past four years makes them deserving of this honor," Principal Patty Beckert said.



McNicholas announces new project at McNick at Night fundraiser
Posted March 12, 2014

McNicholas High School's largest annual fundraiser, McNick at Night, was held on Saturday, March 8 at Receptions in Eastgate and was attended by a lively crowd of approximately 200 past, present, and future parents, alumni and their guests, and community supporters. We are grateful to all who attended this 16th annual event to help support McNicholas High School.

The final auction item of the evening was the last call for cash or "Special Appeal" which was introduced by Principal Patty Beckert. Two years ago, McNicholas raised funds for the now completed lobby and restroom renovation project. Last year, we raised enough to purchase and install new lighting in the lower parking lot adjacent to Project Paradise. This year, the school has chosen to purchase and install a custom made digital sign to replace the outdated one currently being used on Beechmont Avenue.

Many of our longtime supporters were unable to attend McNick at Night due to scheduling conflicts, and we appeal to those individuals, families, and alumni to become part of the growing number who have stepped up to help us raise the necessary funds. No gift is ever too small. "It was incredibly gratifying to see our faithful supporters rise to the challenge," Executive Director Dave Jackson said. "We encourage those who missed the opportunity to join us in this very worthwhile endeavor which will benefit all of our current and future students."

Jackson added that the new sign will not only provide greater exposure for the school, but also will facilitate greatly McNicholas' ability to keep everyone informed about activities and events on a real-time basis with the most updated relevant information.

The evening provided a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with many friends and associates and meet new individuals who have recently become involved with the school. One of the highlights of the evening was the first-ever professional entertainment provided by the school's very own Teresa De Zarn, Theatre Director, Broadway-veteran, and '76 alumna, and Chris Albanese, Music Director and accomplished vocalist. They performed several solos and duets, with their final song, "All I Ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera receiving a standing ovation. Principal Patty Beckert commented that "there are no other Catholic high schools in the Cincinnati area that I am aware of that have this kind of experienced talent leading their theatre and music programs. We are very lucky to be so blessed, and our students are growing and honing their skills under educators who are also consummate entertainers."

To donate to this cause, please contact Jenifer Tiettmeyer in the Development Office at 513.619.5814.




Rockets for Life participate in 40 Days for Life

Posted March 10, 2014

Rockets for Life Club students will be participating in the 40 Days for Life Spring Campaign on Fridays after school. They will meet from 3-4 p.m. to pray the rosary in front of Planned Parenthood on Auburn Ave. 40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life campaign with the mission of ending abortion through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion.


Rockets for Life is also sponsoring a "Change" a Life Baby Bottle Collection and Baby Shower Diaper Drive. During the months of March and April, baby bottles will be placed around school for donations of change, bills or checks. Students will also be collecting diapers so no child will be wet behind! The baby diaper drop-off area will be in Room 309 Convent. All funds and diapers (newborn and smaller sizes preferred) will go to Pregnancy Center East to help expecting mothers.


Other upcoming events that the Rockets for Life will participate in include:

  • XU Students for Life Presents Bobby Schindler: The Terri Schiavo Case on March 10, 7:00 p.m. in the Kennedy Auditorium Xavier University, free and open to the public.

  • Kentucky Leadersip Summit: Students for Life of America are hosting the 2014 Kentucky Leadership Summit at the University of Kentucky on March 29th from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about pro-life activism and network with other active student groups in our area.

  • Cemetery of Innocence:  IHM needs help with assembling crosses for their Cemetery of Innocence on their campus on Saturday, March 29 at 10:30 a.m. Families are encouraged to do this together. Participants will be able to write prayers and their reactions to the event in notebooks IHM will have available. This will become a story for the Heartbeat parish magazine.

  • Crossing the Bridge for Life: This is a beautiful, prayerful march across the Purple People Bridge to pray for babies to be saved from abortion and hearts to open to God's gift of life. Crossing the Bridge for Life takes place on June 1.


To learn more about Rockets for Life, read Rockets for Life turn Christian values into action by Lauren Fisher '15.



McNicholas inducts four into Hall of Fame

Posted March 9, 2014

On Feb. 26 and 27, Archbishop McNicholas High School held its annual Women's and Men’s Hall of Fame Evenings.

The women’s event featured guest speaker Dr. Robin Martin, Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Cincinnati. Inductees for the Women’s Hall of Fame included Julie Lach McNeal ’04 and Sara Staubach ’06. McNicholas Class of 1983 grad and Hall of Fame member Margaret “Mooch” McClure was the emcee for the event.

