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Weekly Newsletter Archive



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




Students to learn and serve in Nicaragua
Posted May 27, 2015

On Wednesday, June 3, students and faculty from McNicholas will travel to Nicaragua for the annual immersion trip in partnership with Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. Participants will spend time at the Cultural Center of Batahola Norte in Managua where they will witness the vibrant ministry and the spirit of community that has been cultivated there.

The Cultural Center was co-founded in 1983 by Sister Margie Navarro, CSJ, a 1949 graduate of St. Joseph Academy (the school's name before it was christened as Archbishop McNicholas High School).  The Center's vision is "to live a humane and just lifestyle with preference for the poor and according to the Gospel, rooted in the value of sharing who we are and what we have to help transform society into the Kingdom of God."

The group will also travel to the northern, mountainous region of Nicaragua to visit the people of San Jose de Cusmapa and learn about the work of the Fabretto Foundation, an organization founded by Italian Salesian missionary Father Rafael Maria Fabretto to uplift community well-being in rural Nicaragua through education and nutrition.

Participants this year include members of the Class of 2015 Max Bartel, Alex Gerome, Michelle Hollenkamp, and Caroline Jorden and members of the Class of 2016 Hannah Brune, Sally Daoud, Madeline Fehn, Haleigh Haugh, Brynna Maxey, Sierra Meyer, Emma Smith, Michaela Shepherd, Sarah Standiford, and Jake Vaughn. The group will once again be accompanied this year by theology teachers Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth and John Norman, science teacher Lauren Wulker, and alumnus Grant Tore ('14).

You can follow the group through the blog and see photos from their experience (as internet access allows) at



Class of 2015 celebrates graduation

Posted May 27, 2015

On Thursday, May 21, McNicholas High School celebrated the Class of 2015 with commencement exercises at the Taft Theatre. The class of 143 graduates joined by family and friends remembered their high school experiences with music and speeches centered on the evening’s theme of “Moving on is simple. It’s what we leave behind that’s hard.”

After the traditional procession to “Pomp and Circumstance,” Salutatorian Brandon Walsh addressed the class. “The Urban Dictionary defines the salutatorian as the person in the class who missed being valedictorian by .08,” Walsh kidded. Walsh, who will be attending Maryville College this fall, also thanked his parents for their sacrifices and support throughout his education.

Graduation speaker Jeff Mulvey praised the class for looking out for one another the past four years and reminded them that a part of them will remain with their classmates, teachers, and families.

“And as we watch you go off into the next part of your life, I remind you that investing in the lives of those around you, seeking to meet others’ needs as opposed to your own wants and desires, and creating relationships based on a willingness to serve are still the path toward lasting peace, joy, and hope. Because when you do these things, you never leave the lives of those you influence,” Mulvey said. “Both individually and collectively, you have left an indelible mark on the classrooms, on the fields, and in the studios of our school, but also on the people, because you have chosen to lead, to serve, and to sacrifice for one another – you have chosen to love one another, and you have chosen to define ‘one another’ as all of God’s children. That is your legacy.”

Principal Patty Beckert along with Superintendent Dr. James Rigg and McNicholas Executive Director Dave Jackson awarded diplomas to the class. Valedictorian Michelle Hollenkamp, who will be attending the University of Colorado-Boulder this fall, used the world of Harry Potter to drawn comparisons to her McNicholas experiences. In concluding her speech, she asked her classmates to make their graduation official by moving their tassels.

The ceremony concluded with the presentation of the Senior Awards and the singing of the McNicholas Alma Mater. The following students received the Senior Awards:

  • Outstanding Service Awards—Lauren Fisher, Eric Frey, Elliott Higgins, Ericka Kaimer, Gabrielle Latreille, Jordan Musselman, Anna Pierce, Michelle Rowekamp, Ploy Sithisakulrat, Jordan Whitmore
  • Principal’s Trophy—Elliott Higgins and Michelle Hollenkamp
  • Rasper Service Award—Emma McDermott
  • Christian Leadership Award—Will Allgeier and Maggie Sheehan
  • Archbishop McNicholas Memorial Award—Nathan Hazzard and Molly Kidwell




Gr8ness spreads among McNick students

Posted May 21, 2015; Written by Claire Murray '17

From May 18-25, McNicholas is participating in the 8 Days of Gr8ness movement. This movement, inspired by Brogan Dulle and started by his family, is about spreading greatness by giving of ourselves for eight days.

“McNick is already an amazing place where great things happen, but this is something I thought that our students and faculty would really benefit from. It is a great way to remember that small acts can make a big difference,” physical education teacher Cheryl Heise said.

One year ago, Turpin graduate Brogan Dulle went missing, and many members of the community spent the next eight days searching for him. After eight days of searching, police found Dulle’s body in the building next to his apartment. The 8 Days of Gr8ness is in honor of Dulle and the people who spent those eight days searching for him.

Each of the eight days has a theme and McNicholas students are taking part in activities that relate to the theme for each day. For example, students wrote kind words on post-it notes and shared them with others to help spread Monday’s theme of kindness. For Tuesday’s theme of gratitude, students wrote thank you notes.

“After taking part in this movement, I want the students to remember that everyone matters, and that anything they say that doesn’t lift someone up, shouldn’t be said,” Heise said.

Giving last honors to McNick’s top of the class
Posted May 20, 2015; Written by Claire Murray '17

On Thursday May 21, McNicholas High School will celebrate its 143 graduates of the Class of 2015 at Taft Theatre. As tradition dictates, the valedictorian and salutatorian will address the class and those in attendance. The two students earning these honors by having the top two grade point averages in the class are Michelle Hollenkamp, valedictorian, and Brandon Walsh, salutatorian.

Hollenkamp, who will be attending University of Colorado Boulder to study biology, said her graduation speech is based on Harry Potter, and she often quotes Dumbledore. “What I want people to take away from my speech is that they should always just do what makes them happy,” Hollenkamp said.

Walsh will be attending Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri, and he will be studying actuarial science. He said he is going to miss the faculty the most, and his best memories took place in Mr. Spurlock’s classroom.

The theme chosen by the Class of 2015 is also the theme of Walsh’s speech: “Moving on is simple, it’s what we leave behind that is hard.”

“I was very excited to receive this honor, and I hope everyone takes away from my speech that they shouldn’t forget the people from McNicholas, faculty and friends,” Walsh said.

Graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2015 begin on Wednesday, May 20 with Baccalaureate Mass at Guardian Angels followed by graduation at Taft Theatre on Thursday, May 21.



Century Club members go beyond service requirements

Posted May 14, 2015

Serving God through serving others is an exciting and integral part of a student’s development at McNicholas High School. Many of our students report that the service they perform makes an important impact on the direction they chose in life.

All students are required to serve at least 40 hours prior to graduation, but most exceed that minimum requirement. The Century Club recognizes students who have completed over 100 hours of service during their time at McNicholas. Membership in the Century Club is determined by combining all hours spent helping the underprivileged with no more than 60 hours of other kinds of service. The Class of 2015 has 49 members of the Century Club with a total of 7,874 service hours.

“For many of the students, service has been a large part of their lives, and they hold a service organization dear to their hearts,” Lauren Andrews, a Century Club member with 115 total hours, said. “I thought it was neat that there was so much diversity as to where people did service… It's inspiring that so many young people are interested in helping those around them.”

For most of the students who accumulate over 100 hours, serving others becomes a natural way to grow, develop, and discover as much about themselves as they have about the people they are helping.

“Whether folding clothes at Matthew 25, painting in Nicaragua, or cleaning up a cemetery, it seems that someone can have a realization about their character or personality or interests that they never had seen at all,” Century Club member Kyle Cullion with 121 hours said. “Community service finds us in open, sometimes uncomfortable, situations and these situations let us really see our true selves when we give ourselves to others.”


Students publish literary journal

Posted May 13, 2015

The 2015 edition of the McNicholas literary journal Reflections is now available for online viewing. 

Reflections, a co-curricular publication of the English and Fine Arts Departments, features original poetry, formula poems, reflections, songs, short stories, artwork, and photography of students in grades 9-12.

Students in the creative writing class help to publish the journal, but all students in the school are invited to submit their original material. The journal has consistently received an Excellent rating from the National Council of Teachers of English.



Future Rockets had a “Blast” at the Amazing Rocket Challenge

Posted May 12, 2015

Future Rockets from nine area grade schools participated in the Amazing Rocket Challenge on Friday, May 5. The Amazing Rocket Challenge was created by the Office of Admissions and the McNicholas Ambassadors in an effort to introduce McNicholas to families.

“We wanted to do something that would showcase McNicholas, while involving the whole family having fun,” said Christina Mullis, Director of Admissions and Enrollment. “We had a planning meeting with the Ambassadors who came up with this great idea to have a race, like the Amazing Race, throughout campus, while tying in other components of game show challenge shows.”

Forty participants formed teams, enjoyed a picnic style dinner, and named their teams before the challenge started. As team captains received their first clue to find a specific location on campus, Rocket Man waved the checkered flag to start the race. Teams dashed out of the café to find their first location where they had to complete the challenge before they received their next clue. After all the clues were collected, the team assembled the clue pieces to solve the puzzle for the pit stop.

After everyone made it to the pit stop, each participant put his or her earned raffle tickets in a drawing for door prizes. The first team to the pit stop was Team Aloha, made-up of the Gauger family. As they crossed the finish line, they were decorated with yellow and green silly string and awarded green star medals for first place.

“The evening was a huge success,” Mullis said. “It was great seeing the smiling faces of our future Rockets as they ran from place to place, and completed challenges. We received great feedback from the parent participants as well, many who were most impressed with our McNicholas Ambassadors and our campus.”

Challengers came from Cardinal Pacelli, SASEAS, St. Bernadette, St. Louis, St. Thomas More, St. Ursula Villa, St. Veronica, St. Vincent Ferrer, and Mason Intermediate.



Students excel on national language exams

Posted May 7, 2015

Congratulations to the world language students for outstanding participation and performance on the 2015 National Language Examinations.

