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nest spring 2019





Eagles’ Nest Printed March 2019 The Eagles’ Nest is published three times annually by St. Thomas High School 4500 Memorial Drive Houston, Texas 77007 713.864.6348

spring 2019

St. Thomas High School Community Magazine

Rev. James Murphy, CSB President Dr. Aaron Dominguez ’96 Principal


Mary Criaco Assistant Principal

MARCH 11-15 MARCH 22-24

Mark DeTranaltes ’83 Vice President for Advancement Patricia Miller Vice President of Finance


Rodney Takacs Dean of Students

Spring Break Spring Drama Production Guys and Dolls New Eagle Welcome 28th Annual St. Thomas Golf Tournament


Academic Awards Assembly


Mothers’ Club 47th Annual Style Show & Luncheon


Sports Hall of Fame Induction

MAY 17

Baccalaureate Mass

MAY 18

2018 Graduation Commencement

Keith Calkins Director of Communications

to learn more visit us at

KH Studio Layout + Design Nathan Lindstrom Photography • Fr. Murphy


Eagle Flight


Eagle Fight

St. Thomas again recognized nationally as one of the most achieving college preparatory schools in Texas.

Resurgent season for Eagle Football and Adam Massiatte named head coach of Eagle Baseball.




Eagle Spirit


Eagle Pride

Senior Week embraces Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge with service project to Houston Food Bank.

1968 Eagle Football state champions return for 50th anniversary salute.








We are committed to excellence in all aspects of campus life while strengthening our strong Basilian values.

What means the most to me right now is simply returning to my high school and seeing how we are positioned for the future.

Those (St. Thomas) years formed my foundation, the building blocks where I have stood in life.







... a defining advancement of what St. Thomas has always been about ... conveying the true meaning of goodness, discipline and knowledge

I only wish to make my family proud.

All those performances were as exceptional as any we’ve had.



60 SPRING 2019




t. Thomas High School has selected Fr. James Murphy, CSB as the institution’s third president in its proud 119-year history. Fr. Murphy was the unanimous choice of the St. Thomas Board of Directors with the approval of Very Rev. Kevin Storey, CSB, the Superior General of the Congregation of St. Basil. “I’m honored and humbled that there’s a desire from the St. Thomas community to entrust me with this position,” Fr. Murphy said. “I have great confidence and enthusiasm to partner with our exceptional faculty, staff, students and administrators to fulfill the school’s vision. We are committed to excellence in all aspects of campus life while strengthening our strong Basilian values. St. Thomas is here to challenge, support and care for our students as they develop into men of faith, accomplished scholars, athletes, artists and engaged citizens in their community.” Fr. Murphy will immediately assume his formal responsibilities. He served in the interim role once Fr. Storey was elected Superior General in June 2018 after six years as St. Thomas president. Fr. Murphy emerged as the clear permanent choice following an exhaustive six-month search that revealed three finalists. The selection completes a process featuring strategic consulting from the nationally renowned search firm Carney, Sandoe & Associates, a 10-member Presidential Search Committee chaired by Greg Phillips ’82, and a cross-section of St. Thomas constituencies - faculty, students, administrators, alumni, current and past parents.



In the end, Fr. Murphy was determined to uniquely fit the profile of the dynamic faith and transformational leader which St. Thomas requires at this point in time in its history. “We had a strong interest in the position from accomplished candidates from both inside and outside of academia,” Phillips said. “Individuals admired our significant growth over the past decade and respected the St. Thomas intellectual profile. Fr. Murphy has the vision and skills to lead St. Thomas into exciting new opportunities in education and furthering the mission of the school while honoring our rich Basilian traditions. This is an exciting moment in the history of St. Thomas. I believe we have identified an outstanding individual to be our next president.” Fr. Murphy will now play a significant role in advancing St. Thomas and its continuing focus on innovation, community renewal and development - all consistent with the school’s Catholic Basilian mission. “There’s a visceral quality in continuing the essential work of (previous presidents) Father Storey and Father (Ronald) Schwenzer,” Fr. Murphy said. “Certainly I believe in the importance of preserving our Basilian charism - Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge. My objective is to empower our entire community to speak to that pursuit so that everyone who participates in the experience can put words to the meaning.” Fr. Murphy has lived the Basilian vocation of education for a quarter century and brings a distinguished academic and leadership career. In addition to interim president during

the 2018-19 academic year, he had previously contributed in a full array of diverse areas, including Board of Directors, as an esteemed faculty member, assistant dean of students, assistant athletic director, assistant drama director and in Campus Ministry - always committed to the cultivation of the deeper purposes of Catholic pedagogy. “I couldn’t be happier with this announcement,” said Vice President for Advancement Mark deTranaltes ’83. “Collaborating with Fr. Murphy in previous years and in particular during the final months of 2018 has been a pleasure. His spiritual insight, his warm sense of humor and vital experience at St. Thomas have made this temporary transition stress-free for the staff. I look forward to our future under his guidance.” Fr. Murphy earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College in June 1994, his Master of Divinity in 2001 from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto, and his Master of Education from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College in 2016. “During this search I heard from every corner of our community as they identified the areas of necessity for St. Thomas from both the president and from outside that role,” Fr. Murphy said. “Now is the time for St. Thomas to embrace our past to propel us to an amazing future, realizing our ambitious goals together.”

Fr. James Murphy, CSB



to whom much is given,




Dona and Al Clay ’61 had long advocated for the growing needs of St. Thomas and furthering its objectives. Three years ago, the two assured lasting distinction with the largest leadership gift in the school’s 118-year chronicle, donating $10 million to the 4500Forever capital campaign. The unprecedented philanthropy is advancing the St. Thomas academic enterprise and impacting the essential areas that matter most to the Eagle community. A lasting gift that extends beyond a lifetime.

MUCH IS REQUIRED On a night when the Eagle community gathered in an annual signature St. Thomas celebration, Dona and Al were recognized and received with relish, surrounded by extended family and lifetime cohorts.



PRESIDENT FR. JAMES MURPHY, CSB HAILED THE CLAYS FOR “LIVING THEIR CATHOLIC FAITH PROFOUNDLY AND GENEROUSLY” While acknowledging that St. Thomas had been “blessed because of your unfaltering commitment that enriches our student experience with goodness, discipline and knowledge wherever that may take them.” Moments earlier Clay responded with a conviction coupled with humility when calibrating the evening’s honor of distinction. “Dona and I are genuinely privileged to be a part of all this,” Clay said. “I have always believed that to whom much is given, much is required. What means the most to me right now is simply returning to my high school and seeing how we are positioned for the future. We have so much to give to the city of Houston. The focus of this night is really about continuing that impact and plotting the correct course. I know we’ll do that.” The proceeds from the annual Auction & Gala provide critical funds vital to the success of the St. Thomas. The benevolence signals to students, faculty, Greater Houston and the region that St. Thomas alumni, parents and supporters are invested in the school’s unwavering dedication to innovative scholarship in tandem with the spiritual growth of its students. Uncompromising academics, uncommon brotherhood.



“Everyone understands how Al and I feel about St. Thomas,” Dona said. “We embrace this school right alongside our family. This is where we grew up in many ways, our adult lives began here at St. Thomas. The memories are so great. There is such a strong sense of comfort when we’re here.” The galvanizing efforts of Dona and Al relating to 4500 Forever promise to have a fervent influence for generations on student life, faculty and academic performance, and life-changing opportunities. The naming of Clay-Storey Hall on the St. Thomas main campus recognized both Clay and then-president Fr. Kevin Storey, CSB, two visionaries who boldly stepped out to help give rise to an extraordinary period in St. Thomas history. Fr. Storey participated in the Auction & Gala, his first return to campus since ascending to the position of Superior General of the Basilian Fathers in July. He joined to commemorate with underwriters and patrons who made November 3 an enormous success. The Mad About St. Thomas event toasted the Mad Men fashion and panache of the 1960s when it was always happy hour at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and no dull moments or dull men were tolerated.

The resounding efforts were chaired by Tina and Bradley Crawford, Caroline and Jim Hassell, and Christi and Alan Johnston in collaboration with Vice President for Advancement Mark deTranaltes ’83 and Special Events Coordinator Catherine Chandler, and featured rapid rounds of bidding with Mandola’s unmatched catering. Auction items ranged from exotic resort getaways (Italy, Puerto Vallarta, Roatan Island, Jackson Hole and the Snowboard Ski Resort) to game day experiences with the Houston Texans and Houston Astros ... from exclusive entry to the legendary Masters golf championship to a Sunday rodeo night with George Strait ... from a chance to marvel at the miraculous Marfa lights to a King Ranch hunt of a lifetime. The jet-setting MAD evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all and based in large part by - happiness. And the dreams of those in attendance were in lockstep with those of Dona and Al. The collective ideal was that

10, 20 and 50 years from now, the ultimate beneficiaries from rigorous fundraising priorities will have gone on to become engineers, doctors and lawyers, public officials and policy makers, entrepreneurs and visionaries. And those graduates leading advancements in business, technology and social justice would then return to campus to share with current students how the St. Thomas experience enabled them to capitalize on their exceptional promise. “If we had not taken a proactive approach with 4500 Forever, St. Thomas could have been compromised in the future,” Clay said. “It’s all about remaining aggressive in pushing forward to make a difference in the lives of our future Eagle students. That will happen. The expectations are becoming a reality. Look at the newly created STEM labs and campus expansion ... the upcoming development with the 11 acres on the north boundary. There are no limits for St. Thomas.”




INVESTING IN EXCELLENCE Throughout its history, St. Thomas and the Basilian Fathers have relied on the generosity of alumni, friends, corporations and foundations that endorse the school’s mission of excellence. Now, more than ever, philanthropic funding is essential to sustain this important legacy. We are ever grateful to our Auction chairs and their committee members for their tireless efforts preparing what proved to be another unforgettable evening. Together with a legion of loyal organizers and volunteers who helped them attend to every detail, they all created a truly celebratory atmosphere while raising valuable dollars for the General Fund at a critical time that will help transform bold ideas into life-changing realities for St. Thomas, its renowned faculty and exceptional students.




In the initial stages of his next breakout role as the new Superior General of the Congregation of St. Basil, Fr. Kevin Storey, CSB will visit five countries spread over three continents. Yet his most welcoming stay promises to be on the familiar turf he occupied for 15 years before his unplanned exit in the summer of 2018. The M ​ ad About St. Thomas​Auction & Gala pulled the former school president and visionary back to the friendly confines of 4500 Memorial Drive where he reconnected with Eagle brothers and ardent supporters of the institution Fr. Storey cherishes tightly in his heart. The event honored Dona and Al Clay ’61, whom he had collaborated closely in the triumphant 4500Forever capital campaign resulting in the naming of Clay-Storey Hall on the St. Thomas main campus. The visit also provided a full-frontal realization of the ongoing campus initiatives made all the more striking by his absence. Most dramatic is the 9,000 square foot STEM interactive area for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Sciences and Maker Space which was unveiled during the fall semester.

The transition so far requires Fr. Storey to be more of a leader than a manager, and his multi-faceted charisma, integrity and exemplary character are accentuated in full force. “I anticipated this position being more bureaucratic and procedural, troubleshooting and the like,” Fr. Storey said. “But this is much more focused on setting a tone and direction. The Basilians really want to exhibit a sense of joy ... what Pope Francis has talked about ... conveying an unmistakable sign of the Gospel ... setting a course for a modern Church. That test is absolutely exciting. I have a sense that is a role I gravitate to naturally. And perhaps I’m also making this job a little bit my own.” Fr. Storey is based in Toronto but recent excursions have taken him to Columbia, South America; Rochester, New York; and Edmonton, Alberta. Following the Auction & Gala weekend, he’s ticketed for Mexico with stays in France and Italy scheduled for early 2019. Within the frequent flyer swirl, the message remains as consistent as the diversity of the wide-ranging cultural communities he encounters. “How do you live out the Gospel with a sense of joy and purpose given all the challenges, sometimes even provocation, rising every day,” Fr. Storey said. “That’s what the disciples were asked to do 2,000 years ago, to evangelize the good news regardless of the contemporary climate, and we’re asked to do the same.”