McNeal’s career at McNicholas included four years volleyball and softball. As a softball athlete, McNeal earned 1st Team All-league for three years, and in 2004, 1st Team All-city and Player of the Year. In volleyball, she received honorable mention for two years in the GGCL.

Staubach was a four-year volleyball athlete earning All-state recognition in her junior and senior years, and for all four years earned All-city and All-league honors.

The Men's Hall of Fame event featured Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty as the guest speaker. Honorees included Hall of Fame inductees Jerry Robinson ’90 and Good Fellowship Award Winner Jeff Osterfeld ’78. The 1984 State Championship Men’s Soccer Team was also recognized for the 30th anniversary of their win. Emcee was McNicholas alumnus and current English teacher Jeff Mulvey ’86.

As a Rocket, Robinson was a football, basketball, and baseball athlete, and was the starting quarterback for three years. In football, he was named All-league Quarterback and Defensive Back, All-city Quarterback, and 2nd Team All-Southwest Ohio Defensive Back. Robinson played four years of baseball, starting for three years, and was named 1st Team All-league and 1st Team All-city. On the basketball court, he played three years at the varsity level and earned 1st Team All-league.

Osterfeld, who is the founder and CEO of Penn Station, Inc., has served on the Project Paradise committee since its inception. Osterfeld was the first major donor to contribute to the building of McNicholas’ athletic complex, dedicated Oct. 16, 2010 and named Penn Station Stadium. Continuing his commitment to McNicholas, Osterfeld also served on the McNick 360 steering committee to develop a five-year strategic plan for the school, and most recently, was on the panel to hire McNicholas’ executive director. Osterfeld attended Guardian Angels elementary school and then as a Rocket, he was a four-year football and tennis athlete, earning tennis MVP for two years. He graduated from Miami University with a degree in Management and was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. In addition to Penn Station, Inc., Osterfeld is also the founder of Penn Station Realty and is the owner/designer of Stonelick Hills Golf Club.

In the closing of his speech to those in attendance, he encouraged everyone to continue working to make the world a better place.


Mural painting begins in religion hallway
Posted March 3, 2014

McNicholas High School is pleased to welcome Mr. Gerardo Arias to our campus as an artist-in-residence throughout the month of March. Arias is the lead painting instructor and arts educator at the Batahola Norte Cultural Center in Managua, Nicaragua, and will be overseeing the creation of two distinct murals that will be a lasting visual reminder of our rich legacy as a Catholic school.

During a visit to the United States last spring, Arias visited with Theology classes to share his witness and to encourage students to prayerfully discern God's calling for their lives.

McNicholas is grateful for the generosity of Sue and Pat Keefe, parents of 1995 McNicholas graduate Dan Keefe, for their
generous support, and for the hospitality offered by the Dowell-Howko and Cabell families during Arias' visit with our community during the month of March.

For more information, visit the McNicholas Milestone to read "Nicaraguan artist contributes time and talent to McNicholas" by Maddie Sorenson '14.

McNicholas holds Digital Citizenship Day for all students

First of its kind in the greater Cincinnati area
Posted February 28, 2014

On Monday, Feb. 24, McNicholas students participated in Digital Citizenship Day, a day dedicated to teaching students to navigate their digital world responsibly.

The day, organized by Director of Educational Technology Katie Ritter, began with a presentation by Steve Smith of Cincinnati Bell about the dangers and ramifications of a negative online presence. Students then proceeded through their normal class schedule, where each department put their traditional curriculum aside to focus on a specific area of digital citizenship.

“The day was a blur, but it went exactly as planned. It was a true testament to the teamwork and dedication that our faculty and staff have to each other and to our students,” Ritter said.

During math classes, students discussed cyberbullying while religion classes focused on sexting, Snapchat, and online personas. The Fine Arts Department taught students about copyright and fair use in the online world while English teachers taught email etiquette and highlighted the importance of online privacy.

English teacher Katie Caster said, “The students seemed genuinely shocked by the repercussions of not protecting their privacy on social media; some left my room questioning if what they post could endanger them,” Caster said.

Science classes participated in a department-wide research and poster contest about the lifecycle of electronic products and responsible disposal of e-waste, while health and P.E. classes talked about the effects of technology abuse on the body. This included a game of dodge ball to emphasize the importance of disconnecting from technology at times.

The librarian and SAIL teachers taught sessions about critical website evaluation while business and technology classes looked deeper into the ramifications social media can have on the hiring and scholarship selection process.

