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Weekly Newsletter Archive




Vote for Golf Player of the Week
Posted August 19, 2014

Congratulations to Ty DeBonis who has been nominated for the JJHuddle / Bucknuts Ohio High School Boys Golf Player of the Week.  These weekly awards are decided by fan vote, so please click here to vote for DeBonis. Voting is live and will conclude at noon on Friday, Aug. 23. You may vote as often as you like. Winners will receive personalized awards.





McNicholas announces Sawyer Memorial Scholarship

Posted August 12, 2014

McNicholas is pleased to announce the creation of the Dolores C. Sawyer Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is in memory of Dolores C. Sawyer, grandmother of McNicholas students Robert and Ryan Sawyer, and will be awarded each year based on financial need and a desire for a Catholic education. The scholarship is to celebrate Dolores’ deep Catholic faith and recognize her inability to achieve a higher education due to financial constraints.

“We are thankful and humbled by our ability to give back to the McNick family,” the Sawyer family stated when establishing the scholarship. “Our mom and dad made great sacrifices to ensure the family received a Catholic education. Our mom felt especially strong about the importance of Catholic education and the development of faith. She reminded us often it would be our faith that would sustain us in time of need and wanted us to have that foundation. We want to honor her legacy and help others pursue their Catholic education and faith.”

The scholarship provides $4,000 each year and is matched by McNicholas in the amount of $3,500 each year. The combined amount of $7,500 is available each year the student attends McNicholas. The scholarship is open to new students and transfer students. In addition to demonstrating financial need, the applicant must also provide a personal essay on the benefits of a Catholic education.




Sophomores awarded prizes in She Plays, She Wins Contest

Posted August 12, 2014

Congratulations to sophomore softball payer Christiane Hazzard and sophomore volleyball player Gracie Rudolph who received $1000 each for their teams in the She Plays, She Wins essay and video contest sponsored by Total Quality Logistics and honorary spokeswoman and Olympian Heather Mitts.

The goal of the contest was to help promote empowerment through women’s sports. Click here to read more.




Religion Department becomes Theology Department; New Bishop’s Framework begins

Posted August 12, 2014

Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, the Religion Department at McNicholas will be known as the Theology Department. This change will occur at the same time of the implementation of the new Bishop’s Framework throughout the Archdiocese.


According to Theology Department Chair Sam Roflow, the reason for this change is that many students associate “religion" courses with grade school, and that can lead them into trouble at McNicholas. “Our Theology courses are academically challenging, and students can do poorly just like in any other course…We want our students to know up front that our courses are academically challenging, and require work—just like all their other classes,” Roflow said.

The new Bishop's Framework Theology courses will be implemented over the next two school years. “Fortunately for us, the curriculum at Archbishop McNicholas High School has always stressed a solid Catholic foundation, so our actual Theology courses will stay relatively intact,” Roflow said.

The Theology Department has purchased new textbooks for four of the courses; the rest will be purchased for next school year. “This is an expensive proposition because we get no state funds to pay for anything in Theology classrooms, [but] we at Archbishop McNicholas High School are certainly ready to support the new changes and the challenges that come with it,” Roflow said.

The courses is as follows:

Freshmen Year

  • The Revelation of Jesus Christ in Scriptures (Old Testament)
  • The Mission of Jesus Christ (Christology)

Sophomore Year

  • Jesus Christ's Mission Continues in the Church (Church History)
  • Life in Jesus Christ (Catholic Morality)

Junior Year

  • Sacraments as Privileged Encounters with Jesus Christ (Sacraments)
  • Responding to the Call of Jesus Christ (Vocations)

Senior Year

  • Living as a Disciple of Jesus Christ in Society (Social Justice)
  • Interreligious and Ecumenical Issues (World Religions)




Tech Teachers of the Year announced
Posted July 1, 2014

Theology teacher John Norman and Social Studies teacher Michelle Semancik were chosen as the first recipients of the Tech Teacher of the Year Award.

"Mr. Norman and Ms. Semancik were nominated by both their peers and students who felt they were on the top of their game this year with incorporating technology into their classroom," said Katie Ritter, Director of Educational Technology. Norman and Semancik will receive new classroom furniture. The tables and chairs, more conducive to the tablet environment, were made possible by a donation from the Technology Department as well as a generous donation by PTSA.

According to Ritter, Norman has implemented many new technology tools into his teaching repertoire, including voice recordings in his PowerPoint presentations and transforming a long-standing senior project to include a classroom wiki, Google forms, and different web tools of students' choosing. "Mr. Norman was very dedicated to his own learning this year and attended almost every Lunch & Learn as well as had many one-on-one meetings with me to see how he could best implement technology into his teaching. With more than 30 years of teaching experience at McNicholas, Mr. Norman is a great example of continuously striving to improve himself, his teaching and his students," Ritter said.

Semancik, whose personal motto is to learn and grow, actively attends and participates in technology professional development and then directly applies what she learned to her classroom, after closely evaluating and testing new technology before implementing it into her lessons. She served as the Social Studies Professional Learning Committee (PLC) leader this year and worked with her department to include more educational games and simulations into their teaching, while also including meaningful assessment. Semancik uses Schoology for discussion boards and assignment submissions in all units and frequently uses Twitter to extend her classroom culture outside of the school day. Through the microfinance organization Kiva and the help of technology, Semancik has connected her students with people all over the world to help alleviate poverty through monetary lending, rather than direct donations. "It has been exciting to watch Ms. Semancik constantly challenge herself, her teaching, and her students through effectively implementing technology into her classroom," Ritter said.

Winners were decided based on peer and student nominations, input from Ritter based on working with each of the teachers, and administrative feedback.




Faculty members spend summer learning

Posted July 1, 2014

With the end of the 2013-2014 academic year, many faculty members are using summer as a chance to pursue educational opportunities outside the classroom.

Choir teacher Chris Albanese will be moving to part-time teaching status with the 2014-2015 academic year because of an opportunity with the University of Cincinnati that begins this summer. Albanese is beginning the Doctorate of Choral Directing program from the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music (CCM). In addition, he will be directing the men's choir at CCM. Albanese said this was always something he's imagined himself doing. He wants to focus his dissertation on Sacred Music from 17th century New Spain, and he is also planning on conducting research in Vocal Pedagogy.

Theology teacher Teresa Davis recently returned from a 10-day trip to the Holy Land. Davis made her summer pilgrimage with HOPE (Holy Land Outreach Promoting Education), an organization rooted within the Children's Peace Program that aims to peacefully bridge the education gap between Catholic schools in the United States and the community of Roman Catholic schools in the Holy Land. Through the program, twenty-three educators from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati had the opportunity to take part in a spiritual journey to the land on which Jesus himself once walked.

Four faculty members traveled to Atlanta, Georgia from June 28-July 1 for the annual International Society of Technology in Education Conference and Expo (ISTE). Director of Technology Andy Ey, outgoing Director of Educational Technology Katie Ritter, Theology teacher David Sandmann, and incoming Director of Technology Patti Sutter participated in the four-day conference focused on opportunities to help attendees build skills to advance learning in the digital age. They had the opportunity to network with over 18,000 technology educators from around the world and attended sessions led by the top leaders in educational technology. Ritter  was also chosen to present at this year's ISTE conference. She led a session on the success of McNicholas' Digital Citizenship Day, which was held Feb. 24 and received national media recognition.

Science teacher Lauren Wulker, a master's student in the Global Field Program (GFP) from Miami University's Project Dragonfly, will spend her third consecutive summer studying abroad. For Summer 2014, she will travel to the Amazon to study avian and tropical ecology. As a student in the master's program, Wulker traveled to Guyana in 2012 to study local wisdom and conservation, and she traveled to Baja in 2013 to study field methods in desert and marine ecosystems. Since the program began 10 years ago, Earth Expeditions graduate courses from Miami University's Project Dragonfly have engaged more than 1,500 people in firsthand educational and scientific research at critical conservation field sites in Africa, Australia, Asia and the Americas.



Alumni Theatre to perform Pulitzer Prize winning play

Posted June 20, 2014

This summer, the Alumni Theatre Department will be welcoming back some of its most talented actors, technicians, and designers, as they return to perform two shows on the McNicholas stage. Since 2011, Paradise Players, McNick’s very own alumni theatre group, has invited alumni to reignite their involvement with their alma mater, both on stage and off.

Paradise Players will take to the stage July 10, 11, and 12 to present the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning Next to Normal, which will feature recent graduate and current University of Alabama student Matt Gabbard ’13 as Henry. A modern rock musical, Next to Normal uses musical numbers to tell the story of a suburban mother struggling with worsening bipolar disorder and the effects of mental illness on the lives of her family members. Other members of the cast include Pam Day as Diana; Shawn Toadvine as Dan; Steffen Whorton as Gabe; Aubrey Wilson as Natalie; and Bryan Greaves as Drs. Fine/Madden. Music director is Mark Femia with stage direction by Jeanne Spurlock.

Spurlock said that although it has proven to be a challenging production for theatre groups in the past, Paradise Players is hard at work with hopes that they will be able to bring the story to life for an eager audience.

Beginning July 31, the Paradise Players will stage a second show, Moon Over Buffalo, which will welcome a cross-section of Cincinnati/Mason/Kentucky experienced actors: Paul Brockman ’95 as George; Peggy Allen as Charlotte; Lindsey Morgan as Roz; Michael Kiser as Paul; Jessica Kennedy ’07 as Eileen; Eric Thomas as Howard; Richard Zenk as Richard; and Sharon Shelton as Ethel. Moon Over Buffalo is a hysterical farce that tells the story of a dysfunctional group of travelling stage actors.

Stage manager, Rachele DeLuca’13, and assistant stage manager, Caroline Castleman ’14, will be handling both shows. Joining the crew as sound board operator will be Mitch Hartwell ‘16.

Paradise Players will also be welcoming back set designer, Joe Beumer '03; lighting designer, Mike Atkins '02; sound designer, Jack Castleman '12; construction foreman, Chris Luerhmann '10; technical director, David Sandmann '04; props mistress, Maureen Fehn '10; and poster/program designer, Beth Link Auxier '94.

