THE MAGAZINE OF ST JOSEPH HIGH SCHOOL
St Joseph High School is an independent Catholic college preparatory community that educates and motivates young women and men to live purposeful lives as ethical leaders committed to the common good of all.
Board Members St Joseph High School is a selfgoverning institution within the Diocese of Bridgeport. CHAIRPERSON Christopher Wilson P ’08, ’10, ’14 Stonehill Capital Management, LLC Dr Steven Cheeseman P ’23 Superintendent of Schools, ex officio Diocese of Bridgeport John Fahey P ’20, ’22 United Rentals, Inc. Dr William J Fitzgerald Former Head of School, ex officio John Gschwind P ’14 Rexel USA Andrea Maldon ’89 P ’19 Lone Pine Capital, retired Kenneth Martin ’95 P ’21, ’23, ’24 Co-Owner, Colony Grill Patrick O’Keefe P ’07, ’11 O’Keefe Controls Company Deacon Patrick Toole P ’14 Episcopal Delegate for Administration Diocese of Bridgeport Michelle Whitlock P ’17, ’20 Ogilvy Health James Woods P ’96, ’98, ’00 Venman & Co. LLC David J Klein President, ex officio
The Communiqué is written for alumni and friends of St Joseph High School by the Offices of Advancement, Alumni, and Marketing. Within these pages we will showcase outstanding alumni, students, faculty and staff, along with highlighting our distinguished events and programming.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Mission of Equity: Kathleen Boozang ’77
Eye of the Tiger: Manny Torres ’95
Little Blessings: Lashanda Jackson Boxill ’01
A Comforting Voice: Christopher Lucy ’13
Ahead of the Curve: From Remote Learning to a Hybrid Re-Opening Model
Ready for Champions: St Joseph High School Renovates the Gym and Vito M Montelli Court
The Face of Resilience: The Class of 2020 Celebrates an Unusual Conferral of Diplomas
The Soul of a Community: What Does a High School Chaplain Do When High School is Virtual?
ADMINISTRATION & STAFF President David J Klein Principal Nancy DiBuono Assistant Principal, Curriculum & Instruction Scott Clough Assistant Principal, Athletics Kevin Butler Chief Financial Officer Linda Batten P ’10, ’13
Director of College & School Counseling Tim Nash P ’23 Dean of Student Life Matthew Kavulich Director of Advancement Aimee Marcella Director of Marketing & Enrollment Management Jessica Costa
Associate Director, Advancement Security & Facilities Director Sasha Davila Russell ’01 Joseph Dzurenda ’80 P ’15, ’17, ’20 Associate Director, Marketing/Communications Episcopal Chaplain Maria Martinez Father Eric Silva ’08 3
An Unwavering Commitment to Excellence Dear Friends, Greetings from St Joes. As you can imagine, the return to school this year has been unique and most challenging for everyone â€“ students, families, faculty, and staff. That said, I am proud to report that we have embraced the COVID-19 challenge with faith, confidence, and focus. We are, and will remain resolute and solution-driven as we confront all of lifeâ€™s challenges. Why? Because We are Cadets and We Carry On Together. With great fidelity, the SJ faculty continues to successfully implement our Maroon and Gold Hybrid Educational Model which features the opportunity for live daily interaction for students and their teachers. A strategic investment in state of the art OWL Labs cameras has allowed our students to learn and engage with their teachers and classmates in real time, regardless of their physical learning location (at school or at home). We are also intently focused upon the social-emotional health of our community and are currently designing on-campus events that will reunite full grade-level classes with the simple goals of fun and fellowship. College and School Counselors persist in connecting our determined Cadets with their best fit college as they prepare to graduate, while ensuring the academic planning and support to get there is well provided. SJ athletic teams continue to practice diligently and proudly compete on behalf of our school. The training for the Fall season began for student-athletes in July with a safe approach to strength and conditioning. In late August, we also cut the ribbon and celebrated the beautiful renovation of the beloved gymnasium and home to the honorary Vito M. Montelli Court. We are now enthusiastically immersed in the enrollment and recruitment season for the incoming Class of 2025. Despite the obstacles presented by COVID-19, our innovative Admissions Team continues to excite and engage prospective Cadets in on-campus, CDC compliant, and re-imagined visitation opportunities to include live Open House and shadowing experiences, our Entrance Exam Preparation Course, and the traditional Entrance Exam. The high school search process for future Cadets boasts a strong balance of the flexibility and authenticity of our dynamic community. Despite these unprecedented and unsettling times, the constant has been that St Joes remains unflappable in its commitment to excellence and confronting any and all challenges with grace and perseverance. We are demonstrating throughout the region and across the state, that St Joes is a strong, vibrant and innovative community. We thank you for your continued support and partnership. May God bless you and your family.