“I hope students walked away from Dig Cit Day knowing how powerful the devices in their hands are; they have the power to inspire others or ruin lives in the click of a button. No picture, no post, no tweet, no snap now is worth losing out on an opportunity in your future. It will follow you,” Ritter added.

Social studies classes hosted guest speakers from the legal profession who educated students about laws associated with cyberbullying, sexting, and irresponsible technology use and foreign language hosted guest speakers from the HR industry who talked about the positive and negative impact social media can have on the hiring process.

“A really important piece of information that I gained from the Digital Citizenship Day was to keep all of my personal accounts and social networking private…I also learned that whatever you put out there on the internet will never go away, no matter what you try to do to get rid of it,” said senior Ann Rack.

Ritter was especially grateful for Smith and the other the guest speakers: Matthew Wallace, Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office; Scott Griffith, School Outfitters; Jennifer Kinsley, Chase College of Law; Andrea Smythe, Cincinnati Police Officer; John Greiner, Graydon Head; Brett Renzenbrink and Matt Worth, Strauss Troy; Anthony Reese, Union Township Police Department; Josh Welsh, Matt Shoulta, Lauren Lonce, Jeff Thomas, and Chris Styles from Total Quality Logistics.

“This was the best program we’ve had for our students in the 42 years I’ve been at McNicholas,” social studies teacher John Kirchgassner said.

That evening, Ritter, along with several colleagues, held a parent session at 7 p.m. addressing the day’s topics and educating parents about students’ online lives. “I was happy to see how many parents showed up to the parent portion of the day. We, as teachers, cannot model and teach responsible digital citizenship on our own - it must be a team effort between teachers, students and parents,” Ritter said.

For the future, Ritter said she’d like to add some more empowerment sessions like Using Tech to Make a Change while still reiterating responsible use. “Now we can build on the basics and the foundation they received,” Ritter said.

Ritter has also made the presentation from the Digital Citizenship Night available for parents who couldn’t attend. It can be found by clicking this link. In addition to her work at McNicholas, Ritter also writes a blog called Talk Tech with Me.

Check out the live feed from the day on Twitter using #MCNDCD. Want to read more? Follow these links to articles via The Catholic Beat and Strauss Troy.


McNicholas welcomes back Doerger, Huber for Father-Son Breakfast
Posted February 28, 2014; Written by Lauren Fisher '15 and Nicholas Keri '15

On Sunday, Feb. 9, McNicholas welcomed back two of its sports legends for the annual Father-Son Breakfast. Cincinnati high school basketball coaching icon Jerry Doerger and current Bengals punter Kevin Huber were the featured speakers for the event. The breakfast is an annual event sponsored by the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA).

Doerger first arrived at McNicholas in 1975, marking the beginning of an era that would span 28 years. During his time at McNick, Doerger held an overall record of 380-261, leading the varsity basketball team to the State Final Four Tournament five times. His 542 career wins and never-say-never attitude earned him a place in the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2011, and a spot in the McNicholas Hall of Fame in 2011. His coaching career also includes Moeller High School, Clermont Northeastern High School, Lakota East High School, and Xavier University.

Doerger was introduced by former McNicholas athlete and current parent Chris Stegman, who played on Doerger’s basketball team 25 years ago.

“One of the things that really stands out about Coach Doerger is his passion,” Stegman said. That very same passion was returned as Doerger was welcomed to the stand by the men of McNicholas, a handful of whom had played on his team as far back as the ‘70s.

“I led a great part of my life here,” Doerger said. “I met so many good people, and they make me feel proud – there’s no better reward than that.”

Doerger split up his talk into time frames, allowing for “10 minutes of funny, 5 minutes of serious, a bit of patriotism, and maybe a pep talk – I’ll probably end up trying to inspire you a little bit.”

Inspire he surely did. During his speech, Doerger touched on a broad spectrum of subjects, ranging from Jeff Smith, one of Doerger’s players from the Class of 1985 who died of cancer in 1990, to his coaching anthem, “The Impossible Dream.” He ended the talk on a note of faith, reciting to the crowd a portion of his daily prayer.

“Do things that are hard to do and the power will come,” Doerger reminded his audience. “All things are possible with the strength of God.”

Huber, a McNick grad of '04, was the second speaker in attendance for the breakfast. He is the current punter for the Cincinnati Bengals, and a former member of the University of Cincinnati football team. In college, he led the nation in net punting average in the 2007 and 2008 campaigns, which included winning the official National Punting Title in 2007.