These Latin students earned the following honors on the National Latin Exam:

  • Latin 2 - Magna Cum Laude: Gabriel Dotterweich
  • Latin 3 -Cum Laude: Nicholas Robben

These French students received the following awards:

  • Mention d'honneur (top 50 percentile): Nicholas Emig, Molly Jorden, Anna Zahner
  • Lauréate Nationale (top 25 percentile): Cameron Haynes
  • Silver Medal (Top 10 percentile): Ximena Trevino, Alexandra Wells
  • Gold Medal and Ohio Chapter prize (Top 3 percentile): Christopher Wells
  • Participation Awards: Abby Conard, Evan Custer, Felicia Marino, Michael McNamara, Jillian Sennett, Molly Smith, Madison Whitmore

On the National Spanish Exam, A Premio de Oro (Gold Medal) represents a score in the 95th percentile or better; a Premio de Plata (Silver Medal) represents a score in the 85th percentile or better; and a Premio de Bronce (Bronze Medal) represents a score in the 75th percentile or better. Students from McNicholas earned a total of 7 gold, 16 silver, and 18 bronze medals along with 7 honorable mentions.  These Spanish students earned the following honors:

  • Level I - Premio de Oro: Wade Brokamp, Alexis Gauger, Gabriela Scorti
  • Level I - Premio de Plata: Trey Ackel, Kennedy Brennan, Anthony Marraccini, Paul Rammel, Brian Roesel, Logan Stanford, Lauren Steinkuhl, Nicholas Wynn
  • Level I - Premio de Bronce: Natalie Martinez, Samantha Moser, Ryan Reidy, Anne Savage, Maria Staubach
  • Level II - Premio de Oro: Lauren Alvey, Isabella Daley, Amy Powell, Zach Woodke
  • Level II - Premio de Plata: Gracie Blades, Carly Cullion, Avery Dietz, AJ Evans, Sam Havlis, Sean Kapp, Evan Pour
  • Level II - Premio de Bronce: Vanessa Bayliss, Elizabeth Beck, Kathrn Byrne, Anna Enders, Abby Hay, Seonjin Kim, Erin McHugh, Miranda Roesel, Jared Taylor, Kayley Evans
  • Level II -- Premio de Bronce - Outside Experience Category: Andrew Russell
  • Level II - Premio de Bronce - Bilingual Category: Vero Menendez
  • Level III -- Premio de Plata - Bilingual Category: Ximena Trevino
  • Level III - Premio de Bronce: Adam Neltner, Jacob Fries, Emma Kapp, Madeline Buhr


Top ten McNicholas Scholars commit at second annual Academic Signing Day
Posted May 5, 2015; Written by Lauren Fisher '15, Gabrielle Quesnell '15, Nick Keri '15, Hannah Van Zant '15

On Friday, May 1, National Decision Day for college-bound students, the ten top-ranked seniors at McNicholas High School signed letters of intent to attend the universities of their choice. The students were Emily Bloemer, Aaron Diemler, Micah Diemler, Shannon Gibbons, Nathan Hazzard, Michelle Hollenkamp, Kyle Morrisroe, Anna Pierce, Brandon Walsh, and Hope Wilson.

Bloemer signed with the Miami University of Ohio and though currently undecided about her major, she is leaning towards studying communications. Bloemer chose Miami for its study abroad opportunities and the large, scenic campus. During her time at McNicholas, she has garnered numerous accomplishments, including Dean's List all 4 years of high school, in addition to receiving an award for the National Spanish Exam.

Bloemer credits her accomplishments to her academic career at McNicholas as well as her athletic career as a member of the varsity volleyball team. “One thing I'm really going to remember is playing volleyball during my four years here and working my way up to being varsity captain my senior year,” Bloemer said. “My past senior year especially brought out leadership in me and helped me to take on a new challenge,” Bloemer said.

Parents Stephanie and Steve Bloemer agree that Emily has benefited from McNicholas due in part to the sense of community. “I believe that being part of a community is important,” Steve said. “And with that sense of community McNick has acted as a great launch pad for college.”

Aaron Diemler, who is currently undecided about his course of study, has signed to attend The Ohio State University this fall. During his time at McNicholas, Aaron has committed his talents both in the classroom and on the stage, as both a National Merit Semifinalist, member of the National Honor Society, and member of the McNicholas Improv Troupe.

“McNick has prepared me for the challenges of college by providing challenges of their own,” Aaron said. “I've gone through difficult classes, and I have had to work very hard to get here. McNick taught me a work ethic that will stay with me the rest of my life.”

Mother Suzanne Diemler, a McNicholas alumnus, praised the school for its strong curriculum and emphasis on cultivating Catholic values in a community environment. “I feel McNicholas offers a ‘total package’ as far as giving a strong academic, Catholic education in a supportive atmosphere that provides for them to grow and mature mentally, socially and emotionally,” she said. “They have become good Catholic/Christian young men ready for the future.”

Micah Diemler, who signed alongside his twin brother, has committed to The Ohio State University, where he will be studying engineering in the fall. Having participated in many different facets of the McNicholas community, Micah is especially proud of his achievements in the National Honor Society, Latin National Honor Society, his leadership roles in Improv Troupe, and his being awarded the Honda OSU Math Medal.

“I’m really looking forward to figuring out what it is I want to do,” Micah said. “I’m also excited about finding a new community. If the students at Ohio State are anything close to as interesting as the students at McNick, it should be an interesting four years.”

Mother Suzanne offered additional praise for both her sons’ achievements, as well as the strength of the McNicholas curriculum. “No matter what your child's strengths and weaknesses are academically, McNick can help them to grow and learn. McNicholas offers an excellent education and prepares students well for the future.”

Gibbons has signed to attend Indiana University, where she has been accepted into the Kelley School of Business. During her time at McNicholas, Gibbons was able to maintain Dean’s List status throughout the entirety of her high school career. While she will miss the faculty and friendly atmosphere that McNicholas has to offer, she is looking forward to challenging herself and looking at the world through the window of business.

"I chose Indiana University because I knew I wanted to go into business and their Kelley School of Business is an amazing program that I knew would properly prepare me for my future," Gibbons said.

Gibbons and her mother Roseanna initially chose McNicholas for the academic programs, coeducational Catholic community, and connection to Immaculate Heart of Mary, Shannon's elementary school.
According to Roseanna, the structure of the McNicholas curriculum has allowed Gibbons to grow and develop her academic talents. "She's always been a strong student, but they fostered her desire to learn," Roseanne said. "They set up the program so she can study and excel at her pace."

Hazzard, who has chosen to spend the next four years with the Ohio State University, will be studying engineering, having received $3,000 in scholarship aid per year. During his time at McNicholas, Hazzard was able to maintain a 4.0 GPA each year, earning Dean’s List honors every quarter. He said the hardest part of high school, however, was balancing additional activities with academics.

“The hardest part of school for me was balancing school and extra-curricular,” Hazzard said. “I wanted to have fun throughout school, but I also had to know that school was the most important.”

Mother Therese Hazzard said that the Catholic education was especially important to her son’s education. “I think going to a Catholic school was a great thing, especially the community service aspect,” Therese said. “It gave him a broader understanding of his surroundings.” Therese added that she and Nate’s father, Rob Hazzard, are incredibly proud of him, and that he should be proud of himself too.

Valedictorian Hollenkamp has signed with the University of Colorado – Boulder, where she plans to spend her college career majoring in biology. Having watched older siblings thrive at McNicholas, Hollenkamp said that she will miss the nurturing environment (and the cafeteria cookies), but is excited to be able to focus on classes that she is interested in, as well as seeing new places and things at the University of Colorado.

"They have an excellent biology program, which provides many opportunities to become involved with environmental research," Hollenkamp said.

Parents Tim and Terri Hollenkamp note their daughter's remarkable development over the last four years. According to them, she came to school being very academically driven, but while at McNick, she developed her faith and learned to balance a social life with her school work. "We picked McNick because they foster the whole person," Terri said. "She got to be herself."

Morrisroe, who has set his sights on becoming an entrepreneur, has signed to spend his next four years attending Miami University, where he will be studying in the Honor’s Program at the Farmer’s School of Business. During his time at McNicholas, Morrisroe was a member of the National Honor Society, the varsity basketball team, and was commended for his academic achievements by the National Merit Scholarship Program.

“I think if I were to look back a year from now, I would remember how close I was with both the class and the faculty, and how I was able to be involved in so many different things at McNick,” Morrisroe said.

Parents Donald and Barb Morrisroe have seen firsthand the long-term benefits that their son has received from the honors and AP courses that McNicholas offers, as well as the co-ed Catholic learning environment. “In addition to receiving a first-class education, I believe Kyle has truly benefitted from McNick being a co-ed high school,” Donald said. “He has developed many close friendships with his classmates, both male and female, during the past four years and that social maturity is going to help him tremendously in the years to come.”

Pierce signed to spend her next four years with the University of Dayton, where she will be studying international business and finance with a minor in Spanish. During her time at McNicholas, Pierce participated widely in the school community, and says she chose the University of Dayton for its sense of community similar to that of McNick's.

"I chose UD because the sense of community there is similar to McNick and the emphasis on the development of the whole person- not just academically- is what I am looking for," Pierce said.

Pierce has earned numerous accolades during her time at McNicholas, including maintaining Dean’s List status all quarters, having been awarded Best Attorney on the Mock Trial Team, and being a GCL Scholar Athlete Nominee. In addition to these accomplishments, Pierce took part in the Nicaraguan Immersion trip last year, which she attributes to her pursuing of a major in International Business. "I wanted to major in international business because I want to be in business work which works towards the betterment of society," Pierce explained.

Pierce credits many of her accomplishments to her academic career at McNicholas. “During my time at McNick, I have become a more confident individual and have become a more critical thinker- two important skills that can help me in college,” Pierce said.

Parents Kathy and Travis Pierce agree that McNicholas played a large role in their daughter’s academic
growth. “She's been challenged both by course load and the great classes,” her mother said.

Salutatorian Walsh signed with Maryville University, where he will be studying actuarial science this autumn. Walsh said that he chose Maryville not only because they offered his desired major, but also so he could return to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

Having moved to Cincinnati after Walsh’s freshman year, mother Carol Walsh said that McNick provided Walsh with the opportunity to be more challenged academically. “[McNick] has a wide range of challenging courses, and he’s been presented the opportunity to take the best classes to help him grow as a student.” Carol said.

Walsh received $17,000 in scholarship money per school year. After finishing second in the class in high school, he said his goal for college is to do one better. “For college,” Walsh said, “I want to finish first.”

Wilson signed with the Ohio State University, where she will enter as an exploratory major in the fall. She chose Ohio State because of its exploratory program, which will allow her pull from multiple interests so she can find the major that is right for her. During each quarter at McNicholas, Wilson was on Dean’s List, a success that she attributes to her personal effort and determination.

“I was able to be successful because I didn’t slack off during school,” Wilson said. “I finished in the top ten because I worked hard.”

Parents Gary and Laura Wilson said that the biggest change they have seen throughout the daughter’s high school career in a change in confidence. “We’ve seen [Hope] grow more confident academically,” Laura said. “She has the skills and knowledge, and now we see her using it.”


Band members honored at banquet

Posted May 5, 2015

The McNicholas Rocket Band held its annual Band Banquet at the Anderson Center on Friday, April 24. All band members received recognition for their talent and hard work during the 2014-15 school year which included 33 marching, jazz or concert band performances or competitions.

Senior band members Eric Frey, James Harrington, William Klunk, and Steven Sinclair were inducted into the TRI-M Music Honor Society which requires band members to have participated all 4 years in band, carry an A average, and participate in honor bands outside of McNicholas.