“I was blown away by the science wing in particular but there’s so much more taking place,” Fr. Storey said in the rowdy Reckling Gymnasium in the midst of racing auction bids. “What I see more than anything is a dream moving from the blueprint to the brick and mortar. It’s likely similar to when sons and daughters go off to college. When they return there’s a noticeable change that otherwise goes unnoticed if you were to be around them every day. I’m thrilled that St.Thomas is pushing forward with measurable success.” In July Fr. Storey was elected to the lead position within the Basilian Fathers and accepted those responsibilities immediately for a four-year term. It was a sudden development concluding an emphatically impactful six-year tenure at St. Thomas that altered the future course of the school. His promotion was not one he was seeking or expecting. SPRING 2019







John Rathmell ’75 operates from a prominent posture of prestige, the president of Lockton Marine & Energy at Lockton Companies, part of a global professional services firm that has grown to become the world’s largest privately held, independent insurance broker. His professional rise was in response to the country’s most unspeakable catastrophe, instrumental in restructuring a recovery plan to unprecedented loss and destruction. The deep introspection to his broad swath of success and unshakable ethics, both professionally and personally, reflects his four years at St. Thomas. “What remains most vivid and relevant to me today are the relationships,” Rathmell says. “The Basilians who made up most of the faculty, a great group of friends who crossed ethnic and financial lines. I grew up in River Oaks, attended St. Anne’s (Catholic School), was looked upon as the so-called rich kid. But there was a great acceptance throughout our student body, a fraternal community. I developed bonds with classmates, got to know parents and families, understand their experiences. It was enlightening academically and spiritually. Those years formed my foundation, the building blocks where I have stood in life.”



Rathmell was recruited to Lockton by Tim Kelly, the leader of its Texas property-casualty operations. He identified in Rathmell an acute professionalism and technical acumen that made him an ideal leader to serve a host of domestic and international marine energy clients. Rathmell quickly assembled an accomplished and highly experienced team of specialists with the plan of bringing leading-edge solutions to that specialized market. The two-decade results have proved stunning and stirring. Rathmell initially gathered a group of eight industry professionals and a staff of 21 which has expanded to now include more than 100 professionals and a staff nearing 300 members. The collective focus is structuring, executing and servicing sophisticated corporate programs for clients both upstream and downstream the supply chain. “A great ride to say the least,” Rathmell says. “We came on the scene at a time when there was a recognizable need. We put this group together and there was an internal combustion, the right mix of people with deep relationships and the exact expertise. We met a pent-up demand and uniquely delivered solely on the client’s best interests.” Rathmell embraces the Lockton corporate belief that its success is predicated on the strength of numbers - attract the best talent available, foster a culture of accountability, clearly define expectations, provide the freedom for the talent to flourish and then unleash.

Rathmell pauses momentarily, relishes the import of such a statement, then suggests with a smile “that’s when you really have to start working hard.” In helping build and sustain a brand that has become the standard, Rathmell has unconsciously adopted from the Chinese philosopher Laozi who said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”


From St. Thomas Rathmell studied at the University of Texas at Austin during the freewheeling, youth-driven 1970s before the lazy college town morphed into the eternal boom. And then the eternal festival. And the eternal traffic jam. And the eternal tech start-up. And the eternal food truck.


“All the pieces have certainly come together ... a private company starting from ground zero ... no clients ... a blank slate,” Rathmell says. “The changing landscape provided a limited window for us to get traction. We were new ... no one was paying attention ... and all of a sudden we were a force to be reckoned with. We quickly went from the hunter to the hunted. Competitors have targeted us ... to be like Lockton ... to beat Lockton.”


Rathmell champions the depth of such due diligence, the value of consistent laser attention on executing the daily priority without overt concerns for the eventual final result. “I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur but intuitive qualities have surfaced in this environment,” Rathmell says. “More than anything else I only hope to be a good example. Arrive early, stay late, work hard, do what is right for those who are excelling within the group. I want to promote and share what we accomplish together. Initially, we pulled in proven performers. They left comfortable positions for an unknown because they shared and trusted the vision we presented. They have become the pillars of our achievement. I want to deal with issues and obstacles to allow them to manage the process. And to see our position in the market is very fulfilling and at the same time humbling. We’ve been blessed.”

Rathmell’s undergraduate years intersected with the down days of Darrell Royal ... the thundering tour de force emergence of Earl Campbell ... the uprising hoopdom of Abe Lemons ... dizzy nights at the Soap Creek Saloon and Broken Spoke ... chicken fried frenzies at The Stallion ... Willie, Wayland and a host of cosmic cowboys and redneck rockers giving birth to outlaw country ... when counterculture was popular culture. Politics through protest. Onward through the fog. In the midst of unrest, Rathmell graduated and chose to follow a traditional business path that paved the way to his stellar distinction leading to, and continuing with, his breakthrough at Lockton, a driven career marked by relentless commitment and unquestioned measurable returns. Yet no achievement has proved as rewarding as reconnecting in the last decade with his St. Thomas roots. Rathmell played an integral role in the 4500Forever capital campaign, the most ambitious in St. Thomas history raising more than $60 million dollars for a property acquisition to expand the campus north boundary. He has also continued on the school’s Board of Directors following his emphatic tenure as president from 2014-17.

“When I looked at my life a number of years ago, I recognized that St. Thomas clearly had a great influence on whom I became as a person,” Rathmell says. “I had to give back. It was important for me to become more involved with the community, establish new relationships with the Basilians. And now through the property purchase and fundraising, my long-lasting friendships are even stronger and more powerful, just a wonderful and deeply rewarding experience. I tell people I’m from St. Thomas. I wear it like a badge. I couldn’t say that with confidence if I wasn’t giving back to the school.” Rathmell believes the rich heritage of Basilian education is as dynamic and essential now as during the volatile ’70s of his youth, as when the institution was founded in Houston in 1900 - educating young men, allowing them to grow in

their faith and put that faith into action in the service of others. In essence, live the ethos of Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge. “Every time and place is different but St. Thomas remains critically important to the broad spectrum of families it serves and this city as a whole,” Rathmell says. “A Catholic all-boys institution in the heart of Houston where traditional values meet contemporary times ... that is St. Thomas. I see students today not that much different than I was, forming a belief and trust in faculty, coaches, mentors. That purpose is why so many of us fought against long odds to enhance the school’s future into this next century. We all want the next generations to benefit from the same faith-based experience we were afforded.”



Understanding that the current college preparatory enrollments are nundated daily … academically, socially, personally and spiritually … with untold pressures and challenges … St. Thomas developed a five-day orientation program for incoming freshmen during the first week of the academic year that infused the traditions and values of the 118-year Basilian institution while creating an accepting support system that allows students to forge relationships and embody the Eagle spirit. The learning liftoff launched in the form of Camp Aquinas 75 miles north of Houston outside of Livingston. to learn more visit us at



Features where eagles take flight



UNPLUGGED FROM ELECTRONICS AND TECHNOLOGY, STUDENTS DEVELOPED CHARACTER, COMMUNITY AND CULTURE. And most importantly, gained an authentic understanding that a leader’s greatness is found in bringing out greatness in others. Faculty members Andrew Quittenton, Grover Green ’04 and Casey Johnson ’05 crafted the blueprint for Camp Aquinas at the urging of former St. Thomas President Fr. Kevin Storey, CSB.



The intent was to infuse Catholicism and faith-based components rooted in the Basilian credo Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge with heavy academic elements and challenging team-building activities. “To me, Camp Aquinas was a defining advancement of what St. Thomas has always been about,” Green says.

“An enrichment ... conveying the true meaning of GDK ... and how that relates to students in 2018 and beyond. There was a truly collaborative energy ... students trusting students and trusting teachers ... problem-solving in real time. Seniors delivering on what they’ve learned as undergraduates ... how that will aid freshmen to navigate their new environment and gain an understanding of who they are and the place they have at St. Thomas.” Quittenton saw “a number of freshmen who were reserve in those first few days open up as the week progressed. They built friendships with their Eagle brothers and faculty that have been maintained through the semester, and that has proved invaluable as they deal with issues and struggles.

The unexpected bonus was the growth among the teachers. We shared aspects of our personal lives and discovered more about each other. That greater understanding has enabled us to become more comfortable and confident with each other, and that has had a positive ripple effect for the students.” The priority in establishing Camp Aquinas was igniting and increasing personal connection, dramatically raising students to meet expectations for behavior and attain their God-given potential. Eagles were clustered on the Camp Cho-Yeh grounds in eight groups or ’houses’ named for notable St. Thomas Basilians and gained a perspective of their lifetime commitments to the mission and their legacy within the school.



Three dozen faculty members participated along with 40 Eagle student leaders who orchestrated and captained a series of competitions that accumulated team points throughout the week. Seth Deitz ’19 is a multi-year National Honor Society member, Eagle Football letterman and prominent presence within the senior class who delivered a direct message that has resonated long after Camp Aquinas concluded.

But the deepest dividend of Camp Aquinas was establishing how that true Man of St. Thomas measures well beyond mastering mottos and the school’s alma mater. Students captured the value of working effectively in groups, better managing conflicts, cooperating in a more effective manner, taking risks responsibly in a safe context and exhibiting an improved comprehension of nonverbal emotional cues.

“I told the members in my cabin ... I’m not here because I’m obligated ... not getting paid. I’m only here to help you understand what it means to be a Man of St. Thomas. I urged you to rely on each other in times of need,” Deitz says. “Don’t reach your senior year and suddenly feel that you’re alone. It took months my freshman year to begin the process. I look back and see I could have had an even deeper support group with this kind of experience from the start.”

“Without questions our freshmen were pressed and pushed out of their comfort zones, both physically and mentally,” Quittenton says. “That was the intent. And they failed at times. They learned it wasn’t devastating to have a bad day. Figure it out. That’s life. And they also realized they have skills they didn’t necessarily know they had.”

At the foundation of Camp Aquinas was the causal relationship between outdoor activity with increased social interaction and decreased stress and anxiety. The tech-free methods encompassed a range of pedagogical goals and promoted a myriad of developmental benefits including better physical health and wellness which may often lead to lower rates of depression.

John Evans ’19 entered St. Thomas as a freshman from the Annunciation Orthodox School. He worked at Camp Cho-Yeh during the summer of 2018 and was a valuable resource to the St. Thomas organizers. His prime motivation throughout Camp Aquinas was infusing a “spirit of camaraderie and personalizing the message of goodness, discipline and knowledge. One night I asked the group to reflect on a particularly challenging day ... how were we good, knowledgeable and disciplined ... and how can we apply that tomorrow for an opportunity to improve. The response wasn’t verbal nor was it immediate but I’ve seen positive examples throughout the semester that tell me they got it. Ultimately it’s all about respect ... for each other ... for themselves.” Zach Blice ’19 enrolled as an Eagle from Holy Spirit Episcopal School near The Villages. On the surface he seamlessly assimilated in large part to an acclaimed soccer career that has rocketed to elite tiers. But Blice revealed some subtleties to his story that he hopes have been beneficial.