First drafted in 2009, Huber was the 5th round pick in the NFL draft by the Bengals, the first kicking specialist taken that year. He holds the distinction of being raised in Cincinnati, having attended high school and college in the Queen City, and being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. Surprisingly for a successful NFL player, he did not start playing football until he was older.

"I didn’t start playing until 7th or 8th grade - I was always a soccer player," Huber said.

Interestingly enough, he did play basketball at McNick under Doerger for two years before moving his focus to football. He went to UC without a scholarship, walked onto the team, and barely had a chance to play until his junior year, when he won the National Punting Title. He did admit that it was often difficult to keep going under the pressure of school and sports, but he didn’t want to give up.

"People always told me that I couldn’t do it, that I couldn't be a punter in college,” Huber said. “I went on and became an NFL punter." He ended his speech with words that could inspire not only athletes, but all those who were in attendance.

"Stick to what you're going to do, no matter what anyone tells you. You can be anything you want to be. If someone says sit down, get back on it – stand back up.”


Mardi Gras King and Queen crowned for 2014
Posted February 25, 2014

At McNicholas High School, Mardi Gras is about welcoming the Lenten season and celebrating students who have committed themselves to selflessly serving their school and others. Seniors Scott Frenzel and Riley Whitehouse were crowned as the 2014 Mardi Gras king and queen at the yearly, traditional pageant held Sunday, Feb. 16.

This year’s theme was “Luminosity.” To provide focus for the theme, guests heard stories of students, alumni, and faculty who have continued to spread their light to the world through service.

Frenzel is the son of Kathi and Chuck Frenzel and is a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. He is a four year honor roll student and has completed over 145 service hours. His key involvement at McNicholas has included Liturgy Choir, School House Rockets Musical Theatre Troupe as well as six theatrical performances, International Thespian Society President, Thespian Rookie of the Year, Thespian Male Rising Star Award, and two consecutive years winning the Critic’s Choice Solo Mime award at the Ohio State Thespian Conference. He has participated in numerous leadership conferences, has been a four year Service Club and Spirit Club member, is a co-founder and three year Improv Club member, three year International Club member, four year Relay for Life participant, freshman and senior retreat leader, peer mentor for freshmen, Student Ambassador, three year Student Council member, and been a member of multiple dance committees. Frenzel is also a member of French National Honor Society and National Honor Society.

Whitehouse is the daughter of Janie and Robert Whitehouse and is a member of St. Veronica parish. She is a four year Dean’s list student and has completed over 100 service hours. Whitehouse is a four year member of the Varsity Golf Team, and a four year basketball and football cheerleader and Rocket Award recipient. She has been involved in Concert Choir and the Talent Show as a performer, and has been a participant in numerous leadership conferences. Her club activities include a two year member of Service Club, three year member of Cooking Club, four year Student Council member, one year Student Council President, four years as class president, Math National Honor Society (Mu Alpha Theta), and National Honor Society. She is a Eucharistic Minister, was a senior retreat leader, peer mentor for freshmen, McNicholas Ambassador, and a Relay for Life leader. She is the recipient of the Kodak Young Leader Award and the St. Joseph Community Service Scholarship.

The Mardi Gras Pageant and Ball is the highlight of the Archbishop McNicholas High School year, and celebrates the service of 40 senior court members and 16 junior and sophomore honor guard members. Those honored have participated and served in the school and community throughout their high school experience; Votes by their peers and faculty accumulate over four years.

The Sisters of St. Joseph, who founded McNicholas High School, brought the Mardi Gras tradition from their hometown of New Orleans to the school in 1952. Since then, it has been a rich tradition that is truly unique to McNicholas. Following the ceremony, a formal dance was open to all McNicholas High School students.

McNicholas welcomes Manager of Alumni Relations
Posted February 20, 2014

Archbishop McNicholas High School is pleased to announce that Shawn Young has been named the Manager of Alumni Relations and Special Events. In this position, Young, a 1982 graduate of McNicholas High School, is responsible for planning and implementing programs and projects that engage alumni, working with the Alumni Association Board, and building and ensuring strong relationships between alumni and McNicholas.

The Manager of Alumni Relations and Special Events position at McNicholas is the result of the completion and approval of McNick 360, McNicholas’ strategic plan, finalized in 2013, outlining goals for the next five years in the areas of academics, advancement, Catholic identity, enrollment, facilities, finance, governance, and student life.

“This job seemed like the perfect fit for me because I’m still in contact with so many from graduation year and the surrounding years,” Young said.