Brought to fruition during the spring of 2011, the Paradise Players Theatre Group brings together McNicholas alumni who wish to share the skills they have developed. Under the guidance of retired theatre director Jeanne Spurlock, Paradise Players welcomes all alumni, whether they wish to work on the stage or simply appreciate the quality of the shows in the audience. According to Spurlock, in order to fulfill the needs of a growing company, they decided to become a producing agent for the acting company, Paradise Players, opening auditions to all area residents. “This allows us to offer opportunities to alumni, both in performance and in the technical areas while assuring that we can staff casts and crews,” Spurlock said.

Both performances will take place at McNicholas High School in the Jeanne Spurlock Theatre. Tickets for all performances are $15 and can be purchased by clicking this link. Show times for Next to Normal are July 10, 11, and 12 at 7:30 p.m., with an additional matinee performance on July 12 at 2:30 p.m. All show times for Moon Over Buffalo, July 31, Aug. 1, and Aug. 2, are at 7:30 p.m.

“Bringing back alums to re-experience the joys and successes of their high school years can only be a benefit to McNicholas in so many ways. It is a family and families need to stay strong. This is our fourth summer and we now can accommodate two shows. We hope to keep going for years to come. Theatre is alive and well at Archbishop McNicholas High School,” Spurlock added.



Facility renovations continue through the summer

Posted June 10, 2014

The academic year has come to a close, but there is a great deal going on around the campus and much activity continuing throughout the summer. All of the windows in the Upper and Lower Marian Halls were recently replaced, and the following construction and/or renovation projects will be taking place on McNicholas’ campus over the next few months:


  • Convent exterior painting. Work began in early Spring and will continue (weather permitting) through late Spring and Summer.
  • St. Joseph Hall Roof replacement. Work will begin in late May and should be completed in July.
  • Beechmont Sign project. Work will begin in June and is expected to be completed, barring unforeseen delays, before the’14-’15 school year begins.
  • Main Foyer Concession Upgrade project. Work will begin on or around June 1 with completion expected by early August.
  • Project Paradise current phase. Work is in progress to install decorative fencing, ticket booths, fence lighting, pavers, and landscaping with completion expected during summer ’14.

For your safety, please be cautious if you are on campus in any of the above areas during the summer. We are able to continue facility improvements because of generous donations from our current families, alumni, and friends of McNicholas. Thank you for your support!



McNicholas announces addition of Lacrosse in Spring 2015
Posted June 9, 2014

McNicholas High School is pleased to announce the addition of lacrosse for the spring sports season in 2015, becoming the only Archdiocesan co-ed high school in the city of Cincinnati to offer the sport. McNicholas will continue to offer the traditional spring choices of baseball, softball, men’s volleyball, men’s tennis, and track and field, in addition to fielding both men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.

The decision to add lacrosse to the roster came after years of research by Athletic Director Rob Heise and discussions with parents and the McNicholas Athletic Boosters. “McNicholas students have played in past years for the Anderson Orangemen club lacrosse team,” Heise said, “but now they will be able to wear McNick green and be able to play on their own home turf at Klonne-Schmidt Field in Penn Station Stadium.”

Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. According to the US Lacrosse organization, the number of high school players in the United States topped 290,000 according to its most recent participation study. In the past five years, the number of high schools offering men’s lacrosse programs increased from 1,815 in 2008 to 2,436 in 2013, representing a 34% growth rate. Women’s high school programs rose from 1,624 in 2008 to 2,212 in 2013 for a 36% growth rate. In the past ten years, the number of high schools offering men’s and women’s programs has approximately doubled.

McNicholas joins fellow Greater Catholic League (GCL) Co-Ed Division schools Alter, Chaminade Julienne, and Fenwick with men’s lacrosse programs, and Fenwick with the women’s team.

The initial investment for starting a new sport is always high. McNicholas has received a pledge of $10,000 from an alumni donor to be used exclusively for lacrosse, and the McNicholas Athletic Boosters has also offered to help cover some of the equipment costs. Participation fees and expenses will be decided once final costs and financial support have been determined.

“McNicholas has a reputation for excellence on and off the athletic fields and courts,” Principal Patty Beckert said. “We are excited to add lacrosse as another option for our students to pursue as they develop as scholars and athletes growing in Christ.”


Student interns with Children’s Hospital surgeon
Posted June 9, 2014

Ashley Dundon ’14 was selected to participate in an internship with a surgeon at Children’s Hospital this summer. The Children’s Hospital High School Senior Summer Internship Program is an 8-week paid program where graduating seniors work 20 hours a week with a mentor in one of 15 pediatric specialties. Only 15 interns were chosen from 185 applicants. Internships are only offered to applicants who are highly motivated and interested in pursuing higher education related to a career in medicine/clinical research. At the end of the program, which runs from June 11-Aug. 6, Dundon will present a summary of her experience to the specialists with whom she worked. Dundon is the first McNicholas student to be chosen since Kathleen Hiltz in 2010.




Jazz Orchestra performs at Rock Hall
Posted June 9, 2014

The McNicholas Jazz Orchestra played at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland on May 18. According to Band Director Keith Nance, any high school group can arrange a performance, and he learned about it from the band's trip to Cleveland six years ago when the Concert Band performed at Cleveland State University and visited the Rock Hall. "I put it in the back of my mind that if we ever got the chance to come back we would do the Hall of Fame gig," Nance said. He arranged for the Jazz Orchestra to play a 45 minute set on the sound stage in the main lobby, which was the last official performance for the seniors. Nance said he tried to incorporate music from the Hall of Famers in the set list, which included everything from "Yesterday" by the Beatles to "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel to "Watermelon Man" by Herbie Hancock.



Senior wins $2,000 scholarship through Artists Reaching Classrooms Program
Posted June 9, 2014

Peter Gilligan '14 received the top award of a $2,000 scholarship as part of the Artists Reaching Classrooms (ARC) program. In May, Gilligan, along with fellow seniors Sarah Emig, Katie Cornell Patrick Hayslip, Jordan Glinsek, Peter Gilligan, Lacey O’Connell, and Ellen Uhl, had their art work on display at the Cincinnati Public Library as part of the ARC Program with the Taft Museum.

As part of ARC, students in art programs at the 12 participating schools visit the Taft Museum of Art and another art-focused location (Neusole Glassworks for 2013-2014) chosen by the Taft Museum docents working with the schools. McNicholas works with docent Jaye Yorio, who is a 1955 graduate of McNicholas. It also allows for four artists to visit each classroom to present and discuss different art forms. Artists visiting Ellyn Whiteash and Willy Corbett’s classes included photojournalist Samantha Grier, printmaker Radha Lakshmi, illustrator Carol Tyler, and painter Kevin Muente. The students then created an original piece of artwork inspired by a piece they learned about on the field trip.

Gilligan, a student in Whiteash’s Photo I class, based his award-winning photo entry on Jean Baptiste-Camille’s oil on canvas titled “A Brook Beneath the Trees with a House in the Distance.” He said he photographed an area of Eastfork on the Little Miami River and then achieved his final product using an HDR filter and other Photoshop tools. “I chose [Baptise-Camille’s] piece as inspiration because I wanted to represent how man is intruding on nature,” Gilligan said.

Whiteash, who applied for McNicholas to be part of this program in 2012, said the program is free and once chosen, each school can be part of ARC for five years. “The program helps students make connections to contemporary art and allows the students to become familiar with the permanent collection at the Taft Museum,” Whiteash said.



Juniors place second in Stock Market Game
Posted June 9, 2014

Matt Goldsberry and Joseph Paquette, both from the Class of 2015, won 2nd place out of over 1,000 teams in the state of Ohio in The Stock Market Game. Goldsberry and Paquette, both students in Frank Lowden’s Economics class, completed the project as part of a class assignment.

Lowden said he began incorporating The Stock Market Game into his classroom in 2010 to help his students understand investing. SMG is a simulation in real time of the Stock Market where students invest, trade, and sell shares of stock, bonds and money market certificates.

Each team was “given” $100,000 to invest, and Goldsberry and Paquette said they chose airlines as their prime category for investment. “We started the game before Spring Break, so we chose airlines because we figured people would be taking planes to their destinations. There is a certain amount of luck in your choices, and ours paid off,” Goldsberry said.

As 2nd place winners, Goldsberry and Paquette each received a $50 Visa gift card. Lowden also received a $50 Visa gift card as well a $40 credit for future teams participating in the Stock Market Game.

Softball captain named Local 12 Student Athlete of the Month
Posted June 9, 2014

Danielle Piening '14 has been named Mercy Orthopedic/Local 12 Student Athlete of the Month for June. Piening, a four year softball athlete, was a starting shortstop, led the team as a captain her junior and senior years, and played in all 24 games her senior year where she was involved in 100 fielding plays and finished with a .920 fielding percentage. She ended her senior year batting .395, with a .711 slugging percentage, which included two doubles, five triples and a team leading four home runs (second in the league). Her stats also include 20 RBI's and seven stolen bases. She was named Team MVP and was chosen 1st team All-League. "She really worked hard this year to improve her play and it certainly showed. It has been a great four years for her, but this is the best year she has enjoyed," Softball Head Coach Terry Doyle said.


Senior named Chuck Evans Scholar
Posted June 9, 2014

Mikayla Randolph '14 has been named a recipient of the Chick Evans Memorial Golf Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to male and female caddies across the country each year and covers tuition, room, and board at a designated school. The two Evans Scholar universities in Ohio are Miami University and The Ohio State University. Randolph will attend Miami University in Oxford and although undecided, she plans to choose a major in the medical field. Her sister, Olivia Randolph from the McNicholas Class of 2012, is also an Evans Scholar and attends The Ohio State University.
To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must have caddied for at least two years at a private country club, demonstrate financial need, and finish in the top 20% of their graduating class. Randolph has caddied at Hyde Park Country Club for the past two years and will continue to caddy this year.

Social Studies teacher Pat Stricker is also the Caddy Coordinator for Hyde Park Country Club and said Randolph went the extra mile for her customers. “Her work ethic was untouchable. She was my #1 caddy in 2013 with the most rounds and for receiving the most excellents in the rating system. Golfers rate the caddies, and Randolph’s excellent ratings entitled her to a $500 bonus,” Stricker said.