In Faith & Fellowship,
David J Klein President
Enthusiastic Optimism for the Future Looking back at the last twelve months, I have found that life can offer an abundance of blessings even in a year that seemingly has an agenda to prove otherwise. First of which was when I came to St Joes. Shortly after my arrival in September 2019, I attended my first energetic “Hog” homecoming up on the hill, with maroon and gold as far as the eye can see. Alumni mingled with current parents, rooting side by side with our students, faculty, and staff, and immediately I felt the feeling of family. Next was the festive Maroon & Gold Gala, where honoring our own was met with overwhelming and vital support for our scholarship and current-need tuition relief funds. Following that, I attended an all-school mass in the gym, and offered prayers of Thanksgiving side by side with my new colleagues and the students we all serve. I saw the awesome generosity of our community for our “I Love SJ” giving day, which raised close to $70,000 for our annual fund and showcased a school spirit that is unmatched. Energy was high, with optimism and endless possibilities as we anticipated a spring with even bigger and better things to come. All of us know what life was like before, and then most certainly what came after March 2020. The start of the pandemic began a flip of a switch, as so many of us experienced the loneliness that followed, the devastating loss of loved ones, and the isolation felt as we tried to navigate the changing world. Connection became the key. Even as we all became “zoomed out”, we found a sense of relief in all the digital lines that linked us, and quickly became a very natural thing here at St Joes. We dove into the “Cadets Carry On” battle cry, and embraced the challenges that our limitations brought us. So many events postponed, and yet, we found ways to still remain close and engaged. And St Joes continues to prove we are indeed stronger, together. This fall, we have found ourselves even more adaptable. Our signature fall fundraising events, Vines & Steins, Walkathon, and the Maroon & Gold Gala, will all be presented in different formats, and continue with enthusiastic optimism. Our call for your support (sjcadets.org/sjfund) is greater than ever to help students realize their potential and provide them a foundation that guides them throughout their lives. And although this year has showcased challenges like none other, Cadets still say “how can I help?”, and “what do you need?” with a sense of pride in the fact that we do indeed carry on – and more than anything – care for each other.
Aimee Marcella Director of Advancement
ALUMNI IN ACTION
A Mission of Equity Kathleen Boozang ’77 shares her journey from the halls of St Joes to her role as Dean of Seton Hall University School of Law. After earning her undergraduate degree from Boston College, Kathleen Boozang ’77 received her Juris Doctorate (JD) from Washington University, and her Master of Laws (LL.M) from Yale. She was elected to the American Bar Foundation in 2008, received the Jay Healy Teacher of the Year Award from the Society for Law, Medicine, and Ethics in 2013, and named a Fellow of the American Health Lawyers Association in 2017. She has taught law at Seton Hall University since 1990, where she became Dean of the Seton Hall School of Law in 2015. Kathleen’s passion for law and ethics shines through her continued efforts to make quality medical care and higher education accessible for all.
Q: Tell us about your path from St Joes to your accomplished career in law. A: I grew up in Stratford, and was unable to afford the tuition at St Joes. Our parish pastor stepped up to help and I contributed to the cost of my tuition with what I had earned working after school. Sister Catherine (Fanning) was a supportive mentor to me and many of my peers. It is so important to remember those who have helped you, reminding you to pay it forward.
LEFT: Kathleen Boozang Stands in Front of St Joe’s Alumni Chapel INSET: Kathleen Boozang’s Yearbook Photo
I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. After graduating from St Joes, I double majored in business and theology at Boston College. I became close to Professor Lisa Cahill, who taught moral theology, specifically in bioethics. The first bioethics textbook was published while I was in college, and that’s what drew me to health law. Looking back, my time in the St Joes classrooms discussing ethics and morals was great preparation for pursuing a career in law. Q: What character traits have contributed to your ability to lead within this field of law? A: I’ve always been driven by service, bearing witness, and pursing the vision of a better world. I consider myself to be “other focused”; improving the world for others, figuring out the pathways to do so, and executing the ways to get there.
Q: After law school, your focus was on healthcare law and Catholic health systems. How have things changed within this field? A: I began to practice law at a time when we were just learning about the AIDS virus and I quickly became an expert on something that no one (at the time) understood. It is reminiscent of today in that we are trying to find a cure for something we don’t understand. We are also responsible for informing those creating policy and laws for treatment and prevention in real time. My compassion drives me to actively help and solve these kinds of problems. Q: You have been recognized as an expert in your field, and served on boards that focus on bioethics, law, and healthcare. What has been your motivation for serving in these roles? A: When I was asked to sit on Governor Pataki’s (NY) Task Force on Life and the Law, one of the first projects was creating the guidelines for allocating respirators for a severe flu pandemic. We did months of research, thinking it was just an interesting intellectual exercise. Never did I imagine that years later, I would be on a hospital board implementing policy based on this work. The board service of which I am most proud is NJ LEEP (Law and Education Empowerment Project), a program that serves as a pipeline to college. In 7
2006 it began with an organization in NY called Legal Outreach, who wanted to partner and create a similar program in New Jersey. I chaired the first board, hired talented people to run it, and asked Seton Hall law students and faculty to act as mentors. We have a high success rate, with one of the graduates of the program admitted this year to Seton Hall Law School with a full scholarship! Pipeline programs work, as they provide opportunity and guidance for talented kids. I am consistently motivated by mentoring the next generation of great leaders.