For the past 26 years, Young has been a Social Studies teacher at McAuley High School and worked for one year as a Social Studies teacher at McNicholas during the 2005-2006 school year. He has held leadership positions on committees for McAuley High School, Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, and with Boy Scout Troop 694.

One of the first steps Young plans to take as Manager of Alumni Relations is to try and locate those graduates for whom McNicholas has no contact information. “I plan to use my background in history to research and find those who have lost touch over the years. I want them to know they are welcome to stop by anytime, call, or email,” Young said. He also hopes to begin monthly get-togethers at local establishments to gather alumni together to reconnect.

Young holds a B.A. and M.Ed. from Northern Kentucky University, and lives in Anderson Township with his wife Kelley (Armstrong) Young, also of the Class of 1982, and their two sons, Taylor and Ian.

“I have many ideas and plans. I want McNick to be the center of the community for so many people. I want our alumni to know that they are welcome here, and I can’t wait to welcome them back,” he said.
Young can be contacted at 513.231.3500 ext. 5850 or


Freshman invited to perform with Cincinnati Ballet
Posted February 20, 2014; Written by Sarah Ruwe '14

Freshman Sarah Bradley was invited to perform on Sunday, March 9 with members of the Cincinnati Ballet Company, which is considered one of the most prestigious companies in the region.

Bradley said that ballet has always been a big part of her life. “I started [ballet] when I was three years old, and I’ve loved it the entire time,” Bradley said. ““I’m part of the [Cincinnati Ballet] Academy, so when they ask, I get to perform with the company.”

The Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy is the only pre-professional ballet school in the region. Bradley is a level seven dancer, which is the highest level of skill. In the past, Bradley has performed in numerous shows with the Cincinnati Ballet, including Don Quixote and multiple performances of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.

This particular show is a featured performance for the dancers of the Cincinnati Ballet Company II and the Trainees. They will be performing with the Middletown Symphony Orchestra doing selections from pieces like Swan Lake and Paquita. One of the women who was scheduled to perform is unable to make the show, and Bradley was invited to dance in her place.

“I was shocked and excited [when I found out],” Bradley said. “I’m excited to get the chance to see what it’s like to be a Trainee or a CBII.”

Bradley plans to continue ballet and pursue it professionally, and this performance is a major step for her in fulfilling that dream. She said she’s hoping to become an official member of the Cincinnati Ballet in the near future. “I’m hoping that within the next two years I can become a junior trainee for Cincinnati Ballet,” Bradley said.

She has many dreams for the future as a dancer. “I really love Swan Lake, so my dream role would be Odette. My dream company to dance for would be the San Francisco Ballet Company,” Bradley said.


McNicholas holds annual Science Fair
Posted February 18, 2014

On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the McNicholas Science Department held its annual science fair. The fair featured projects presented by students currently enrolled in Biology and AP Biology classes.

Congratulations for the following award winners who were also invited to continue on to the District Fair at the University of Cincinnati on March 15. Those who place in the UC competition will advance to the State Fair at The Ohio State University.

Life Science Awards

  • First Place: Alessia Accordino - Which restaurant’s tea has the most bacteria?
  • Second Place: Owen Schuh - The effects of positive and negative reinforcement on chicken behavior
  • Third Place: Evan Pour - What video game genre benefits reaction time most?

Honorable Mention in Life Science

  • Gracie Blades - What Cools Spicy Food In Your Mouth Best?
  • Meghan Hagenbarth - How Much Bacteria Is In Your Water?
  • Trevor Hogue and Sarah Shook - Do Different Varieties Of Milk Have Different Carbohydrate Levels?
  • Benjamin Johnston - Comparing The Performance Of Synthetic And Natural Leather Basketballs
  • Emily Mentzel and Madison Zimmer - Effects Of Injury On Pain Tolerance
  • Jacob Pray - Testing Nutrient Differences Between Compost and Fertilizer
  • Gabriel Sander - Runoff’s Effect On Hall Run’s Water Quality
  • Alexandra Wells - Height vs. Flexibility

Physical Science Awards (three way tie for first place)

  • First Place: Molly Jorden - Pinhole photography: Optimum aperture and exposure time
  • First Place: Sean Kapp - Effect of parachute shape on drag force
  • First Place: Evan Winkelman - Creating biplane effect with laminar airfoils

Honorable Mention in Physical Science

  • Michelle Hollenkamp and Alana Osterday - Insulation: Green Roofs vs. Shingles

Governor’s Award for Advanced or Alternative Energy Research

  • Michelle Hollenkamp and Alana Osterday – Insulation: Green Roofs vs. Shingles.