William Klunk was presented with the Director Award, James Harrington was presented with the Semper Fi Music Award, and Steven Sinclair was presented with the Sousa Award. The Sousa Award is awarded to the student who has participated in the most ensembles in and out of McNicholas, has an A average, takes private lessons, and holds a leadership position. Congratulations to all of the McNicholas Rocket Band members!


Five sign to play sports at collegiate level during celebratory signing event

Posted May 5, 2015; Written by Kayla Abbitt '15, Ericka Kaimer '15, Claire Murray '17

On Wednesday, April 29, McNicholas High School hosted a student-athlete celebratory signing event during which five seniors signed to play their sports at a collegiate level: Logan Jacobs for Thomas More College, Ericka Kaimer for Heidelberg University, Christian Null for Wittenberg University, Peyton Ramey for Lourdes University, and Malia Smith for Thomas More College.

Jacobs, a Batavia resident, has been playing varsity baseball at McNick for four years. He chose to further both his baseball and academic careers at Thomas More College, which is close enough to home that his family can watch him play. “I think the coaches that I have had in high school know what they are doing, so I will be prepared for the coaches in college,” Jacobs said.

Parents Mike and Shelva Jacobs are both proud of Logan for achieving his longtime goal of playing baseball throughout high school. “Logan works hard and goes over and beyond especially when it comes to baseball,” Shelva said. “His hard work and dedication to the sport haves helped him achieve his goal.”

Kaimer, of Goshen Township, is a three-year varsity track athlete who was named 1st team GCL, and is excited to further both her academic and athletic careers at Heidelberg University. In the classroom, Kaimer will be studying English creative writing with an art minor, while keeping up with her sports career on the track. “I think that my time as a Rocket has prepared me for the collegiate level,” Kaimer said. “I have grown as an athlete, leader and person through my time on the team. I’ve learned track and field is more than just a sport. It has taught me character, sportsmanship, and a genuine respect for myself and for the people around me,”

Parents Jennifer and Stephen are proud of their daughter for her leadership, work ethic, and drive to achieve her goals. “It has been fun to see her grow and develop as an athlete and leader in a sport she began two years ago,” Jennifer said. “She has developed some very special friendships with coaches and teammates at McNick.”

Null, a Batavia resident and a four-year McNicholas varsity soccer athlete, was named all-league and all-city while playing at McNicholas. Having been involved with the sport since the age of three, Null has played center midfield his whole life and hopes to continue to do so throughout his college career. “My dad really helped to encourage me to play college soccer because he is passionate about the sport, and he wants me to be able to stay focused on school,” Null said. He has yet to determine what major he will be studying in the fall, but he is considering a career in medicine.

Parents Charlie and Melissa Null are proud of Christian, and are excited to watch him play at the college level. “He has worked very hard for this, and we are excited to see him play in the fall,” Charlie said.

Ramey, of Union Township, committed to Lourdes University for women’s basketball. Lourdes is an independent, Roman Catholic and Franciscan university located in Sylvania, Ohio and competes as a Division II member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). In her three years playing varsity as a Rocket, Ramey played as forward and collected many awards while doing so. During her junior year, she was named 2nd team GGCL North division and Honorable Mention for the All-Star Team, and during her senior year, she was named 1st Team All-GCLC, 2nd Team Associated Press All-Southwest Ohio (D2), 1st Team District 16 (D2), and Honorable Mention AP All-State (D2).

While Ramey treasures her four years playing for McNick, she looks forward to playing and improving with a new group. “I see myself fitting in to the school and team really easily,” Ramey said. “I love the campus, and I can’t wait to play my game at a Division II level.”

Parents Mike and Tina are most excited to watch her play competitive basketball for four more years. “We are very proud of Payton’s hard work and dedication which are reflected in her academic and athletic achievements thus far,” Tina said.
Smith, a West Clermont resident and three year varsity track and field athlete, will be taking her talents to Thomas More College this fall. During her time at McNicholas, Smith was named 2nd Team All-League, and credits Thomas More coach, Jeff Hill, with helping her make the decision to pursue collegiate athletics.

“Coach Hill encountered me as a sophomore during the district meet. Ever since then, he went out of his way to see me at other big meets and to ask how I was doing,” Smith said. “After visiting the campus and getting to know the team more, I felt that I found a new home.”

Parents Lesa and Charles Smith expressed their excitement for their daughter’s upcoming college career. Lesa believes that dedication and determination always drove Malia to giving everything she had. “We are looking forward to seeing her compete at the college level,” Lesa said.


Language Honor Societies install new members

Posted April 23, 2015

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 21. The induction ceremony honored high-achieving students of all three languages. Guest speaker Katherine Wiesenhahn '10 shared her experiences living in Madrid, Spain, during a semester while attending Miami University. Wiesenhahn majored in Spanish at Miami and will soon begin her career as a Spanish teacher. She emphasized the many benefits that she has gained through spending time in a different culture and also encouraged the students to continue their study of a foreign language. Congratulations to the inductees:

La Société Honoraire de Français (French Honor Society):
Nicholas Emig, Matthew Massie, Ximena Trevino, Christopher Wells

National Junior Classical League (Latin Honor Society):
Brian Gauch, Nicholas Robben, Brittany Taylor

Sociedad Honoraria Hispánia (Spanish Honor Society):
Jacob Fries, Taylor Ashmore, Matthew Cornell, Morgan Cox, Lily Deller, Jackson Durm, Emma Kapp, Hannah Kocisko, Adam Neltner, Anna Pierce, Loren Powell, Payton Ramey, Lauren Rice, Megara Scott, Sarah Standiford, Brandon Walsh


McNicholas hosts annual Jazz Night
Posted April 23, 2015

McNicholas hosted the Felicity High School Jazz Band and the Miami Valley Christian Academy Jazz Ensemble at McNicholas’ annual Jazz Night on Thurs. April 16.

The evening opened with short performances by Felicity and Miami Valley and moved into McNicholas’ six works of timeless jazz classics by Miles Davis and John Coltrane as well as popular medleys by Johnny Mercer, Henry Mancini, and Johnny Mandel. Selections included Days of Wine and Roses, Naima, Shadow of Your Smile, Cariba, Solar, and Los Changos Volando with featured solos from Jackson Durm, Toby Shumrick, Wade Brokamp, Sean Kapp, Steven Sinclair, Maggie Schulhoff, Josh Hoeflich, William Granlund, Jude Gerrard, and Jordan McCormick.

The McNicholas Band Boosters provided coffee, snacks, and desserts for guests.


Visitors from Batahola Cultural Center at McNicholas
Posted April 23, 2015

On Tuesday, April 21, McNicholas welcomed Joseph Connelly and Josefa Rodriguez from the Cultural Center of Batahola Norte to theology classes. Connelly and Rodriguez discussed the Center, which was founded in 1983 by Sr. Margarita Navarro, a Sister of St. Joseph, to promote education, arts, and holistic personal development through its programming for women, men, and children of all ages in Managua, Nicaragua.

Fourteen McNicholas students will travel to Nicaragua from June 3-11, and time at the Cultural Center of Batahola will be a part of their Nicaraguan Immersion Experience.


Robotics Club competes in Mini Urban Challenge
Posted April 23, 2015

The McNicholas Robotics Club members Noah Pasco, Nicholas Robben, and Adam Blatt competed in the Doolittle Institute’s Mini Urban Challenge on April 11, earning a third place finish. The competition challenged the teams to create an autonomous vehicle that used optical sensors to navigate a 10 foot by 42 foot space.

According to team member Nicholas Robben, the team has been working on the challenge since October. “We built the robot at school but did all the programming on site at the competition,” Robben said.

The Mini Urban Challenge is a national competition, and the top two teams from each state move on to the national competition. While McNicholas did not qualify for the national competition, club advisor Jon Spurlock was pleased with the club’s efforts. “They solved the problems presented to them on site and did a good job of accomplishing the task,” Spurlock said.


Sheehan, Gillming honored at Anderson Chamber’s Citizen of the Year awards

Posted April 19, 2015

McNicholas High School senior Maggie Sheehan and business department chair Barb Gillming were named the Anderson Chamber of Commerce’s Student of the Year and Teacher of the Year respectively. Both Sheehan and Gillming were honored at the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year awards evening on Tuesday, Apr. 14 at the Belterra Park.

Student of the Year Sheehan is a leader both in the classroom and with a number of student organizations at McNicholas High School. Sheehan is a member of the National Honor Society, Service Club, and serves as a McNicholas High School Ambassador. She is a four-year member of the Service Club and Respect Life Club for which she serves as president. Sheehan has over 400 hours of community service, including 187 hours at the Ronald McDonald House.

According to Mary Beth Sandmann, theology teacher at McNicholas, Sheehan is a quiet leader. “She knows how to lead in a humble way, never seeking spotlight or reward. She serves her school and the community because it is the right thing to do.”

Sheehan has been a part of McNicholas High School’s Appalachian retreat, a service-learning experience, and has served as a leader for the Kairos retreat. “Anytime she leads, Maggie gives her thoughts in a wise and profound way that inspires her peers,” Sandmann said. “She has said that everybody matters, and she lives this out.”

Teacher of the Year Gillming has been in Catholic education for over 20 years and at McNicholas High School for 15 years. She began her tenure at McNicholas as an assistant technology coordinator and business teacher and has adapted and grown with technology and the educational needs and possibilities. Gillming started the Rocket Report, a video news report of McNicholas High School news, on a suggestion from a colleague and has taken the report from something she shot and edited to a school mainstay that students write, shoot, host, and edit as part of their work in video editing and film making classes. She inherited the Senior Video project and has built it into one of the most anticipated components of McNicholas’ graduation. Gillming also films football and basketball games, recruitment videos, and many other school events including the Mardi Gras pageant. She is the chairperson of the Business Department. In addition to her programming, video editing and film making classes, she also teaches multiple levels of algebra II and geometry.

“Barb’s positive attitude and willingness to embrace change has made her an invaluable asset to McNicholas High School,” Patty Beckert, principal of McNicholas High School said. “Because of her willingness to act on suggestions, embrace new technology, and share her knowledge and excitement with her students, Barb is a student and colleague favorite.”

“Barb’s enthusiasm for her work and interest in helping her students achieve their potential is admirable and contagious,” Teresa Davis, a colleague of Gillming’s said. “Her work and devotion to her students have made an indelible imprint on McNicholas High School.”

Both Sheehan and Gillming have been invited to serve as grand marshals for the Anderson Township Independence Day Parade.


Senior signs for collegiate soccer

Posted April 17, 2015; Written by Lauren Fisher '15

On Wednesday, April 15, the NCAA National Signing Day, McNicholas High School senior Meghan Martella committed to further her soccer career with Ohio Dominican University, following four years as a varsity team member for the Rockets.

