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Weekly Newsletter Archive



Science Department receives Governor’s Award for 27th consecutive year
Posted October 6, 2015

The McNicholas High School Science Department has been selected for the 27th consecutive year to receive the Governor's Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education and Student Research. STEM Education embraces science, technology, engineering, and math in an effort to prepare students to be successful in the 21st century work environment. Science teachers Mrs. Regina Goines, Ms. Debbie Bonekamp, Ms. Mary Denneman, Mr. Jon Spurlock, Mr. John Chadwell, and Ms. Lauren Wulker received this award for their work during the 2014-15 academic year.

Goines, who is also the department chair, said that they consistently receive the award because the department strives to offer students many opportunities to practice science, technology, engineering, and math outside the classroom as well as in their academic classes.

"The opportunities that our students take advantage of are amazing. We have an established science fair for our biology students, Science National Honor Society, Robotics Club, camps, and extra science experiences that qualify us for the award," Goines said. "We work really hard to expose our students to outside science opportunities, we help them navigate the application process, and they come back excited and excited about the principles of STEM," Goines said.

The McNicholas Science curriculum includes environmental science, biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and physics, with Advanced Placement classes available in biology and physics. McNicholas alumni volunteer annually as mentors to current students as they consider colleges, majors, and future careers relating to science or medicine.




Sager, Taylor named Commended Students in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program
Posted October 2, 2015

Seniors Jackson Sager and Matthew Taylor have been named Commended Students in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program. A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented by Principal Patty Beckert to these scholastically talented seniors.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2016 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2016 competition by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

"The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success," commented a spokesperson for NMSC. "These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success."




Bentley, Heise crowned Homecoming King and Queen
Posted October 1, 2015

On Sat., Sept. 26, McNicholas High School celebrated Homecoming. Seniors Tristan Bentley and Emma Heise were crowned the King and Queen during the traditional halftime ceremonies that included the introduction of the 10 senior men and 10 senior women on the court as well as a performance by the Rocket Marching Band and the McNicholas Cheerleaders. The Dance Team performed before the game.


The 2015 Homecoming Court consisted of:

Katie Sponsler
Claire Daly
Gillian Tierney
Kaylin Adkins
Sydney Evans

Emma Kapp
Emma Heise
Emily Tekulve
Maia Forman
Brittany Taylor

Jacob Cheek
Matthew Cornell
Will Kamphaus
Zach Arnold
Caleb Brunner

Grant Painter
Mitchell Hartwell
Tristan Bentley
Joshua McSwiggan
Jacob Round

Homecoming capped off a lively spirit week that included dress-up days and a pep rally planned by Spirit Club and a Friday evening bonfire sponsored by Student Council. The Annual Walk Day on Friday, Sept. 25 raised over $47,000 for the school. Junior Megan Rack led the school in donations and the following students were the tops in their classes: Freshmen- Aiji Gregory; Sophomore - Alexander Deimling ; Junior - Benjamin Wainscott and Senior - Kevin Grannen. A big thanks to all parents, alumni, and friends of McNicholas who helped students surpass the goal.






McNicholas featured on WLWT story about Pope Francis

Posted October 1, 2015

McNicholas was recently featured on WLWT News in a story about the impact of Pope Francis’ visit on youth. Watch the story by clicking here.





Women’s tennis honored; Daly profiled in Enquirer

Posted October 1, 2015

The McNicholas High School Women’s Tennis Team is heading into tournaments with one of their best seasons ever. Last week, the team was voted JJ Huddle’s Team of the Week with their defeat of Carroll and St. Ursula for the first time in the program’s history. Number one seed freshman Kay Daly was recently profiled in The Cincinnati Enquirer.





Science students serve local elementary schools
Posted September 25, 2015

On Thursday, Sept. 17 and Friday, Sept. 18, Advanced Placement Biology and Physics students shared their knowledge of and passion for science with area elementary students.

One group served the students of Guardian Angels School by assisting with their Crystal Clear Science Days. Rockets manned stations which allowed the GA students hands-on contact with scientific principles. Senior Jarrod Roetenberger, for example, helped students learn the principles of wind power using pinwheels.

Science Department Chair Regina Goines said, "The little kids look up to and respect our students. They see our young scientists as cool and therefore science too becomes cool."

A second group served students at Mt. Washington Elementary School. Under the guidance of Perrin Shepard from COSI (Center of Science and Industry), they involved students with hands-on displays to teach about animals, plants, eco-systems, and habitats.

Goines added, "We love sending our students out into the community to share their strong science backgrounds and their passion for the subject."




