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Weekly Newsletter Archive



McNicholas welcomes new faculty and staff

Posted August 14, 2015


McNicholas High School is pleased to welcome eight new members to the facutly and staff:


Ashley Brothers, math
Ashley (Clark) Brothers ’01 attended Indiana State University on a basketball scholarship and earned both her Bachelor and Master of Education degrees in math. She is married to Matt Brothers ’00 and has one son, Nolan, who is 18 months. “For the past nine years I have been teaching math at Loveland High School,” Brothers said, “and I am very excited to return to my alma mater.”

Jill Cheek, front office
Jill Cheek holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Toledo. She taught fifth grade at St. Veronica for thirteen years and, for the last seven years, she has been a full time mother and homemaker with four children. “My oldest son, Jacob, will be a senior at McNick this year, and I have a daughter, Georgia, who will be starting as a freshman,” Cheek said. “My two younger children go to St. Veronica.”

Rebecca Curran, photography
Rebecca Curran ’05 graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Art Education degree in 2009. Curran has been teaching art for seven years, most recently K-8 art at Guardian Angels School for the past four years. “Teaching high school has always been my career goal,” Curran said. “I am so excited to return back to McNick as a member of the faculty.”

Beth Custer, admissions
Custer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from University of Dayton where she majored in management information systems and English. She worked as a programmer analyst for Carlson Companies in Minneapolis until moving back to Cincinnati to be a full-time mom for the last 17 years. “I am originally from Dayton, but my husband Tom is from Mt. Washington, and his entire family went to GA and McNick,” Custer said. “I have three children who are former/current/future rockets (Brendan '15, Evan '17, Kate '20).”

Loretta Graner, music
Loretta Graner will be teaching AP Music Theory and Liturgy Choir. She received her Bachelor of and Master of Music degrees from the University of Kansas and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at CCM where she studied choral conducting and organ. Graner’s background is in church music, and she has experience in directing choral and instrumental ensembles in the worship and concert settings. Graner has worked extensively with professional and amateur musicians and found that the more musicians we have involved, the more that can be done and the more fun it is. “I would like to encourage all of our student musicians to join the Liturgy Choir in leading the music for our monthly Masses and Lessons and Carols,” Graner said. “I am very excited about teaching at McNick and learning what it means to be a Rocket!”

Katherine Hayes, social studies
Katherine Hayes returns to the Midwest from Colorado. Originally from the Chicago area, she taught ten years in a public high school in suburban Chicago, then joined the Joliet Archdiocese as an aide to the Superintendent of Schools for two years. Hayes also owned a private teaching company, part-time for about ten years and full-time for three years.


Hayes moved to Colorado Springs to work as the department chair at St. Mary’s High School, where she taught and served as chair for six years. Fulfilling a lifetime goal, she bought a breakfast/lunch café and enjoyed the local color making all the desserts and daily specials. After missing the students, Hayes returned to the classroom for another three years.

Hayes has three sons--a wildlife biologist at the San Diego Zoo, a government armed security officer, and a former Marine son, who is now employed as an environmental engineer. Being a native Midwesterner, she was excited to find an opening here at McNick. “I am looking forward to teaching at a school that seems to enjoy an excellent reputation and gifted staff,” she said.

Cathryn “Cat” Lest, science
Cat (Humphries) Lest ’09 received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology with an education minor from Cleveland State University. For the last two years, she has been a tutor in the sciences at MC2STEM High School in Cleveland as well as a full time OGT tutor. During her time as a student at McNick, Lest was a two-time state champion track athlete which led to a scholarship at Hillsdale College. She competed at the top of the GLIAC conference for two years before sustaining an injury. “This is my first year teaching, and I am thrilled to return to McNicholas as an instructor,” she said.

Kendra Lonneman, math
Kendra (Hornschemeier) Lonneman ’01 received her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and finance at Ohio University where she also played soccer. She worked at Western & Southern as an accountant and coached the McNick varsity soccer coach. Lonneman holds a Master of Education degree from Xavier University and has taught at Sycamore High School for six years.

“My parents and two brothers and two sisters went to McNick,” Lonneman said. “I love it and am so happy to be back home!”




Dancers and cheerleaders win awards at camps
Posted August 10, 2015


Both the Dance Team and Cheerleading Squad attended camps this summer and were recognized for their talent and hard work.


The varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders attended the Universal Cheerleading camp to prepare for the upcoming football and basketball seasons. Seniors Emma Kapp, CeCe Smith, and Abby Wiler and freshman Julia Vogele were named All-American cheerleaders and have been invited to London this New Year's Day with cheerleaders receiving this award across the country.


The Dance Team attended the Universal Dance Association (UDA) camp at Miami University. The team won the Superior trophy for their jazz Home Routine and all members received the highest rating, blue ribbon, for their individual performances. The team also received the "110% Award" which is selected by UDA staff, for their dedication, commitment and leadership.

In addition, Captain Brittany Taylor, Co-Captain Felicia Marino and Co-Captain Kate Whitesell were selected as All-Americans and invited to perform in London and Taylor was asked to audition for UDA staff.