Martella has collected numerous honors and awards during her time at McNicholas, having been named 2nd Team GCL during both her freshman and sophomore years, and 1st Team GCL during her junior and senior seasons. As a senior, Martella ended the season with a total of nine goals and seven assists. She was named 1st Team All City by The Cincinnati Enquirer following the Rockets’ victory over Archbishop Hoban High School at the State Championship, during which Martella scored the game’s third and final goal within the last minute.

“My teammates give me the opportunity to be myself and give one-hundred-and-ten percent every time,” Martella said. “Last year, we lost eight of our seniors, and everyone thought we wouldn’t make it without them, but we worked hard and proved everyone wrong,”

For Martella, soccer is not so much a sport as it is a way of life. She has been hooked the game since the age of four. During her recent career, she has taken on a variety of positions, developing her talents as a forward, attacking midfield, and defending forward. In addition to playing as a Rocket, she was a member of the King’s Hammer Soccer Club from 2007-2012, as well as the Ohio Elite Soccer Academy from 2012-2014.

Martell garnered multiple scholarship offers for her athletic talent and will be attending Ohio Dominican with both athletic and academic scholarships. For mother Tracie Martella, the chance to see Meghan’s passion for soccer translate into an ongoing commitment to excellence is something of a dream come true.

“She’s always worked so hard,” Tracie said of her daughter. “We’re so proud of her and everything she’s worked for.”


McNick students qualify for state science fair

Posted March 27, 2015

Three students have been selected to exhibit at State Science Day on Saturday, May 16 at The Ohio State University. Freshmen Wade Brokamp, Skyler Lance, and Samantha Moser earned superior scores at the regional fair to make them eligible for the final level.

Lance’s project, “Not All Woods Burn the Same,” also earned her a $1000 scholarship to the University of Cincinnati. “I liked the feeling of accomplishment when presenting at UC,” Lance said. “All the hard work of putting together this experiment paid off with the opportunity to compete in this regional science fair.”

The students are preparing for the state level where the competition will be stronger. Brokamp knows his project “Testing the Conversion Process of Sucrose to Glucose and Fructose” will be among many well-researched projects in Columbus. “At the state science fair, I know there will be...more advanced projects,” Brokamp said. “While I can’t change my project, I will definitely try to perform a little more research before attending so that I can more readily answer the judges’ questions.”

Moser’s project “Insulation of Fabrics” was her first entry into the regional science fair competition. She was pleased that even without the experience of some of the others, she was able to move on to state. “I want next year’s freshmen to know how important science fair is,” Moser said. “Making it to state, or even just regionals, is great for college and your future.”

Brokamp would encourage next year’s students to pick projects that are interesting and fun since the process takes several months. “I would also advise them to focus on the parts of their projects that are most beneficial to society,” Brokamp said. “Judges love when students know these aspects of their project and can apply them to the real world.”


McNick at Night raises $32,000 toward Student Union
Posted March 27, 2015

Over 260 people enjoyed a beautiful evening of good food, one-of-a-kind auction items, and great fun at the annual McNick at Night fundraiser. Alumni, current parents, past parents, and friends of McNicholas High School raised nearly $103,000 before expenses for the school.

Each year, McNick at Night closes the evening with a Special Appeal for some campus project or improvement. We look forward to a late spring or early summer installation of the electronic sign which was funded in part by last year's effort.


Artist rendering and floor plan for Student Union.


This year, the Special Appeal at McNick at Night was for updates and improvements to the McNick Café and Student Union including:

  • vinyl flooring in a "wave" pattern
  • wall sconce light fixtures
  • ceiling fans
  • stage platform and wall logo graphic
  • vending and trash area
  • video monitors
  • new tables and chairs

Work on the McNick Café and Student Union is projected to begin at the conclusion of this school year and slated to be finished by the start of the 2015-16 school year.

"Thanks to the generosity of many guests, the Special Appeal effort Saturday night raised $32,000 toward these improvements and upgrades," Executive Director Dave Jackson said. "The renovations will make the space a place of pride for the daily lunch crowd, evening parent meetings, or one of the over 100 events--including reunions--that utilize the Café and Student Union."

Please consider making a contribution to this project. You can do so online by clicking here.   You will need to create a login for security. Look for the donate now button.

Contact Mark Doran, Director of Development, at or 231.3500 x5141 with questions.


Students updated on genetics research at annual conference

Posted March 27, 2015

Students from the McNicholas High School AP Biology class attended a one-day conference on advances in genetics research. The findings were presented by Sam Rhine, a genetics education specialist, at a conference held at Wyoming High School on March 3.

The advanced biology students felt it was enlightening to learn how far our society has advanced in these research areas, especially cancer research. Junior Hannah Wuerfel appreciated learning more about the progress researchers are making toward finding a cure for cancer.

“The talk centered on cancer, giving me a much better understanding of how cancer works and how the advancements being made today will make it possible for our generation to discover a cure,” Wuerfel said. “The conference definitely made me consider a career in oncology or some other form of cancer research.”

Wuerfel advised next year’s attendees to be ready for a great deal of information. “The conference was four hours, but overall, the information Mr. Rhine shared with us kept me interested,” Wuerfel said. “He talks fast and expects students to know their basic biology!”


Experience the Arts: 7th grade students participate in McNicholas Art Day

Posted March 19, 2015; Written by Ericka Kaimer '15

On March 27, McNicholas High School will welcome 7th graders from 14 area elementary schools to participate in their third annual Fine Arts Day. The day is devoted to the engaging the prospective students in the fine arts curriculum that McNicholas offers. Throughout the day, students will be able to focus on two different areas of study, choosing from 90-minute units of photography, ceramics, visual communications, architecture, or painting and drawing.

“Art Day brings prospective students to McNick’s campus and exposes them to our great art program,” Admissions Assistant and Fine Arts Day coordinator Mrs. Tina Gorski said.

Student visitors currently attend Cardinal Pacelli, Guardian Angels, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mercy Montessori, St. Bernadette, St. Columban, St. Andrew, St. Gertrude, St. Louis, St. Mary, St. Thomas More, St. Ursula Villa, and St. Veronica.
At McNicholas, Fine Arts Day is a chance to showcase the school’s diverse programs, while allowing those who are serious about pursuing art in high school to demonstrate their talents.

Students who are interested in ceramics will have the opportunity to create personalized pottery bowls. For those students participating in photography, there will be a tour in the dark room and the chance for students to create their own black and white prints, which they will be able to take home. Visual Communication will allow the students to experience the MacBook software, giving them the chance to digitally edit images, while Drawing and Painting will act as a chance for each student to paint their own work of art.

Grant Tore, Class of 2014, helped with the ceramics class, at last year’s art day, teaching students how to use the wheel and shape clay into bowls. His experience allowed him to gain a new perspective on the future students. “It was really cool to see their first experience with clay,” Tore said. “It shows a new side of McNick they have never seen.”


Students prepare for Nicaraguan immersion
Posted March 16, 2015; Written by Kalya Abbitt '15

For the 4th consecutive year, McNicholas students will travel with faculty members and members of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish for an immersion trip to Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

In preparation for the June trip, the group of students experienced a two-day Journey to Justice Retreat through the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish. This weekend retreat began the immersion into Nicaraguan culture that is vital to the experience’s entirety and established the sense of community valued so greatly on the trip.

“An important part of the process leading up to the trip is understanding the culture of the people of Nicaragua as much as possible before being fully immersed in June,” Director of Campus Ministry and trip participant Mr. Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth said.

The biggest part of the retreat takes place on the first day with a trip to the Su Casa Hispanic Center located in Cincinnati just 20 minutes from McNicholas. The center is a program of Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio and serves the Hispanic/Latino immigrants who are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. While at the center, the group hears success stories of several different families served by the organization.

“Hearing the stories of the families at Su Casa is a part of the immersion that is valuable to all participants,” Hutchinson-Smyth said.

In addition to the time at Su Casa, the participants also attend Mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary as a group and enjoy a traditional lunch at LaRosa’s.

On the immersion trip, the group spends four days in the country’s capital of Managua where their time is spent primarily at The Cultural Center of Batahola Norte. The Cultural Centers was co-founded by Sister Margie Navarrao, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph who began McNicholas. The center is a cultural oasis in Managua that offers music and art classes to children, scholarships to the college bound, practical skills training for under and unemployed adults, and a community library. The group devotes their time at the center reading books, making arts and crafts, and playing games and sports with the children. The second half of the trip is spent with Fabretto, an organization striving to better the education in Nicaragua in the small town of Cusmapa. This part of the trip becomes more service-oriented as they volunteer in an urban-rural school, painting the building and working in the garden.

“Each trip is generally the same. If there are any changes, they are small,” said Theology teacher John Norman, who has been on the trip each year offered, and will again return in 2015 with the group of 14 McNicholas students.

The trip’s itinerary may stay the same, but each experience - group and individual - differs from the last. The journey is crafted so that each student experiences solidarity, partnership, and accompaniment with the people of Nicaragua, as well as embracing their own spot in the global community and as children of God’s one human family.

“The thought of making an impact on someone at the center or even someone who is traveling along with me is what I look forward to most. I really want to get a new perspective on things and hopefully come back a little more grateful for the little things in life,” junior Haleigh Haugh said.

McNicholas student participants include Max Bartel, Hannah Brune, Sally Daoud, Maddie Fehn, Alex Gerome, Haleigh Haugh, Michelle Hollenkamp, Caroline Jorden, Brynna Maxey, Sierra Meyer, Emma Smith, Michaela Shepard, Sarah Standiford, and Jake Vaughn, with faculty members John Norman, Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth, and Lauren Wulker.


Student Philanthropy chooses final four charities

Posted March 16; Writen by Lauren Fisher '15

With the third quarter of the 2014-2015 school year coming to its close, members of  the Student Philanthropy Club have narrowed down the final four candidates for their yearly grant award, a final step in their year-long process of researching and selecting a charity. Now in its sixth year at McNick, Student Philanthropy works through Magnified Giving, a non-profit organization that grants local high schools $1,000 each to be given to the charity of their choice.

Moderated by religion teacher David Sandmann, the group is composed of juniors Maia Forman, Brittany Taylor, Margaret Schulhoff, Anna Schutter, and Emma Kapp, as well as seniors Lauren Fisher, Allie O’Keefe, Molly Kidwell, Gabrielle Latreille, Michelle Rowekamp, Sidney Schaeper.

Though it may seem like a simple decision to make, the process of choosing a charity actually begins at the beginning of the school year and carries through the springtime when McNicholas students will soon have the chance to vote for their favorite organization. At the end of the year, the eleven-member student team will attend a banquet where local schools will honor their chosen organizations by presenting them with a financial grant.

This year, the group has decided upon four final organizations, all of which focus on a theme of providing assistance and support to disadvantaged children: The Aubrey Rose Foundation, FLOC (For Love of Children), The Dragonfly Foundation, and Building Blocks for Kids.