Q: You began as an Assistant Professor at Seton Hall in 1990. How has instruction changed since then?
Q: What trends do you see in the law in the healthcare fields?
What has also changed is this generation’s view of free speech. It’s hard to balance the necessity of being able to talk about hard subjects and respond to ideas with which you disagree, in the age of social media. It becomes the intersection of our traditional approach to free speech, and that of modern technology, causing us to rethink how we navigate this territory.
A: We must tackle the social determinants of health, especially those highlighted by the Covid pandemic. The access to care issue is a moral imperative, and hopefully will make clear to everyone that we need a healthcare system that works. For example, due to the current pandemic, we have had to change how we reimburse for telehealth from a policy perspective. But for this crisis, what would have been done in five years, we did in three months. A small example how the law can help, through access and consumer protection.
A: Technology has had a huge impact, making knowledge more accessible, including remote learning. However, it has also highlighted the “digital divide.” Some students are not missing a beat, and some students are falling behind. Those falling behind may not have access to a computer, internet, or home support. Such access inequality has exacerbated the existing divide.
Q: Seton Hall University has a history of elevating women into leadership positions, with its first Dean being Miriam T. Rooney, who established the Seton Hall Law School. You became Dean of the School of Law in 2015. How does this history of female leadership influence your decision making and vision?
A: Miriam Rooney had the vison to start a Catholic law school with jurisprudence from a Catholic philosophy. The pursuit of a career in law remains a place where there are only a few women and people of color in senior and leadership positions in law firms, and the salary gap is quite significant. I have an opportunity to be a role model, to help students create a pathway to balance their personal lives and careers. Now with the pandemic, companies have been touting the success of remote work. However, with homeschooling, care of aging parents, and the need for more work/life flexibility, women tend to absorb a disproportionate distribution of the work and responsibilities at home. I have a platform to talk about these issues with decision makers, and how we might adjust the system to allow for balance. Q: What is the focus in higher education today, and how do you think it will change over the next five years? A: Today, my focus is offering an outstanding, flexible legal education while keeping everyone healthy. As far as higher education moving forward, my hope is we create an economic model for accessibility and sustainability. I want the US to continue to maintain the greatest education
system in world, producing some of the most important research, and providing access to both domestic and international students. The world is changing so dramatically, we need to provide a well-rounded education with a core in the humanities and liberal arts. This is essential to produce citizens and leaders that have the knowledge and understanding of historic events, and the moral compass to navigate through challenging times. Q: What do you do when you arenâ€™t working or volunteering? A: I have nine nieces and nephews that keep me busy, travelling all over the world, and enjoying adventures. We start off stateside touring NYC and Washington DC, and once they have restaurant manners, we get a passport! Our travels have included Paris, Rome, Greece, Iceland, Alaska and Peru. I now own hiking boots because of one of my nephews. Itâ€™s a fabulous way to enjoy them all!
LEFT: Boozang Networks With Seton Hall Law Students BELOW: Boozang at Seton Hall Law School
ALUMNI IN ACTION
EYE OF THE TIGER Manny Torres ’95
For Manny Torres, it all began on the basketball court at Blessed Sacrament School in Bridgeport, where he grew up. Like so many of the athletes that enter his Trumbull-based baseball academy and training facility, Technique Tigers, it was the love of the game that fueled him, but the coaches who kept him in check. Coaches like Reed Middle School’s Sid Green who “saw something in me I didn’t see in myself. He gave me the confidence to play at St Joes.” Next came legendary SJ Coach, Vito Montelli, whose guidance and coaching style gave Manny the discipline to succeed, and encouraged him to branch out to baseball as well. One of his close friends, Orlando Fonseca ’94 (who recently passed away), was instrumental in connecting him with Coach Jim Luchansky ’75, who quickly saw his talent. Finding his true calling, Manny stayed on the pitcher’s mound and was named CT Gatorade, CT Post, Hartford Courant and USA Today CT Player of the Year his senior year. Drafted by the Texas Rangers, Manny opted instead to pitch at the collegiate level for the University of Alabama. He played in the College World Series three of his four years, with a persistent injury that kept threatening to shut things down. He persevered and worked hard to recover, finishing his senior year as an All-American. Post college, Manny signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati Reds, until a career ending injury forced him to walk away from the game. Switching gears, Manny focused instead on working with young adults in juvenile detention centers and group homes, where he discovered a knack for working with youth and providing motivation like so many of the coaches that had guided him. Inspired by former SJ athletic director and coach Jim Olayos ’76, Manny decided to combine his coaching skills and his entrepreneurial spirit to start a summer/fall baseball league for the kids that didn’t make all-stars. Technique Tigers soon became the longest running baseball academy in Fairfield County. Manny firmly leads with three rules: “Kids should listen, show effort, and respect. We focus on structure, discipline, and all the details that really matter to grow as a player. Our players respond to tough love and coaches lead through our family-like atmosphere - where honest communication shows that we care”. Since the spring, the pandemic has changed Manny’s business model. Technique Tigers moved to online training memberships, keeping kids engaged with strength training, drills, instructional videos, and motivational messages. Digital engagement was the key to keeping his athletes motivated and inspired. “It’s been hard on the high school kids, especially those that lost seasons of play. But this is bigger than baseball and more about life, reminding us that we will all get through this together”. In 2017, Manny was inducted into the SJ Athletic Hall of Fame. You can learn more about Technique Tigers at techniquetigers.com. 10
