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BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rich Mannisto, Board Chair, Vice President of Development, Wisconsin Lutheran College Mark Backe ‘82, Board Vice Chair, Vice President & Insurance & Operations Counsel, Northwestern Mutual Karla Barillas ’01, Vice President of Human Resources, St. Anthony’s School and Parish Mark Bosbous, M.D. ’97, American Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin Joe Chrnelich ’76, Chairman, Asia Region Development Inc. Jan Drzewiecki, President, The Yakich Group LLC Cheryl Falk, Senior Vice President - Global Marketing and Communications, Dematic Corporation Michael Frohna ’84, President, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin Ariel Gutierrez ’89, Board Secretary, Program Manager, FISERV

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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Jack Herbert STAFF SPOTLIGHT – SPECIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT Anne Findlay Michele Griffin ‘92 John Martin POPES WHO SERVE Gabriela Castro ‘19 Corinne Wright ‘21 LEADERS OF THE CLASS OF 2019 Ryan Pogodzinski ’19 – Valedictorian Allyson Mills ’19 - Salutatorian


INVESTING IN FUTURE LEADERS Fred Sitzberger ‘71 Northwestern Mutual Foundation of Milwaukee

Fr. Joe Koyickal, SAC, Provincial, Pallottine Fathers and Brothers



Patrick Landry ‘04, President/Principal, Notre Dame School of Milwaukee


S. Sylvia Leonardi, OSF, Teacher/Campus Minister, St. Joseph Catholic Academy




Carrie King, Ph.D., Counseling Department Chair, Mount Mary University

Eleazar Lopez Jr. ’01, Regional Manager, Catholic Financial Life Steve Pape ’96, Partner, Founders 3 Real Estate Services John Splude ’63, Owner, JWS Classics Peter Stefaniak ’79, Owner/Broker, The Stefaniak Group John Tesensky, Board Treasurer, President, Above View, Inc.

About The Cover: Shawna Nicols ’01 stands outside the main entrance at Pius XI Catholic High School. Shawna was named the 2019 Distinguished Alum for the impact she has made on the Pius XI community and the city of Milwaukee through her “Dare To Be” initiatives. To learn more about Shawna and “Dare To Be”, visit https://www.daretobeclothing.com.

EX OFFICIO Kathleen Cepelka, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocese of Milwaukee A special thank you to Jim Karpowicz and Katherine Maloney Perhach ’93 for completing their board service in 2018-2019. “EXAMEN” is an invitation to pray, reflect on our day, hold each other in prayer, and then make a plan to serve the greater good through our outreach to one another.



Graphic Design Molly (Radke) Germanotta ‘07 Contributing Writers Dan Carey ‘00 | Angela Dempsey Reilly

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE JACK HERBERT “I AM NOT A TEACHER, BUT AN AWAKENER.” S – ROBERT FROST This quote is so beautiful as it identifies the collaboration between student and teacher. For “awakening” to occur there have to be both stimulus and response. Education is not transactional but totally transformational, and very personal. The best teachers ignite a spark within students and create a change in perception, in understanding, and in awareness. It is a spiritual happening when a student is awakened by the care and wisdom of his/her teacher and he/she feels understood, valued and supported. I want to thank some of the great awakeners who retired this year. These five individuals have a combined total of 182 years of service to Pius XI’s mission and to thousands of Popes - Kevin Schwartz (26 years), Craig Gyland (28 years), Tom Chmielewski (39 years), Ruth Regent-Smith (43 years) and Terry Mank (46 years). Entire careers spent on 76th and Stevenson helping students develop their voices, find their passions and achieve their goals. Lucky are we to have had such incredible dedication to the profession of teaching and commitment to the formation of young people. Also this year, we were privileged to acknowledge one very special awakener: The 2019 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Private School Teacher of the Year, Cathy Burnett. Cathy was chosen from among 6,000 private school teachers in Wisconsin for this prestigious award after previously receiving a 2019 Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship Award in April. Cathy is the chair of the Visual Arts department and has spent her entire career intentionally awakening the minds, spirits, and voices of thousands of students engaged in art. A school is not the building. Technology is not education. Nothing is as vital to the future of our community and our world as inspiring teachers who awaken the minds and hearts of future leaders.

