The Viking Press

Issue #6 June 2015

The 2014-2015 school year has come to an end...

Before you ride off into the sunset, take a minute and catch up on some exciting news and updates from the St. Eugene staff, students and families!

Important Dates

August 20th - First Day of School! 1st thru 8th grade (half day)

August 20th - Kindergarten Orientation 8:15-9:30

August 29th - Class of 2016 carwash

September 7th - Labor Day NO SCHOOL

September 9th - Open House

September 11th - SAC Parents Nite at Mo Dailey's

CONGRATULATIONS to Dr. Patricia Brown & Mrs. Barbara Sedivec on their retirement!

Thank you for your leadership as principal and knowledge as a teacher! As a school family, we wish you the best as you begin this next chapter in life! You will be missed!

Principal's Corner


As I have said before, I have been very blessed these past twenty-four years to work with a supportive pastor, dedicated teachers, cooperative parents, and great students! Like the Class of 2015 I am leaving St. Eugene and venturing out on a new path. This is both exciting and a bit frightening!

The number of special recognitions that have happened in the past couple of weeks has been overwhelming and very heart-warming. During the Sports banquet Ms. Samborski presented me with a plaque that reads, “Forever a Viking!” (It will be hung in the gym.) On the morning of May 30th the faculty and students surprised me with an assembly. It was fun to sit in what the little ones recognized as “the Santa Claus chair” (borrowed from the rectory for the annual Breakfast with Santa) and receive countless hugs as each group finished performing. There were wonderful songs, poems and memorable gifts… like a bag of marbles from grade 3 for when I lose some of mine! There were bequeath requests from grade 8, some of them serious….like my love of reading, and some of them humorous… like my love of junk food! (The students learned a lot about me when they played “Dr. Brown Trivia” on a previous Spirit day.) At the end of the assembly I received two very special gifts: a heart decorated charm for my Pandora bracelet, and the news that a renovated “Peace Garden” in the court yard has been created in my honor (complete with a plaque). And I know I speak for Mrs. Sedivec when I say how wonderful the retirement Mass and reception on May 31st was. It was fitting that she and I would retire together from St. Eugene, since we both began our teaching careers together atSt. Cyprian in River Grove. Another surprise came at the end of the PS/PK end of the year celebration when the PS/PK teachers and their classes presented me with a PET. He is a blue beta fish named “Eugene.” The children learned during the trivia game that I did not have a pet, so they wanted to give me one! As children who came into my office noticed “Eugene” he quickly became even more popular than the talking “NO” button that had been entertaining students all year long!

I could easily fill this entire newsletter with heartwarming stories and words of gratitude. Don’t worry, I won’t be doing that! Let me end by sharing the words of Kathleen Grove, “A friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but touches your heart.” Thank you, my St. Eugene “friends”---- students, parents, colleagues, and parishioners, for the countless ways you have touched my heart. You will not be forgotten.

Words From Fr. George

We ended this year by saying farewell to Dr. Brown and Mrs. Sedivec. I want to once again wish them all the best in their retirement. Forty-three years (combined) of educational ministry they provided to St. Eugene School! I hope all our students realize how lucky they have been to have two such great examples of faith and wisdom.

As we end the year, it is my prayer that all of you have a great summer full of joy. I want to once again encourage everyone to stay close to the Eucharist. Attend Sunday Mass every week with your family and I know you will be blessed with peace and joy. I hope the friendships you have will continue to grow deeper and stronger in the years to come.

Remember, summer time is a break from the classroom, but it does not mean you stop learning and praying. Keep reading, continue to learn new things, and pray each and every day that Jesus may strengthen your faith. Stop by after Mass and say hello to me. Seeing you at Church makes me very happy. I will keep you in my prayers each and every day.

Peace and Love,

Father George

Tech Update

Check out these educational apps for your children this summer. Listed also are some new websites that promote Reading and Math and Coding!
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Alumni Spotlight

What year did you graduate from St. Eugene? 1990

High school: Holy Cross High School, River Grove

Undergraduate: Loyola University - Chicago

Undergraduate major: Anthropology, Classics, Philosophy

Degree: BA/BS

Graduate: University of Toronto

Graduate major: Archeology

Degree: MA

Resides In: Seattle, WA

Current Parish: St. Philomena, Des Moines, WA

Job Title/Duties: Program Director - Archaeologist/Environmental Scientist

Company Name: Environmental Resources Management, Inc.

What activities / sports did you participate in when you were at St. Eugene? Track/Cross Country

How do you think St. Eugene prepared you for your chosen profession and success you have had so far? Character building, discipline, socialization, accountability, personal responsibility

What is your fondest memory of St. Eugene? Relationships with friends that I developed, many of which I still have.