ALUMNI IN ACTION
LITTLE BLESSINGS Lashanda Jackson Boxill ’01
Lashanda T (Jackson) Boxill ’01, Clinical Supervisor at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona, was nominated for the March of Dimes Arizona Nurse Leader of the Year! Inspired as a child by the care and compassion that nurses show their patients, Lashanda knew she would someday do the same. Working in Pediatrics, Lashanda’s frontline experience has been different than most in regards to the pandemic. She explains, “We have treated a little more than 800 Covid positive patients, which is a low volume compared to the adult hospitals. Our big concern within pediatrics…has been the children diagnosed with MIS-C (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children). This is a critical disease that has been very challenging, as well as very scary, to watch children fight through the symptoms, considering it affects various critical organs.” Lashanda’s team had to adapt to new protocols, which meant limiting the number of in-person visits and providing telemedicine visits in order to assess without contact. “This introduced us to a whole new world,” Lashanda reflects, “having to wear PPE from the moment you enter work until the moment you leave. This has certainly not been easy and now with being pregnant, it’s especially challenging for me. In addition, being involved in multiple meetings each week regarding COVID-19 was also challenging while trying to manage patient care. However, I am grateful that I am able to be here for my patients and provide the best care possible to help them as we go through this together.” Lashanda remains motivated by her patients each day. “They become like family..seeing their smiles and the gratitude they express makes me feel so good. My patients make me feel like I am the best nurse out there. I truly love what I do; taking care of these little blessings.” Lashanda is no stranger to hard work and credits St Joes as being an amazing foundation to her career path. Being on the Track & Field team taught her how to manage her time while keeping her grades up. These habits remained through college where she continued to run for the UConn Track & Field Team while pursuing her BS in Nursing. “I feel I was only able to manage because of the foundation laid during my high school years. I am truly grateful and proud of being a Cadet.” After graduating from UConn, Lashanda pursued a career in pediatrics. She worked at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital until she grew tired of the cold Connecticut winters. She then became a traveling nurse until 2011 when she decided to settle in Arizona. Lashanda and her husband of 4 years, Jonathan, have two children, Jonathan Jr and Jayla, with a baby on the way. 11
ALUMNI IN ACTION
A COMFORTING VOICE Christopher Lucy ’13
Christopher Lucy ’13, an Emergency Room Nurse, is one of many alumni that have worked tirelessly on the front lines during the pandemic. He describes his experience in NYC as isolating. All of his friends fled the city, and it would be nearly 3 months before Christopher was able to see any family or friends in person. “Every day we were beyond short staffed.” His own ER had over 200 Covid patients every single day. “Intubation after intubation, a line of stretchers down the hallway, a constantly occupied resuscitation room; it was chaos. After my day ended I would head home, take all my scrubs off at the door, call my family, and head to bed to rest up to do it all over again.” Christopher’s love for science and medicine, along with his passion for helping others is what kept him going.“I love getting to constantly be at the bedside with patients. To notice the slightest change in their condition and be able to help them. As a nurse, you get to provide medical care as well as holistic care. You get to be the comforting voice, the patient’s advocate, and the one they can trust.” Christopher says that nursing keeps him on his toes; being hands-on, having to be resourceful, creative, and quick in solving problems that come his way. He explains that nurses do a lot more than people realize. “We assess patients, start IV lines, push medications, perform CPR, and assist in intubation, just to name a few. With Covid, many patients were extremely sick and all we could do was make them as comfortable as possible or help them call their family one last time, and that is why being an emergency nurse is important to me.” “St Joes taught me to be resilient. Keep pushing forward and have faith that things will get better.” He continues, “I’ve always had a calling to help people and being an emergency nurse comes naturally to me. It has become a privilege and a responsibility that I cannot easily dismiss - to be able to help people who are not able to help themselves. I see people on their worst day and get to save them. Also, I couldn’t keep going without my amazing support system of my parents, friends, coworkers, and new puppy.” Christopher attained his BS in Nursing from Quinnipiac. For the last three years, he’s worked at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Columbia University in Manhattan. In addition, Lucy will be awarded his MS in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner at Sacred Heart University next year. 12
THANK YOU, Front Line Workers
â€œI used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things.â€? ~ Mother Teresa To all of the parents, alumni, family, and community members who graciously risk their lives every day in order to take care of everyone else. From our nurses and doctors to cashiers and postal workers, we could never begin to repay you for your hard work, passion, and tireless dedication. But we can thank you. And we do. You are essential and we are grateful.
AHEAD OF THE CURVE From Remote Learning to a Hybrid ReOpening Model, St Joes Leads the Way.