To learn more about each organization, visit the McNicholas Milestone.

Physics students broaden horizons with TEAMS Competition

Posted March 3, 2015; Written by Lauren Fisher '15

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, seven McNicholas High School seniors competed at the annual TEAMS competition at the University of Cincinnati, going up against students from other local schools while further discovering their potential for careers in the field of engineering.

Seniors Micah Diemler, Michael Lake, Gabrielle Latreille, Charlie Lind, John Longbottom, Trevor Lynd, and Brandon Walsh were in attendance at this year’s competition, accompanied by physics teacher Jonathan Spurlock.

Formerly known as JETS, the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science (TEAMS) Competition takes place across the country at various locations, and allows high school students to apply their knowledge of science and math to solve real-world engineering challenges. This year, the theme of the competition was “The Power of Engineering,” providing students with the chance to solve scenarios that involved the use of biofuel and electricity, as well as nuclear and solar energy.

Lynd, who plans to major in mechanical engineering, enjoyed working with his classmates to solve problems beyond the realm of the classroom.

“It showed me the importance of working together as a team to find solutions to problems,” Lynd said. “We all get stuck and make mistakes and it was an interesting experience to have a whole group working together. We would correct each other's mistakes and suggest new ideas to solve the problems.”

The competition proved to be a beneficial learning experience for the seniors, many of whom wish to further their education in fields of physics and engineering. For Lake, who plans to study engineering at Ohio University next fall, the day was filled with real-life scenarios that helped him to better understand how the physical sciences apply to the career field.

“The competition was more or less a mix between what I expect real-life application would be and what in-class application is,” Lake said. “We learned about the ways that utilizing physics in the real world can help solve actual problems.”

Longbottom, who plans to study biomedical engineering, believes that the TEAMS conference helped him to better visualize the complexity of the engineering field.

“The competition helped me to understand what engineering is all about.” Longbottom said. “It’s about solving real-world problems using a lot of complex information.”


Hall of Fame inducts Shroeder, Oberschmidt

Posted February 27, 2015

On Thursday, February 26, McNicholas High School inducted Katey Schroeder ’06 and Michael Oberschmidt ’08 into the Hall of Fame and recognized the 30th anniversary of the Class of 1985, state football finalists and basketball state final four.

Schroeder was a four-year volleyball player and letter winner at McNicholas High School. She earned four all-state awards, including first-team all-state as a junior and senior. Schroeder was also selected for the first-team GGCL and first-team all-city as a sophomore, junior, and senior. During those three years she was awarded the Best Offensive Player award. During her junior year she was ranked as one of the top 50 best prospects in the nation by During her senior season, she was voted the Most Valuable Player and was also honored with the Buddy LaRosa’s Award. She is currently the record holder at McNicholas for most kills and most aces. At the University of Cincinnati, she was a member of the 2008-2009 Big East Champion volleyball team.

Oberschmidt was a four-year varsity golfer at McNicholas. In 2007, he was the District 2 Ohio State Runner-up as well as first team All-Ohio, GCL Player of the Year, and Enquirer Player of the Year. For three consecutive years, Oberschmidt was first team GCL as well as Most Valuable Player in 2006 and 2007 and Team Captain in 2007. In volleyball, Oberschmidt is McNicholas’ all-time assist leader. A three-year varsity player, he led the 2008 District 2 Ohio State Runner-up team and was named first team GCL and all-region.

McNicholas also recognized the Class of 1985 who were State Football Finalists in the fall of 1984 and state final four in men’s basketball in 1985. The football team went 9-1-0 in the regular season, knocking off Carlisle and Portsmouth before slipping to Elyria Catholic in the state game at The Ohio State University. The basketball team was ranked #1 in the city most of the season and won 24 games. The team knocked off Loveland, Reading, and Indian Hill in the sectional tournament; Tipp City in the district tournament; and Dayton Jefferson and Granville in the regional tournament. The Rockets lost to Linden-McKinley in the last minute of the state tournament game.

The event, hosted by Jeff Mulvey ’86, also featured a speech by Ron Oester, Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame member.


Allgeier, Kidwell named king and queen of 2015 Mardi Gras

Posted February 23, 2015

At McNicholas High School, Mardi Gras is about welcoming the Lenten season and celebrating students who have committed themselves to selflessly serving their school and others. Seniors William Allgeier and Molly Kidwell were crowned as the 2015 Mardi Gras king and queen at the yearly, traditional pageant held Sunday, Feb. 15.

This year’s theme was “Bayou Ball.” To provide focus for the theme, guests heard stories of how the Sisters of St. Joseph, who founded McNicholas High School, brought the Mardi Gras tradition from their hometown of New Orleans to the school in 1952. Since then, it has been a rich tradition that is truly unique to McNicholas, celebrating the service of 40 senior court members and 16 junior and sophomore honor guard members. Those honored have participated and served in the school and community throughout their high school experience. Votes by their peers and faculty accumulate over four years.

Allgeier is the son of Carol and Ned Allgeier and is a member of Guardian Angels parish. He is a four-year dean’s list or honor roll student and has completed over 70 service hours. Allgeier is a Eucharistic Minister, Peer Mentor, and a Kairos retreat leader. He is a member of the Service Club, Academic Team, Student Philanthropy Club, and Student Council as well as a Relay for Life participant and part of the musical stage crew and set painting crew. Allgeier is a four-year football athlete, earning GCL second team honors this year, and a four-year track and field team member with 2013 Field Player of the Year and first team GCL honors. He is a member of the Science National Honor Society and an officer of the National Honor Society.

Kidwell is the daughter of Eileen and William Kidwell and is a member of St. Louis parish. She is a four-year dean’s list or honor roll student and has completed over 240 hours of community service, including the Appalachian retreat and 160 hours at the Cincinnati Nature Center. Kidwell is a Kairos retreat assistant rector, a Peer Mentor, and a freshman retreat leader. She is a four-year member of the Liturgy Choir, three-year member of the Concert Choir, a musical cast member, and a member of the International Thespian Society. Kidwell is also a member of Student Council, Service Club, and the Student Philanthropy Club. She is a McNicholas Ambassador, a member of the Science National Honor Society, and an officer of National Honor Society.


Mobile bidding, technology to enhance McNick at Night
Posted February 11, 2015


McNicholas High School’s biggest fundraiser, McNick at Night, on Saturday, March 14, promises to be more fun and more popular with the addition of mobile bidding technology called BidPal. BidPal enables guests to access all information on pricing and bidding on their smartphones, a hand-held device from BidPal, or a kiosk at the event. A generous contribution by corporate sponsor TQL provides McNick with the benefits of hand-held auction technology for the first time ever.

According to Mark Doran, Director of Development for McNicholas, the addition of BidPal will not only boost the fundraising potential, it will also increase the level of excitement and fun with the event. “Beyond the overarching objective of fundraising,” Doran said, “one of the major goals of McNick at Night is to have our guests feel they had a ‘first-class’ experience from their arrival until the time they leave the event.”

When guests arrive at McNick at Night, representatives will help get the BidPal application on their phones. If no smartphone is available, guests may use the hand-held devices provided by BidPal or one of the kiosks that will be set up around the auction. Guests can pre-register their credit card in advance, or it also can be provided at the beginning of the evening to provide for a quicker check out at the end of the evening. All guests will have access to the pricing and bidding information on all auction items throughout the evening.

The BidPal app as it will look on your smartphone.

During the evening, McNick at Night guests will have the capability from their smartphone or BidPal device to:

  • Place a bid on an item
  • Have the Bid Pal system automatically notify them if someone out bids them
  • Be able to raise their bid, or put a maximum bid on the item
  • Scan auction items by many different categories

Since all bidding is through the BidPal system, guests of McNick at Night will not have to go to the auction tables at the

conclusion of the auction to make sure they win their item of choice. When the auction is over, they will not have to wait in any line for check-out if they have pre-registered with a credit card. The BidPal system will download a list of the items on which they successfully bid or bought throughout the evening to their smartphone for their approval. Guests can approve the list, and the items will be charged to their card and a receipt emailed.

According to McNicholas board member Nancy Haynes, the BidPal technology changes the tone and atmosphere of the whole event. “After years of attending and chairing the St. Ursula Villa Auction, I was surprised to see how different the night was using the BidPal app,” Haynes said. “Rather than running around checking bid sheets, the app sends notifications right to your phone – letting you know if you have been outbid or if there are items with no bids at all. You can enjoy time with friends at the event and let your smart phone do the work for you!”

Haynes said that using BidPal just makes sense in context of the technology McNick students use in the classroom. “Our kids use tablets every day to make their studying and socializing easier and more fun,” Haynes said. “It’s time that we bring the same cool technology to McNick at Night.”

Click here for more information about McNick at Night.


Seniors sign letters of intent
Posted February 6, 2015; Written by Gabrielle Quesnell ’15, Hannah Van Zant ’15, Nicholas Keri ’15

McNicholas High School held its annual NCAA Signing Event on Wednesday, Feb. 4, officially signing two senior athletes to play at the college level: Luke Sulken for football at the University of Charleston and Lauren Rice for soccer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Luke Sulken, a resident of Bethel, signed to play football for the University of Charleston in West Virginia. He received $9,000 in academic scholarship money and $11,000 in an athletic scholarship money. He will be studying secondary education. In high school, Sulken totaled just under 5,000 offensive yards in 3 years as a starter on the Varsity Football Team. He received numerous awards in his three varsity seasons, including two time 1st Team Greater Catholic League (GCL), two time McNicholas Offensive MVP, and GCL Offensive Player of the Year. Though he has played quarterback his last two seasons as a Rocket, he will be playing slot wide receiver and punt/kick returner in college. The University of Charleston is a Division II football program.

“I’m really excited to start all over,” Sulken said. “I’ll be turning the page in my career, and I just have to try to be the best football player I can be.”

Parents Wayne and Peggy Sulken are not only proud of their son Luke, but feel that they have been inspired by him as well. "I have been inspired by the way he handles himself under pressure," Wayne said. "His character on and off the field, his composure, and his ability to slide into a quarterback spot have shown me a lot."

Not only have they been inspired by their son, but they are equally as excited to watch him begin this new chapter at the next level. “We’re most looking forward to his successful career and his pursuing of a dream he’s had since he was four or five,” Peggy said.

Senior Lauren Rice, who resides in Batavia, signed to play soccer with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Rice’s four year soccer career at McNicholas was as a goalkeeper and after one year at the junior varsity level, she spent the next three seasons as starter on varsity. From her junior year on, Rice was recognized for her talent by both McNicholas and the larger community. In the 2013-2014 school year, Rice’s junior year, she was a co-captain of the Varsity Women’s Soccer Team and finished the season with 91 saves, 8.5 shutouts (the most in the GCL) and an award for team MVP.