The interview process for the scholarship is between the applicant and 75 members of the scholarship board who are all permitted to ask questions. She said she was asked questions ranging from asking her to translate a sentence in Spanish (since her resume showed she’d taken Spanish in high school) to who her favorite television cook was. She said the questions are serious for the most part, but there are also questions to help put the interviewee at ease.

Randolph, whose experience with golf is only as a caddy and not also as a player, said her favorite memory from caddying was when she caddied for House Speaker John Boehner. “I hung out with [Boehner’s] security, which was a new experience, and he even sent a personalized letter when he found out I got the scholarship,” Randolph said.


Math teacher named Anderson Area Educator of the Year
Posted June 9, 2014

Math teacher Stacey Berling has recently been chosen as one of two Educators of the Year by the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce. Berling, who has been at McNicholas High School since 2011, teaches Algebra and Geometry to 9th and 10th graders. In addition to teaching, Berling is also the moderator of Student Council and co-moderator for McNicholas’ chapter of the Math National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta.


In the nominations received for Berling, fellow colleagues had the following to say about her:

  • “[Berling] has a genuine way to reach students at all levels.”
  • “She is involved, committed to student excellence.”
  • “She is so uplifting to the students and to the faculty. She always has a smile on her face and makes you feel like you are a part of this great community every day!”
  • “This is the teacher I hear the most about from my students. They not only enjoy how she teaches but they learn a great deal from her class. I have heard many students tell me they never really understood math until they had Mrs. Berling as a teacher.”

A graduate of McAuley High School and the The Ohio State University for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Berling said that she has always had a peculiar passion for mathematics. “I really love the intricacies and logic that the topic holds, and every day that I wake up, my goal is to have at least one student find something in math that catches their eye for more than a moment. Most people, especially young people, learn that it’s okay to say they ‘can’t do’ math. Personally, I think this is a terrible mindset and should be treated with the same shock value as someone who says they can’t read. I love my job because I am challenged each day to make a student who is ‘not good’ at math realize that they are capable! The ‘a-ha’ moment a student experiences is so fulfilling, and there are not very many jobs out there where you can go home every day and say, ‘I made a difference’,” she said.

Prior to McNicholas, Berling honed her teaching skills in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, at Hilliard-Davidson High School and Hastings Middle School in the Upper Arlington City School District.

“From the moment I stepped foot in the doors of McNicholas, I felt like I belonged. What I love most about the school is my students. Every year, I find it easy to create a classroom environment that is respectful and promotes higher order thinking…My students are open-minded and willing to go the extra mile not only for me but for each other. The students at McNicholas are kind, caring, respectful, loving, and intelligent. They make me fall in love with what I do day in and day out, and for that, I am forever grateful,” Berling said.

Berling was honored at the 39th Annual Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Banquet at the Anderson Center on June 3.



Senior named Student of the Year by Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce
Posted June 9, 2014

Grant Tore has been named one of two of the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce’s Students of the Year. He will be honored along with other recipients, including McNicholas math teacher Stacey Berling who has been named Educator of the Year.

Tore has been an involved Rocket since he first stepped onto campus as a freshman in August of 2010.
His involvement in the clubs at McNicholas has ranged from Student Council to Ski Club to Mock Trial to National Honor Society. During his senior year, he earned membership to the Century Club, a club for students completing over 100 hours of service to others. Tore was also voted as the captain of McNicholas’ annual Mardi Gras Pageant that recognizes students for service over their four years of high school. The Captain of the Ball is the second highest honor for the pageant and students are voted on by faculty and their peers.

Whether he is helping organize a service project, staying late to clean up after a dance, or helping fundraise for a club or charity, Tore puts forth full effort with a full heart, and through this, has helped to make a positive impact on his high school community and the larger community.

Since his sophomore year, Tore has been chosen for numerous leadership conferences as well as for various retreats. He has been an active member of Rockets for Life, marching each January to oppose the Roe vs. Wade decision, and he has also been a member of the Men’s Volleyball Team.

Tore’s commitment extends beyond McNicholas. During his four years of high school, he has been an altar server at both Immaculate Heart of Mary and Guardian Angels churches and has been an active participant in Anderson’s annual Relay for Life event. Each summer, Tore works as a counselor for Laffalot Summer Camps that serves children ages 7-12.

In the nominations received at McNicholas for Student of the Year, the faculty at McNicholas had the following to say about Grant Tore:

  • “I recognized a long time ago what a gift he is to the school and the community. Focused, friendly, unpretentious, giving, and simply a very kind young man - well deserving of this award.”
  • “Grant is not only a great student but is so polite and always has a smile on his face. He is always willing to help out with any task.”
  • “Grant Tore is well-rounded, all-McN student. He has the grades, the maturity, the heart for people, community and Church. He is the ultimate representative of McNicholas.”
  • “Grant’s service and spirit exemplifies the approach to servant-leadership that we hope empower in our students.”

Tore, who was just honored at McNcNicholas’ first Academic Signing Day for the top ten students of the Class of 2014, will attend the University of South Carolina in the fall with a major in Biology.

Tore was honored at the 39th Annual Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Banquet at the Anderson Center on June 3.


Kapp named Director of Communications and Marketing

Posted May 28, 2014

Archbishop McNicholas High School is pleased to announce that Shannon Kapp has been named Director of Communications and Marketing. She will manage and direct efforts to communicate with the high school’s variety of audiences, preserve and promote the McNicholas brand, and coordinate efforts to market the school through a variety of channels. Kapp replaces Angie Noble, who has held the position since 2010 and will be returning to the English Department as Department Chair for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Kapp brings 25 years of experience in educational, not-for-profit, and small business marketing and communications. Prior to coming to McNicholas, Kapp spent 15 years building her own communication, marketing and development business with such clients as Guardian Angels School and Parish, Wolterman Orthodontics, Sea of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and the Columbus Arts Festival. She also worked in communications and member relations for the Columbus Bar Association, the Ohio Dental Association and the Central Indiana Regional Blood Center.

Kapp holds a Bachelor of Science degree in public and corporate communications from Butler University. She recently completed two years on the McNicholas School Advisory Board and has been a part of marketing efforts for Habitat for Humanity, Ballet Theatre Midwest, and the Delta Gamma Alumni Association.

Kapp lives in Anderson Township with her husband Jim and their children Emma, Sean, and Moira. “I have had the great opportunity to see McNicholas as a board member and as a parent the past two years, and I understand the treasure we have in the legacy of this great school. I look forward to continuing the work of informing and engaging the school’s stakeholders and ensuring that news of the school’s excellence continues to spread,” Kapp said.

McNicholas welcomes 158 alumni from the Class of 2014
Posted May 28, 2014

On Wednesday, May 21, the Class of 2014 moved from being the current students of McNicholas to being alumni.


Speakers at the graduation ceremony at Music Hall included valedictorian Jacob Woeste, salutatorian Ellen Uhl, science teacher John Chadwell, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Dr. Jim Rigg, and principal Patricia Beckert. The class earned over $11 million in scholarships to their respective colleges.

Uhl began the ceremony with her salutatorian address comparing the Class of 2014’s journey through high school to the chapters in a book. “Our class is related to a book--diverse—not just one genre,” she said, and referred to the future as the chapters not yet written.

Chosen by the class, Chadwell began his speech to the class by stating that in his three years of teaching, he has not had one class without a student the Class of 2014. His message related to the class theme “Adventure is Out There” from the movie UP. “I have no doubt that some of you have “big” adventures in front of you: maybe you’ll go pro, maybe you’ll cure Alzheimer’s disease, or maybe you’ll skip the Moon altogether and journey straight to Mars. Adventure is out there, but the truth is, most of your adventures are probably not going to be as grand as those I just described. Best as I have gathered, the real adventure of life is a much more personal one. A few of you might be able to change the whole world for the better, but every single one of you can change someone else’s life for the better,” he told the group he called his “first and favorite students.”

The final speech of the evening was from the valedictorian. At the conclusion of Woeste’s speech to the Class of 2014, which focused on how the class was “bold” and “not afraid to be who we are and take risks,” he did what he does best and ended with playing “Careless Whisper” on his saxophone. His speech and impromptu performance received a standing ovation.

After diplomas were conferred, the senior awards were presented. The top academic awards were given to Ashley Dundon, for having the third highest average for four years; Uhl for having the second highest average for four years; and Woeste for earning the highest average for four years.


The Principal's Award was presented to Bryan Corpuz and Hannah Taylor for displaying outstanding sportsmanship, loyalty, and courage throughout their athletic experiences at McNicholas. Outstanding Service Awards were given to ten seniors for their contributions to the McNicholas community over four years: Carly Dugan, Laura Garrison, Zach Hazzard, Sarah Hickman, Grace Hiltz, Amy Humphries, Anthony Lester, Lillian Motz, Sarah Ruwe, and Kaitlyn Schaefer. Scott Frenzel received the Rasper Service Award for outstanding service to the McNicholas community and for enriching the McNicholas community with his talents. Margaret Beck and Mark Flatt received the Christian Leadership Awards for continuously promoting Christian ideals by example and having tried to involve others in these ideals.


The highest award given at Archbishop McNicholas High School, the Archbishop McNicholas Memorial Award, was presented to Catherine Adams and Grant Tore for best exemplifying the type of high school graduate that McNicholas strives to develop. The qualifications for this award include academic achievement, continuous service, and exemplary character in terms of Christian ideals.


The evening concluded with the concert choir and band, under the direction of Chris Albanese and Keith Nance, respectively, performing the “The Road Home” by Stephen Paulus, “Irish Blessing,” and the McNicholas Alma Mater. For a complete list of graduates and their post high school plans, click here. Congratulations to all of our graduates! Once a Rocket, always a Rocket!


Religion teacher embarks on pilgrimage to Holy Land

Posted May 28, 2014; Written by Lauren Fisher '15

Nearing the end of her first year of teaching theology at McNicholas High School, Ms. Teresa Davis has decided to spend a great deal of her summer vacation far, far away from home. Instead of remaining within the familiar comfort of Cincinnati, she has chosen to travel across the globe, heading for the desert sands and vibrant Christian history of the Holy Land.