I came from a smaller grade school and got a big boost from athletics but there are so many ways at St. Thomas to show your skills if you get involved

“I came from a smaller grade school and got a big boost from athletics but there are so many ways at St. Thomas to show your skillsif you get involved,” Blice says. “You make the move, that was the takeaway I wanted for my freshmen. And throughout the last few months, I’ve seen many of them take the initiative. It’s similar to being an older brother.” Quittenton applauded the select senior group who “displayed a great maturity and learned that being a leader is not easy. You have to be patient and committed to finding unique ways to reach younger peers to help them grow through the process.” Quittenton believes those collective efforts enabled the Class of 2022 to leave Camp Aquinas “with the necessary bedrock beneath them to be successful contributors to their community. They know what the standard is, in the classroom, in the hallways, and when no one of authority may be watching. We have so many incoming students arriving from all over Houston from so many different backgrounds who didn’t necessarily know the St. Thomas culture.”

Being a St. Thomas student means being part of a long, proud history - of academic rigor, of ethical living, of being educated in the Catholic Basilian intellectual tradition. Camp Aquinas extended the St. Thomas obligation, the passion, the goal to provide a supportive, safe --environment for students to thrive. “There are ideas that may live within organizations for years but only emerge when the right combinations exist for them to come to fruition,” principal Aaron Dominguez ’96, Ph.D. says. “Andrew, Grover and Casey were invigorated by the concept and served as the catalysts. We were determined to make Camp Aquinas happen, to provide a powerful impact on our students and campus community. The first encounter could not have been a more emphatic success.”

Grow as many, unite as one.





April 22 at Wildcat Country Club, one of Houston’s premier public golf courses. Texas Hill Country topography meets Eagle hospitality uniting a brotherhood unlike any other to benefit St. Thomas tuition assistance and Eagle Athletics. Contact: Sebastian Domenech ’10 • • 713.864.6348, ex. 150




making the grade


enriching the experience


quest for the best



MAKINGTHEGRADE St. Thomas is proud to acknowledge the continuing excellence of its college-level Advanced Placement (AP) scholar program. AP grades are evaluated on a 1 to 5 scale. Students who achieve a 3, 4, or 5 out of 5 on single-subject exams typically receive college credit. More than 82% of the Eagle scholars who participated in the 2018 testing earned 3+. The results in English Literature and Composition are particularly striking - 50% scored 5 and 80% above 3 with an average score of 4.25. Results also spiked in United States Government and Politics, World History, Calculus BC, Computer Science A and Music Theory where more than 50% of the Eagle tests recorded in the 4s and 5s. Since 2014, the total number of St. Thomas AP scholars has increased by 30% with a five-year average of 86% generating scores of 3+. “Our ability to maintain a very high profile in AP brings a spotlight not only to exceptional students but to their school and their communities,” principal Dr. Aaron Dominguez ’96 said. “The outcomes are driven through due diligence and dedication including our committed faculty members. Regardless of the discipline, we relish the opportunity to discover where our students may experience an accelerated path to distinction wherever their passions take them.” While colleges and universities offer varying policies for awarding credit, many recent St. Thomas graduates entered college with a semester or an academic year already completed.



This often allows them the opportunity to earn bachelor degrees in less than four years. The goal of the St. Thomas AP program is to expose students to the rigorous standards they will encounter in college, enhance preparedness and challenge students beyond the regular and honors curriculum. AP students grasp complicated vocabulary and concepts, and delve more deeply into topics through practical applications and critical thinking.

Existing research offers strong evidence that scoring a 3 or more on the AP exam predicts greater academic success in college and is a useful assessment tool in admissions offices. The Advanced Placement program was created in the 1950s and is conducted by the College Board, the huge education nonprofit corporation that also administers the SAT.

ENRICHINGTHEEXPERIENCE For the fourth consecutive year, St. Thomas is recognized as one of the most achieving college preparatory schools in Texas by a national review.

Our son came away well prepared for college and was accepted to several schools with scholarship offerings. Go Eagles!

A study from Pittsburgh-based ranks STH among the top-five all-male high schools in the state and among the top-10 Catholic institutions. The A-Overall Niche Grade reflects the institution’s comprehensive quality based on academic excellence, SAT and ACT scores, college admissions, matriculation rates, parent surveys, culture and diversity grades, and student-teacher ratio.

I loved the academic rigor and excellence seen throughout my son’s 4 years here. It was a perfect fit for him. It is truly a brotherhood like no other. St Thomas has been an incredible experience. The teachers find creative ways of teaching. The bond created between students is amazing and shows by the number of alumni that are still active in our school.


“This latest recognition and all of our all tremendous achievements in recent years are a significant affirmation of what we can accomplish together as an academic community,” Principal Dr. Aaron Dominguez ’96 said. “Certainly it is a positive indicator on our curriculum, the teaching staff and associated support, the professionalism and direction of the counseling department, and the athletic and co-curricular programs. Our collaborative goal is always educating the complete student and developing our Eagle talents, gifts and abilities.”

Fifty percent of the measure was weighted between standardized college readiness exams, plus the number of students who attend top-tier universities. St. Thomas consistently earned A and A- ratings, including the categories for Academics, College Prep, Athletics and Clubs and Activities. Among the numerous five-star reviews St. Thomas received within the rigorous analysis of key statistics ... As a parent, I couldn’t be happier with our St. Thomas experience. Excellent teachers who understand boys and inspire and encourage them to grow into their potential. A great balance of extra-curricular activities allows the students to explore different interests and make friends from all walks of life. A+ to the Basilian Fathers and their mission.

We love this school! My son travels 2 hours a day to go to this school, his choice and is super happy he is attending St Thomas. The teachers love to see the boys succeed.

St. Thomas is fantastic about preparing high school students for the challenges of college while allowing them to explore their interests through a wide range of elective courses and extracurricular activities. My involvement with the Drama program completely changed my life and helped shape my future career aspirations The arts are well supported at St. Thomas, and with members not only from STH but from sister schools Duchesne, Incarnate Word, and St. Agnes, they are never short of fresh faces and new energy. All STH performers care deeply about their craft. Dr. Dominguez said that the commitment at St. Thomas is “to focus our efforts on what brings the greatest good to our community and beyond. In the classroom, on the field and courts, or out in the world, we hope to leave a better place than what we found. That is at the heart of Basilian leadership. It is part of our fabric. This latest ( ranking gives us another benchmark to see where we currently stand, and where we can continue to grow our identity, not in an effort to pursue others but to realize the total measure of our Basilian mission.” SPRING 2019


QUEST FORTHEBEST St. Thomas recognizes our latest membership into the acclaimed STH Chapter of the National Honor Society. The distinction was achieved through a selection process based upon exemplary scholarship, enthusiastic service, steadfast leadership and uncompromising character qualities associated with the NHS since its founding in 1921. The nation’s premier organization established to identify and encourage outstanding high school achievement also celebrates characteristics essential to citizens in a democracy. Participation is both prestigious and a responsibility, with selected students expected to continue to reflect the NHS core standards, as well as serve the school and their fellow students as academic leaders, role models and tutors.



“All in the St. Thomas campus community salute our champion scholars for their resolute efforts toward excellence,” said Principal Dr. Aaron Dominguez ’96. “They model the power of resilient work and embody the Basilian values of goodness, discipline and knowledge. As they continue their college preparatory experience and spiritual journeys, I encourage them to embrace the joy of inspiring others to realize their owns dreams.” St. Thomas NHS officers for the 2018-19 academic year guided by Chapter Advisor Laura Thornton are president Tuscan Savarino ’19, vice president Joseph Chavez ’19, treasurer Armando Amador ’19, secretary Kellin McGowan ’19 and parliamentarian Ben Bludau ’19.

The 29 new members for the 2018-19 academic year include

Martin Beirne ’20 Aidan Brelinsky ’20 Alec Burbridge ’20 Trent Butler ’20 Nicholas Chandler ’20 Grayson Drinkard ’20 Adam Dunn ’20 John Gardner ’20 Daniel Jones ’20 Zachary Kroencke ’20 Jacob Lara ’19 Jonathan Lay ’20 Nathan Lee ’20 Seth Macias ’19 Grant McCoy ’20

Ryan Mercado ’20 Cameron Mills ’19 Jordan Navarijo ’20 Jean-Paul Nguyen ’20 Plato Pappas ’20 Kien Phan ’20 Nico Pivnik ’19 Nicolas Prodoehl ’20 Anthony Schlak ’20 William Sterner ’20 Camden Thomas ’20 Cooper Thomas ’20 Michael Tran ’20 Charles White ’20

These commendable students join their fellow Eagles who had previously demonstrated the ability to excel, serve, lead and succeed with a genuine quest for challenge and accomplishment. Jarrod Brown ’19 Nathan Bryant ’19 Cole Carrabba ’19 Seth Deitz ’19 Hunter Henderson ’19 Ben Huggins ’19 Alexander Jacobs ’19 Gabriel Lenz ’19 Josh Madden ’19 Theodore Mai ’19 Connor McGovern ’19 Tyler McStravick ’19

Brendan Murray ’19 Francisco Narro ’19 Matthew O’Connor ’19 Clement Ong ’19 Je Yoon Park ’19 Andrew Phan ’19 Carson Rau ’19 Thomas Snow ’19 Angel Sosa-Yanez ’19 Juan Vazquez ’19 Maxwell Voltz ’19 Ian Wheeler ’19



Essays, Educat and Athletic Excellence








n an October Thursday evening Ian Wheeler ’19 the scholar was among select St. Thomas students relishing a celebratory salute as they were inducted into the prestigious St. Thomas chapter of the National Honor Society.

Twenty-four hours later Wheeler the co-captain was relentless in racking a career-best football performance igniting his Eagle brothers to a convincing and essential - road victory to launch district competition. In between Wheeler the editor-in-chief was commanding a team of student journalists within the Aquin yearbook staff while serving as a consistent contributor to the nationally recognized The Eagle online publication. The force and fervor that fueled Wheeler’s determined two touchdown, 226-yard rushing night was equal to how he eagerly attacks his academic work, always dismissing in either any accomplishment short of triumph. The scholar, co-captain running back, editor-in-chief epitomizes the ideal of the St. Thomas scholar-athlete. And Wheeler’s reward? “I only wish to make my family proud.” The necessary identity crisis that many teenagers go through in late adolescence occurs less often in the life of the high school athlete, for his milieu gives him a role at age 18, with tempting payoffs to play it. For any schoolboy rollicking in gridworld glory, he can be subtly programmed into being a certain kind of person with a narrow range of traditional career alternatives. Wheeler’s retort - rebel. “I didn’t want to be perceived simply as a so-called jock,” Wheeler says. “I have gained a deep understanding of how important it is to be as well rounded as possible. I want to have a conversation with whomever I come across ... to learn something about that person ... who are they as people. It truly makes the world a smaller and more enjoyable place. And means you’re not restricted by artificial boundaries.”



Before Wheeler reached elementary school his mother Beaura was greeted with a telling forecast into his not-sodistant future, a story that is often repeated and never without emphasis. “When I was growing up and I wanted to learn Spanish so I would better interact with some of the kids in my neighborhood,” Wheeler says. “I wouldn’t take no for an answer so my mom finally placed me in an immersion school so I could better communicate with my friends. I just wanted to understand where they were coming from. I think I’ve always had that particular drive to relate to people.” Wheeler arrived at St. Thomas as a freshman from Lanier Middle School primarily as a two-sport football-track enthusiast. Soon he was encouraged by faculty members, particularly yearbook advisor Will Nash, to broaden his perspective, pursue a genuine college preparatory experience and engage challenges wide, deep and unfamiliar. 30


The result for Wheeler has proven to be a Rorschach test for his value system. “I discovered a range of interests and skills I didn’t really know I had within me,” Wheeler says. “I really give St. Thomas so much credit for providing that opportunity. Now it’s my responsibility to make the most of my talents. “English has always been my sweet spot ... a way of escaping the day-today routine. Diving into a novel can suddenly transport you to another place, another time. Our English department is particularly strong and I have especially enjoyed learning from Mr. Nash. I have also come to really appreciate physics. It’s completely different from biology and chemistry. Here are the tools, now go solve. Science is not one of my strengths but I welcome the process.” Throughout his senior year, Wheeler is embracing a rigorous series of Advanced Placement courses ...