“I can’t tell you how grateful I am that my child gets a virtual lesson, not just a recording of a lesson. [From] the consistency of morning prayer before class starts to just checking in and asking how they are doing is heartwarming. The teachers really have a relationship with these students and I am happy to hear those conversations and laughs first hand.” ~ SJ Parent During Virtual Learning, Spring 2020 On March 16, 2020, like so many others, St Joseph High School went virtual. The doors may have closed, but our community remained just as steadfast and connected as ever before. Students continued to serve in their community by sewing masks; teachers continued to livestream their lessons without skipping a beat; and staff members made the switch from an office desk to a dining room table. The St Joes 14
community carried on and prepared for the day we would be able to return in person. On September 2, 2020, St Joes officially re-opened our doors for our annual “FIT” Day – an orientation day that allows for Freshmen, International, and Transfer students to bless the hallways with their nervous laughter, awkward icebreakers, and readied minds for the first time. It was an incredible sight to behold. Not because the students were wearing masks or being socially distanced, but because there were students...in our building...once more. While the rest of the cities and states around us try to navigate the distancelearning waters, St Joes - compass and sea chart in hand - was fully prepared to bring our students “Home to Joe”. In our classrooms: OWL Labs Cameras - collegiate-level technology that allows our distance learning students to feel as though they are sitting in the classroom with their friends - now hang from the ceiling. On our fields: weather-resistant tents allow for additional study space and mask breaks. In our newly-renovated gymnasium: additional cafeteria space, assemblies, and mass. It’s as though St Joes was made for this. Sure, school will look different this year. But that does not mean it won’t be St Joes. As we’ve always said, the people are what truly make our community special. Whether they are donned with masks or standing six feet apart, we know that laughter will continue to echo through our hallways, and conversation and debate will still take place in the classrooms, and in the end, our school spirit will never be broken. 15
St Joseph High School Gymnasium & Vit
Ready for Ch
On Friday, August 28, 2020, St Joseph High School celebrated the opening of our newly-renovated gymnasium and Vito M Montelli Court with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony. Beginning with a blessing by Father Silva, and including remarks from President Klein; Assistant Principal, Kevin Butler; and Chairman of the Board, Christopher Wilson, it was a beautiful ceremony - worthy of our school. This is the first major renovation to the schoolâ€™s gymnasium, named after Vito Montelli, whose legendary coaching career lasted more than a half-century at St Joes. The renovation included replacing and installing new floors, overhauling the bleachers, introducing energy-efficient lighting, and installing a new air conditioning system. 16
to M Montelli Court
“We are so pleased to share our state-of-the art updates in this extensive renovation. The new gymnasium will be enjoyed by our entire community and ensures the continued academic and athletic success of our students.” ~ David J Klein, President “This renovation celebrates a history filled with extraordinary victories and athleticism at its finest. I’m proud of all the students, alumni, family, fans, and coaches that have celebrated so many milestones here, and look forward to many more to come.” ~ Kevin Butler, Assistant Principal for Athletics “The gymnasium is home to all of our school-wide ceremonies - it’s where we celebrate masses, community events, assemblies, dramatic productions, and cherished moments. The banners literally covering the walls showcase our enduring athletic legacy - we compete with the best, successfully.” ~ Christopher Wilson P ’08, ’10, ’14, Board Chair17
THE FACE OF RESILIENCE
“When we say that we can come home to Joe, we mean it. We have a family. We carry on. And our class, especially, will be united in a way like never before. I hope that we can all find a silver lining in this very unique experience.” ~ Mari Andrzejewski ’20, Valedictorian Four years of high school – making new friends, cramming for exams, preparing for the big game, waiting to hear on college acceptances – is hard work. Add a mandatory quarantine and global pandemic to the list, and it is downright trophy-worthy. Members of the Class of 2020 deserved to be honored and celebrated, and we accomplished just that. For two weeks in July, billboard space along I-95 congratulated each of our seniors individually; a professional photographer took family photos of our students in their caps and gowns; and we created customized videos for Class Day and Baccalaureate Mass, ensuring that each student be honored for their academic, athletic, and community achievements. Then, on Saturday, July 11, 2020, the day everyone had been waiting for – 213 graduates came together to celebrate their Blessing & Conferral of Diplomas. Students, smiling underneath their SJ masks, marched across the parking lot and onto the field - waving to their parents, who remained graciously in their cars, watching the ceremony on jumbotrons. Faculty and staff, proud and a bit teary-eyed, cheered on each student as they received their diplomas and walked across the stage. Then, a much-needed and long-awaited sigh of relief - this Class of 2020 had been able to say goodbye. Though, as Mari Andrzejewksi pointed out in her speech, you never truly say goodbye at St Joes. As the Class of 2020 go off to colleges and universities across the country (earning for themselves nearly $25 million in scholarships and financial aid), they know that there will always be a home for them - a connection to - St Joes. Once a Cadet, Always a Cadet.