Davis will be making her summer pilgrimage with HOPE (Holy Land Outreach Promoting Education), an organization rooted within the Children’s Peace Program that aims to peacefully bridge the education gap between Catholic schools in the United States and the community of Roman Catholic schools in the Holy Land. Through the program, twenty-three educators from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati have the opportunity to take part in a spiritual journey to the land on which Jesus himself once walked.

Davis’s decision to join, however, wasn’t made until fairly recently, following a moment of prayer and a chance post from a Facebook friend who happened to be a member of the HOPE community attending the trip.

“I’d just said out loud ‘Lord, I need an adventure,’” Davis said. “So I took that as God’s saying ‘Here you go!’”

During their two-weeks away, each of the educators will be given a laptop on which they are asked to brainstorm new lesson plan ideas, recount the history of their school, and reflect on their time walking on holy ground. In addition, Davis has been granted $1,000 from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, plus another $250 from McNicholas, to help cover the costs of international travel.

Though Davis plans to pack lightly for herself on her first trip abroad, at least half of her four suitcases will be comprised of books and treats for the schoolchildren of Palestine, who don’t have the luxury of many of the resources that Western schools tend to take for granted. With continual bouts of political and social unrest, the Holy Land has become a center of conflict in the Middle East, especially as Jerusalem remains the central city of the three major monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Along the journey, the pilgrims will be visiting some of the most venerated sites of Christianity, including Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth, where they will be staying with select host families and schools. Each day, they will have the chance to celebrate Mass within a holy site, the paramount of which is widely considered to be the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built upon the hill of Golgotha, where Jesus is said to have been crucified over a thousand years ago.

“As a teacher of Christology, Hebrew Scriptures, and World Religions, I can’t believe that I get to stand in some of the places I teach about every day,” Davis said. “This is an opportunity to see three of the world religions I teach about, all working together. Politics and wars aside, I believe that people truly like to work together.”

During the trip, local educators will also have the opportunity to observe lessons in Palestinian and Jordanian classrooms, where Christian and Muslim children must learn to coexist in a learning environment, despite their differences. Travelling as a pilgrim rather than a tourist, Davis remarked that though she is looking forward to seeing the sights, she is even more excited to meeting the people of the Holy Land.

“I really believe that all of the major world religions can get along,” Davis said. “And this is the place where they are all bundled together. When I teach World Religions and I talk about our neighbors, I mean that I believe in solidarity – in caring for the poor and vulnerable.”

In preparation for her journey, Davis has been looking to prayer as her spiritual compass. Knowing that she will be doing without many of the traditional comforts of home, there is a certain sense of humility and openness in her simple words of prayer.

“‘Lord, send to me who I need and who needs me,’” she prays. “’Let me get rid of self. Let me be as open to your spirit as possible.’”

Choral Director to begin Doctorate Program
Posted May 28, 2014; Written by Nicholas Keri

McNicholas will be without Choral Director and teacher Chris Albanese after this school year. Albanese is beginning the Doctorate of Choral Directing program from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM). In addition, he will be directing the men’s choir at CCM. Albanese said this was always something he’s imagined himself doing.

“Ever since I was in college I knew I wanted to teach those kinds of classes,” Albanese said. “It was always something I saw myself doing one day.” His ultimate goal is to one day be a director of a choir like he is at McNick, but on a larger scale. In addition, he wants to focus his dissertation on Sacred Music from 17th century New Spain. He is also planning on conducting research in Vocal Pedagogy.

As for his tenure at McNick, he is not completely finished. He will remain at the school in a much smaller role. He will continue teaching AP Music Theory, and he will remain in a reduced role with the choirs. He will also continue his work with campus ministry, which he is excited about.

“Working in Campus Ministry has been one of my favorite parts of this place,” Albanese said. “It lets you see a lot of people in a different light and develop relationships with others in a different way.” He adds that though this has been a dream of his for a long time, giving up his job at McNicholas will not be easy. He has been the director for three years, and he will struggle with the departure.

“It’s like having a child,” Albanese said. “Eventually they grow up and you have to move on.”




Students recognized at annual Thespian Banquet

Posted May 23, 2014; Written by Sarah Ruwe '14


On Tuesday, May 16, the McNicholas Thespian Troupe #4737 gathered at the Anderson Center for the annual Thespian Awards Banquet. This annual event takes place every May to recognize the accomplishments of the members of the troupe and to induct new members. Theatre Director Teresa De Zarn said it’s a great event to bring everyone together to celebrate.

“Everyone works so hard all year,” De Zarn said. “So to be able to come together, not just to win awards, but also to celebrate the actors, is really great. They deserve that.”

At the beginning of the evening, the Thespians have dinner while the actors who competed at the Thespian State Conference perform their IE’s, or Individual Events. After this, new Thespians are inducted. This year, 34 students were inducted, as well as one student, senior Kayla Woods, who was inducted as an Honor Thespian. The current thespians were then recognized for their accomplishments throughout the past year, including five students who were inducted as National Thespians and two students became International Thespians. The National Thespians were junior Max Bartel, senior Caroline Castleman, junior Katie Farr, senior Scott Frenzel, and senior Mary Ingram, and the International Thespians are seniors Adam Dill and Kaitlyn Schaefer.

After inductions, all of the thespians present signed the official Troupe #4737 member role for 2014. Individual awards were then presented and all the graduating seniors were recognized with a video and speeches made by the juniors. De Zarn said the senior recognition was her favorite part of the evening.

“I really enjoy listening to what the kids have to say about [the seniors],” De Zarn said. “It’s very cool and genuine.”

De Zarn said that she loves the Thespian Banquet every year because the students get to see how much they’ve accomplished. “To see them realize how far they’ve come is amazing. It all just sort of comes together then, like their own light bulb moment. That really is the pay-off,” she said.

The Theater Boosters also introduced a new award this year called the Wing Award. This award is given to a parent of a thespian student who has shown extreme dedication to the program and has gone above and beyond to make the McNicholas theatre productions a success. This year’s recipient was Kathi Frenzel, mother of senior Scott Frenzel. Throughout Scott’s three years of theatre involvement, Kathi has been constantly involved with the program, from being in charge of costumes for nearly every show to organizing all the parent volunteers and so much more. De Zarn said there couldn’t have been anyone more perfect to be the first ever recipient of the Wing Award.

The awards given at the banquet include:

  • Outstanding Dancer: senior Kayla Woods
  • Best Actor in a Cameo Role: junior Matt DeLuca
  • Best Actress in a Cameo Role: junior Michelle Rowekamp
  • Rookies of the Year: freshmen Jacob Fries and Maria Tucker
  • Most Improved: Mitchell Hartwell and Emma Kapp
  • Rising Stars: junior Max Bartel, junior Allie O’Keefe and freshman Emma Smith
  • Technical Excellence: sophomore Nick Robben
  • Stage Crew Excellence: sophomore Maddie Buhr and junior Francy Shumrick
  • Best Supporting Actor: senior Scott Frenzel
  • Best Supporting Actress: senior Mary Ingram
  • Outstanding Contribution to McNicholas Theatre: seniors Scott Frenzel and Mary Ingram
  • Outstanding Contribution to Visual Arts: junior Jenna Lawrence
  • Best Stage Manager: senior Caroline Castleman
  • Best Actor: sophomore Chris Wells
  • Best Actress: senior Madison Hartwell
  • Excellence in Theatre: seniors Adam Dill and Kaitlyn Schaefer
  • Best Thespian: junior Katie Farr and senior Scott Frenzel


McNicholas coach/teacher selected as a 2014 President’s Award Honoree

Posted May 23, 2014; Written by Gabrielle Quesnell

On Saturday, April 12, McNicholas Head Football Coach and teacher Mike Orlando received the President’s Award from the Franciscan University Baron Club.

Each year, Franciscan University, a Catholic institution in Steubenville, Ohio which is also Orlando’s hometown, honors local residents who have shown “incredible leadership and dedication” beyond their life in Steubenville. The success stories are varied, but nominees share a common thread of being from the Steubenville area or having studied at Franciscan University, and having made a positive difference in his or her community. Orlando was nominated by Mike Florak, his former baseball coach and now current Director of Community Development of Franciscan University.

“Mike was a high school baseball coach of mine, and we remained close after graduation. He was also my assistant baseball coach at Ohio University and helped me tremendously along the way,” Orlando said.

In the letter Orlando received informing of him of the award, Baron Club chair Paul Carapellotti said, “We are excited and blessed to have you as one of our honorees…We will celebrate your accomplishments on the 20th anniversary of your being a key member of Catholic Central’s State Championship-winning football and baseball teams. We also recognize your career as an Ohio University football player and especially your remarkable work as the head football coach of McNicholas High School.”

In his acceptance speech, Orlando acknowledged the impact Steubenville and the people in his life have had on him, especially his parents, former coaches, and his wife. “When I am asked where I am from, I always tell them I live in Cincinnati, but I am from Steubenville. I make sure they know the difference,” he told the audience.


He also referenced a quote from his former coach Gregg Bahen from Catholic Central High School. “A great coach and a better man told me to always remember who you are and where you are from,” Orlando added.




McNicholas recognizes students at annual art show and academic awards
Posted May 23, 2014; Written by Maddie Sorenson ‘14

On Wednesday, May 14, McNicholas students, parents, and faculty gathered in the lobby and main gym for the annual Art Show and Academic Awards. The Art Show began at 6 p.m. and the academic portion of the night began at 7 p.m.

Students were recognized for their academic achievement by members of each department as well as representatives from the armed forces, alumni, and community members. For a complete listing of the awards and scholarship presented, click here.

Before the Academic Awards, students and families were encouraged to enjoy students’ artwork. Senior Maddie Weir had five pieces in the show and was excited for her peers and family members to see her hard work displayed.


“I have worked hard this year, so I am excited that my hard work and talent will be shown to everyone,” Weir said.




Students recognized for Le Grand Concours scores
Posted May 20, 2014

The National French Contest/Le Grand Concours is an annual competition sponsored by the American
Association of Teachers of French. Students of French in all 50 states and abroad take a written test and
compete against students with similar educational background for prizes.