Literature, Spanish, Calculus A/B and Physics 2. In the spring he exchange Advanced Economics for AP Government. As he prepped for his football finale Wheeler also readied for his lead role with Aquin. He completed a second summer workshop at Texas A&M sponsored by Balfour Yearbooks with sessions that included comprehensive design coupled with software training, advanced photography, and multimedia and video editing. “I didn’t realize how much fun it could be to communicate to the campus community and also those outside of St. Thomas what we’re about as a student-population,” Wheeler says. When the calendar turns into 2019 Wheeler will close out his acclaimed athletic career on the track where he has previously excelled in the sprint events, the long jump, the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.

And pole vault - where Wheeler captured second-place at the previous TAPPS state event. “Originally I took up track only to get faster for football,” Wheeler says. “Then the vault really intrigued me. It takes a ton of core strength. The precision technique is critical. You have to be locked in. It’s incredibly liberating ... clearing that bar ... and then falling from the sky into the mat. Just an awesome feeling.” The same competitive spirit that Wheeler has flashed so often on the track and on the field manifests itself in his classes and academic extracurriculars. It’s ingrained in his DNA to always demand his best effort, regardless of the discipline. Wheeler’s time-intensive routine begins almost rudely with a 5:40 a.m. wake-up alarm. By 7:00 a.m. he’s delivered his 13-year-old brother Ethan to middle school, reaching St. Thomas for a quick breakfast before absorbing his full academic day without a study hall. The two-hour football workout concludes by 6:00 p.m. and he’s then picking up Ethan before returning home by 7:15 p.m. Next, dinner, homework, sleep. Repeat. Monday-Thursday.

Those within Wheeler’s outer circle find him studious, ambitious, popular and respected by his peers; yet there is nothing humble or polite about Wheeler’s will to achieve. “Duke is my primary university choice after graduation but Georgetown, Stanford, Columbia, Tulane and the University of Texas are also very much in the mix,” Wheeler says. “I plan to major in psychology likely within a pre-med track.” The St. Thomas backdrop for Wheeler’s renown and his chapel deacon’s deportment off the field and track are beguiling images that obscure the power of his drive. Meeting his own expectations, and grappling with still higher ones spawned by his success, channel Wheeler into a demanding role as scholar-athlete.


All while making his family immensely proud beyond all measure.






resurgent eagle football


homecoming 2018


pay it forward force

massiatte the man for eagle baseball

friday night lights


diamond days



eagle football review

54 56

in long run eagles out front





agle Football flashed a stretch of outcomes in 2018 that no one could have possibly foreshadowed. Through trial, torment, talent and, mostly, sheer perseverance, St. Thomas defied every expectation and prognosis. But the magic to produce a miracle finish deep into the TAPPS postseason fell short of a Hollywood script turned scripture. After consecutive disappointing and dispirited lopsided defeats to close out 2017, the Eagles stumbled out of September with but one win. A recovery to relevance appeared as likely as holding back rushing water with your hands. But individuals didn’t opt for a fit of pique. They instead embraced an all-hands-on-deck mentality while discovering relentlessness was a not a trait with an on-off switch.



The defense didn’t transform itself, but it limited back-breaking big playsand provided just enough resistance to allow the pyrotechnic offense to short-circuit scoreboards. Collectively the group kept working for a rebirth and was rewarded with an opportunity for redemption. The turnaround tour first surged forward with four victories in six games as the Eagles took an undefeated district record into the series with St. PiusX that again culminated with the regularseason close-out determining the district championship. Teams with animosity in their hearts and glory on their minds collided at Hotze Field inside Granger Stadium in the kind of game that left throats sore and words scant. The flurry of drama led to a myriad of heroes, none more magnificent than quarterback Peyton Matocha ’19 who put on a dazzling display of skill and precision, will and want.

In his 33rd consecutive start and final regular-season game at home, Matocha the maestro orchestrated one of the more memorable and improbable Eagle triumphs with a primo performance that ranks among the best and brightest in the generational rivalry. His seven touchdowns included four in a whirlwind third quarter when Eagle Football seized control and rallied for a stunning 52-49 shootout that reclaimed the district championship, a fifth in seven years. Matocha managed the game like a stunt driver, aggressive at every turn, making onlookers gasp at where this thing might be headed. He sizzled for 416 total yards with a pair of first-half touchdowns, then broke for a 64-yard scoring burst out of halftime that ignited a 29-point third-period eruption. The first of his four rushing scores in the period was part of 22 unanswered points and tied the game at 21-21 after a two-point conversion pass to receiver Josh Crissmon ’20.

Two plays into the fourth stanza Matocha lasered a strike to Crissmon running away from the Panther secondary. The 50-yard lightning bolt gave the Eagles a 49-35 advantage with their fifth touchdown in five second-half series.

On the first series out of halftime, the Eagles churned nearly half the third quarter clock with Matocha finding Jordan Augustine ’21 on a quick-striking slant route for a 21-yard score to move out front 42-25.

Then on the first play of the fourth period, Matocha escaped a collapsing pocket and spotted Wheeler alone on the left sideline. He took the toss in stride for a 30-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown to bring St. Thomas within 34-21.

Later Mr. Bigfoot Paul Langemeier ’20 booted a 36-yard field goal with 7:22 remaining that increased the count to 52-42 and provided the eventual winning margin.

Matocha shredded the visitors for 435 yards and four touchdowns while Ian Wheeler ’19 proved harder to tackle than Social Security reform with 196 rushing yards and two reservations for six.

After a Cooper Thomas ’20 fumble recovery in plus territory, Matocha again relied on Wheeler. First, a 19-yard connection in the middle of the field. Then, three plays later the tag-team partners combined on a 34-yard screen pass for the touchdown to shrink the deficit to 35-28. The Eagles gripped new life with 9:28 remaining in the game.

However, the decision wasn’t decided until the closing maniacal moments when two-way dynamo Dylan Dixon ’19 abandoned his designed coverage and dived inches from the turf to secure a clutch interception in Eagle territory. The game-saving title-clinching defensive stop was the third SPX turnover of the game and spawned a stream of vital, raucous and eminently Instagrammable moments. The Eagles prevailed to again emerge as the district kingpin, and the full-frontal force of four straight victories included taking a sledgehammer to their rival’s pride. The immediate prize for the pulse-pounding result - home turf to open the TAPPS gridworld sweepstakes against Plano John Paul II. The Eagles twice built three-touchdown cushions in the first half after Josh Madden ’19 returned a first-quarter interception 46 yards for a 21-7 advantage.

The 52-32 scoring spree wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was pretty emphatic. It was far from perfect but it was perfectly clear. The Eagles didn’t care how it looked. They only cared about advancing after their fifth consecutive victory and the first St. Thomas playoff win since 2015. The regional showdown in Fairfield against Dallas Bishop Lynch was the fourth postseason meeting between the programs in seven seasons. The Eagles were gashed on their first defensive snap for a 58-yard touchdown and twice trailed by 14 points in the first half. The bounce back began with Matocha twice finding Crissmon for scoring throws to slice the deficit to 21-14 at the break.

Hopes soared then quickly soured. Matocha’s four touchdown finale was not grand enough. Eagle Football fell 42-35 to end with a 6-6 record, a state championship drought extended to the 21st year. The sky may not have been falling when the Eagles dropped their opening three games and five of their first six but it was raining butcher knives. Yet from the lowest ebb came the turn of the tide. The Eagles devised a strategy to shore up the defensive lapses and the high octane scoring machine kept mesmerizing at PS4 levels.



Head coach Rich McGuire had preached culture, service and process. His simple explanation for the team’s rousing upturn: “Execution. That’s all it comes down to at the end of the day.” And now two seasons into his tenure the program’s foundation appears to be stable and the floor has lifted. These Eagles may have fallen short of their own 2018 expectations but McGuire says “it’s hard to deny there wasn’t a ton of progress throughout the season We feel really good about the direction we’re heading and how we’re heading there.” And Matocha leaves Eagle Football as the most prolific dual-threat slinger in school history. His staggering senior season suggested life imitating PlayStation - a single-season school-record 3,692 passing yards with 35 touchdowns plus 804 rushing yards and 14 more scores. The onslaught included: 489 total yards and eight touchdowns against Kinkaid ... 573 total yards and six touchdowns against UIL Needville ... and 362 total yards and three touchdowns against UIL China Spring Wheeler’s sultan of smash and dash send-out ended with 1,309 rushing yards (more than eight yards per carry) and 15 touchdowns, plus 503 receiving yards and three TDs.



He and Matocha were recognized by the Houston Touchdown Club as finalists for the private school Offensive Player of the Year, an award which Matocha shared with St. Pius X quarterback Grant Gunnell. Dixon was also nominated for Ironman of the Year.



Friday Night Lights

Eagle Sty St. Thomas vs Strake Jesuit NRG Stadium



yle! SPRING 2019










Matocha took part in all four Eagle touchdowns including a stunning record-smashing 98-yard connection with Cheek while a suddenly revitalized defense delivered two essential fourth-quarter stops in the first victory of the 2018 season. The Eagles broke a 14-14 deadlock midway third period with Matocha accounting for all 63 yards in the scoring series. Consecutive runs from the 11-yard line produced the go-ahead touchdown and a 21-14 advantage. The Eagles then forced the latest in a slew of empty Stafford possessions and took over at their two-yard line with 5:06 remaining in the quarter. On the first snap, Matocha operated with a four-receiver set and vertical routes slicing the Stafford secondary. 42


Cheek beat isolation coverage at the line of scrimmage, broke open up the right sideline, made the grab and outraced defenders to the end zone. His slight hesitation cut inside the 15-yard line plus dive across the goal line completed the longest touchdown strike in school history and proved to be the margin of victory. For the first time in the first month of the season the Eagles discovered a defensive physicality that delivered drive-killing sacks and game-changing turnovers. The addition and influence of Doug Smith to the coaching staff cannot be overvalued. The son of the former two-time All-SEC defensive tackle at Auburn and eight-year force with the Houston Oilers brought a savvy and insight to the program that paid immediate dividends.





Matocha continued his season-long aerial assault with four touchdown passes and 349 passing yards while Wheeler bullied for a career-best 226 yards and two scores to openTAPPS District 3 competition. Matocha wasted little time taking full advantage offensively of the Crusaders' inept and unimaginative pass rush. He crispy orchestrated an eight-play series to launch the game, teaming with Crissmon for an 11-yard toss with a little more than three minutes gone in the contest. The two then tag-teamed for the second touchdown of the first quarter and their seventh scoring combination of the season to double the count to 14-0. In the closing moments of the first half, Matocha spotted receiver Josh Madden ’19 lonely and racing through the right seam for an easy connection to raise the count to 21-0 at halftime.