Governor’s Award for Advanced Materials Science Research

  • Evan Winkelman – Creating A Biplane Effect With Laminar Airfoils.

Governor’s Award for Environmental Protection

  • Jacob Pray – Testing Nutrient Differences Between Compost And Fertilizer

Governor’s Award for Information Technology

  • Evan Pour – What Video Game Genre Benefits Reaction Time Most?

National Association of Biology Teachers Honors

  • Gabriel Sander – Runoff’s Effect On Hall Run’s Water Quality


McNick at Night fundraiser set for March 8
Posted February 14, 2014

McNicholas High School will be hosting its 16th annual McNick at Night event on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at Receptions in Eastgate. The event is McNicholas’ largest fundraiser. All proceeds from McNick at Night directly benefit McNicholas High School and support the school in ways that tuition alone cannot cover.

The evening includes an open bar, an elegant hors d’oeuvres buffet, raffles, games, and high-caliber entertainment provided by Theatre Director, alumna, and veteran Broadway actress Teresa De Zarn and Choir Director and opera performer Chris Albanese. The McNicholas Jazz Band and Band Director Keith Nance will also provide music to begin the evening.

A key element which contributes to the success of the evening is a silent and live auction led by a professional auctioneer. “While we rely heavily on the business community to donate items for the auction, we also count on the support of the McNicholas family and individuals like our dedicated parents, alumni, and friends. The support of the community for McNick at Night is what makes it a success,” Development Assistant and committee member Jenifer Tiettmeyer said.

The committee chairs include Michele Byrne Thomas, Class of 1975, and Chris Gatio Haynes, Class of 1974, as well as the Executive Director Dave Jackson and Tiettmeyer. Other volunteers include current parents Lori Rehl, Luann Rowekamp ‘73, and Tracey Garrison ’86. “This annual event provides a great opportunity for the community to become more fully engaged while having fun at the same time,” Jackson said.

The Grand Raffle for 2014 will be a reverse raffle with a grand prize of $2,500. Only 300 tickets will be sold and are available for $50 per ticket, and the winner will be announced at McNick at Night. To attend, purchase raffle tickets, or to make a donation, please contact Jenifer Tiettmeyer at 513-619-5814 or For more details, click here.


Twin divers head to state
Posted February 11, 2014

In the Division II Southwest Ohio District diving meet at Miami University on Monday, Feb. 11, seniors Abby and Maddie Mitchell qualified to dive at the State Meet in Canton on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Abby finished 3rd with a score of 387.70 and Maddie finished 5th with a score of 382.35.

The girls were featured in a article titled "McNick twins head to state for diving."

Sophomore Salvatore Marino finished 10th, leaving him two spots short of a State appearance, but he ended his season well, breaking the boys 11 dive school record with a score of 246.65.


Five Rockets sign to play college sports
Posted February 2, 2014

McNicholas High School held its Signing Day Event for five student-athletes on Thursday, Feb. 6: Alexis Burdick for soccer at the University of Toledo, Savannah Carmosino for soccer at Wright State University, Bryan Corpuz for football at the University of Dayton, Meghan Sweeney for soccer at Central Michigan University, and Liz Wittwer for soccer at Northern Kentucky University.

Originally scheduled to coincide with the NCAA’s National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 5, McNicholas had to postpone its event due to inclement weather.

Burdick, a Union Township resident and four year McNicholas varsity soccer athlete, was named 1st Team GCL Coed Central and has won the state championship three times with her club team, Kings Hammer Academy. "My coach Ben [Kirkpatrick] has really helped me grow as a player," Burdick said. "This was his first year as our coach, and he pushed us at practice but also cared about us off the field. He didn't just care about how we played; he took the time to teach us life lessons."

Parents Shaun and Sheri Burdick are looking forward to watching Alexis play at the next level. "I'm excited to see the physical play," Sheri said. "That part increases exponentially in college, and I can't wait to see her rise to the challenge."
Like her soccer teammates, Carmosino has a full list of accomplishments from her four years as a varsity soccer player with McNicholas as well as with her club teams. During Carmosino’s career as a Rocket, she was named to either 1st or 2nd Team GGCL Central all four years, and earned All-State Honorable Mention her junior year. In the tournament game against Indian Hill in the fall, Carmosino had two goals and two assists; one of her two goals was the game-winning goal against the Indian Hill Braves, who McNicholas had never defeated before that game.