Marino and freshman Moira Hoke received the "Pin it Forward" recognition for all around performance and attitude and junior Hailey Snyder, sophomore Sarah Waldeck and freshman Annabelle Fisher received special recognition awards for their work ethic and attitude.

“The team started the new season off in a big way, bringing home lots of awards,…but most importantly, the team had a great time and represented McNicholas with class and pride!” Dance Team Coach Kelly Martin said.



Celebrating Kairos 100: 20 years of living the 4th

Posted August 4, 2015

A group of 36 seniors, led by a team of 7 of their peers and 6 faculty members, experienced McNicholas High School’s 100th Kairos retreat in early August.

To celebrate the centennial, all Kairos alumni are invited to a K100 Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 5. The celebration will begin with mass in Paradise at 4 p.m. and will be followed by a 4th Day Gathering Reception.

The Kairos tradition began for the McNicholas High School community in the spring of 1994, when Mrs. Donna Bambach accompanied 10 juniors participating in a Kairos retreat given by Fenwick High School. The Fenwick High School retreat team presented McNicholas with a wooden Kairos cross to be used in liturgies and Chapel Visit. That same cross has passed through the hands of all Kairos participants and continues to pass through the hands of Kairos retreatants to this day.

When those 10 students began their senior year, they prepared and gave the retreat to their classmates in the fall of 1994 at the Milford Retreat Center. The next Kairos retreat took place in the spring of 1995 at Marydale Retreat Center.

“KAIROS continues to be a powerful experience for McNicholas students and influences the community as a whole in the outpouring of ‘Kairos love’ as each participant makes this retreat,” Mrs. Mary Beth Sandmann said. “The gift of this retreat experience is still with us today, and it will continue to be with us through the classes to come, built on the rich gifts of love and service of our many alumni who have given to this experience, passing it on one group at a time, through 20 years of Kairos 4th day living.”

Light refreshments will be served at the 4th Day Gathering. In the event of rain, the celebration will move inside McNicholas. Please RSVP by clicking here.

McNicholas grad receives national writing award
Updated July 10, 2015

McNicholas Class of 2015 graduate Lauren Fisher recently traveled to New York City to join 900 other creative teens from across the nation for the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Ceremony. Fisher earned the national award for her critical essay “The Great and Terrible F-Word: Exploring society’s disdain for, and desperate need of feminism.”  The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the country's longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for students in grades 7–12, and includes notable alumni writers Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, and Joyce Carol Oates.

The winners, chosen from over 303,000 entries, were honored at an awards ceremony on June 11 at the world-famous Carnegie Hall with keynote speaker Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, and other special guests including actress Whoopi Goldberg; Matthew Morrison, Emmy and Tony-nominated actor and star of Fox’s Glee; Jennifer McAllister, YouTube star (also known as JennXPenn); and Donald Lipski, award-winning sculptor and an alumni of the Awards.

“Having the chance to celebrate the achievements of young artists and writers across America at Carnegie Hall was a surreal experience in itself, but it wasn't until I had the chance to read and view the work of my peers that I really began to realize that I was among the best of the best. To have put so much of myself into my writing and then to have that work recognized as being worthy of the national gold medal is an incredible feeling and one that was certainly worth all the late nights and long hours that it took to put my thoughts into words,” Fisher said.

The daughter of Dave and Lisa Fisher of Milford, Lauren attended St. Andrew – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Elementary School, where Lisa said teachers started telling her in 5th grade that Lauren had a gift for writing. “[Her father and I] are so incredibly proud of Lauren. To be part of such a small, select group of writers has meant the absolute world to her and to us,” Lisa said.

In addition to the awards ceremony, students participated in events throughout Manhattan promoting the arts. Fisher’s essay was part of the national exhibition “Art.Write.Now. 2015” at both Parsons’ Sheila C. Johnson Design Center and the Pratt Manhatten Gallery from June 4-15. This series of programming was hosted by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, whose mission is “to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world.” The Alliance takes pride in its early identification of accomplished and creative leaders.


As a student writer and editor-in-chief for The McNicholas Milestone, Fisher has written over 50 articles for the Milestone and has had her work published in The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Forest Hills Journal, and on various local websites and blogs. Fisher’s essay, which was originally published in The McNicholas Milestone, earned a Gold Key Award from the Belin-Blank Center before she advanced to the national competition. It was also featured on the Belin-Blank Center’s blog, Freehand.

Fisher will attend Ohio University and study News and Information at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, while minoring in World Religions and Political Studies, in the hope of earning certificates in both Islamic and Women's Studies. “At the moment, my goal is to become a global affairs correspondent, perhaps for one of the major news companies. I want to be able to combine my skills as a writer with my passion for helping others - to help tell the stories of those whose voices have been silenced,” Fisher said.

English Department Chair and journalism teacher Angie Noble, who received an Outstanding Educator Award from Scholastic for Fisher’s work earning a National Gold Key, said, “Sharing in the National Scholastic Awards Ceremony in New York City with Lauren and her family and watching her be recognized in Carnegie Hall as one of the best student writers in the nation is definitely one of my most memorable experiences in my 18 years as an educator. I am excited to see where Lauren’s future leads her. Her talent and drive could take her anywhere; she has the world in her hands.”

To learn more about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Celebration and to view the winning student work, visit To view a highlight reel of the National Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall, visit




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