After TCL put up its first touchdown, Wheeler ripped off consecutive 12 and 18-yard gains to complete a quicksilver three-play touchdown series for a 35-7 edge. In the next Eagle possession, Wheeler battered and bruised TCL for a 47-yard jaunt. He then effectively put the game away in the follow-up series, carrying six times including the final four snaps covering 20 yards for this second touchdown of the game that doubled the count to 42-21 with less than three minutes remaining. The beleaguered Eagle defense had been searching for answers like some lost soul. The unit responded with easily its most efficient execution of the season, stoning TCL on four consecutive three-and-out series to start the game and posting a shutout until six minutes remained in the third period. SPRING 2019






Wheeler followed his career-best game with two first-half touchdowns including a 62-yard jolt to the end zone to break a second-period tie and propel the Eagles to a weather-shorten win and their second district victory in as many weeks. The Eagles victimized an Antonian defense softer than a pillow at the Four Seasons for touchdowns on their first two possessions. Wheeler’s pile-driving will-not-be-denied fourthdown carry capped an 11-play 75-yard drive that included his 26-yard catch-and-run and knotted the score at 7-7. After a three-and-out defensive set, Matocha chewed-up 28 rushing yards on consecutive snaps and then delivered a dart to Augustine separating from coverage for a 14-7 lead.



Eagle Football forced a fourth-down stop in a 14-14 deadlock with less than five minutes remaining in the first half. Wheeler took a direct handoff from Matocha, exposed Antonian at the point of attack, reached the second level with speed, and motored virtually untouched through the middle of the field to give the Eagles a lead they never surrendered. In the immediate series following Wheeler’s mad-dash touchdown, Matocha required less than 90 seconds to take advantage of a short field. From the red zone, he sprinted left on a third-down scramble through a wave of defenders and finished a determined run at the pylon to push St. Thomas to the eventual 28-14 final.





Wheeler continued his rampage with four touchdowns and 165 rushing yards while the uber efficient Matocha threw and ran for scores in a dominant 49-21 victory at San Antonio Central Catholic to remain undefeated in the district race. The Eagles won for the fourth time in six games, taking command with their most complete effort of the season. The offensive tsunami produced sustained touchdown drives and quicksilver scoring strikes. The resurgent and suddenly suffocating defense set the big-play tone with its first touchdown of the season for the first points of the game, stoned Central Catholic for three three-and-out punts in a stretch of four first-half series and then body slammed the Buttons on the first possession of the second half to turn the ball over on downs at the Eagle 37-yard line.

On the next offensive snap Matocha (13-17 and 220 yards) delivered a strike to Cheek on a right-to-left slant. He then raced untouched 63 yards for the touchdown and a 35-7 advantage, the final wave in a flood of 28 unanswered points. After Central Catholic narrowed the margin to 21 points in the second half, Wheeler took a direct handoff, slammed through the left side and rambled 71 yards to the end zone for the third of his four touchdowns. He finished off the blitzkrieg bop with his final TD in the closing four minutes. On the opening series of the contest Max Garcia ’20 crashed into the Central Catholic backfield, forced a fumble, immediately scooped and rambled 42 yards for a 7-0 lead.





n October 3 Adam Massiatte was named head baseball coach and assistant director at St. Thomas.

“Adam’s vision and plan to maintain our championship standards separated him from a very strong pool of candidates,” athletic director Mike Netzel said. “He’s been extremely successful at every step of his career. He has deep roots and baseball connections throughout the city and state. Most importantly he embraces the standards that are important to our school, and owns a passion for developing student-athletes in all aspects of life.” Massiatte values his new position as a “tremendous opportunity to unite with an outstanding administration and institution with a first-class athletic department. The St. Thomas reputation speaks for itself. I welcome the chance to participate in a great tradition.” Massiatte said his coaching philosophy centers on “each player bringing an arsenal that will contribute to the team… arm, bat, speed, dugout presence… everyone has a strength. We want that person to shine but with a mental toughness that the team always comes first. Championship contenders enjoy their time together, will challenge each other, accept the process to improve every day and grasp the roles required to unify as a group.”



Netzel first became involved with Massiatte on the select circuit more than a decade ago and was immediately impressed “with the depth and maturity of his coaching. He’s continued to grow his own professional development, from running a game, running a practice, running a program. And Adam is a grinder. He absolutely believes everyone involved has to invest the time to achieve the goals.” Netzel also sees in Massiatte “a dynamic personality who can create a buzz. He’ll have an engaging presence when involved with parents, our former players and alumni. He’s a proud product of Catholic education since first grade and can be extremely effective in our school’s outreach efforts. I couldn’t be more excited in the total package Adam brings to St. Thomas.” The new leader of Eagle Baseball is a familiar face and one-time challenging foe whose most meaningful triumphs came at the expense of the elite program he now fronts. Massiatte first competed against the Eagles as a two-time All-State catcher at St. Pius X. Then, at age 23, he became one of the youngest head coaches in Texas high school baseball when he was hired at Lutheran North. Two years later he took over the program at his alma mater in 2008.

His teams captured state titles in 2009 and again in 2012 when the Panthers denied the two-time defending champion Eagles 4-0 in the title game. The following year in a state semifinal showdown Massiatte dealt another dose of eliminated for St. Thomas behind the commanding pitching of Kohl Stewart (who weeks later was selected fourth overall by the Minnesota Twins in the MLB amateur draft and eventually banked a $4.5 million signing bonus). “Those were fierce competitions with each side having the utmost respect for the other,” Massiatte said.

“I understand the demands of being a St. Thomas Eagle. It’s an honor to have this position. It’s going to hold a lot of responsibility, and I’m ready to accept that.”

In five years as head coach, he secured the 23rd and 24th state championships in the program’s illustrious history while posting a remarkable 90-20-1 record from 2016-18.

Massiatte guided St. Pius to six state semifinals in a seven-season stretch before accepting a staff position at Angelina College in Lufkin. He returns to the TAPPS baseball ranks from a brief stint assisting Michael Robertson at SWAC power Texas Southern.

Lousteau was promoted to the head coaching position after serving as a chief assistant to Astros icon and 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Craig Biggio from 2009-13, a string that included four consecutive state tournaments, three straight championship games, and titles in 2010-11.

“The college experience has enhanced my coaching and broadens my perspective,” Massiatte said. “I believe that will pay dividends in how I relate to our student-athletes. Certainly, I can share the real world nature of the next level and the realistic expectations needed to face that challenge. Often times there’s a fight through adversity before resilience is rewarded. But that’s life.”

Massiatte is confident he can further the legacy of a program that has now advanced to the state tournament eight times in nine years and 14 times since 2001. During that emphatic period of excellence, Eagle Baseball claimed eight state titles, including back-to-back crowns in 2007-08 and 2010-11, plus 2014 and ’17 with three additional state championship finals.

Massiatte replaces Ryan Lousteau who resigned after a distinguished decade contributing to Eagle Baseball.

“I told the team during our first meeting that I didn’t come here to change a lot,” Massiatte said. “The players will be the priority.

We will emphasize skill development, turn weaknesses into strengths, and mold a well-rounded and versatile roster. Some refer to baseball as a game of failure. We will look at this as a game of opportunity. There will be no alibis, no excuses. Hard work is a given and all will be earned.” Massiatte inherits a solid core of returning talent that includes All-State pitcher Josh Wolf ’19 ( Texas A&M) and outfielder Brody Logsdon ’19 (Sam Houston State). In addition to leading Eagle Baseball, Massiatte will work in tandem with Netzel within Eagle Athletics on a variety of tiers involving state association protocols, supervisory support, managing events and budgeting. After his award-winning playing career at St. Pius, Massiatte continued at Blinn College (2002-03) and Louisiana Lafayette (2004-05). He and his wife Gina have three children - 10-year-old daughter Avery and two sons, seven-year-old Addison and 18-month-old Athen.




In the summer of 2017, Josh Wolf ’19 was prepped for an elite California baseball tournament playing for a Prospects National team filled with high caliber hotshots from throughout Texas. He sought out the only other Houston-area representative - a long tall talent from Huffman named Brody Logsdon. “We met at the airport. He was traveling alone and I was with my dad,” Wolf says. “Brody and I started talking, built a relationship on the trip and stayed in touch. I told him about the advantages of attending St. Thomas and that he should consider making the move. He and his family looked into it. And he did.” Fast forward to the second Wednesday in November 2018. Wolf and Logsdon were, in fact, Eagle teammates paired as part of the next wave, their childhood aspirations churning into reality. The two were side by side celebrated in the St. Thomas Hall of Honor on National Signing Day, brothers in arms plotting separate collegiate courses Wolf to Texas A&M University and Logsdon to Sam Houston State University.



Wolf cemented a decision determined one year ago well before the first pitch of his junior season. Logsdon’s fate took shape only in the previous few weeks during an unofficial visit to the Huntsville campus. “There’s a togetherness at Sam Houston that’s difficult to describe but you feel it, an accountability that pushes players to be their best,” Logsdon said. “The values in place are my values, such a great fit with the coaches and players. I’ve worked so hard to reach this point and it’s awesome to have my family and friends here, so many who have supported me on the journey.” Even though Wolf confirmed a verbal pledge made to A&M in November 2017, the letter of intent pomp and circumstance was hardly anticlimactic. “I’m very excited to officially be an Aggie,” Wolf said. “It’s a dream come true. The verbal is a big deal but there’s nothing like putting the pen to the paper and knowing for sure. This is a tremendous thrill knowing all the hard work has paid off.”

The shared distinction for the selfless Wolf and Logsdon was coupled with equal individual doses of satisfaction and exhilaration, matches of emotion underscoring the unlikely odds of a hard-throwing pitcher from inner-city Bellaire teaming late in his high school career with the multi-dimensional whiz from the northeast corner of Harris County. Logsdon’s arrival at St. Thomas demanded he embrace the strict balance of rigorous academics and demanding athletics. The transition was not without significant family sacrifice beyond the one-hour one-way commutes. But Logsdon delivered a steadfast drive and discipline, and his acute desire for the complete student experience has paid the rightful dividends. “I wanted to surround myself with guys who were determined to be successful, that drive to be a good student, a good teammate, a good person, a good man,” Logsdon said. “It can take a toll, the early mornings and late nights. But I cannot tell you how much this means to me, not just in the classroom, not just in baseball, but I have a group of friends whom I will have forever. Coming to St. Thomas is the best move I could have made and I’ll be forever thankful.” Sam Houston head coach Matt Deggs says that the 6-7 220 pound Logsdon “is a very intriguing player. You don’t usually find baseball players with the combination of size and athleticism that he possesses, but there’s a reason he’s ranked as one of the top 150 players in the state. The kid can play and he’s just now scratching the surface of his ability. Brody creates a lot of leverage and power in his swing with that frame. He’s has a chance to be very dynamic for us offensively. He has plus arm strength from the outfield, is very accurate and is also 90-plus (mph) off the mound. We’re incredibly excited about Brody and the intangibles that he brings.” Wolf (4-1 record with a 1.06 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 39.1 innings as a junior) joins an Aggie recruiting class for 2020 ranked No. 12 in the country by Baseball America and No. 7 by

Perfect Game as the program aims to pivot within the most highly competitive conference in the country. The future competition figures to be fierce as the SEC produced the top-ranked class in 2019, owning the top spot for the eighth straight year and three of the top-five classes (LSU, Vanderbilt and Florida). The Aggies signed an 18-player group rated no. 7 in the nation and then finished the 2018 campaign with a 40-22 mark, making their 34th NCAA Championship appearance overall and their 12th in a row. A&M’s recruiting coordinator Justin Seeley sees Wolf with “wipeout stuff when he is attacking the zone. The strides he has made over the last couple of years are a testament to his work habits and will to be great at his craft.” Since staking his claim for College Station Wolf has stayed staunch to a strict nutritional plan and weight room regime that has added 20 pounds to his 6-2 frame and physique that is still developing. He’s pumped his velocity into the low 90s with a tighter-spinning sharper -breaking curveball that remains his payoff pitch. During the previous two years, Wolf and Logsdon excelled in a series of summer showcase events, both earning Perfect Game All-American honors. The two were selected for the USA Baseball States Play Games in Arlington, Major League Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline, the Texas Rangers Area Code Games and the 2018 HABCA Houston All-Star Game. At the 17U Perfect Game World Series in July, Wolf cruised through five and a third innings, striking out eight hitters while allowing only an unearned run. By the end of the summer, he was ranked 126th overall in the 2019 class, 13th overall in the talent-rich state of Texas and among the top five recruits in A&M’s class.