The Soul of a Community 20
What exactly does a high school chaplain do when that high school goes entirely virtual? The answer is, a little bit of everything! Besides creating google classrooms and virtually meeting with students, one of the great joys has been celebrating Mass for a number of local convents. Between the Sisters of Life, the Missionaries of Charity, and the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, I put over 10,000 miles on my car in four months! While I was extremely grateful simply for the opportunity to offer Mass with other human beings present, which many of my brother priests were not able to do, what struck me most was watching a community live together in the middle of a world of separation. What I learned most concretely was that we were made for community and it is in community that we are given life. “A community needs a soul if it is to become a true home for human beings. You…the people must give it this soul.” Pope Saint John Paul II said this when he visited the United States in 1979. The deep longing of the human heart to belong has never been more apparent under quarantine and even as restrictions are lifted, there seems to still be a disconnect. Whether it be because of continued fears, or face masks, or because we have not yet
returned to how things were before the pandemic, a gathering of people is not yet a community. Proximity to another is not the sole consolation that a community needs. What was apparent when visiting these convents was that these communities “had a soul” that was rooted in something larger than any one individual. The soul of these communities animated them to overcome not being able to go on their annual home visits, or not being able to do their apostolates; in the midst of a world in so much suffering, these communities were overcome with joy and it was truly infectious. To put it as simply as possible, the soul of their community was their love for God and love for one another, which they willingly renew each day. Our community can only remain one if we choose to give it a soul…a soul of love. I have seen and experienced what a true community of love can be and how truly transformative it can be and it may be a lofty goal, but I desire nothing less. You and I must continue to be active in ensouling this high school with the love of God and the love of our neighbors so that we too can transform this group of people into the community that we and this world needs. God bless. ~ Father Silva ’08
In Loving Memory GREGORY “SEÑOR” SEMPLICE APRIL 29, 1951 ~ AUGUST 27, 2020
With profound sadness, St Joseph High School announced the passing of Señor Gregory Semplice, SJ Faculty Member and Friend, who passed away on Thursday, August 27, 2020. Señor Semplice was a man of deep faith and a contagious joy that he gifted to so many generations at St Joes, both students and faculty alike. His love of the school and those in it will not be soon forgotten, least of all by any of us who were blessed to be around him. Señor Semplice was an impactful and joyous part of the St Joes community. Hired in 2001 as a Spanish teacher, Señor quickly became a much larger part of St Joes - serving as the freshman class moderator and co-moderator of Student Council. In addition, he led two groups of students on overseas trips and several Immersion Trips. In 2019, Señor Semplice received one of the first two grants offered by the SJ Summer Sabbatical Program and spent three weeks in Spain focusing on the educational, cultural, historical, and most importantly, spiritual life of Spain and brought his experiential learning back to his students. Around school, Señor Semplice could often be found cooking his signature guacamole at our Mardi Gras and Cinco de Mayo events, as well as Noche de Comidas, a popular event celebrating Hispanic culture, that he initiated in 2016. Whether it was cheering on students at a game, dancing alongside them at a social, or celebrating their accomplishments in National Honor Societies, Señor Semplice was always on campus with a smile on his face and a joke at the ready. He will be missed dearly.
JOHN FAHEY JOINS THE ST JOES BOARD
Above (LtR): John, Connor, Cara, Hannah ’20, Emma ’22, and Shannon
Below: John and Shannon at the 2019 Maroon & Gold Gala
St Joseph High School is pleased to announce our newest member of the Board of Directors, John Fahey, CPA, P ’20, ’22. John has served as the Chairman of the St Joseph High School Advancement Committee for the past two years. John, a graduate of Pace University, has over 30 years of experience in finance across many industries and disciplines. He currently serves as the Vice President of Internal Audit for United Rentals, Inc. Growing up, John attended a Catholic school in Stamford, CT. John and his wife, Shannon, have four children, Hannah ’20, Emma ’22, Connor, and Cara. The family are parishioners of St Lawrence in Shelton, CT. “Having been educated in Catholic schools for most of my life and choosing to do the same with our four children, I am a firm believer in education having a strong faith based formula. When our oldest daughter Hannah started at SJ in 2016, we had high expectations, all of which have been surpassed by the quality of the education, family atmosphere and athletics, all built on the foundation of Catholicism. Hannah has moved on to college, Emma is at SJ now and we look forward to their younger siblings – Connor and Cara - currently at Holy Trinity Catholic Academy, joining the SJ team in the very near future. I look forward to helping maintain and improve upon the success and future growth of St Joes.” 22
LADIES LUNCHEON A GREAT SUCCESS On March 8, 2020, St Joseph High School was proud to host our annual Ladies Luncheon at the Great River Country Club. The day began with shopping, Cadetinis, and lovely items purchased from our twenty vendors. After a delicious lunch, Anna Zap, host of Star 99.9’s radio show, The Anna & Raven Show, delivered the keynote speech. Mrs Zap is an award-winning radio personality, stand-up comedian, and proud mother of two. Mrs Zap shared with all those present the ways in which she balances being a mother, wife, friend, and co-worker, and the challenges that come with juggling it all. There were more than 160 guests in attendance, all of whom left feeling inspired having connected with the speaker and each other. The St Joe’s Ladies Luncheon is a fundraiser and celebration of women. All proceeds directly benefit the students by funding a safe and fun post-prom experience at the Sports Center of Shelton at no additional cost to families.