McNicholas inducts new members into Science National Honor Society
Posted September 22, 2015

On Thursday, Sept. 17, McNicholas High School inducted twenty seniors into the Science National Honor Society. Seniors who have a non-weighted grade point average of 87 percent, non-weighted average in science courses of 92 percent, have taken or are taking four years of science including biology, chemistry, physics, and at least one advanced placement science course, and have pursued science outside the classroom in some way (taking a science fair project beyond the local level, volunteering in a science or health related field, participating in Eco Club, etc.) are eligible for induction.

This year’s class includes:

Zach Arnold
Taylor Ashmore
William Babb
Matthew Cornell
Claire Daly
Nick Emig
Jackson Durm

Brian Gauch
Will Kamphaus
Emma Kapp
Brynna Maxey
Adam Neltner

Joshua Poole
Nick Robben

Jarrod Roetenberger
Jacob Round
Brittany Taylor
Gillian Tierney
Kyle Timmons
Hannah Wuerfel

During the induction ceremony, McNicholas alumnus Susie Arshonsky ’01 addressed the students and families. Arshonsky graduated McNicholas as co-valedictorian and attended Northwestern University on a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship. She graduated in 2005 with a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering in 2005 and was commissioned as an officer in the US Navy. While serving in the Navy, Arshonsky served on two ships, graduated with honors from Navy Nuclear Power School, was certified by the Department of Energy as a nuclear propulsion-trained officer, and led two divisions of sailors on overseas deployments in the Persian Gulf and the Western Pacific. After completing her active duty commitment, Arshonsky transitioned to the private sector and worked as a design engineer for Ethicon. After earning her MBA from Xavier University in 2014, Arshonsky moved into a marketing role in the Johnson & Johnson Medical Device marketing Leadership Development Program.

The purpose of the Science National Honor Society is to encourage participation in and recognition of scientific and intellectual thought, to advance the students’ knowledge of classical and modern science, to communicate with the scientific community, to aid the civic community with its comprehension of science, and to encourage students to participate in community service and, in turn, encourage a dedication to the pursuit of scientific knowledge that benefits mankind. Members are expected to help with science fair panels and science fair judging at McNicholas and other schools.




McNicholas celebrates Kairos 100

Posted September 22, 2015

McNicholas celebrated an important milestone on Sept. 5 with a special Mass and reception commemorating the school's 100th Kairos retreat.

Fr. Jan Schmidt celebrated Mass in the newly-renovated Café & Student Union with over 80 students, faculty, alumni, and friends. "Thank you so much for putting together such a lovely celebration," Kristina Rouster O'Conner, member of Kairos 1 and the Class of '95 said. 


She added, "It was wonderful being a part of such a commemorative event...Kairos 100! I had a great time reconnecting with so many people and walking through the halls of McNick again. The paint colors may have changed and the Café may be new, but the faces and feelings felt like home."




McNicholas theology teacher receives Spirit of Sister Dorothy Stang Award

Posted September 10, 2015

McNicholas educator John Norman received one of the 2015 Spirit of Sister Dorothy Stang Awards for his work with the McNicholas social justice ministry over the past 35 years.

Norman began at McNicholas in the fall of 1980 as a theology teacher and social justice coordinator responsible for implementing the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille’s focus on social justice in the McNicholas community. One year later, Norman started McNicholas’ 35 year relationship with the Glenmary Home Missions by beginning an annual service trip to Eastern Kentucky and now Joppa, Tennessee. He also re-established a focus on student service, now community service, to the broader community with an emphasis on the most vulnerable members of our society.

Norman spearheaded summer service trips to Slidell, Louisiana to work with Habitat for Humanity in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in the Gulf Coast. In June 2012, he initiated an ongoing relationship with Immaculate Heart of Mary parish and their annual Nicaraguan Immersion Trip which continued this past June for the fourth year.


The Spirit of Sister Dorothy Stang Award is granted by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Offices of Mission, Social Action, Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Evangelization and Catechesis to keep alive the ministry and memory of Sister Dorothy Stang. The award also honors teachers who exemplify the values of Sister Dorothy through their social justice ministry, service work, and teaching.

“I am truly honored to receive the Sister Dorothy Stang Award, for she is truly a prophet and saint of our times,” Norman said. “She inspires me to continue in the shared struggle for a world in which everyone has the opportunity to develop their unique talents and gifts. I want my students to be inspired by Sr. Dorothy to work, locally and globally, for justice and peace. And finally, deep within, I am very grateful to the Lord for this award, which I share with the wonderful McNicholas community, my friends and family.”




McNicholas welcomes new faculty and staff

Posted August 14, 2015


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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




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


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


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


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

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

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

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



Celebrating Kairos 100: 20 years of living the 4th

Posted August 4, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

McNicholas grad receives national writing award
Updated July 10, 2015

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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




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