Jack Herbert President



SPOTLIGHT ON THE SPECIAL STUDIES PROGRAM The Pius XI Special Studies program originated in the 1970s under the direction of principal Fr. McCall, SAC, who believed that a disability should not exclude someone from attending a Catholic high school. This program continues to provide academic support for students who have been diagnosed with Specific Learning Disabilities. Approximately 60 students participate in this college-prep program each year, and these students are 100% mainstreamed into the regular Pius XI classroom curriculum. 90% of the students in the Special Studies program go on to post-secondary education, with alumni currently pursuing careers as teachers, school administrators, lawyers, social workers, pharmacists, computer programmers, business professionals and police officers, among many others. The Special Studies department is comprised of three faculty members: Anne Findlay (Learning Disabilities Teacher and Department Chair), John Martin (Special Studies Teacher), and Michele Griffin ’92 (Reading Strategies Teacher).

What do you love most about your job?

What are your main job responsibilities? AF: I spend most of my day working one-on-one or in small groups with students in the program. We focus on their schoolwork, creating organizational systems, self-advocacy and study skills, post-secondary planning, and compensatory skills. JM: I run a structured resource for students with learning disabilities – case management, study support, and academic problem solving. MG: I support students who struggle with reading comprehension and literacy skills. I help them add strategic tools to their reading strategies toolbox to help assist them in understanding a variety of texts.



AF: The best part of my job is the students! They keep me young. I love seeing someone grasp a topic they were struggling with. Seeing them grow from freshman year to seniors is always magical. And I love when our students come back to visit after graduation. To see this adult who has gone on to have success and happiness, and to know that you had a small part in it, is life-affirming. MG: I love seeing a student who does not like to read, rediscover the beauty and richness of reading a book that they actually like. And I love what we are about here at Pius XI. Our students are nurtured to grow in all aspects of their life – spiritually, academically, socially and emotionally.



What are the biggest strengths of the Special Studies program? AF: This program is very unique in Catholic secondary education, particularly in the Midwest. It has allowed hundreds of students to get a Catholic high school education that would have been turned down by many other Catholic high schools. JM: I think a huge strength of our program is the flexibility in meeting individual student needs. We work closely with teaching staff and parents to best assure success for our students. MG: The biggest strengths are found in the teachers’ knowledge and skills in the area of learning behaviors, learning disabilities and student accomodations. Anne is so patient, kind and supportive. John’s persistence in holding students accountable for their learning is a huge asset when working with students struggling with organization, time management, etc.

What makes Pius XI such a special place? AF: Pius is such a special place because the staff lives the mission. The phrase “we really care” is evident in our staff – we are called to do more than impart content. We feel we are called to care about our students academically, emotionally, and spiritually. JM: The love and consideration for others. This is constantly present....you can feel it every day working here. The people in this building genuinely care for one another. MG: Pius XI is such an incredible community! Our students are not pigeonholed into specific groups. They are allowed opportunities to interact with diverse populations of people, as well as participate in a variety of activities ranging from athletics to the arts.

For more information on our Special Studies program, contact Anne Findlay at afindlay@piusxi.org



POPES WHO SERVE GABRIELA CASTRO ‘19 “I’ve fallen in love with taking care of other people, always trying to step up and be a voice for them when they can’t speak for themselves.” Senior Gabriela Castro is currently serving her second term as a youth representative for the Milwaukee Youth Council, working to affect change and improve relationships within the community. Her passion is social activism, and the Youth Council has given Gabriela the opportunity to be a voice for others. “I want my ceiling to be someone else’s floor,” she says. “I want my opportunities to be the baseline for someone else’s opportunities.” Having worked on projects related to youth homelessness, nutrition, anti-bullying, and human trafficking, Gabriela understands the importance of being agents of change. “I truly believe in the message of ‘If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?’”, she said. “It’s so easy to go online and feel bad and write a post about it. It’s so much better to go out in the community and actually do something about it.” Gabriela has embraced the many offerings that Pius XI has for students. She is active in the student ambassador program, as well as Writing Club, Spanish Club, and Relay For Life. Gabriela will attend UW-Madison in the Fall, with plans to pursue a career in Psychology or Sociology.