TEEING OFF FOR SJ’s ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT The Annual St Joseph High School Athletic Association Golf Tournament was held on Monday, July 23, 2020 at Mill River Country Club. Though this year's tournament wasn't our typical format due to social distancing restrictions, it was a success nonetheless! Eighty-nine golfers enjoyed this modified version of the day, and we raised more than $10,000 for our Cadets Carry On Tuition Relief Fund*. Thank you to all of the committee members and sponsors for helping to make this event a great success. * The Cadets Carry On Tuition Relief Fund was created during the Covid-19 pandemic. All monies in this fund go toward those families in our community who were affected by the pandemic and required assistance paying tuition.
MARGARET “PEGGY” MARINO ’71 RETIRES AFTER 4O YEARS With prayers and great thanks for her years of service and dedication to St Joes, we would like to recognize esteemed faculty and SJ alum, Peggy Kuhar Marino ’71 P ’02, ’04. She embodies the values of St Joseph High School: faith, family, friendship. In addition, her integrity, loyalty, and commitment to others made her an integral part of our community. The impact that she has made on our school will always be remembered and we congratulate her on her retirement. In February 2019, Peggy wrote about her exepriences at St Joes for the school’s website: “I never would have imagined, when I graduated from St Joes on June 7, 1971, that I would spend the majority of my adult life at the school. After graduating from Southern Connecticut State University in 1975, I taught science in Illinois for several years as my husband, “Doc” Marino, completed his education at National University of Health Sciences. We returned to Connecticut in December of 1979 and in winter of 1980, I was hired as a sub for Patty Hayes, who was out on maternity leave. Over the next several years, I earned an MS, had my children, and taught Biology and Earth Science on and off as a long-term sub, or in between maternity or child-rearing leaves, but something or someone always called me back to SJ. In 1991, I returned to SJ, again as a member of the Science Department, and have been there full-time ever since. I was an assistant coach for Girls’ Track, moderated Student Council with Tom Collins, and coached freshman and varsity cheerleading. In 1997, I was asked by the administration to take over Admissions and worked as the Admissions Coordinator and then, Director, and initiated the Student Ambassadors and the Freshman Guides. On June 3, 2000, I received the Alumni Recognition Award for Extraordinary Spirit, Dedication, and Service. As much as I enjoyed Admissions, I missed the connection you have with the kids when you are in the classroom; it’s something that doesn’t develop when you’re in an office. In 2015 I asked to return to the classroom and the science department. I have never regretted that decision. My two daughters, Elizabeth and Emily are also alumni and both loved their time at SJ as much as I did, although they weren’t always crazy about having their mom at the same school. The people I’ve met, worked with, or taught, have made these years memorable. My teachers became my mentors and, after a few years, my colleagues and friends. I gave birth to my children, mourned the passing of my Dad, my children’s grandparents and my sister, saw my daughters graduate from SJ and from college and get married, and became a grandparent, and the community of St Joseph stood by me through it all, comforting me through the sad times and celebrating with me with the happy ones. A challenging academic background, good and life-long friends, the knowledge that someone cares about you and is there for you, and a community of faith - I received these blessings when Sr Catherine picked up the phone and asked me to come in for an interview in 1980 – and this is what I wish for all my students.” 24
1960s Ann Gorman Vaillencourt ’69 has reconstructed her business, Ann L Vaillencourt Fine Art to operate under COVID-19 restrictions. Ann and her husband, Rich, continue perfecting the ‘Fine Art’ of grandparenting their 24 grandchildren and will welcome their third great grandchild this December. Andy Kolesk ’69 retired from Prudential Financial, Inc after working nearly 40 years in the financial services industry. He is currently working part-time at the Shelton Big Y supermarket and lives in the White Hills area of Shelton. Andy enjoys exercising and volunteering at the Shelton History Center and the Plumb Memorial Library. He was also a member of the Class of 1969 50th Reunion Committee.
1970s The Class of 1970 50th Reunion Committee has been meeting biweekly via zoom since Spring 2020. Though their reunion has been post-poned, the committee hopes to have a 50+1 celebration in 2021.
1980s John Vazzano ’80 welcomed his second grandchild, Roman James Vazzano, into the world on September 10, 2020. Kim Orsini Cody ’84, a Stratford teacher, was named Teacher of the Year! Kim has been an educator in Stratford for the past 32 years. For the last five years she has been an invaluable math coach, first working district-wide for a year and now at Stratford Academy Victoria Soto School.
Eileen Scully ’87 has been hired as the Interim Executive Director of Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF). CWEALF advocates for and empowers women and girls in Connecticut, especially those who are underserved or marginalized. They work to create an equitable society where women and girls thrive.
Ann Gorman Vaillencourt ’69
Mindy Palhete-Fernandes ’94 and her husband Luis Fernandes welcomed their son, Owen Antonio Fernandes on May 9, 2020. Owen was 8lbs, 5oz, and 19.75 in. Owen joins big brother, Quin (4). Jennifer Kromenhoek Jasion ’99 and her husband, Adam, welcomed a baby girl in April of 2019. Autumn Olivia joins her big brother Joey. The family currently resides in Savannah, GA.