Six French students from McNicholas scored in the top 50th percentile and earned a Certificat de
Réussite: Maia Forman, Molly Smith, Alec Marcum, Matthew Massie, Samantha Noland, Joseph Paquette.

Nicholas Emig, Molly Jorden, and Alexandra Wells earned a Certificat d’Honneur for a score that
ranked them in the top 20th percentile nationally.

For earning a score that ranked them among the Top 10 nationally, Cameron Hayes, Christopher Wells, and Ximena Trevino earned a Certificat d’Honneur—Lauréat National.




Environmental Science students earn 2nd place on National Test
Posted May 20, 2014

Congratulations to the following Environmental Science students and their teacher Ms. Debbie Bonekamp.  They came in second place as a team on the National Science League Test for General Science, Grade 9.


  • Brady Cunningham
  • John Mayer
  • Evan Kramer
  • Kate Whitesell
  • Zane Brownrigg
  • Saul Barriga
  • Michael White
  • Trevor Myers
  • Brittany Weeder
  • Anna Kellerman



McNicholas journalists participate in Reds High School Media Day

Posted May 19, 2014; Written by Sarah Ruwe '14

McNicholas journalism students senior Sarah Ruwe and junior Lauren Fisher attended the Reds High School Media Day on Thursday, May 1, along with Director of Communications and Journalism teacher Angie Noble. Each year, the Reds host multiple high school media days and invite two students from selected local high schools to participate. Ruwe, the sports editor of The McNicholas Milestone, and Fisher, the features editor, were honored to participate.

“I feel like this is the perfect learning opportunity for students who are interested in pursuing careers that are related to journalism and the media,” Fisher said. “As someone who is considering journalism as a possible career path, I feel that this experience opened my eyes to what the media industry has to offer.”

The afternoon focused on bringing high school students behind-the-scenes to experience all the work that goes into the media coverage of a Reds baseball game. The students had the opportunity to speak with Director of Reds Media Relations Rob Butcher about the work that goes on to publicize the Reds and the players, and also what he looks for in hiring for media related positions.

Fisher said she really appreciated the opportunity to talk to Butcher about what is involved in a career in the media. “When we were able to speak with Rob Butcher, I learned a lot about what professionals are looking for when hiring in today’s media industry,” Fisher said. “Before now, I never really took into account the importance of considering graduate school or picking up Spanish as another language, as many of today’s baseball players hail from a Spanish background. And as I’m still conflicted about my college major, it was very reassuring to hear that many of their employees and interns come from a wide variety of college majors and degrees.”

Students then had an opportunity to tour the press box and media rooms, and step inside the control room where all of the televisions and sound systems are operated within the ballpark. They also viewed the Reds batting practice from the field and received free tickets to that night’s baseball game. While at batting practice, Fisher, Noble, and Ruwe were given baseballs by Todd Frazier.

While there, the McNicholas journalists also had the opportunity to talk with Business Operations Assistant Emily Mahle and Senior Director of Promotional Events and Player Relations Corey Hawthorne. Hawthorne spoke about one of the Reds’ newest promotions, Club Red. This new membership package is available for fans aged 13 to 15. Students will be able to attend 5 games for $40 or 8 games from $60 in a special seating area in the View Level line, as well as receive recognition on the score board, credit for food or merchandise in the Reds Team Shop, and vouchers for a free half an hour of jump time at SkyZone, a free one-day admission to The Beach Waterpark, a free hot fudge cake from Frisch’s Big Boy, and free Green Fee or Range Bucket for a Junior Golfer. The students were able to ask questions and add feedback about the promotion, and were given the opportunity to advertise the promotion at their schools.

Overall, Fisher said the day was an amazing experience she will never forget. “I loved being able to be out on the field with the team during batting practice, and getting to tour the press room,” Fisher said. “The day was such a surreal experience, and one that I feel so privileged to have been a part of.”



Top ten McNicholas scholars honored at inaugural Academic Signing Day
Posted May 13, 2014

On Thursday, May 1, the top ten academically-ranked seniors at McNicholas High School signed letters of intent to attend the colleges of their choice during the school’s first academic signing event. The students were Catherine Adams, Hayley Coldiron, Ashley Dundon, Sarah Hickman, Grace Hiltz, Kristen Rehl, Sarah Ruwe, Grant Tore, Salutatorian Ellen Uhl, and Valedictorian Jacob Woeste.

Catherine Adams signed with The Ohio State University, where she will be studying Mechanical Engineering. She earned the OSU Merit Scholarship, the Engineering Dean Scholarship, and the Proctor & Gamble Scholarship. Adams faced a tough decision when she was offered a full ride to the University of Cincinnati, but turned it down because she wanted to attend OSU for their engineering program.

“[OSU’s] labs were super futuristic and the teachers seemed involved and invested in the students’ success,” Adams said. “The honors program at OSU especially was really impressive, and I wanted to be part of it”

Parents Richard and Carol Adams said that they chose McNick because of how it prepared Catherine for life. “We wanted her to go to a co-ed school because college is co-ed, work is co-ed, and life is co-ed!” Carol said. “They focused on critical thinking; not memorizing facts,” she said. “Now she has her own formulated opinions.”

Hayley Coldiron signed with the University of Cincinnati and will be a marketing major this fall. Coldiron chose UC for its renowned business program and emphasis on co-ops. Coldiron has numerous accomplishments, including receiving three scholarships for her freshman year due to her outstanding academic record.

Coldiron credits her accomplishments to her academic career at McNicholas. “The range of classes that McNicholas offers allowed me to hone many different skills, with AP classes challenging me to think on the college level starting my sophomore year, and Advanced Journalism helping me to build a portfolio showing the technological and professional skills I have learned over the past few years,” Coldiron said.

Coldiron’s parents Amy and Steve Coldiron agree that McNicholas played a large role in her academic growth. “We felt that McNick provided Hayley with real world experience by being co-ed, as well as having excellent academics and a spiritual environment,” her mother said.

Ashley Dundon will attend The Ohio State University to major in biochemistry, a combination of her two favorite subjects. She said she chose Ohio State for several reasons. “Ohio State offers outstanding academics and research opportunities. I am part of the Health Sciences Scholars program which is a living-learning community of students [in healthcare majors]. It is very service-oriented and community based. I wanted to be in this program because service is a big part of my life and a sense of community is important to me. Ohio State is one of the few colleges that offers such a program,” Dundon said.

Dundon said that she feels very prepared for college because of the opportunities she’s had at McNick. “McNick has prepared me for the challenges ahead in college by allowing me to take difficult classes. Because I have taken several AP, college level classes, I know the work load associated with college courses and the work ethic I need to put forward in order to do well. Also, these AP classes have given me exposure to concepts I will encounter in college,” Dundon added.

Her parents, Brian and Lisa Dundon, wanted a Catholic, co-ed experience for their children and they feel McNick offers many opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, like viewing a live heart surgery, attending several leadership conferences, and experiencing a Kairos retreat. “The curriculum at McNick is challenging, which has helped to prepare our daughter for college. McNick has also given our daughter many opportunities to grow in knowledge and life experience…We have seen our daughter grow into an independent young woman. She has become independent by setting academic goals for herself, charting her own path, and thinking for herself,” they said.

Sarah Hickman, whose time at McNick has earned her everything from Women’s Golf MVP to Best Attorney at Mock Trial, has signed to attend the University of Notre Dame, where she plans to declare a major in chemistry during her sophomore year. Despite missing two semesters of high school while battling Leukemia, Hickman was able to finish within the top ten of her class, an achievement that she is immensely proud of.

“I feel that McNick has challenged me to do my best and given me the resources I needed to excel,” she said. “I think I’ll always remember all of the teachers and staff that have had an impact on my life, as well as all of the support from my fellow students.”

Parents Eric and Laurie Hickman are grateful for the education their daughter received during her time at McNick. “I feel that McNick contributed to the entire spiritual side of Sarah and helped her grow in her faith,” Eric said. “She was always more independent in her studies, but now she is tutoring other kids at school and helping her younger brother with his studies. I feel McNick has taught her the skills she will utilize in college and has helped her develop her academic talents.”

Grace Hiltz, whose school-wide participation has taken her from liturgy choir to service in Nicaragua, will be attending the University of Cincinnati on a full-tuition scholarship, where she will study biomedical engineering. As she looks back on her time in high school, Hiltz believes that the academic tools she gained at McNicholas will be of benefit to her when she takes on new challenges in college.

“McNick taught me the importance of continuing to challenge myself, as well as teaching me to become a leader in the community, which allowed me to progress to this point,” she said. “I can’t wait for the exciting research opportunities and the new challenging classes which are more specific to my major.”

Parents Robert and Amy Hiltz are confident that their daughter’s willingness to take on multiple honors and AP classes has prepared her well for the rigorous co-op program at UC. “McNick gives our children wonderful leadership opportunities and challenges them academically,” Amy said. “Grace has exceeded our expectations with her outstanding math and science skills, which will serve her well in her engineering degree this fall.”

Kristen Rehl will also be attending The Ohio State University where she will major in molecular genetics.

An AP scholar and member of the Spanish, Science, and National Honor Societies, Rehl said that she was deciding between OSU and UD. “I grew up an Ohio State fan but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go there or not…I visited an ‘admitted students day’ at Ohio State. There, you took a sample class to see what the atmosphere would be like. I really enjoyed it and later, when I walked on campus, it just felt right,” Rehl said.

At McNick, Rehl said that the teachers and challenging curriculum that have prepared her for this next chapter in her life. “[I had] great teachers that were willing to help me no matter what. The teachers really care about you doing well and would work with me…Having the opportunity to take AP classes has helped me prepare for the workload, and stress load, of college,” she said.

Rehl’s parents, Bill and Lori Rehl, are happy with their decision to send Kristen to McNick. “Kristen has definitely grown academically in her four years at McNick, and the Catholic education has enabled her to grow spiritually. She has always been a hard-working, talented student, but we have seen her grow from a ‘book smart’ student who studies hard, and therefore, does well, to a critical thinker and problem solver. Through her extensive service work and her opportunities to travel to Nicaragua and Washington, D.C. she has become very sensitive to global social justice issues, such as poverty and immigration. [These opportunities] have given her the confidence and skills to succeed,” her parents said.