CORINNE WRIGHT ‘21 “I understand how many people have helped me, and served me, growing up. I feel it is my responsibility to give back and serve others.” Sophomore Corinne Wright has charted her own path as a leader, a mentor and a role model. She was recently selected as one of two student representatives on the board of the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE). A Girl Scout since third grade, Corinne has served as a Program Aide at Camp Silver Brook, using her experience as a camper to mentor younger campers. “It is empowering to be looked up to”, says Corinne. “You create a very special bond with the kids. Many of these girls don’t have older sisters, and for that week at camp, that’s what you are for them.” Corinne is involved with Jack and Jill of America, Inc.’s Teen Group for the Midwest region, as she was elected Vice President this past year. She is also a dynamic public speaker, describing this year on the Pius XI Forensics team as “the best high school experience I’ve had so far.” Corinne plans to major in Business Management, and minor in Dance, with dreams of working on the executive side with the ballet company. She was recently accepted into the prestigious “Business Emerging Leaders” program through UW-Madison, a summer business program for high-achieving high school students. 6


LEADERS OF THE CLASS OF 2019 RYAN POGODZINSKI – PIUS XI VALEDICTORIAN “I’ve always held myself to high standards. My motivation is to live up to that standard, to prove to myself to be my very best.” Ryan Pogodzinski loves a challenge. The goal was clear from the moment he got to Pius XI – finish his senior year as valedictorian. He knew it would be difficult, especially with his commitment to soccer, basketball, and numerous student organizations. But Ryan used his competitive drive to succeed athletically and academically. His TAC teacher Pete Yaeger said, “Ryan is as hard of a worker as any student I’ve had here. His willingness to work hard to excel in his difficult classes is truly impressive.” Ryan’s inspiration this year came from the strongest person he’s ever known - his 5-year-old cousin Dylan. Diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma in September, Dylan underwent five rounds of chemotherapy from October to January, before being declared cancer-free. “He’s a fighter,” Ryan said. “He showed me that if you keep fighting, anything is possible.” Ryan and his soccer teammates used Dylan as inspiration to fuel their run to a State Championship. After celebrating the state title with his teammates and family, Ryan took the trophy straight to Dylan at Children’s Hospital. Ryan’s next challenge awaits in Green Bay, where he will enroll and play soccer at St. Norbert College. His major is undecided, with interest in the medical field, business and accounting. Ryan has also been accepted into the Honors Program at St. Norbert, where he will take challenging courses and group seminars, participate in service work, with opportunities to travel abroad.

ALLYSON MILLS – PIUS XI SALUTATORIAN “I started out so shy when I got here...and now I’m looking to pursue a career in performing and teaching. Pius XI sparked my passion for music and art, and helped me find my confidence.” Allyson Mills finally decided to stop worrying and start doing. After her sophomore year at Pius XI, this year’s salutatorian made the choice to get involved. Artists in Motion. Tri-M. National Honor Society. Christian Athletic Leadership Organization. Thespian Honor Society. Mixed Choir. Seven Advanced Placement classes. It wasn’t easy for Allyson to step out of her comfort zone. A shy person by nature, her confidence grew through the encouragement of teachers like Bonnie Scholz, Dan Martin and Kevin Schwartz. She also credits Pat Frederick and Cathy Burnett from the Visual Arts department for helping discover her artistic talents. Before starting classes at UW-Madison in the Fall (majoring in Music Education), Allyson will participate in the Florentine Opera’s Young Singing Actors intensive program. She will also be dancing at Irish Fest and singing with the Milwaukee Irish Fest Youth Choir. www.piusxi.org