John Vazzano ’80
2000s Sasha Davila Russell ’01 and her husband, Denis, welcomed their third child, Layla Marie Russell into the world on May 7, 2020. Layla was 9lbs, 7oz, 21.5 in. Layla joins big sister, Evalyn (6), and big brother Dominic (4).
Eileen Scully ’87
Jennifer Fusco Zoppi ’01 and her husband, Peter, welcomed their second child, Ella Rose, on August 18, 2020. Ella joins big sister, Olivia. Liz Marino Juselis ’02 and husband Tim, welcomed their third son, Finn Matthew Juselis, on July 8th. He joins big brothers Jack and Noah. Finn’s grandparents are Peggy Kuhar Marino ’71 and Dr Bob Marino (current faculty). Emily Luchansky Russell ’07 and her husband, Corey, welcomed their second child on September 16, 2020. Mallie joins her big sister, Elle, and is the granddaughter of Peggy Kelley Luchansky ’75 and Jim Luchansky ’75 (current faculty).
Mindy Palhete-Fernandes ’94
Jennifer Kromenhoek Jasion ’99 25
CLASS NOTES Justina Manko Guarino ’09 and husband, David Guarino, welcomed their daughter, Sophia Helen Guarino, on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 weighing in at 5lbs, 11oz, and 18.25in.
2010s Sasha Davila Russell ’01
Jennifer Fusco Zoppi ’01
Liz Marino Juselis ’02
Kathryn O’Neill ’10 recently married Daniel Conroy on September 28, 2019 in Providence, RI. Kathryn is a Nautical Cartographer for NOAA and Daniel is a Defence Analyst for Systems Planning & Analysis. Danielle Knapp ’11 married Andrew Ferranti on August 8, 2020 in Woodbridge, CT. The couple were married in front of a small group of family and close friends. Several alumni were in attendance including bridesmaid Kellie Morris ’11, Danielle’s mother, Corinne Cordo Knapp ’72, her brother, Jason Cedor ’01, and sister-in-law, Kathryn Kluchnick Cedor ’01. Her other brother, Edward Cedor ’97, was unable to attend. Tyler Matakevich ’11, signed a 2 year deal with the NFL's Buffalo Bills! “Buffalo's addition of Matakevich was made with their special teams unit in mind. The former Pittsburgh Steeler has been a special teams standout since the Steelers made him a seventh-round pick in 2016. In fact, over the last four seasons, no NFL player has more special teams tackles than Matakevich's 37.”
Justina Manko Guarino ’09
Danielle Knapp ’11
Melanie Fonseca ’13
Elena Knudsen Josephson ’11 and her husband, Kevin, welcomed their first child, Charlotte Grace into the world on July 14, 2020. Melanie Fonseca ’13 said, “Yes!” to her now fiance, Josiah, on August 9, 2020. The two have been together for three years.
Emily Luchansky ’07
Kathryn O’Neill ’10 26
Mark Hirschbeck ’14, has just opened a new barbershop, Hirschey Cuts, in downtown Shelton. Mark began cutting hair eight years ago with a haircut to Jordan Vazzano ’14 in the garage. During his time at SJ, Mark captained in both football and baseball. He played baseball at Central CT State and the University of Bridgeport where he graduated with a degree in business. Mark’s shop is filled with sports memorabilia. Visit hirschey-cuts. business.site to book your appointment! Thomas Santilli ’14 opened up a new consignment business called Tommy Coupons. Tommy Coupons is one of the only businesses in CT that sells your items for you from the comfort of your own home.
Mark Hirschbeck ’14
Thomas Santilli ’14
IN MEMORIUM The following alumni passed away between July 1, 2019– June 30, 2020. We ask that you keep their families in your thoughts and prayers. “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” (2 Maccabees 12:46)
Mrs Michelle LeDonne Reichert ’69 Mr Michael Halkovic ’71 Mr Stephen Fitzpatrick ’72 Mr Frederick Curley ’73 Mr James Rafferty ’73 Mr Francis “Frank” X Falanga ’73 Mrs Janice DeSautelle ’74 Mr Andrew Shea ’82 Mr Norman Rich ’85 Mr Andrew Martin ’87 Ms Renee Duff ’87 Mr Matthew Gras ’91 Mr Orlando Fonseca ’94 Mr James Colavolpe ’98 Ms Dana Turczak ’03
Mass is held daily in the alumni chapel at 9:15am. To schedule a mass, contact the Alumni Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr Jake Beddoe ’13
ST JOSEPH HIGH SCHOOL 2320 Huntington Turnpike Trumbull, Connecticut 06611
Follow @SJCadets! www.sjcadets.org
Honorary Chairs Dr Steven & Mrs Danielle Cheeseman P ’23 Cordially Invite you to St Joseph High School’s
Maroon & Gold Gala The Big Night In
Saturday, November 21, 2020 6:30PM | Virtual Event Silent & Live Auction
Proceeds benefit the St Joseph High School Scholarship & Tuition Relief Funds SJCADETS.ORG/GALA 28
St Joseph High School (Trumbull, CT) Alumni Magazine - Fall 2020