Her senior year brought even more awards and recognition. This past season, Rice had 104 saves and 13 shutouts, again the most in the GCL. The team as a whole placed first in the GCL and finished as Division II State Champions.
Although Rice will miss McNicholas, she’s enthusiastic about moving on and prepared for what’s ahead.
“My time at McNick has taught me to be confident, to be relentless, to be a leader, and to go into everything with a positive attitude on and off the field,” Rice said.

Looking back at her high school career, she said that one of the most important parts of the past four years was her team and their unwavering support. “They’ve been my backbone and family,” Rice said.

According to her parents Karen and David Rice, they gave her as much praise and support as possible, didn’t hold back any constructive criticism, and always pushed her to be her best self, on and off the field.

Both she and her parents look forward to getting to know her new team. “They’ll become her new family, and so they’ll be our family as well,” Karen said.

Rice chose Milwaukee because they’re a Division I school, they offered her 50% of tuition for soccer plus another scholarship for academics, they have a beautiful campus, and they have a program for Rice’s desired major, psychology.
"I will miss my Rocket family and I will always remember them, but I'm excited to join a new Panther family,” Rice said.


Class of 2019 registers for fall classes
Posted February 3, 2015

On Thursday, January 29, McNicholas welcomed the Class of 2019 to register for next year’s classes. Nearly 160 8th graders will join the Rocket family this fall with the majority of those students coming from Catholic elementary schools. While McNicholas’ four largest feeder schools—St. Veronica, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Thomas More, and Guardian Angels—account for just over 70 percent of the incoming freshmen, the Class of 2019 will have students from over 20 different schools.

Earlier in January, McNicholas hosted the Admission with Honors dinner, and students who scored in the top ten percent on the High School Placement Test were invited to dinner and to the men’s basketball game as guests of McNicholas. Thirty-five students joined the Rockets to celebrate their achievement.

Students who scored a 95 percent or higher on the High School Placement Test will be a part of the St. Joseph Scholars program. The Class of 2019 will be the first class to be eligible for the program.

“St. Joseph Scholars must maintain a high interest in academic achievement as well as a drive and desire to share their gifts of scholastic success with others. The program will guide their spirit of intellectual curiosity and aid students as they strive to attain full stature in Christ,” Director of Enrollment Christina Mullis said.

“St. Joseph Scholars are an elite group of students who will meet regularly to challenge each other as well as to support each other with the rigors of the program. Students will receive priority scheduling and be afforded standardized test preparation classes, ” Mullis added.

Class of 2019 Admission with Honors Students       

*St. Joseph Scholar


  • Myles Bailey*
  • Cooper Billies
  • Madison Boeckman*
  • Anthony Brandt*
  • Patrick Bretland*
  • Hope Bridgers
  • Abigail Bryll*
  • Benjamin Bryll
  • Collin Crowthers
  • Joseph D’Aquila*
  • Colin Duncan*
  • Samuel Durm
  • Daniel English*
  • Audrey Estes
  • Garrett Estes*

  • Annabelle Fisher*
  • William Fitzsimmons*
  • Robert Fryman
  • Andrew Geers
  • Bryce Kellerman
  • John Keri
  • Isabelle Krimpenfort
  • Skylar Maushart
  • Joshua Mencsik*
  • Carter Nolan
  • Lilly Osterday
  • Jack Potter
  • Matthew Pryor*
  • Vincent Ramundo*
  • Jacob Reuss*
  • Danielle Robben*
  • Ian Rose
  • Joshua Scales*
  • John Sheehan*
  • Sophia Sponsler*
  • Kody Stein
  • Julia Straub
  • Coleson Taylor*
  • Caleb Tenkman
  • Elyse Thaman
  • Olivia Tore
  • Zachary Tucker*
  • Jacob Watford
  • Lillian Zimmerman



Local theatre company performs Shakespearean comedy on campus
February 3, 2015

On Thursday, January 29, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company treated McNicholas to a presentation of the comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Six performers engaged all students with an energetic and robust portrayal of Shakespeare’s comedy classic believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. The English Department arranged for the performance, and PTSA generously sponsored it.

Junior Maia Forman enjoyed the performance. “I really liked how the performance was done in a way that was similar to how it would have been done in Shakespeare’s time, with the actors playing multiple parts and it being well-lit in the performance space,” Forman said. “I also enjoyed that Puck came into the audience and got us more involved in the show.”

Forman and her junior classmates had just finished reading the classic in their English classes. “I thought it was really cool to see the show after we had spent so much time studying it and learning the story,” Forman said. “It also helped with my understanding of the characters and their motivations.”


McNicholas holds annual Science Fair
Posted January 29, 2015

On Wednesday, Jan. 28, the McNicholas Science Department held its annual science fair. The fair featured projects presented by students currently enrolled in Biology and AP Biology classes.

Congratulations for the following award winners who were also invited to continue on to the District Fair at the University of Cincinnati on March 14. Those who place in the UC competition will advance to the State Fair at The Ohio State University.

Life Science Awards

  • First Place: Alex Ballou - Taste Manipulation
  • Second Place: Kennedy Brennan Vitamin C Response to Heat In Fruits
  • Second Place: Kate Whitesell - Temperatures Effect On the Clarity of a Fingerprint

Honorable Mention in Life Science

  • Wade Brokamp - Testing the Conversion Process of Sucrose to Glucose and Fructose
  • Isabella Daley - The Antibacterial Effects of Raw Honey
  • Alexander Deimling - Osage Oranges
  • Natalie Martinez - The Effect of Heat on Chemosynthetic Bacteria Types
  • Cameron Massa - Impact of Technology Viewing On Sleep Patterns
  • Lauren Mindrum - Do Female Or Male Dogs Have More Bacteria In Their Mouths
  • Annie Savage - How To Improve Your Drawing Abilities
  • Gabriela Scorti - What Affects Your Reaction Time The Most: Listening to Music, Calling or Texting?

Physical Science Awards

  • First Place: William Granlund - Wave Stoppers
  • Second Place (tie): Alexis Duenkelsbuehler - Make Your Kick Count
  • Second Place (tie): Skyler Lance - Not All Wood Burns The Same
  • Second Place (tie): Physical Science: Sami Moser - Insulation of Fabrics

Honorable Mention in Physical Science

  • Nate Williams - The Effect of PSI on the Force A Soccer Ball Delivers

Governor’s Award for Advanced or Alternative Energy Research

  • Skyler Lance - Not All Wood Burns The Same

Governor’s Award for Advanced Materials Science Research

  • Sami Moser - Insulation of Fabric

Governor’s Award for Environmental Protection

  • William Granlund - Wave Stoppers

Governor’s Award for Biotechnology and Biomedical Technologies

  • Wade Brokamp - Testing the Conversion Process of Sucrose To Glucose and Fructose

National Association of Biology Teachers Honors

  • Kate Whitesell - Temperatures Effect On the Clarity of A Fingerprint

Click here to read Hannah VanZant's coverage of the Science Fair in the McNicolas Milestone.


Students selected for Honor Band

Posted January 29, 2015

Congratulations to seven McNicholas band members who were part of the Xavier University Honor Band: James Harrington, Maggie Schulhoff, Kyle Timmons, William Klunk, Steven Sinclair, Josh Hoeflich, and Jackson Durm.

The Honor Band consisted of 85 area high school musicians nominated by their band directors. The concert was performed Saturday, January 17, 2015 in the Xavier University Gallagher Theater. The Xavier University Honor Band was conducted by Dr. Terrence Milligan, 35 year professor at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.



Sophomore named to national team
Posted January 23, 2015

McNicholas High School’s Sophie Gorman joined elite players from the United States on the NSCA All-American Team. Each year, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) names an All-American team from the thousands of women’s high school soccer players across the country.

“Being named an All American was amazing,’ Gorman said. “I didn't understand the significance until I started getting congrats from the people around me, even including my old coaches.”

Gorman is one of only two sophomores of the 44 players named for the honor. The honorees received special recognition at an awards ceremony in Philadelphia on January 17.

Gorman was also named to the NSCAA Girls All-Central Region team and was the Southwest Ohio Player of the Year. She was also named First Team All-State as part of a team that took home the first State Championship for women’s soccer in school history.

“In the next two years it would be fun to do all this again, “Gorman said. “I think we have a chance to be very good at McNick for several more years. There is a lot of talent returning.”

Gorman added, “My next two years of high school are an opportunity for me to grow as an individual and for the team to grow. There’s always room for more improvement, and each year is a step farther to get myself and those around me prepared to play at the next level in college.”



McNicholas celebrates Catholic Schools Week
Posted January 21, 2015

January 25-31, McNicholas High School will commemorate Catholic Schools Week with events and celebrations that focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to our church, our communities, and our nation.

Click here for details about how McNicholas will celebrate.

The 2015 theme for National Catholic Schools Week is Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service. Dr. Jim Rigg, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, said, “As we prepare for this important week, I reflect upon how I will celebrate Catholic schools. In doing so, I need look no farther than our students…Our students are the fruits of our labor.”

He added, “As we enter Catholic Schools Week, my joy and hope is in our children, who represent the future of our Church. May God bless them during this week, and inspire all those who form our community of Catholic schools.”


Senior accepted into Air Force Academy

Posted January 16, 2015; Written by Kayla Abbitt '15

Class president, Dean’s List recipient, and 2nd team All-State football player, senior Elliott Higgins has made his mark on the Rocket community, leaving little room for surprise when he was recently accepted into one of the most prestigious programs in the country: The United States Air Force Academy. Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Academy is a coeducational public liberal arts college whose stated mission is “to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character, motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.”

Application to the Academy involves many pieces. In addition to demonstrating high academic integrity, a full assessment of character and athletics is required for each applicant.

“Elliott and I began talking early on in his junior year [about applying to the Academy],” said his guidance counselor, Ms. Kaitlyn Richter. “He was very prepared and knew what he needed to do throughout the application process. I was very impressed with his follow through and his ability to be proactive and ask me for help when he needed it.”

Of the approximate 12,000 applicants each year, a little over 1,000 are admitted into the Academy, making for around a 15% acceptance rate. In perspective, The Ohio State University’s admission rate is 55.5% (2013) and Miami University’s is 66.7% (2013). In addition to three essays and countless interviews, a nomination from a member of the U.S. Congress is required, and the process of securing a nomination can be competitive and lengthy. Higgins received a nomination by Brad Wenstrup, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 2nd district, all leading up to his acceptance into the academy.

“I’m most excited to go through basic training, where I will hopefully be trained by my cousin who will be a senior at the Academy,” Higgins said.

Higgins plans to accept and will leave for Basic Cadet Training on June 25.


Students win Scholastic art awards
Posted January 16, 2015

Six McNicholas art students received recognition in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards contest.