“You always have to have to believe you’re the best out there, otherwise you’re not going to succeed,” Wolf said. “I take that attitude every time I have the chance. It’s not often in the summer you have extended outings to show your stuff. You have to make the most of limited opportunities and ride through some adversity when times get a bit tough.” Logsdon believes the showcase experiences allowed him to “developed the proper mental approach and identify who I am as a player and who I am not. Physically I’ve gained strength. I’ve learned to focus on what you can control and let your ability playout. Consistency is the key. I always to want to leave the impression that I bring my best every single day against whomever I’m matched against.” With their immediate college baseball futures secure, Logsdon and Wolf are determined to make the most of their Eagle finales in the first go-round with new head coach Adam Massiatte. As juniors in 2018 both were key cogs in the latest in a long series of St. Thomas state championship contenders. Logsdon drove in four runs as

the late-inning playoff hero against San Antonio Antonian College Prep that vaulted Eagle Baseball to its eighth state Final Four in nine years. Yet it’s not too terribly outrageous to stare into hardball’s crystal ball and see Wolf’s Aggies and Logsdon’s Bearkats deep in an upcoming NCAA postseason party, each side harboring diamond dreams of the College World Series. And, perhaps, the outcome will be determined by a ninthinning two-out two-strike showdown with a particular right-hander throwing filth from the mound and a firmly riveted thunder bat at the plate with the stakes stacked to the highest. “I’m taking him deep, no doubt,” Logsdon said without a hiccup of hesitation. “Over the fence. He knows that.” Not surprisingly Wolf sees a decidedly different mano-a-mano outcome. “Strike out right here. He’s my best friend but he’s not my best friend when he’s in the box.”



IN LONG RUN EAGLES OUT FRONT Blazek Skucius ’20 raced to a top-10 finish while Travis Enochs ’20, Nicholas Chandler ’20 and Joseph Romero ’22 all contributed sizzling times to pace Eagle Cross Country to second place at the TAPPS 6A State Championships at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course in Waco. Four St. Thomas runners ranked among the top 25 individuals as the Eagles scored 96 points to decidedly distanced themselves from the field behind champion San Antonio Antonian College Prep. Skucius was timed over the 5,000-meter course in 17:32.1 for 10th place, followed by Enochs in 17:40.8 for 14th,



Chandler in 17:44.2 for 16th and Romero in 17:53.5 for 22nd. Isaiah Garza ’20 (18:19.5) and Kenneth Van Doren ’19 (18:44.2) added solid performances. “These races are by nature, unpredictable, so you really have to go out and prepare for anything,” head coach Nathan Labus said. “When we came down to it, we were strong and that’s what it takes to push for a state championship. You have to have great emotional control, stay calm and cool. We had an outstanding team, a group who all thought that way, to seize the moment every time we have an opportunity and make the most of it.”

Previously Skucius, Enochs, Chandler and Romero surged to the top to dominate the district championship sweeping the four-top places at Spring Creek Park in Tomball. Skucius outraced the 5,000-meter field in 16:50.95 with Enochs (16:52.86), Chandler (17:23.22) and Romero (17:31.31) in close pursuit as the Eagles easily separated from runner-up St. Pius X, The Village, St. John XXIII and Tomball Concordia Lutheran. The latest state results concluded a commanding season in the 14th campaign for Labus who has been associated with the program for a near quarter century. Enochs delivered a top-10 finish that pushed the Eagles to ninth place at the prestigious Friday Night Lights 4K event hosted by The Woodlands in August. Skucius (14:20) and Emilio Castaneda ’21 (14:20.9) added top-30 positions among more than 225 runners. The Enochs-Skucius tag-team then produced the top-two Eagle times in a pair of impressive second-place team results, first the Houston Christian Dave Jentzen Invitational, then the Houston Baptist Cross Country Carnival where St. Thomas out-performed a field filled with UIL 6A programs. The Eagles opened the campaign taking third place at the 10th Annual IWA Invitational behind Skucius (seventh), Enochs (14th) and Castaneda (15th), and later won the 5K St. Thomas Episcopal Invitational behind a 1-2-3 takeover from Enochs (17:43.13), Skucius (17:51.50) and Chander (18:16.27).






The St. Thomas High School campus community honored 2018 Homecoming queen Celeste Fleming from Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart ... and her distinguished court ... Mia Cantu from Incarnate Word Academy ... and Julia Corbett, Jessica Forthuber, Kathleen Leyendecker and Spencer-Kate Webb from St. Agnes Academy. Great appreciation to all who participated in making our annual Homecoming event a rousing success.



PAY IT FORWARD FORCE Within days of Gary Hall becoming the new leader of Eagle Basketball, he put into motion his desire to establish a culture of accountability and toughness to jump-start the dormant program. The first priority in constructing that identity was adding a consistent strength and conditioning element that would mirror Hall’s own driven personality. He previously had produced a steady stream of championship caliber contenders in the highly competitive college prep ranks in Northern Virginia, and to do the same at St. Thomas would require an outside resource to help achieve this aim. Hall’s daring hoop dreams were realized when the primo perfecto candidate outrageously emerged without even the slightest nudge of encouragement. “How many high school programs in Texas, or anywhere in the United States for that matter, can say they have an NBA strength and conditioning coach working with their players,” Hall asks in almost disbelief. “The exact sport-specific drills and techniques that the best players in the world are utilizing ... right here at St. Thomas.”

Hall was overwhelmed with the possibilities but with one chief concern - the price. Vidas confirmed almost casually there would be no cost. None.

And simply because Jimmy Vidas chose to bring his accomplished, forward-thinking expertise from the Houston Rockets in a grand pay it forward gesture - a staggering development as likely as a nuanced political discourse.

Vidas explains that he’s “been involved in basketball for more than 25 years and I see the game losing ground at the high school level. The AAU circuit opens a lot of doors but the fundamentals, the strength and conditioning aspects, are being neglected. I’ve worked with this age group and know the value of building a routine and building a body the right way to meet the demands and support success.”

Vidas became familiar with the Eagle hoopdom during the 2018 season when he was approached to consult on the injury rehab of Everett Vaughn ’18 (Texas A&M) and Max Vosloh ’18. Vidas implemented individualized treatment strategies and then assisted throughout the remaining weeks to assure complete recovery. Hall was hired in May 2018 just as Vidas would soon accept a prominent support role with the Rockets. Hall immediately reached out to Vidas to explore recommendations to address the St. Thomas needs. They met for discussions in the bowels of the Toyota Center, and the more Hall shared his vision and aspirations, the more Vidas became engaged. He quickly determined and shockingly suggested the best possible candidate for the role was Jimmy Vidas.



“Jimmy simply wanted to help St. Thomas basketball,” Halls says in stunned amazement.

Vidas was on campus regularly at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year before the Rockets entered the turbo blast launch to their season. His clear, concise, up-tempo sessions emphasized core strength, total body balance, flexibility and range of movement, all to help improve athleticism and endurance, develop formidable physical and mental resilience, and prevent injury. The Eagles were also educated on the importance of sports nutrition, sleep science and in-season maintenance, all with a single objective - reach untapped potential and best navigate the grind of a 30-plus game campaign that would include definite designs on a deep run into the postseason.



Not surprisingly, Vidas commanded instant credibility and rapport with the Eagle varsity while receiving an immediate buy-in to the no-nonsense regime. “I could see the confidence and performance levels of our players gaining that very first week,” Hall says. “This wasn’t about bench pressing for bulk strength. This was how to best perform in a quick-twitch explosion sport.” Vidas’ rise to the elite ranks of his profession has been aided by well-positioned NBA connections more than two decades in the making ... including John Lucas, the city’s basketball godfather and the Rockets head of player development ... Keith Jones, the Rockets senior vice president for basketball operations ... and Anthony Falsone, the strength conditioning coordinator with the San Antonio Spurs since 2014 after 10 years in the Rockets lead position. Vidas also served as the personal strength and conditioning guru for sublime Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Yao Ming. The bedrock of support began to take shape when Vidas joined Lucas when he was the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2001. The relationship then continued at Lucas’ renowned Houston-based wellness and aftercare program for athletes undergoing substance abuse recovery. Later the tight ties with Falsone and Yao allowed Vidas an entry to various Chinese professional leagues to further expand and hone his craft from 2009-16. The sum of which was the grandmaster plan (more or less) Vidas concocted when he surrendered his six-figure salary in 1999 for a dramatic career move that initially promised only ground zero opportunity with minimum wages. Decades later the self-satisfaction has paid more than proper dividends. “I was in sales crushing million-dollar quotas but I knew something was missing in my personal and professional life,” Vidas says. “I had someone advise that I should go into some sort of teaching, that I possessed a great soul and a want to serve others. I understood that life is a long play. But the key was to be unafraid of the unknown. No fear. Take the leap.” A sermon Vidas preached emphatically while advancing Hall’s debut Eagle season. Vidas conducted weeks of two-a-day workouts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning at 5:45 a.m. at the St. Thomas track. He reconvened with the team in the afternoons as players split into groups for weight room conditioning and half-court sessions for individual improvement. “The first day I get a call on my mobile at 5:30 in the morning,” Hall says. “It’s Jimmy. He’s at the track roaring to go. Ice chests filled with Gatorade. Protein and power shakes already mixed. Every detail mapped. He couldn’t wait to get started with the team. That enthusiasm is incredibly contagious.” For Vidas, promoting the necessary physical fitness to represent the base for Hall’s preferred style of play was not the sole motivation. Just as critical for Vidas was establishing genuine, lasting relationships with student-athletes and relating the totality of his real-world experiences. He believes the process in preparing for an upcoming season also translates to important life lessons - “succeed first as an individual, make the correct choices, possess the habits to take full advantage of those decisions, make the most of gifts and talents.”



In essence, Vidas sought to have Hall’s benefit for having been involved in the program regardless of whether their basketball careers extended beyond St. Thomas. “We’re building discipline, a passion and intensity,” Vidas says. “It’s about organizational skills, time management, extending outside their comfort zone. I want to challenge them in a healthy way to establish goals and fight for accomplishment. That experience will certainly serve them as they mature. “I would hear the guys say that basketball is really important to them. I told them if that’s the case, make the commitment, jump off the cliff, pay the price and live with the results. Don’t be afraid. That’s what I did in 1999 when I started at the bottom and began working with John and later Anthony. There will be setbacks. Expect failure. It’s temporary. Learn and move on.” Hall needed only those first encounters with Vidas to detect that two “are cut from the same cloth. Jimmy brings no alternative motives, no agenda. And I absolutely believe that as we move forward our players will believe they have earned the right to win because of what they’ve invested with Jimmy. No team in Texas has worked as hard as our guys have worked.” Before the Eagle season rolled from a promising start into the December portion of the schedule, Hall paused to offer an observation that borders on his disbelief. “Think about this ... throughout the fall Jimmy left St. Thomas after working with our student-athletes before sunrise ... headed straight for the Toyota Center to train James Harden and Chris Paul ... and then returned to St. Thomas in the afternoon. We are blessed to have this relationship.”

catch a behind the scenes look of the athleticis photoshoot - STHCatholic Youtube






p ow e r f u l

Frankenstein thrills, chills & delights



For the St. Thomas Fall production of Frankenstein, director Dan Green flushed both shlock and satire, opting instead for an intelligent and trenchantly faithful adaptation of Mary Shelley’s archetypal monster novel of 1818 that launched a terror genre.