Sarah Ruwe signed with Kent State University, where she will be majoring in speech pathology, with hopes to minor in American Sign Language. Her decision to major in speech pathology was greatly influenced by her experience on career day at McNick, when she listened to a speech pathologist. She earned scholarship money to Kent State and said that she chose Kent because of the level of comfort she felt there.

“As cliché as it sounds, Kent was the only school that felt like home,” Ruwe said. “I visited a lot of other schools, but this was the only one where I could really see myself.” She added that her acceptance into the school’s honors program and the opportunity to try out for the cheerleading team helped her make the decision.

Ruwe is the daughter of Steve and Julie Dumont and Phil and Lori Ruwe. Ruwe’s mother said that there were various influences in her daughter’s decision to come to McNick. “Because it was co-ed, and a Catholic school, it was a perfect fit,” Dumont said. “Sarah has grown in her interest in science. Since the fourth grade, Sarah had planned to become a writer as her profession. But being in Mr. Chadwell’s science classes, and attending a speech pathology talk on McNick’s career day, changed her mind about her career path.”

Grant Tore will attend the University of South Carolina, where he will major in biology. Tore cites the desire for a new start and a welcoming environment as the reasons for his decision. He looks forward to being able to take more specialized classes and delving deeper into specific topics of interest.

Throughout his years in high school, McNick has motivated Tore to do his best academically, while emphasizing the importance of other activities. Balancing schoolwork, extracurricular activities, spiritual life, and everything else that comes with being in high school was his biggest challenge, but Tore’s study skills, service habits, and social skills have all benefitted from the work of the past four years. Standing out most in his memory are his high scores on the National Chemistry Test and National Spanish Exam, Kairos, Appalachia, playing volleyball, and Friday football games.

Tore and his parents, Mario and Robyn Tore, chose McNick after researching other schools and finding McNick to be the best fit for Tore. McNick’s environment and academic rigor have both contributed largely to Tore’s success. Quality teachers have instilled in him a love of learning, and friends and clubs got him involved in the community. “I can’t imagine high school anywhere else but McNick,” Tore said. “We have something special here that you can’t find anywhere else.”

Salutatorian Ellen Uhl committed to the University of Dayton, where she will major in mechanical engineering. The scholarship money she received, friendly environment, and strong engineering program with co-op opportunities made UD the obvious choice.

Uhl is looking forward to being able to focus specifically on subjects that she enjoys in the years to come. For her, an emphasis on math and science is the most exciting part of the next step in her education. Through academic rigor and demanding courses, McNicholas has prepared her for what lies ahead. “The thing I found to be most challenging at McNicholas was taking multiple AP classes. I had to find a balance between the workloads for each class and prioritize certain assignments,” Uhl said. “McNick has definitely prepared me for the challenge of college by making me realize how important it is to budget my time.”

Her parents feel that McNick’s Catholic background and wide range of opportunities have benefitted her more than just academically. “A good moral background and teaching a good work ethic ensured that Ellen is a well-rounded individual both academically and morally,” Uhl’s parents Mark and Pam Uhl said. “It provided her an opportunity to complete over 300 hours of community service while maintaining a high academic standard.”

Valedictorian Jacob Woeste signed with the University of Cincinnati and will be pursuing a mechanical engineering major. Woeste chose UC for its reputable engineering and co-op programs. Woeste received the Cincinnatus and Engineering scholarships which will fund his education at UC.

Woeste's outstanding performance in the Marching Band and Robotics Club are what he attributes to his success at McNick. "Senior year, the marching band set a new record for the highest score at finals, even though this is the smallest the band has ever been. This accomplishment made all of the practice worth it. I will also always remember the robotics competition my senior year. When the team placed third in the regional competition, I was awestruck. It was an amazing reward for four years of hard work and dedication," Woeste said.

Woeste’s parents, Linda and Tom Woeste, are pleased with Jacob’s accomplishments at McNick. "The Band gave Jacob a place to belong, to feel comfortable, to make lifelong friends, to expand his musical abilities, and to experience the epitome of camaraderie and teamwork. The Rocket Band and Mr. Keith Nance will remain in our, and Jacob's, hearts forever," mother Linda Woeste said.



Senior to enter religious vocation after high school

Posted May 13, 2014; Written by Sarah Ruwe '14

Senior Sarah Faust has made the decision to enter the religious order of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist after graduating from McNicholas. This order, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was founded in the late 1990s and is based on the call of Pope John Paul II to renew religious life in what he called New Evangelization. Faust is happy with her decision and is looking forward to beginning this new journey.

“I just knew I was holding something back,” Faust said of her decision to pursue a religious vocation. “I knew there was something more I was supposed to be doing.”

Faust said she was reluctant for quite some time before she attended a retreat in Tennessee that opened her eyes to the calling she would be missing if she did not at least give it a chance. “I was not attracted to the persecution,” Faust said, noting that she was afraid she’d be made fun of for pursing religious life. In the end, she said she knew that she had to listen to what God was calling her to do. “I know he is going to take of me. I know he wouldn’t ask me to do something that isn’t right for me. God wants to form me into the person He wants me to be. He’s just asking me to trust him.”

Faust said the process of applying to enter the convent is quite elaborate, and in many ways not unlike college applications. First, she visited the convent in Michigan and was interviewed. She said the sisters are very selective in who they invite to join; they want to be sure the young women joining are entering for the right reasons. Once the sisters had discerned that they felt it was God’s will that Faust join, she received her packet inviting her to enter.

“They call it ‘getting your papers,’ and it’s a really big deal,” Faust said. She and her family filled out a large packet of information to complete her application, mostly with medical information and forms of that nature. Then, it was reviewed a final time by the sisters, and they sent her the acceptance packet.

Faust said now that she’s made her decision, she can’t wait to get started. She and her fellow initiates will go through a five year discernment period, during which they may leave at any time if they discover that religious life isn’t truly their calling. They’ll spend each day pursuing Christ through daily Mass and the Eucharist. Also, during this discernment period, she’ll be attending college at the convent, studying to be a teacher.

Faust said that from the very beginning the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, stood out as the place she wanted to be. “My heart has always been set on Dominican. The job of the Dominicans is so attractive. They have abundant joy that overflows in everything they do. It’s heaven on Earth,“ Faust said.

Faust added that she is looking forward to everything this new lifestyle will bring for her. “It’s such a beautiful courtship of Christ. It’s beautiful to see how every part of their day is living life as a prayer,” Faust said. “I’m really excited about the simplicity. I won’t have to worry about make-up or what clothes to wear. God will take care of me and all he asks for is my love. I’m excited to leave it all behind.”

As far as clothes go, for her first year of her discernment period she will be a pre-postulate, and she will wear a long, navy skirt, a white long-sleeve button-up blouse, a blue buttoned vest, and black socks and shoes. Faust said that the first year is often called the year of humility, because it is a time when the pre-postulates are learning to humble themselves before the Lord, and give up their attachment to their appearance. “We are there to worship, not to be worshiped,” Faust said. After that first year she would become a postulate and receive her first habit.

Faust’s family and friends have been supportive of her decision and are really excited to see her take this huge step. “I’m so excited for her,” sophomore Lauren Faust, her younger sister, said. “She used to say that it wasn’t what she wanted to do, but I was always thinking, ‘No, she’s definitely going to do it.’ I knew it was something she wanted to try out, and I totally support her.”

Senior Emily Feldkamp, one of Faust’s closest friends, agreed that she was happy for her. “I’m really proud of her for taking that leap of faith,” Feldkamp said. “It’s been cool to see her working up to this and finally deciding. I know that’s where she’s supposed to be.”

Faust said that no matter whether she ends up completing the discernment period and joining the order or not, she feels that her time spent with the sisters will be amazing time of growth for her, and will be able to prepare her for whatever vocation God calls her to in the end. “My soul is on the verge of expansion,” Faust said. “My life is about to take off.”



Spanish students score exceptionally on the 2014 National Spanish Exam

Posted May 5, 2014

Congratulations to our world language students who attained national recognition for their outstanding performance on the 2014 National Spanish Examinations.

Students from McNicholas earned a total of 5 gold, 27 silver, and 17 bronze medals along with 26 honorable mentions. A gold medal represents a score in the 95th percentile or better, a silver medal represents a score in the 85th percentile or better, and a bronze medal represents a score in the 75th percentile or better.

"Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious," said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the Exams, "because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 154,000 students participating 2014."

Teachers Tracey Canisalez, Kyle Jepson, and Carla Wessels will honor each student who won a national award and medals at the Academic Awards Evening at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14.