Carmosino, who is a New Richmond resident, said she chose to become a Wright State Raider because she really liked the architecture of the campus, the coaches, and that it was close to home. She also added she hadn’t really thought about Wright State. “[The Wright State coaches] were at our game against Alter because they were going to recruit a player on Alter’s team,” she said. Instead, they watched Carmosino and offered her a spot on the team.

She said she credits her parents, Rob and Dawn, and her trainer Tony Capurro with helping her most along her journey from high school to college athlete. Planning to major in business, Carmosino received a four-year athletic and academic scholarship and said she is looking forward to the “freedom college will offer and meeting new people.”

Carmosino’s parents said they are glad she’ll be close so they can see most of the games. “All we’ve done is watch our kids play their games and now we get to continue that,” her father Rob said.

Mother Dawn Carmosino said she is looking forward to Savannah “focusing on one area and being on her own on her own two feet.”

Corpuz, an Anderson Township resident, was a three year McNicholas Varsity football athlete. Corpuz is the son of Arnel and Vickie Corpuz. He received the title of GCL Central Offensive Lineman of the Year for both his junior and senior years. "I'm going to miss the support of the McNicholas community and companionship of the team, but I’m excited to form new bonds and friendships that will help me adjust to college life," Corpuz said.

After receiving more than fifteen roster spots from various colleges, Corpuz decided that the University of Dayton was the best fit for him. "Being on campus felt right, and the academic aspect had everything I was looking for," Corpuz said. He has been accepted into the finance program, but is still looking into engineering as a possible major.

Sweeny, a four year McNicholas varsity soccer member and Anderson Township resident, has been recognized with many awards including team captain both her sophomore and senior years and MVP of the McNick Cup in 2012. “I’ve learned a lot about myself and about the game [at McNick], and I’ve gotten to play with my best friends,” Sweeney said. “I’m really looking forward to taking it to the next level.”

Sweeney said that after being recruited and visiting campus, Central Michigan felt like the right school for her. “To have [Central Michigan] find me and want me really stood out,” she said. Sweeney said she’s already had the opportunity to meet many members of her future team. “We all went up for a visit together and got to hang out for the day. I really like all my teammates and the coach,” Sweeney added.

Parents Todd and Amy Sweeney said the whole family is proud of what Meghan has accomplished and are looking forward to traveling to Meghan’s games to watch her play. “We’re looking forward to watching her compete at the next level, and seeing where this new coach can take her,” Amy said.

Wittwer, a three year McNicholas varsity midfielder, has chosen to take her talents to the soccer field at Northern Kentucky University, following a lifelong passion for the sport that first began when she was only three years old. After thirteen years of playing, Wittwer, a Batavia resident, became the recipient of the All-Southwest Academic Award for excellence both on the field and in the classroom. Additionally, she has played a total of eight years for the Beechmont Elite club team, where she has attained status as second in overall assists.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how far I can progress, and seeing how far I can challenge myself in college,” Wittwer said. Regardless of what the future holds, Wittwer affirmed that she will look back fondly on her time at McNick. “I’ll definitely remember all the special times I’ve had with my friends. The memories we’ve shared together are what I think I’ll remember most of all,” she said.

Wittwer’s father, Ted, has served as both her mentor and club coach for the past thirteen years, and like his wife Krista, shares much of the same excitement as their daughter. “We’re very proud,” Ted said. “It’s been very neat to see her go from a ten-year-old girl on the field to where she is today.”


Mock Trial successful in District Competition
Posted February 10, 2014; Written by Gabby Quesnell '15

On Friday, Jan. 31, the Mock Trial Team finished in the top 10 in the District Mock Trial Competition at the Hamilton County Court House. The team took all available awards: 2 Best Witnesses and 2 Best Attorneys. For the prosecution, Grant Tore won Best Attorney and Sarah Standiford won Best Witness. For the defense, Sarah Hickman won Best Attorney and Brian Gauch won Best Witness.

Every year, the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education (OCLRE) creates a fictional case for students to improve critical reading skills and acquire an understanding of court proceedings and the Constitution. This year, students will be interpreting the Fourth and Fifth Amendments in a question of a student’s right to protest.

Mock Trial practices began in October. They learned about the case and began to write direct question, cross examination questions, opening statements, and closing statements. Once the writing is complete, they begin to practice the trial. Each season, the team meets after school at least once a week for up to four months to prepare.

Junior Reagen Powers has been on the team for three years. “I love Mock Trial because we work really hard all season just for that one trial,” Powers said. “When we finish the trial, the amount of accomplishment I feel is always worth the work from the beginning.”