  • Gold Key
    Molly Jorden in drawing and painting; Laura Paquette in drawing; Heather Myers in photography

  • Silver Key
    Molly Jorden in painting

  • Honorable Mentions
    Lauren Faust and Jake Round in drawing; Megara Scott and Heather Myers in photography

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards began as a small writing contest with a $5 prize and six winning applicants in 1923. Today, more than 90,000 teens in grades 7 through 12 from around the nation annually submit more than 185,000 works of art and writing in 28 categories. Winning students earn opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication and scholarships.


63rd annual Mardi Gras Court and Honor Guard announced
Posted January 9, 2015

McNicholas High School is pleased to announce the court and honor guard for the 63rd annual Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras honors students who have given their time and talents in service to the school and community throughout high school. The senior court consists of 20 young men and 20 young women who have actively participated in school events and organizations. Membership on the court is a result of four years of compiled voting from students and faculty. The top four sophomore and junior young men and women constitute the honor guard.

Click here to view the 2015 Mardi Gras Court and Honor Guards.

The Annual Mardi Gras Pageant and Ball, the most prestigious student event of the year at McNicholas High School, will take place on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. The theme for the evening is Bayou Ball and Mrs. Anne Jones, Librarian and Webmaster, will emcee the event, an honor bestowed by the number of years of service to the school.

Click here to read the McNicholas Milestone's coverage of Maid of Honor Michelle Rowekamp and Captian of the Ball Elliot Higgins.


McNicholas announces Director of Development
Posted January 9, 2015

McNicholas High School is pleased to announce that Mr. Mark Doran has been named Director of Development. Doran joins McNicholas from Moeller High School where he has 17 years of experience working in a variety of roles, most recently as Associate Director of Development. Prior to that, Doran served as the Director of Athletic Development. Throughout his Moeller years, he was actively involved in capital campaigns and giving initiatives focused on facilities, tuition assistance, and endowment. He was also very involved in major annual fund-raising events similar to our McNick at Night and Athletic Boosters Hall of Fame.

Before he began working for Moeller, Doran had a successful career working in sales and account management for various information systems providers including Software Information Systems, Novell Corporation, and SARCOM Corporation. He began his career working for the IBM Corporation.

At McNicholas, Doran will oversee all development and advancement endeavors and will be responsible for all non-tuition fund-raising including the annual fund, McNick at Night, and Walk Day. He will develop and execute strategies to grow our fund-raising capabilities and work to establish an endowment and future capital campaigns.

"I am looking forward to becoming part of the McNicholas community," Doran said. "I am enthused by the opportunity to grow our development initiatives and look forward to getting to know parents, alumni, and friends of McNicholas."


Men’s basketball team travels south for holiday tournament at Disney

Posted January 13, 2015

McNicholas High School’s Men's Varsity Basketball Team traveled to Florida over the Christmas holidays for a KSA Basketball Tournament. The Rockets played teams from Rhode Island, New York City, and Georgie en route to a 2-1 record and a 3rd place finish in their bracket. Senior Andrew Schuerman was named the team’s MVP for the tournament.

The KSA Tournament included 32 teams from across the country, divided into 4 brackets by the teams’ previous year records and size of school. McNicholas competed in the second largest bracket and placed third in games played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Coach Tim Monahan would like to see the men’s basketball team participate in this tournament or a similar one every three to four years. “We have been fundraising for this trip for the past year,” Monahan said. “It was a great bonding experience for the team.”

For more details about the tournament, read Kayla Abbitt's coverage in the McNicholas Milestone.

Holocaust eyewitness shares story, wisdom with McNicholas students
Posted December 17, 2014; Written by Lauren Fisher '15

On Wednesday, Dec. 3, students and faculty at McNicholas High School had the opportunity to learn about World War II and the Holocaust from one who lived through its trials firsthand. Stephanie Marks, 89, shared her story - one that would take her family on a journey of over 7,000 miles, from the war-torn Polish countryside, through Western Europe, and finally to the shores of America, where they would ultimately find refuge.

Born in the small city of Konin, Poland, Marks grew up moving between Poland and Belgium, and was only a child when the German bombs began to fall and the Nazi soldiers marched in, forcing her family to flee to Warsaw on horse and wagon, making the dangerous trek through the bombed-out countryside with thousands of their fellow Jews who were seeking refuge. Marks and her family fled several dangerous situations and encountered countless challenges before ensuring their safety and eventual escape.

When Marks, who has since volunteered her time at the local Holocaust Center, reflects back on the Holocaust and on the loss of over 11 million lives, she does so not with hatred, but with a sense of hope that today’s society is headed in the right direction.

“What you have in your heart is the most important thing in the world. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, Muslim or Jewish, white or black,” Marks told the students. “Because if you don’t have love, you are nothing.”

To read more about Marks’ story, click here.


Rocket band celebrates holidays with winter concert

Posted December 16, 2014

On Thursday., Dec. 11, the McNicholas High School Band presented its annual Winter Concert. Selections by the Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Jazz Orchestra entertained a crowd that included families, fellow students, and alumni of the band program.

The Wind Ensemble opened the concert with I Heard a March on Christmas Day by Steve Hodges which included many familiar carols arranged in one piece. After a traditional Jerry Nowak arrangement of The Christmas Song made popular by Mel Torme, the Wind Ensemble closed its set with the Finale Movement #4 from Serenade for Strings in C Major by Tchaikovsky.

The Percussion Ensemble played two high energy pieces, Tango Argentino by Joaquin Valverde, and Bound for Marakesh by Chris Brooks. Freshman William Granlund serenaded the crowd with a beautiful rendition of Christmas Time is Here by Vince Guaraldi.

The concert closed with a three song set from the Jazz Ensemble including an arrangement of Deck the Halls by Mike Collins-Dowden.

The Rocket Band will perform at the Catholic Schools Week concert on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. and will travel to Marshall University on Saturday, Jan. 31 to play at the Marshall University Jazz Festival.


McNicholas students hold fundraiser in support of Lauren Hill

Posted December 11, 2014; Written by Lauren Fisher '15

Students at Archbishop McNicholas High School will soon join with thousands of others who have shown their support for ailing college basketball player Lauren Hill by taking part in the viral “#Layup4Lauren” Challenge to raise money for cancer research. The upcoming fundraiser, coordinated by the McNicholas Student Philanthropy organization, is not only an effort to join those who have already shown their support on social media, but a show of compassion towards the countless children who suffer from pediatric cancer.

Members of the club took a special interest in raising money to support pediatric cancer research following the diagnosis of Hill, the Mt. St. Joseph freshman who is battling DIPG, a rare, inoperable form of brain cancer. Throughout the remainder of the year, Student Philanthropy hopes to look into additional ways in which they can raise money and awareness for the cause, which impacts an estimated 13,400 new cases each year in the United States alone, making childhood cancer the most common cause of death by disease for children and teenagers.

“We need to be spreading awareness about cancer,” senior Michelle Rowekamp explained. “It could happen to any of us. McNick is very big on service, and I think this is a great way for us to branch out.”

Hill, 19, made national headlines in November, when, despite her terminal diagnosis, she was determined to play her first college basketball game, though her persisting symptoms made even practice drills an arduous feat. On Nov. 2, over 10,000 fans packed the Cintas Center at Xavier University to cheer her on as Mt. St. Joseph won their first game of the year against Hiram College. Even basketball superstar LeBron James was there to show his support.

With her condition continuing to deteriorate, Hill recently made the choice to begin hospice care, but is said to remain “in good spirits,” according to her family’s “Fight for the Cure” Facebook page.

Student Philanthropy sold t-shirts for $10 through Dec. 10, with the proceeds going to The Cure Starts Now, a locally-based charity, endorsed by Hill, which works to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer. Select students will also have the chance to take the “#Layup4Lauren” Challenge during halftime on Friday, Dec. 19, when the Varsity Men’s Basketball Team takes on Purcell Marian at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s a really important cause, and we encourage everyone to participate,” junior Emma Kapp said. “Everyone here has someone in their life who has been affected by cancer.”


Science teacher explores opportunities through Miami University’s Global Field Program

Posted December 11, 2014; Written by Hannah Van Zant '15

McNicholas High School science teacher Ms. Lauren Wulker recently traveled to the Amazon for the completion of her third Earth Expedition as part of her master's degree work for Miami University. Earth Expeditions are accredited excursions for teachers and adult students who are seeking to earn their master’s degree from Miami University through the Global Field Program.

The Global Field Program (GFP) at Miami brings master’s degree candidates such as scientists, educators, and community leaders together by giving them access to conservation areas in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, for firsthand experience with inquiry-driven education, environmental stewardship, and global understanding. GFP candidates join a growing network of leaders who work collaboratively to bring about change in local and global contexts.

When Wulker first became aware of the GFP p`rogram at Miami, she knew she needed to participate in it. "My passion for science and learning within the context of the global community converged when I was informed of this graduate program," Wulker said.

Each Earth Expedition is worth a total of seven credit hours, and each student is required to participate in three trips before graduation. Wulker's first expedition took place in Baja, California, where she, along with the others on the trip, studied desert and marine ecology.

In Peru, she studied avian ecology. She would wake early in the morning in her mosquito-netted bed when the birds were the most active to track and record various characteristics, such as molting and change in size. On her latest excursion to the Amazon, she studied evolution and maintenance of biodiversity, as well as the effects of human intervention.

For those who seek to pursue similar routes of conservation and animal/environmental studies, Wulker shared some helpful advice.

“When looking for a school, class size is definitely important,” Wulker said. “Express your interest in studying abroad early on, even if it’s taking an alternative spring break.”


McNicholas hosts annual Fair Trade Sale

December 8, 2014; Written by Nick Keri '14

On Dec. 4 and 5, McNicholas hosted the now annual “Friends of Batahola” Fair Trade sale. The sale took place in the library during both lunch periods and featured handmade and hand-painted items from Nicaraguan artisans.
Though the sale has happened sporadically since 2007, this is its third consecutive year, and it has gained stability through the Nicaraguan Immersion trip taken in June, said Theology teacher John Norman.

“While it has occurred in the past, the sale really gained ground when Hutch (Campus Ministry Director Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth) and I began going on the Immersion trip to Nicaragua,” Norman said. “We have worked to establish a connection with our friends there and to get a fair return for their craft.”

Hutchinson said that this sale gives the people of Nicaragua the opportunity to really market their craft.

“There is a tremendous amount of talent, and it has no access to the global market,” Hutchinson-Smyth said. “This not only gives them the chance to sell their work, but also make the highest profit possible by cutting out the middle-man.”
The items on sale included jewelry, hand painted crosses, and notecards featuring the two murals painted at McNick by Nicaraguan artist and Batahola Cultural Center art teacher Gerardo Arias. Not only are these items a great way to help the people of the developing world, but they make quality gifts for loved ones,” Hutchinson-Smyth said. “Many of us have the desire not to just buy ‘stuff’ but to find a meaningful gift for the people we love.”