  • Level I Gold Medal Winners: Lauren Alvey, Sean Kapp, Noah Pasco, Jared Taylor, Zachary Woodke


  • Level I Silver Medal Winners: Vanessa Bayliss, Elizabeth Beck, Gracie Blades, Emma Brandt, Kathryn Byrne, Carly Cullion, Avery Dietz, Gillian Donnelly, Anna Enders, Andrew Evans, Logan Farwick, Samuel Havlis, Abby Hay, Noah Kohl, Evan Pour, Amy Powell, Andrew Schmidt, Hannah Straub, Alec Taylor, David Waterman


  • Level I Bronze Medal Winners: Adrian Ell, Kelly Ernst, Christiane Hazzard, Hailey Lau, Erin McHugh, Miranda Roesel, Chrstina Shook, Tobin Shumrick


  • Level 1 Honorable Mention Winners: Kelly Easley, Kayley Evans, Spencer Hardoerfer, Jonathon Hazzard, Jona Ridgway, Nathan Rivard, Maria Tucker


  • Level II Silver Medal Winner - Bilingual Category: Ximena Trevino


  • Level II Silver Medal Winners: Jacob Fries, Connor Higgins, Emma Kapp, Brynna Maxey, Adam Neltner, Jackson Sager


  • Level II Bronze Medal Winners: Zachary Arnold, Madeline Buhr, Matthew Cornell, Mitchell Hartwell, Alana Osterday, Gabriel Sander, Elizabeth Simmons


  • Level II Honorable Mention Winners: Taylor Ashmore, Maria Ciampone, Claire Daly, Sydney Evans, Jonathan Gray, Josh Hoeflich, Augustin Huffman, Joshua Poole, Anna Schutter, Sarah Standiford, Gillian Tierney, Jacob Vaughn, Matthew Waldeck


  • Level III Bronze Medal Winner - Bilingual Category: Brian Cabell


  • Level III Bronze Medal Winner: Aaron Diemler


  • Level III Honorable Mention: William Babb, Emily Bloemer, Nathan Hazzard, William Klunk, John Longbottom, Kyle Morrisroe


Students inducted into the National Art Honor Society
Posted March 5, 2014

Congratulations to the following students who were inducted to the National Art Honor Society on April 28:


  • Gannon McHugh
  • Maggie Danker
  • Ellen Uhl
  • Catherine Adams
  • Ty Jabin
  • Jordon Glinsek
  • Megan Mottola
  • Allison Dornbach
  • Claire Kennedy
  • Patrick Hayslip
  • Michelle Hollencamp
  • Kate Leyes
  • Trevor Hogue
  • Lily Deller
  • Brian Rastani
  • Paige Jones
  • Ploy Sithisakulrat
  • Kristen Ernst
  • Alana Osterday
  • Alexandra Gerome
  • Jenna Lawrence


Candidates for the National Art Honor Society are invited by the Art Department to apply to the society based on the students’ artistic skill, commitment to art, and academic standing. They are required to have a minimum of two semesters in art coursework and maintain a 93% average or better in art. They may be inducted as sophomores, juniors or seniors and must be in good academic standing. Once inducted, students must re-apply each year. Candidates commit to majoring or minoring in art, or will have art be a part of their careers, or will continue to have art be a strong interest after high school.



McNicholas students seek global classroom through microfinance
Posted May 2, 2014; Written by Lauren Fisher '15

Students in Michelle Semancik’s AP Government classes are coming to know the true meaning of service in a global community. With the help of microfinance organization Kiva, they have been able to use their personal funds to help finance small businesses and entrepreneurs across the world, all from the comfort of their Mt. Washington classroom.

Over the 2013 summer vacation, juniors at McNicholas High School were required to read The International Bank of Bob that followed freelance journalist Bob Harris on a journey around the world, using witty prose to inform readers about the up-and-coming microfinance industry. Since then, both of Semancik’s government classes have pooled their money together and made loans to three individuals in Togo, Tajikistan, and Zimbabwe.

“I’m hopeful that students will find a new way to help people in poverty improve their situations and basically help people help themselves,” Semancik said. “In terms of long term solutions to poverty, charity is not always the best way to help people; money can run out and leave people just as destitute as they were before.”

Founded in 2005, Kiva is a non-profit microfinance organization that works to connect groups and individuals all around the world, helping to alleviate poverty through monetary lending, rather than direct donations. Through their official website, Kiva users can choose to make loans of as little as $25 to entrepreneurs in 76 different countries, many of whom suffer from some of the worst poverty levels on the globe. Since the website’s founding, Kiva loans have totaled over $552 million – a number that continues to grow at a seemingly-exponential rate as the microfinance industry grows.

“I think that Kiva has not only benefitted the person whom we are helping, but it has also helped us understand the needs of others in areas of the world much poorer than our own,” junior Emily Rivard said. “I have realized that even a small amount of money donated can help the person in need.”

In October of 2013, Semancik was one of 200 educators selected to attend the first ever Kiva U Conference in the organization’s home city of San Francisco. The four day event, which centered on the idea of change through microfinance, brought together young leaders and educators from across America as they discussed everything from poverty alleviation to clean energy. With a large focus aimed at today’s young people, the Kiva U movement aims to inform and empower a whole new generation of eager philanthropists.

“We are a global community, and I hope that students see the connections among all of us,” Semancik said. “Helping other people get out of poverty helps everyone.”

In addition to the socioeconomic benefits, Semancik believes that her students will be able to realize the connection between giving through microfinance and McNick’s emphasis on a Christian lifestyle.

“Our charism states that ‘we embrace the call to humbly serve God and others,’ that ‘we are united in compassion, action, and hope,’ and that we are to ‘offer the work of our minds and hands in the service of a more just world.’” Semancik said. “I think that connecting with people around the world and helping others fits right in with those statements.”

As this year’s juniors prepare to move on from their AP Government classroom at the end of the year, Semancik hopes that her students will forever remember the lessons they learned beyond the textbook.

“I hope that students, no matter where they end up or what career they have, remember that they are a part of a global community,” Semancik said. “Our decisions affect others. We can affect change fairly easily, for good or for bad, and if the rest of the world is suffering, we suffer.”



McNicholas participates in Relay for Life
Posted May 2, 2014; Written by Maddie Sorensen '14

Approximately 165 McNicholas students will participate in the annual Relay for Life at Anderson High School from 6 p.m. on Friday, May 9 until 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 10.

The Relay for Life event was created by the American Cancer Association in hopes of raising money for research on finding a cure for cancer. During the entirety of the event, each team should have at least one team member walking the track.

Senior Class President Riley Whitehouse started getting involved with Relay for Life her freshman year. Since then, she has organized McNicholas student teams to participate in this event and has worked to plan and raise money for the event.  “Relay for Life is a great way to interact with classmates and other schools while enjoying a night filled with activities, but at the same time we are honoring and celebrating the lives of those who have passed [from cancer],” Whitehouse said.

So far, $440 has been raised from T-shirt sales. Students who have ordered t-shirts will receive them on Thursday, May 8. Other fundraisers have included snow cone and bake sales at lunch.

Each student has a goal to raise $100 for their team. There will be 17 teams representing McNicholas this year. Each team is expected to bring its own supplies for the night. “I would recommend bringing tents, chairs, blankets, food, soft drinks, a football, or any other game to play. The whole night is full of activities, so the more you bring, the more fun it is,” Whitehouse said. “I would also suggest bringing warm clothes since it can get pretty cold at night.”

This year, 19 seniors will participate in this event. Senior Saidee Shaffer is the captain of one of the senior teams. “I am very excited to be a captain for the Relay for Life. This event is very important to me, and I am happy I can be a part of it. I hope I can represent people I know who have suffered from cancer,” Shaffer said.

This year McNicholas High School will proudly represent and support senior Sarah Hickman who recently finished chemotherapy treatments. Hickman is assisting Whitehouse with coordinating the teams and raising money for the event. Whitehouse hopes to raise $6,000 to benefit cancer research. “I think students gain a closer connection with others from working together and gaining awareness of cancer from attending this event,” she said.


To learn more about Relay for Life or donate to this event, visit



53 seniors named to Century Club
Posted April 28, 2014


The Class of 2014 has collectively performed over 15,000 hours of service over their four years and 53 members of the class have been named to the Century Club. The honorary Century Club recognizes those who do over 100 hours of service during their time at McNicholas. Membership in the Century Club is determined by adding all service hours completed helping the underprivileged and no more than 60 hours of other kinds of service.

Community service is an important part the curriculum at McNicholas High School. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors all participate in the school-wide service projects as well as their own personal ways of providing service. The vast majority of McNicholas students go far beyond the required hours of community service. Congratulations to the 2014 Century Club.


Catherine Adams
Margaret Beck
Karina Cabrera
Caroline Castleman
Katie Cornel
Sarah Cornell
Sarah Croweak
Alley Dornbach
Hannah Dries
Ashley Dundon

Amani Elfar
Sarah Emig
Matthew Estes

Emily Feldkamp
Mark Flatt
Emily Fortin

Scott Frenzel
Laura Garrison

Hannah Gonce

Andrew Hay
Grace Hiltz
David Holmes
Dylan Kirby
Andrew Kump
TJ McSwigan
Megan Mottola
Lillie Motz
Lacey O'Connell
Ann Rack
Mikayla Randolph

Kristen Rehl
Cameron Roesel
Sarah Ruwe

Daniel Sandmann

Emmy Sarra
Kaitlyn Schaefer

Megan Schaefer

Melissa Scheidler
Alyson Schenz
Mary Schmitt
Sadiee Shaffer
Maddie Sorensen
Hannah Staubach
Ashley Taylor
Ellie Tierney

Grant Tore
Ellen Uhl
Tommy Wegener
Maddie White
Riley Whitehouse
Kayla Woods
Jacob Woeste
Raven York

Baseball to participate in Reds Futures Game

Posted April 28, 2014; Written by Nicholas Keri '15

On Saturday, May 3, the McNicholas Varsity Baseball Team will be participating in the Skyline Chili Reds Futures Showcase. The game will be held at the University of Cincinnati and they will play their area rival, the Turpin Spartans.

This is the third year for the Reds Futures Showcase and for McNicholas to be invited to participate. The Showcase involves 36 schools playing at various venues, and on May 4, all of the teams that participated in the Showcase will be recognized on field at Great American Ballpark before the Reds game against the Milwaukee Brewers. MVPs from each of the futures games will be recognized individually.

Junior baseball player Jordan Whitmore is very excited to play the game. “I think it’ll be a lot of fun and I’ll be blown away playing in a larger venue. I have always wanted to experience what it’s like to play in a pretty big stadium, and now I have the opportunity to experience it,” Whitmore said.

Tickets are only $5 and are available in the Athletic Office or they can be purchased at the gate on game day. In addition to admission to the game, the $5 ticket also includes a voucher to receive one view level Reds ticket for a game in September and a voucher for one Skyline Chili Cheese Coney. Part of the profit from tickets sold for the May 4 Reds game will benefit McNicholas. Click here to purchase tickets to the May 4 game at GABP. Whitmore said the entire team would love for students to come out and support them on May 3 and 4.

“Believe it or not, but we play better when we have a crowd. We play more relaxed and confident. Plus, if you come out you get a free Reds ticket,” Whitmore added.



AP Music Theory presents mini-concert
Posted April 28, 2014

Choral Director Chris Albanese's Advanced Placement Music Theory class recently performed a mini-concert to showcase their work from the year.