“We looked at six-seven different scripts, ultimately decided on one but added and deleted some sequences. Our play was essentially a Frankenstein creature in and of itself. The goal wasn’t the gory version but we still sought tension and violence.”

As the spookiest of holidays approached, audiences encountered neither Boris (Karloff) nor (Peter) Boyle. No bolt-necked galoot. Forget incoherent bellows of “Puttin’ On The Ritz” from the Mel Brooks pastiche.

Diego Guajardo ’19 played the title role of Victor Frankenstein as a fatally sensitive, conflicted neurasthenic while Carl Collins ’19 portrayed the Creature with an equally expressive presence. Each captured the physical and artistic with unflinching commitment and remained largely loyal to the novel’s tormented tone and complicated structure.

Green and co-director Teresa Stranahan powerfully and cleanly brought the protracted gothic tale to Cemo Auditorium for the first time, diving into explorations of humanity, belonging fear, love and horror.

Incarnate Word Academy senior Shanna Pham (in her eighth St. Thomas production) imbued the beloved Elizabeth Lavenza while Daniel Griggs ’19 was striking as Frankenstein’s friend and accomplished surgeon Henry Clerval.

Within every man there is a monster; within every monster, a man. But which is which? “At the core of the story is isolation and alienation,” Green said. “It’s a conversation that started in my sophomore English class and we thought it was important to continue that discussion with this production. Our junior and senior actors recognize the dynamic immediately and embraced the importance of telling that story. 62


The ensemble delivered an energy, excitement and execution beyond even Green’s lofty expectations. “All those performances were as exceptional as any we’ve had,” Green said without hesitation. “Diego is an incredibly dedicated actor. I was amazed at how much he progressed

throughout rehearsals and thrilled with how much confidence he exuded on stage. He really seized the conflicts within Victor. I was knocked out by his performance. “Daniel provided the balance to Diego and was very much the conscience of the play, giving the heart when Diego was cold and reclusive. Carl was truly phenomenal ... from the look to the voice to the movement ... firing on all points. Shanna was the same tour de force. We recognized their potential for these roles before taking on the challenge. I truly cannot say enough about our collective effort.” The astute production was a bravura triumph in which the set design provided a series of visual coups thanks to the construction expertise of faculty members Phil Gensheimer and Daniel Bryant ’93, along with chief engineer Duane Fuchser. Audio/Visual coordinator Chris Hodge also contributed to the eerie atmosphere. “Victor Frankenstein has a lot of nightmares and dreams,” Green said. “We wanted to showcase that effect through lightning and a material called Skyrim. The audience saw one version when it was lit one way and not when it was lit another way. Those kinds of effects consistently identify the quality of our productions.”

Looney Toons treatment (Hair-Raising Hare) and feminised (Bride of Frankenstein). The retelling Dr. Frankenstein’s unholy experiment gone horribly awry is the latest testament to the depth and range of the St. Thomas drama department under Green’s tutelage. Beginning with his first school production in 2003, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Green has established an expansive program emphasizing a comprehensive knowledge of every aspect of the process, from acting to directing to stage management, with the experience coming together to collaborate. At the bedrock of the steady streams of success is fostering talent and inspiring dreams, nurturing aspiring thesps to follow in the accomplished footsteps of previous St. Thomas stars. “Our understudies are required to accept the commitment and reach the standard from their very first production,” Green said. “They understand the bar is set high and what is demanded from them if they expect to step up and assume the primary roles as they grow within the program. We’ve been blessed with a long series of loyal actors, technicians and supporters.”

Regarded as the foundational text of Gothic fiction, Frankenstein has influenced and permeated popular culture since the early 1800s, when Frankenstein’s Monster made his first appearance on stage. The mythic fable and undying story have proved itself endlessly malleable, continuing to challenge the modern imagination. The work has been brought to life in cartoon, live-action film, comic and picture-book form. It has been translated to celluloid more than any other novel - most notably a tragedy (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein), a comedy (Young Frankenstein) and a musical (The Rocky Horror Picture Show). It has been horrified (The Curse of Frankenstein) and Marvel superheroed (Frankenstein’s Monster), given the SPRING 2019





going 10 rounds with danny hernandez ’08


nourishing a basilian identity



GOING 10 ROUNDS WITH DANNY HERNANDEZ ’08 St. Thomas language dean Danny Hernandez ’08 tackles a speed round of questions. Your family relocated to Houston in 1994 from Los Angeles when you were four years old to start what has become the city’s Arandas Bakery brand. How great is it growing up with an endless supply of empanadas, orejas, cookies and cakes? Honestly, when you’re surrounded by sweets every day the attraction tends to pale. The temptation to overindulge really wasn’t there. Your parents Jesus and Maria Elena still manage the original franchise on Beechnut St. and Gessner Rd. You and your brother Ricky (class of 2001) worked the bakery through your St. Thomas years. How often are you allowed to call in sick when mom and dad are the bosses? Not often. When I earned my driver’s license I became the delivery boy. It wasn’t the typical high school weekend routine but the hours definitely taught me a responsibility and work ethic that I carry today. You’re an unabashed lifetime Dodgers fan and were not the least bit swayed by your city’s allegiance in the 2017 World Series. How much grief did you absorb especially given the ultimate outcome? I got it in large doses. I let it be known whom I was pulling for. The students see Dodger gear in my classroom. My screensaver is Dodger Stadium. But if it’s not my guys taking the title at least it was the Astros who came out on top. Losing to the Red Sox in five games (in the 2018 World Series) was much more painful to accept.



You graduated from the University of San Diego studying Spanish and theology. Calibrate the difficulty of earning a four-year degree when the campus provides panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The beach came calling every day. My roommate was a surfer dude right out of central casting ... blond hair, swim trucks and flips flops. He was grossly disappointed when I moved in as a freshman and didn’t have the Stetson, cowboy boots and extra large belt buckle. He wondered where was the accent. He took me surfing early on and I never went back ... a memorable experience that I never wished to repeat. Your next stop was bright lights, big city. Well, Brooklyn, for a teaching position with Jesuit Prep in the shadows of Prospect Heights and then graduate school at Boston College. How did you somehow some way survive life with the Jesuits and live to tell? Not terribly difficult given the surroundings. I lived in Bed-Stuy (Bedford-Stuyvesant, neighborhood home once to Jay-Z, Norah Jones, Bobby Fischer, Tracy Morgan, Mos Def and assorted acclaimed hoopsters) in a brownstone on a street that rolls right out of a movie scene. The neighborhood is in transition ... gentrification ... updated housing, walkable streets, express subway lines to Manhattan. It’s now maybe the next Park Slope and Williamsburg. Great food and great times in Boston despite a record snowfall my first year and one of the coldest winters on record. The snow was stacked so high they created a tunnel covering the sidewalk. They ran out of places to plow so they dumped snow into Boston Harbor which was illegal but they had no choice.



So from West Coast to East Coast back to Gulf Coast but the travel lust has continued. Central America, Europe, South Africa, Morocco, the Bahamas among wide-ranging itineraries. What’s the ab fab fave destination? Istanbul, Turkey. I’ve been there three times ... the latest two summers ago in 2016 with my college and New York roommate Naveed Fazal (class of 2008). We stopped for three nights on the way to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. I find the culture ... the food ... the history ... the people fascinating and intriguing. You’ve witness four World Cups up close and personal Japan in 2002, Germany in 2006, South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014. What’s the takeaway moment other than Mexico never escaping the Round of 16? In a group of four and losing my father in Brazil. We were to meet at our seats. The game started. He’s not there. We had cell phones but they weren’t active. We begin to search among the throng. Finally, I spot him one section over from ours ... same row ... sitting by himself enjoying the game while we were frantically tracking him. And Mexico lost to Uruguay 1-0. In 2012 you completed the Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James, one of the most prominent and profound pilgrimages that dates to the Middle Ages. What has remained impactful about that experience? It’s 500 miles over 33 days over various terrain and elevation carrying a 25-30 pound pack ... starting in the French Pyrenees to the cathedral in Galicia in northwestern Spain believed to be the final resting place of the apostle St. James. I went with two college friends almost at the spur of the moment . It’s remarkable the array of people you encounter on the route ... a vice president from Miami ... a California highway patrolman ... all walks of life and faith. You gain an understanding that people and the struggles we all encounter are not that different.



St. Thomas is your second teaching position. You’re also assisting Nathan Labus in Eagle Cross Country, your coach in high school not so long ago. What do you remember from those 6:00 a.m. wake-ups way back when Fr. Kevin Storey would also run with the pack? Coach Labus hasn’t changed at all ... still calm, chill, down to earth. I found it interesting this summer on our Colorado trip that he saw himself as not a strong demonstrative motivator. I believe his personality is actually a strength given the nature of runners and the sport. It’s not about loud confrontational tactics. Father Storey has also remained intact as a person ... upbeat, optimistic, confident. Except that he doesn’t show any more for the miles ... blames his knees but I know he’s slowing down. Just kidding. Mostly. You own a Porsche. When I think Porche, I think 911. Or Boxster. Maybe Carrera GT. Always faster than advisable. I think Tom Cruise in Risky Business. I don’t think SUV crossover. What’s up with the Macan? It’s more practical than a sports car. Perhaps urban focused. I like SUVs and had a friend who knew the general manager at the dealership. The terms were favorable ... too hard to say no. I was living at home with my parents (in 2016) saving money to buy a house. I bought a car. A Porsche. The first car I have ever owned. And now I have the house, too. So as an incentive to your Spanish students, if they break the necessary academic threshold, you’ll of course allow them to take the Macan for a healthy stretch along the Hardy Tollway providing they keep the Ferris Bueller antics to a minimum? And before you respond, yes, that was a second early 1980s flashback of teenage hijinks through American suburbia. Of course. Not happening.

NOURISHING A BASILIAN IDENTITY St. Thomas launched the 2018-19 academic year ensuring that the Basilian mission of Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge measures beyond mere motto, but in fact is a stable of life. The Class of 2019 began Senior Week volunteering at the Houston Food Bank accompanied by a sizable leadership group of faculty members, staff and counselors including Chief Academic Officer Dr. Aaron Dominguez ’96 and former President Fr. Kevin Storey, CSB. Whether on campus or off, formal and informal, St. Thomas seeks to support and challenge its scholars as they encounter differences, learn what they do not yet and put their faith into action to the benefit of others. “St. Thomas had educated young men for generations supported by the pillars of community and brotherhood,” Dominguez says. “As a Basilian institution, we have a responsibility to embrace and give back to our community. This was a total team endeavor.” Eagle groups worked in multiple assembly lines, sorting incoming donated goods, filling boxes with an assortment of food basics which were then categorized and placed on pallets to aid more than 500 different relief charities through southeast Texas.

Volunteer Service representative Melissa Ramon has been associated with the Houston Food Bank since 2005. “To have such a large group from St. Thomas makes a huge impact. The number of manpower hours they provided on a weekday is invaluable. The support directly helps people who are in need get back on their feet.” Senior Week also included prep sessions to accelerate the college selection and application process including a college essay workshop and student visits to Texas A&M University, the University of Houston and fellow Basilian University of St. Thomas. But most significant was maintaining the essential Eagle tradition of service whether it be direct engagement, contributions or volunteer hours, inspired by the Basilian realization that truth about God, the world and personal identity can only be authentically explored through relationships with others. “In any organization of excellence you aim to create cultural anchors,” Dominguez says. “Our commitment to the Houston Food Bank is one we’ll revisit with our students throughout the upcoming months, have them remember the importance and how what they’re doing currently relates. If the effect of this service doesn’t resonate with our students past 48 hours then we haven’t made the most of the opportunity.”