Though the sale only lasted two days at McNick, there are other opportunities to get involved in Fair Trade. A store called 10,000 Villages, located in O’Brienville, sells fair trade items from around the world. Once a month, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish sells fair trade coffee, chocolate, and other items after their masses, and local grocery stores carry fair trade coffee.

Hutchinson-Smyth and Norman agree that this sale is great way for students to practice solidarity.

“The sale can help broaden the vision of our students in terms of how to be citizens of the world and how to act as a Catholic,” Norman said.


McNicholas students help less fortunate in own community
Posted November 25, 2014

The spirit of giving is alive at McNicholas High School throughout the year and even more so during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. With the temperatures plunging and holiday expectations escalating, McNicholas students have several opportunities to reach out and help people not-so-different from themselves.

  • Food and Coat Drives
    McNicholas conducted its 15th annual canned food drive just before Thanksgiving. Hundreds of cans of food were donated by McNicholas students and will go to help Hope Emergency and the YWCA Emergency Assistance Program in Batavia which support over 400 struggling families within our footprint. Coats collected this fall were also delivered to these two agencies.

  • Gifts for Hope
    Student Council is sponsoring the Gifts for Hope shoebox project which will also benefit Hope Emergency. The goal is to fill shoeboxes with small gifts and items for teens ages 12-18 who might not otherwise receive any gifts this Christmas season. According to senior Student Council member Anna Pierce, the project grew out of a desire to make a difference locally using an international idea. “This project was inspired by Operation Christmas Child,” Pierce said. “Instead of sending presents in shoeboxes overseas, we thought it would be a good idea to send gifts to kids in our community.”

    Student Council is hoping that the proximity as well as the age similarities will help make the project a success. “I was really excited about this age group because we as high school students can relate to them and, therefore, better connect with the project,” Pierce said.

  • Blankets for Babies Collection
    The Rockets for Life Club will be collecting blankets for Pregnancy Center East until Christmas break. Students will collect used, new, and handmade blankets, as well as tied fleece blankets, crocheted, and knitted items. Pregnancy Center East provides material assistance to mothers in need and relies on generous support from the community supply those items. The blankets are just one of many necessities the agency provides free of charge.

Each day McNicholas students are encouraged to live a Christ-centered life, and their efforts this holiday season are part of the journey to gain “full stature in Christ.” By helping people in the community not so different from themselves, students at McNicholas gain an appreciation for the great gifts in their own lives as well as for the growth and satisfaction that comes from giving.


McNicholas celebrates convent’s centennial with tours and tree lighting

Posted November 25, 2014

For 100 years, the convent on the campus at McNicholas High School has been a central part of thousands of students’ lives. On Sunday, December 7, McNicholas invites the community to help celebrate the centennial with an open house from 6 to 8 p.m.

During the open house, the first and second floors of the convent will be open for tours and will include photos of the classrooms, chapel, and residential areas in use throughout the years. The Heritage Room will feature Art of the Convent, work done by students and faculty featuring the convent and some of its beautiful features. Christmas music by the McNicholas High School band and liturgy choir will be featured on the front porch of the convent, and Santa will visit at 7 p.m. to light the new trees by the Military Memorial.

The McNicholas Cooking Club will provide cookies and members of Student Council will host a children’s activity area with a special craft project.


The Convent Chapel with its original décor. St. Joseph Academy students in the 1920s used the room in the front of the building on the second floor as a music room. Today it is the Spanish 1 classroom.

McNicholas celebrates French Week

Posted November 20, 2014

From November 10-14, McNicholas celebrated la Semaine Nationale de Français (National French Week) with French prayers, trivia questions, student presentations, and fun activities.

On Thursday, a group of students gathered for an authentic French dinner at La Petite France. The highlight of the week was the annual McNick Tour de France, where student teams from each French class competed on bicycles to win the maillot jaune.  

Click here to read the McNicholas Milestone's coverage of the week. For additional news about the World Languages department, click here.



Fall play chosen for Thespian Conference

Posted November 20, 2014

The McNicholas Theatre Department's fall production, It's Not The End of The World, has won a first place, full production slot at the 2015 Thespian Conference in Columbus in March.

"We are excited for this opportunity to present the show in front of hundreds of young theatre enthusiasts, teachers, and professionals from all over the country," theatre teacher Ms. Teresa DeZarn said.

The production includes Nothing is the End of the World, directed by DeZarn, and The Diary of Adam and Eve, directed by Jeanne Spurlock. This is the third consecutive year that McNicholas has won this honor under the leadership of DeZarn.

Click here to view the Theatre Gallery with photos from the show's November performances.

39 students inducted into NHS

Posted November 12, 2014

On Tuesday, Nov. 11, McNicholas High School inducted 39 new members into the Altiora Chapter of National Honor Society. The National Honor Society recognizes the achievements of junior and senior students who excel academically and fill leadership roles in the school and wider community.

The induction was led by NHS moderators, English teacher Mrs. Katie Caster and social studies teacher Ms. Michelle Semancik. SAIL teacher Mrs. Val Combs gave the congratulations speech to the newly inducted members. NHS officers Michelle Hollenkamp, Trevor Lynd, Molly Kidwell, and William Allgeier also assisted with the ceremony.

Congratulations to new members Zachary Arnold, Taylor Ashmore, William Babb, Kelly Breitenbach, Caleb Brunner, Maria Ciampone, Kelly Cole, Matthew Cornell, Claire Daly, Aaron Diemler, Micah Diemler, Jackson Durm, Vincent Ehemann, Nicholas Emig, Emma Feld, Lauren Fisher, Maia Forman, Emma Heise, Connor Higgins, William Kamphaus, Emma Kapp, John Longbottom, Brynna Maxey, Adam Neltner, Grant Painter, Gabrielle Quesnell, Nicholas Robben, Jarrod Roetenberger, Sidney Schaeper, Margaret Schulhoff, Anna Schutter, Margaret Sheehan, Elizabeth Simmons, Sarah Standiford, Brittany Taylor, Gillian Tierney, Kyle Timmons, Abigail Weiler, and Hannah Wuerfel.



McNicholas commemorates Veteran’s Day with memorial rededication
Posted November 12, 2014; Written by Lauren Fisher '15

On Wednesday, Nov. 11, students and faculty assembled in honor of over 200 McNicholas alumni who have served their nation in the armed forces. During the hour-long service, the school rededicated its military memorial, which commemorates the lives of five McNicholas graduates who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country.

Gathering together near the memorial, the student body joined the nation’s veterans and the families of those McNicholas alumni who have fallen in the line of duty. Social Studies teacher Frank Lowden began the ceremony by offering a bagpipe call to order, ushering in members of the American Legion Post 484, who presented the colors for the Pledge of Allegiance. The student body participated by waving American flags and joining their school Liturgy Choir in the singing of the National Anthem and "God Bless America."

Speakers at the event included United States Air Force Colonel Walter C. Daniels II ’85, and Lieutenant Colonel Brad Wenstrup, United States Army Reserves and 2nd Congressional District U.S. House of Representatives.

“Today is meant for celebrating the service of those who came before us and those who will come after us,” Daniels told the crowd. “As we rededicate this memorial, I ask you not to mourn the loss, but to celebrate the service.”

Originally dedicated in 2009, the military memorial honors five McNicholas graduates who were killed in the line of duty: Marty Mugavin ’65, Greg Iding ’65, Joe Berning ’69, Chuck Kiser ’85, and Nick Erdy ’02. During the rededication ceremony, select students offered tributes to the each of the fallen veterans, recounting stories of their lives and sacrifices. Daniels and Wenstrup were then invited to share with the McNicholas community their thoughts on the importance of honoring those who give their lives to military service.

“To me, every day is Veteran’s Day,” Wenstrup said. “Not a day has passed when I do not think of our troops. Those who serve our country are the best and brightest. Our great American veterans go where others fear to go, and ask nothing from those who give nothing.”

Following the ceremony, the veterans and their families were invited inside for a breakfast, held in the school cafeteria. There, students were able to spend quality time with family members who have served in the armed forces, while reflecting on the service of those McNicholas graduates who had paid the ultimate sacrifice to their country.

“We should remember them as they lived and see it with happiness rather than sadness and grief,” senior Patrick Simmons said. Simmons attended the event with his grandfather, a veteran of the Vietnam War. “We must never forget those who have served, and must remember them not by glorifying the war and bloodshed, but rather through people who still live and through remembering those who died.”

Daniels concluded his speech by presenting the ceremony’s attendees with a challenge to support those who work for freedom today while preserving the memory of those military members who have since passed.

“I challenge you to live the life of selfless service as those men have,” Daniels said. “Remember them and ask yourself: ‘How can I serve my community today?”

Click here to view a list of McNicholas High School alumni who have served in the armed forces.


Students observe live surgery and fuel interest in health and medicine

Posted November 10, 2014

On Oct. 28,  seniors Andrew Parra, Keely Meakin, Molly Kidwell, Will Allgeier and Sarah Shook observed a live surgery at The Christ Hospital. The group observed a hysterectomy and later had the opportunity to operate the same robotic arms the surgeons used on the patient.

“The point of the arms is so that the surgeon is able to use them like they would use their own arms and hands but do so in a minimally-invasive fashion. We were able to use the arms to shift numbers and letter blocks and attempt to organize them,” senior Molly Kidwell said.

Students also took a tour of The Christ Hospital Nursing School and saw a demonstration of the simulation lab where nursing students have a chance to practice their nursing skills before trying them on real patients.

“I absolutely loved touring the nursing college, and getting to see the SIMS dummies was a remarkable experience,” Kidwell said. “These dummies can have asthma attacks, heart attacks, and even give birth!”

Fellow senior Will Allgeier agreed. “It looked really interesting and shows how much of a difference you can make in people’s lives,” Allgeier said. “All of the equipment and people involved proved to be something special.”

Both Kidwell and Allgeier said that the experience fueled their interest in health and medicine. “Observing the surgery made me realize just how passionate I am about the human body and about science in general,” Kidwell said. “I felt excited awaiting the surgery, and telling people about my experience made me smile... It just really validated my desire to pursue a career in pediatrics.”


Service Club cleans local cemetery
Posted November 10, 2014

On Saturday, Oct. 25, a group of 30 students spent the morning cleaning the Mt. Washington Cemetery. The group from the school’s Service Club has made this work of helping maintain the cemetery, which is just down the street from McNicholas in Mt. Washington, a regular service project.

“The Mt. Washington Cemetery Association is so grateful to have the assistance of a large group of student volunteers from McNicholas High School,” Julie Rimer, secretary and treasurer of the Cemetery Association. “Mr. Sam Roflow, Chair of the McNicholas Theology Department, and the students performed a wide variety of maintenance tasks at the Mt. Washington Cemetery--collecting fallen tree limbs, planting trees, weeding and removing litter. Since the formerly abandoned cemetery is maintained by a small group of trustees, the help was invaluable.”



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