Albanese, who has taught the class for the past two years, requires students in the AP level class to compose original music to lyrics he supplies. Senior students Adam Dill, Cameron Engel, and Michael Massie, who named their class group "Bach up off me, Bro," wrote an original composition to the lyrics of "Ramble On" by Led Zeppelin with Dill on keyboard, Engel on lead guitar, and Massie on tenor saxophone.

"We have spent the year discussing how chords work in sequence with each other and how to choose which chord will follow each chord to make the music, the chord progressions. We also work on four part dictation with four chords, pitch, and chord structure," Albanese said.

Albanese said he works with Band Director Keith Nance to identify students who have an aptitude for the college level class. "We look at overall grades, including math scores because [the class material] is systematic and analytical with examining chord progressions, and the systems and processes that create music and how that plays into composing music," Albanese added.

Albanese said that with the skills learned in AP Music Theory, students are able to do something with music if they choose due to the foundational knowledge they've learned in composition and analysis.

"Learning music theory is like learning a language-the students will have enough knowledge of music to know their way around it," he said.


Students compete at District Science Fair
Posted February 18, 2014

Fourteen students presented their science projects at the District Science Fair held on March 15 at the University of Cincinnati.


Alessia Accordino, Molly Jorden, Sean Kapp, Evan Pour, Jacob Pray, Gabriel Sander, Owen Schuh, Alex Wells, and Evan Winkelman presented individual projects while Michelle Hollenkamp and Alana Osterday and Emily Mentzel and Madison Zimmer presented as teams of two students.


Sean Kapp, Evan Winkelman, Alessia Accordino, Alex Wells, and Molly Jorden received cash or scholarship awards.
Molly Jorden, Evan Winkelman, Gabriel Sander, and Alex Wells qualified for the state fair, which will be held on May 10 at OSU.


Thank you to Ms. Bonekamp and Ms. Wulker for coaching the students throughout the science fair process.





Students inducted to language honor societies
Posted April 28, 2014


The World Languages Department installed the newest members of la Société Honoraire de Français, the National Junior Classical League Latin Honor Society, and the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánia on April 24. The induction ceremony honored high-achieving students of all three languages.

Guest speaker Mrs. Patricia Rouchon-Wells, mother of Christopher '16 and Alexandra '17, explained the many benefits of learning a second language. Mrs. Rouchon-Wells was born and raised in France and came to the United States thirty years ago to attend college on a tennis scholarship. She shared personal anecdotes about her life experiences in learning about American culture and learning English.

Congratulations to the following inductees:


  • French
    Lauren Fisher, Alec Marcum, Samantha Noland, Joseph Paquette


  • Latin
    Caroline Castleman, Micah Diemler, Eric Frey, Andrew Parra


  • Spanish
    William Babb, Amani Elfar, Emily Bloemer, Andrew Hay, Mitch Bloemer, Sarah Hickman, Kelly Breitenbach, John Longbottom, Brian Cabell, Kyle Morrisroe, Kelly Cole, Danielle Piening, Margaret Danker, Alyson Schenz, Aaron Diemler, Riley Whitehouse, Hannah Dries, Hope Wilson, Sarah Wuerfel



Five McNicholas seniors sign to play college sports

Posted April 28, 2014; Hayley Coldiron '14, Lauren Fisher '13, and Sarah Ruwe '14

On Wednesday, April 16, the final NCAA National Signing Day for the 2013-2014 school year, five McNicholas seniors signed letters of intent to play college sports. The students were Dominic Gabriele (Eastgate) for football at Mt. St. Joseph University, Grady Garrison (Mt. Washington) for soccer at Wilmington College, Carsen Gerome (Batavia) for softball at UC Clermont, Andrew Hay (Anderson Township) for football at Centre College, and Maddie Sorensen (Loveland) for softball at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Gabriele, a three year McNicholas varsity football athlete, was named 2nd Team GCL Coed Central and tied for fourth in the GCL Central in receiving yards with 253 total. He was also tenth for rushing yards with an average of 44.6 yards per game. “Being on the team at McNick has given me the opportunity to step out onto the field and show everyone what I’m all about,” Gabriele said. “It has taught me discipline, and I’ll never forget my teammates.”

While Gabriele will miss his time at McNicholas, he is looking forward to joining Mt. St. Joseph University’s team. “I know the head coach already, and I used to be a ball boy for the team when I was younger. I feel like Mt. St. Joseph is my place, and I can’t wait to be back,” Gabriele said. He is entering Mt. St. Joseph with an undecided major and is open to any opportunities that come his way.

Parents Nino and Kris Gabriele are excited to see their son play at the next level. “I’m looking forward to seeing him show his talents and to mature, not only as a football player, but as the young man he has become,” Nino said.

Garrison, a three-year varsity soccer player, was named 1st team GCL Central and McNicholas Best Offensive player in both his junior and senior years, as well as 1st Team Cincinnati Enquirer during his senior year. In the coming season, he will be attending Wilmington College, where he will continue his position as a forward for the Quakers.

“Playing on varsity for three years has really helped me learn how to play on a team,” Garrison said. “I really try to be a role model for them.”

After watching their son play soccer since age four, parents Taren and Grant Garrison look forward to seeing him compete at the college level. “We’re very proud,” Taren said. “It’s been a very long time – so many years of devotion that will finally pay off. I’m looking forward to seeing how well he will handle this new challenge.”

Gerome, a four-year varsity softball player and Batavia resident, has chosen to take her talents to the University of Cincinnati - Clermont, where she hopes to continue her role as pitcher. An avid softball player since age seven, she plans to pursue a major in criminal justice with a minor in social work. During her time at McNicholas, Gerome had the lowest ERA in the GGCL during her junior year.

As she looks forward to becoming a Bearcat, she looks back fondly on time with her teammates at McNicholas. “They helped me to learn from my mistakes, and not to give up, even when I get frustrated,” Gerome said. “I’ll always remember all of the inside jokes – the stuff that made softball fun, even outside of practice.”

Parents Melissa and Tim Allen, and Perry Gerome, have been committed to helping their daughter continue her softball career beyond the high school arena. Two years ago, they contacted coaches at UC Clermont, where Gerome has been training ever since.

Allen said that she is especially grateful for her daughter’s Catholic education, and is incredibly proud of who she has become throughout her years at McNicholas. “Now I get to watch her play ball for four more years,” she said. “I get to watch her do what she loves.”

Hay, a two year varsity football defensive tackle, ended his senior season with 29 solo tackles and 26 assists for a total of 55 tackles. “My time at McNick has really helped me learn to work as a team,” Hay said. “It’s been great having others to depend on and knowing that others depend on me too.”

After watching his three older brothers play on Centre College’s football team, Hay believes it is the right place for him. He plans on studying economics during his time there. “Centre seemed like a great fit and my family has a history there, so I know I’ll already have a ton of support,” Hay said.

Parents Jim and Connie Hay said the whole family is proud of what Andrew has accomplished and are looking forward to seeing him continue the family legacy. “I highly recommend that students play at the collegiate level if they can,” Jim said. “It’s a great experience, and I believe that Andrew’s time at Center College will be no exception.”

Sorensen is a four year varsity softball player, with three years at McNick and one year at Bourgade Catholic High School in Phoenix, Arizona. She was named 2nd Team GGCL Central her sophomore and junior years, and finished her high school career with a .350 batting average. “My time playing at McNick was really what made me decide to play in college,” Sorensen said. “My coaches and teammates motivated me to fulfill my dreams.”

Sorensen received four other offers but after meeting the coach Ohio Wesleyan University, she knew that was where she wanted to play. “I chose OWU because of the coach [Cassie Cunningham] and how friendly and willing she is to make the team the best it can be. She’s very motivating,” Sorensen said.

Parents Maureen and John Sorensen said they’re very excited to see Maddie take her game to the next level. “We’re absolutely thrilled,” Maureen said. “We couldn’t be more proud. She’s worked very hard.”




Sophomore wins writing scholarship

Posted April 28, 2014; Written by Nicholas Keri '15

Sophomore Jarrod Roetenberger earned second place in the Air Force Heritage and History Writing competition. Roetenberger won a $1,000 of scholarship for his accomplishment.

This was the second time he had entered the contest, the first being in 8th grade when he received an honorable mention. His essays focused on the prompts of “How did the participation of American pilots in WWI assist in the creation of a U.S. Air Corps and eventually the U.S. Air Force?” and “Who were two significant U.S. pilots of this period?”


Roetenberger, a Pierce Township resident and the son of Paul and Mary Roetenberger, chose to write about Eddie Rickenbacker and Frank Luke, US pilots in World War I. Roetenberger said he chose these pilots because he was familiar with their stories. “They were the only two WWI pilots to be awarded the Medal of Honor, and I’ve been a history nut since the sixth grade, so I know all about them,” Roetenberger said. “History has been my favorite subject since then, and I’ve read countless war books and I watch the Military Channel for fun.”


The contest was held on a national scale, with entries from six states, open to all students between the ages of 13-18. Roetenberger said he plans on entering again next year with the goal of winning first place.


Roetenberger’s email signature contains a quote from Rickenbacker, which is a daily inspiration for him: “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do; there can be no courage unless you’re scared.”



Rockets for Life attend leadership summit

April 28, 2014

Saturday, March 29, Rockets for Life Club members Lily Deller, Jenna Lawrence, and Emma McDermott along with club moderator Tracey Canisalez attended the Students for Life Leadership Summit at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky.

In addition to having the opportunity to meet with other prolife students from high schools and universities in Ohio and Kentucky, the Rockets for Life members heard from several speakers: Kristan Hawkins, the president of the Students for Life Leadership Association; a lawyer who explained their constitutional rights as a prolife club for free speech; a woman who was conceived in rape and whose birth mother gave her up for adoption; a woman who had an abortion and now helps other women who regret and need healing because of their abortions; and a woman who works for a pregnancy center and helps women.

"We heard some pretty amazing stories and received lots of great ideas to improve our club [at McNicholas]. I believe it was well worth the trip!" Canisalez said.

During the remainder of the month of April, the Rockets for Life Club is collecting change in baby bottles located around McNicholas as well as diapers, all of which will be donated to Pregnancy Center East. Questions? Contact Rockets for Life Club moderator Tracey Canisalez at



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.



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