The tasks varied, but the collaborative Eagle spirit was the same, working side-by-side and raising awareness through education and experience of food insecurity and homelessness. The Senior Week service project was the latest commitment in a long-standing St. Thomas relationship with a member of the nation’s largest non-governmental, domestic hunger relief organization. The Houston Food Bank provides 83 million meals to food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers and other agencies in 18 counties. As recently as May 2018, in the wake of the epic Hurricane Harvey devastation, it was operating at triple its normal distribution, providing 750,000 pounds of supplies a day - the equivalent of 18 tractor-trailers.






legacy graduates class of 2018

76 78 79

when they were kings

high flying eagles

casino night



graduates 2018



FALCONE - Anthony ’57, Joshua ’19 and Joseph ’83

VAUGHN - brother Jay ’15, Everett ’18 and father Tom (pictured, grandfather Joe ’62)

VOGELSANG - cousin Murphy ’24, uncle Phillip ’88, grandfather Wayne ’63, father Tom ’86, brother Matthew ’14 and Michael ’18

YBARRA - Nicholas ’16, Johnny Storenski ’57 and Dominic ’18

BROLAND - father James ’97, Kris ’18 and mother Jennifer (St. Agnes Academy ’98)

BARROSO - father Chris ’77, Jason ’18 and Chris ’96

PABST - Roberto ’18 and father Robert ’88

BROGAN - father Patrick ’87 and Jack ’18 SPRING 2019


congratulations Legacy

ZETKA - Travis ’18, father Ken ’83 and grandfather Norman ’52 (not pictured, brothers Nick ’16 and James ’16)

BARTNISKI - great uncle Mike ’67, father Mark ’83, Travis ’18, great uncle Fr. Bill Bartniski ’59 and cousin James Paradowski ’71 (pictured, grandfather Ed ’57)

ROBERTSON - Parker ’18 and grandfather Anthony ’48

ADAIR - Henry ’18 and grandfather Chuck Dunkin ’60

MADDEN - father Willie ’82 and Marshall ’18 74


graduates - CLASS OF 2018

BURNS - brother Davis ’17, father TJ Burns ’79 and Nicholas ’18

HABLINSKI - father Craig ’81 and Zach ’18

FAUNTLEROY - Tristan ’18 (not pictured, grandfather John ’53 and uncle Brandon Tristan ’89)

WICKMAN - grandfather Richard Coselli ’50, Wayne ’18 and father Wayne ’81

GREGORY - brother Jeremy ’15, father Doug ’87, Barrett ’18, uncle Billy ’85 and uncle Martin Hajovsky ’83 (not pictured, brother Griffin ’21)




The 1968 state champion Eagles were welcomed during a rousing November halftime ceremony on the 50th anniversary of their collective triumph. The salute commemorated the 29-6 victory on the St. Thomas home field over reigning champion Dallas Jesuit for a fourth TCIL state title in five years, the first title success for the Eagles since 1953.



The ’68 Eagles coached by Eagle legends Joe McDonald and Burr Davis finished a commanding season 11-1 and featured two All-Americans, eight All-State performers and six future inductees to the St. Thomas Sports Hall of Fame including Greg Hall ’69, Robert Murski ’69, Ted Nowak ’70, Gary Martin ’69, Mark Yokubaitis ’70 and Marcus Jankowski ’70 plus McDonald. Many of the forever champions have come together in Houston for an annual Christmas holiday celebration that was ignited nearly 20 years ago.

From his residence in Austin Ben Garza ’69 reached Hall to suggest a reunion that now consistently draws 25-30 teammates and consistently rekindles burning memories. “There’s a tremendous bond that still unites us,” Garza says. “This school and those experiences remain important. And even without the football success, I could see this group staying in contact during all these years because of the people. We enjoy each other. We were and continue to be blessed. Special times, then and now.”



HIGH FLYING EAGLES Michael Ethridge ’19 and Tyler McStravick ’19 have earned the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout, the highest achievement in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The two exceptional leaders and founding members of Troop 1004 of St. Clare Assisi Catholic Church continue the distinguished legacy of Eagle scholars throughout generations who have reached this milestone accomplishment that has been and continues to be richly recognized throughout the United States. Ethridge’s outstanding commitment extends to his receiving the Bronze, Gold and Silver Eagle Palms, each representing the completion of five merit badges beyond the 21 required for the Eagle Scout rank, for a total of 36. McStravick also excelled in earning 32 badges, including the Bronze and Gold Palms, plus the Catholic Religious Emblem of Ad Altare Dei. Both Eagle Scouts are members of the Order of the Arrow, the National Honor Society of the BSA. In the summer of 2017, Ethridge and McStravick applied their high-adventure backcountry skills during a 100-plus mile trek through mountainous Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico, including a number of prominent peaks. Their scouting successes are a testament to their Catholic values, deep dedication to community service, and allegiance to the purpose and goals of Troop 1004.



CASINO NIGHT Double downs ... bets and blinds and bad beats ... great friends and Gatlin’s BBQ. Awesome thanks to all in the Eagle brotherhood who made the annual Alumni Casino Night another high rollin’ raucous success.

See you next year!



in memoriam

THE MOST REVEREND JOHN MCCARTHY ’49, THE FIRST-EVER NATIVE HOUSTONIAN APPOINTED BISHOP IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WHO LED THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF AUSTIN FOR 15 YEARS, DIED AUGUST 18 AT THE AGE OF 88. Bishop McCarthy was a gregarious priest for more than 62 years and bishop for nearly four decades, providing national leadership for the Church in its efforts to address the causes and ramifications of systemic poverty. He was represented in an exclusive group of distinguished St. Thomas graduates who rose within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church along with the Most Reverend Brendan Cahill, STD ’81, Bishop of Victoria, TX; Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, STD ’85, Coadjutor Bishop of San Jose, CA; Most Reverend Vincent Rizzotto ’49, Retired Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston; and Most Reverend George Sheltz ’63, Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston. Fr. McCarthy was inducted into the prestigious St. Thomas Hall of Honor in 1980. In 1973, following a series of successful parish ministry assignments in Houston, Fr. McCarthy was named the executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference (now the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops). Six years later, he was appointed by Pope John Paul II an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston



where he spent 1979-86 expanding the social outreach in the approximately 150 parishes in the diocese. In February 1986, Fr. McCarthy was installed as the third bishop of Austin. During his 15-year tenure, the diocese experienced tremendous growth, not only in the Catholic population but also in developing academic institutions, campus ministries and health care, as well as the diocesan retreat center, Cedarbrake. Essential to Fr. McCarthy’s ministry as bishop was the ethos to show God in the world by respecting and embracing people of all origins and stations. He said the role of the Catholic Church is “not to tend to its own store” but to lessen pain and suffering, reach out to the poor and strive for justice. Pope John Paul II accepted Bishop McCarthy’s resignation in January 2001. He was at the time described by his successor, Bishop Gregory Aymond, as “a shepherd who completely emptied himself for this Church and others. He has been and continues to be a sign of Christ to this diocese and ... to people of all races and faiths.”

In retirement Fr. McCarthy remained a beloved figure in Austin frequently found at parishes conducting Masses as a guest priest. In 2013 he authored ​Off the Cuff & Over the Collar: Common Sense Catholicism​“for people who have always found the Church to be somewhat confusing and mystifying. I’m actually hoping for a wide audience ... one that would include not only solidly committed members of the Church but also the indifferent Catholics as well as the hurt or even hostile ... departed Catholics (counted in the millions) ... and finally those curious about this enormous old boat bouncing around in the ocean of life. And that covers almost everyone!” John Edward McCarthy was born during the early days of the Great Depression. His father George McCarthy worked as a civil engineer but died suddenly when John was only 18 months old, the youngest of four children. At age five he survived a life-threatening ruptured appendix. In the midst of extreme economic strains John’s mother Grace O'Brien McCarthy couldn't manage the $1.50 a month required to send her youngest son to a parochial school, but he attended anyway and was a product of a lifelong Catholic education, beginning with his first grade at All Saints Elementary in the Houston Heights.

After graduating from St. Thomas he earned a bachelor's degree in 1956 from the University of St. Thomas where he went on to receive a master’s degree in theology in 1979. Fr. McCarthy was ordained to the priesthood at St. Mary’s Seminary in May 1956 and never relinquished the fight for the outcast and marginalized. After serving St. Pius Parish in Pasadena and St. Cecilia in Hedwig Village, he became the pastor at his home All Saints Parish, and then St. Theresa in Memorial Park where he developed a “Sisters in Social Services” program which became a model adopted by Catholic Charities USA as parish social ministry. Fr. McCarthy embraced the civil rights movement and Great Society agenda of the mid-1960s. He became one of the founding members of the Catholic-sponsored Campaign for Human Development, which has donated more than $250 million to grass-roots organizations in poor neighborhoods throughout the United States. In Washington, D.C., he worked for the U.S. Catholic Conference as assistant director of the Social Action Department and later as director of the Division for Poverty Programs. The Bishop Emeritus of Austin is survived by a sister-in-law, Charlene McCarthy of Houston, and extended family.




in memoriam

FOREVER EAGLE BROTHER ... THRIVING MEMBER OF THE HISTORIC HOUSTON’S MCCONN FAMILY ... AUTHENTIC HOUSTONIAN ... EXEMPLARY STANDARD OF TEACH ME GOODNESS, DISCIPLINE AND KNOWLEDGE. John Luke McConn, Jr. ’42 died January 6, 2019. He was 95. McConn lived a life of service - in the United States military effort to liberate Munich during World War II, as President of the Houston Bar Association and director of the State Bar of Texas, as President of the Houston Serra Club, and on the Board of Directors of St Thomas. Most importantly, to his wife of 71 years, Katie, their two daughters, three sons and 17 grandchildren. McConn reached the rank of lieutenant while seeing action in Europe. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Silver Star and returned home with an even more distinct possession from his military experience, a desk set from the office of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler used by the Fuehrer to sign the infamous Munich agreement with France and Great Britain, which Hitler quickly violated to spark World War II.

McConn later earned his undergraduate and his Juris Doctor from the University of Texas on the G.I. Bill. He spent nearly 30 years as a senior partner of the renowned Houston law firm of Butler, Binion, Rice, Cook and Knapp until forming his own law practice in 1986. He was a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Association, and a Fellow of both the International Society of Barristers and the American College of TrialLawyers, two prestigious invitationonly organizations. McConn is a member of the prestigious St. Thomas Hall of Honor, as are his younger brothers Robert McConn, M.D. 4 ’ 2; the Honorable James J. McConn ’44, mayor of Houston from 1978-82; and Thomas McConn ’51.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. 82


Abel Alvarez ’67, August 26, 2018 Thomas W. Bartlett father of Thomas W., Jr. ’69, November 16, 2018 Francis (Frank) P. Drapela ’65 brother of Edward ’57, August ’59 and Thomas ’60, December 15, 2016 Thomas F. Jaeger ’68, July 27, 2018 James L. Keith III ’53, August 12, 2018 William J. Laughlin ’55 father of William J., Jr. ’75 and Richard ’80, September 10, 2018 John Perez, Jr. father of John J. ’73 and Martin ’86, August 10, 2018 John A. Raia, Sr. ’48 father of John A., Jr. ’75, grandfather of John A. III ’97, October 8, 2018 Richard Snyder ’65, November 9, 2018 Juan (Jerry) G. Ygnacio ’57 father of Juan G. ’92, October 26, 2015



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St. Thomas Eagles' Nest Spring 2019