Mock Trial Moderator Frank Lowden said, “Everything Mock Trial does for these students is immeasurable.”


McNicholas seniors judge Guardian Angels Science Fair
Posted February 10, 2014; Written by Hayley Coldiron '14

On Friday, Jan. 24, four McNicholas Science National Honor Society members served as judges for the Guardian Angels School sixth and eighth grade Science Fair. Seniors Savannah Baurichter, Hayley Coldiron, Grace Hiltz, and Sarah Wuerfel judged students on use of the scientific method, knowledge of their topics, and presentation skills. Based on the scores from that day, the top five highest-scoring sixth graders and top seven highest-scoring eighth graders advanced to the Regional Science Fair at the University of Cincinnati.

Guardian Angels has a prestigious Science Fair program, as the school was recently awarded with the Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM and Student Research. Guardian Angels was the only grade school in Cincinnati that received this award in 2013. The McNicholas Science Department has also received this award for 25 consecutive years, and was excited to be part of the GA fair this year.

Junior high science teacher Michelle Gallagher, recipient of the C3 Outstanding Teacher Award, coordinated the event. “It is important for 6th and 8th graders to participate in the science fair because it is important for students to learn the process of science at an early age so that they are able to continue to use these processes in high school and college,” Gallagher said.

Baurichter enjoyed seeing the students have an interest in science at a young age, just as she did. “I was thoroughly impressed by their knowledge and understanding of their projects,” Baurichter said. “One topic that really stood out to me was the testing of soil pH from different areas around Ohio, and the effect that it can have on the pH alteration of water. The information collected can be useful with today’s issue of chemical runoff.”

Wuerfel agreed, stating that she was impressed with the students’ confidence and ability to answer questions she asked. “My favorite part was switching places with the student,” Wuerfel said. “I have been the student presenting before and it’s nice to be the one giving the feedback and advice.”

Gallagher considered the event a success. “It was great having students from McNick coming to see what we are learning in the sixth and eighth grades,” Gallagher said. “We love to hear from high school students to see what we need to work on to help prepare our students to be successful in high school and college.”


McNicholas celebrates Catholic Schools Week
Posted February 2, 2014

During the week of Jan. 26, Catholic schools across the nation celebrated the 40th year of Catholic Schools Week. The theme for this year's celebration was "Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service."

On Monday, Jan. 27, students in Catholic high schools in greater Cincinnati addressed questions to Archbishop Dennis Schnurr via a live-streamed webcast held at Badin High School (McNicholas served as the host school for the event in 2013).

The Music Department also hosted Catholic Schools Band Day. Over 90 band students from surrounding Catholic elementary schools spent the day with the Rocket Band learning music for a collaborative concert that was held that evening at 7 p.m. in the main gym. Mr. Jerry Robinson, an Ohio music educator for over 30 years, was the guest conductor and students from St. Veronica, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Guardian Angels, and St. Bernadette elementary schools participated. Click here for raw video from the event made possible by McNicholas band parent Robin Harrington.

The McNicholas Liturgy Choir was invited to perform at the Catholic Schools Week Mass at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral downtown on Tuesday, Jan. 28 but due to inclement weather, the event was canceled.

On Wednesday, Jan. 29, McNicholas celebrated as a community with an all-school Mass at Guardian Angels Church. After Mass, faculty and staff celebrating 5-year anniversaries at Catholic Schools were recognized: English teachers Katie Caster and Emma Colella both with 5 years; social studies teacher Tim Monahan for 10 years; Librarian and Webmaster Anne Jones for 15 years; Assistant to the Principal Pat Farwick and Director of Finance Jean Gelvin both with 20 years; SAIL teacher Val Combs and science teacher Regina Goines both with 30 years; and art teacher Willy Corbett for 35 years.

During lunch on Thursday, Jan. 30, teachers were treated to a catered lunch and students received ice cream treats.

For the past 15 years, the final day of Catholic Schools Week has been designated as McNicholas' Day of Giving. Students and faculty/staff support Catholic education by opening up their piggy banks and coin jars for Penny Day. Over $6,000 was collected for 2014, bringing the total from the past 15 years to over $90,000 for those struggling to receive a Catholic education. The day also included the annual Blood Drive for Hoxworth Blood Centers. The collection for the day totaled 77 pints and 4 double-reds.

Visit the official Archbishop McNicholas Facebook page to view the complete gallery of photos taken throughout the week by photography teacher Mrs. Ellyn Whiteash.


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