ALUMNUS DONATES $50,000 FRED SITZBERGER ‘71 Fred Sitzberger ’71, Founder and CEO of Sitzberger & Company accounting firm based in Brookfield, made a $50,000 donation to Pius XI Catholic High School. This gift comes during our 90th year of service to Catholic education and will be used to help pay down the school’s building debt. For Sitzberger, one of six siblings to attend Pius XI, it’s about giving back to a place that had a profound impact on his success. “Pius XI taught me how to learn. And it was through a group of caring teachers who used a kind discipline to get the best out of us students,” he said. Born and raised on the southwest side of Milwaukee, Sitzberger has learned the importance of living a values-driven life. As he grew older, he became more involved in community outreach seeing people he looked up to who were always givers. He thought to himself, “I want to be that way. I want to be a good man. I want to be that guy who does the right thing because it IS the right thing.” “This gift was such a God-send,” said President Jack Herbert. “Debt is a significant concern and a challenge for any business. It is so rare for a donor to recognize this. His generosity and his belief in the importance of values-based education is inspiring.” When asked what compelled him to make this particular gift to Pius XI, Sitzberger referenced the Prayer of St. Francis, saying “it is in the giving that we receive. It’s in the loving that we are loved. It’s in the forgiving that we are forgiven.”




NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL GRANT FOR PLTW The Northwestern Mutual Foundation of Milwaukee has made a significant investment in future leaders through a generous $20,000 grant in support of our Project Lead the Way: Introduction to Engineering and Design (IED) program as part of their effort to engage ninth grade students in technology. IED fundamentals of design and dimensioning with a semester-long emphasis on 3D modeling and design using AutoDesk Inventor. “Northwestern Mutual recognizes introducing today’s students to science and technology skills is essential to Milwaukee’s future,” said Thomas Rosenthal, Program Officer at the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. “Onethird of all Pius XI 9th graders who take an introductory engineering course go on to take all three subsequent courses. In addition, Pius XI offers summer camps for students in 4th through 8th grade, further strengthening their commitment to the STEM pipeline.” The Pius XI Science and Engineering department has been chaired by Cathy Zurawski ’03 since 2013. Under her leadership, the Pius XI Rube Goldberg Team made it to the National finals after winning the regional competition in spring of 2019. Ms. Zurawski was recognized in 2017 with a Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship Award for excellence in teaching. “PLTW courses offer students increasingly complex opportunities to engage in science, engineering and technology. Each class builds upon skills obtained in previous years, much like a foreign language,” said Ms. Zurawski. “I want students to stay engaged in engineering and build their understanding through practical applications of engineering principles.” According to the National Science Foundation, in 2015, just 4.8% of the Science and Engineering workforce was African American and 6% Hispanic, while Caucasians represented 66.6% of the S&E workforce. At Pius XI, of all students currently enrolled in PLTW courses, 30% are African American, 28% are Hispanic and 34% are Caucasian. Nearly half of these students are female (in 2010, females represented just 16% of our PLTW students). “Our commitment to equity in access to opportunity is a high priority across all disciplines and is hallmark of all programs at Pius XI,” said President, Jack Herbert. “Without support, we simply could not offer programs like these. We are grateful that the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is making a commitment to Milwaukee’s future workforce with this investment.” The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is to improve the lives of children and families in need. The Foundation has given more than $353 million since its inception in 1992 and is designed to create lasting impact in the communities where the company’s employees and financial representatives live and work. Visit Northwestern Mutual Foundation (www.foundation.northwesternmutual.com) to learn more.



DISTINGUISHED ALUM SHAWNA NICOLS ‘01 Each year, Pius XI presents its Distinguished Alum Award, recognizing outstanding service to Pius XI, the church, community, or their profession. This year’s recipient is Shawna Nicols ’01. Shawna is one of the Midwest’s premier open format DJs (official DJ for the Milwaukee Bucks and Wisconsin Badgers). She is a published author, basketball skills trainer and coach, and fashion designer who continues to inspire people to be their best selves through her “Dare To Be” initiatives. Proceeds of Shawna’s book, “The Adventures of Bob and Downtown Milwaukee: A Tale of Tails”, benefit Key To Change, serving the city’s chronically homeless. She has also come back to Pius XI numerous times to inspire students. Recently, we had the opportunity to visit with Shawna, as she shared insights on her passion for acceptance and inclusion, the importance of authenticity, and the impact that the Pius XI community has had on her.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time as a student at Pius XI? My experience as a three-sport athlete (volleyball, basketball and softball) was amazing. I feel very lucky to have been coached by three incredible men in Coach Scher, Coach Claassen and Coach Yaeger. I learned what it meant to be part of something much bigger than yourself. We were taught to be confident but humble, understanding that eyes are always on us. We were put in a position to be an example for others, to be role models. One other memory that sticks out is going on a Mission Trip to a Native American reservation in South Dakota during my senior year. Still to this day, one of the most impactful experiences of my life. When you were a Pius XI student, what did you want to be “when you grew up”? A doctor! I watched ER on TV a lot when I was younger. I wanted to be a pediatrician or an ER doctor. Why does Milwaukee need Pius XI Catholic High School? Pius XI is a special place because it is inclusive. It’s something I strongly believe in. No matter where you come from, the doors are open for you at Pius XI. You can be an athlete, an artist, an engineer...anything. 10


There’s something for everybody here. This place prepared me not only for college, but for the real world because of how accepting and inclusive it is. What has compelled you to stay connected to Pius XI? What keeps you coming back? I can come here unannounced, and it still feels like home. I can be my authentic self, and if I can give a high five to one student in the hallway and make them smile, I feel like the luckiest person in the world. One of my missions in life is to be somebody that I think I needed when I was a kid. What is the most important skill for a young person to be successful in the world today? Communication. Even in today’s world of technology, you still need to be able to look someone in the eyes and have a conversation. Being honest, open and vulnerable is so important. When you step outside of your comfort zone is when you take the big leaps in development and growth. What motivates you on a daily basis? I want to see how far I can go. There’s no blueprint for what I’m doing. I believe we have a choice every single day when we wake up – what kind of day am I going to have? I’m driven to make my family proud, and to do my part to make our community a better place.

What does it mean to be authentic? To simply be yourself, to be real and genuine. We are ongoing, works in progress as people. I’m very introspective, constantly looking for ways to grow and get better. What can I do today to help me be better than I was yesterday? This is where my competitive edge comes out.

headline Summerfest as a main act. I also want to see what I can do with “Dare To Be”, especially the clothing line and the book. I’m curious to see how far I can take both.

Where does your passion for serving others come from? I was born and raised Catholic, and was taught at a young age to treat others as you want to be treated. I also learned early on how it’s always bigger than me. Playing basketball for Pius XI, I remember feeling that pride and also that responsibility of being a Lady Pope. When I would go to the grocery store with my Pius XI basketball sweatshirt on, I was representing the school, the girls’ basketball program, Coach Claassen, and every single girl who came before me. And now with any interactions I have with other people, my goal is to make them smile and feel good – I want to inspire something in you, make you feel something. What are your goals for the future ... what’s next? I want to DJ at the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. I am working on producing my first song. I would love to www.piusxi.org


90 YEARS OF FOREVER FRIENDS Over the course of 90 years, countless friendships have started on 76th and Stevenson, many of which continue long after graduation. Our Pius XI community took to Facebook this year, posting photos from across the globe with fellow Popes.


OF ’96
















OF ‘93




CLASS OF ’95 , ‘96, ‘9 PACKE 7 R TAIL GATE

N ‘09 LENEL BROW GENSON ‘10 & EMILY JOR www.piusxi.org


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EXAMEN - Summer 2019