Is there a particular teacher, coach or student who inspired you? Mr. Wojtalewicz

What advice do you have for current St. Eugene students? These are going to be some of the best times of your life. Appreciate this time and the relationships you form now because the experiences you have at St. Eugene and relationships you form will likely follow you for the rest of your life. Later on, you might wish you could go back.

What do you do in your free time? When I actually have a free moment, I love to travel, hike, and spend time with family and friends.

Family (spouse/children): Nicole (wife) and Kodiak (son)

If your siblings are alumni, please give me their names and graduation years:Alexander Bielakowski (1985)

School Advisory Committee

Have you ever thought about joining the School Advisory Committee but decided against it because you thought that maybe you don’t have the time, that you won’t know anyone, or that you don’t have any room in your life for additional responsibilities? Well, I’d like to relieve your concerns and let you know that being a SAC member is not such an overwhelming/daunting commitment that you might think. In fact, approximately 75% of SAC members that joins for one term end up staying for two. The reason for this is pretty clear: to help serve the school so that our children have the best educational experience possible.

Over the years, SAC has earned a reputation as being a glorified, fundraising committee, but the truth is that we do so much more:

-5K Trot 'n Treat

- Catholic Schools Teacher Appreciation Breakfast

-Little Vikings Program

-School Newsletter

-St. Eugene School Brochure

- Teacher Appreciation Luncheon and Gifts

-Parents Appreciation Night Out

-Alumni Get Together and Email Blasts

-8th Grade Scholarships

In addition to organizing these fundraisers and events, we also have the ability to give our opinions and vote on important school matters such as Service Hours. As veteran parents know, St. Eugene School used to require ten mandatory volunteer hours per student and twenty per family. About three years ago, SAC mistakenly thought that mandatory volunteer hours should not be required, and that parents would willingly volunteer for the good of their child and their child’s school. The sad reality is that volunteerism has greatly declined over the past few years, and that SAC was misguided; many parents are not willingly volunteering at the school, which is why the five service hours were brought back this year.

Now it is easy to complain about things, but it is much harder to make the decision to get involved and do something about it. I invite ALL of our parents and parish to consider becoming a member of SAC. It is an excellent way to stay informed about what is going on in your child’s school as well as be able to give your input and express your concerns.

If you are interested in taking the step to get involved either as a SAC member or subcommittee member or would like to nominate someone, please email me at

Have a great summer!

Margaret Kinel

SAC President

Congratulations to our SAC Scholarships winners!

Each student received a $500 Scholarship!!

Devin O'Neill

Megan Kurtz

St. Eugene's 4th Annual Trot n Treat 5K Run/Walk!

Halloween will once again come early as we celebrate the 4th Annual Running of the St. Eugene Trot 'n Treat 5k Run/Walk and Kid's Monster Dash on Saturday, October 17th, 2015. Visit to register, sign up to volunteer or sponsor the race. You can follow race updates at

Last year, 652 people joined us for the races from all over the Chicagoland area as well as 6 different states. The 5k included 509 total participants with the men's winner, Bo Musilewski (18:26) hailing from Chicago. The women's winner, Jennifer Brandon (18:33), joined us all the way from Boulder, CO. The Monster Dash races included 143 total participants.

Our race had the honor of being featured in Chicago Athlete Magazine prior to the event, and in the results section of the November issue. Over the past 3 years, this race has truly achieved its goal of not only raising money for St Eugene school, but also becoming one of the premier 5k events in the Chicagoland area. The race has generated almost $70,000 for St. Eugene School. Please join us on race day by either putting on your running shoes for the races or by volunteering.

Dreaded words of summer break!

Family FUN Day!

  1. Upload a new fun App! Download the My Chi Parks™ app now to view the 2015 Night Out in the Parks schedule, including the movies lineup!
  2. Click on Chicago City Pass and you can purchase tickets to many attractions at a super discounted price!
  3. Click on TIMEOUT...your comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Chicago (food, bars, events)!!

Summer Reading Lists...exciting new books and series!

Book Series

Easy Readers Level 1 or Beginner (K)

  • Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton (K-1)
  • Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor (K-1)

Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems (K-1)

Fly Guy by Ted Arnold (K-1)

Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo (grades 1-3)

My Weird School by Dan Gutman (2-3)

The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney (2-4)

Nancy Drew and the Crew Clue (3)

Nancy Clancy by Jane O’Connor (3)

Ellray Jakes by Sally Warner (3)

Jake Maddox (assortment of sports series) by Jake Maddox (3-4)

The Whodunit Detective Agency by Martin Widmark (grades 3-4)

The Genius Files by Dan Gutman (4-5)

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (4-5)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (4-5)

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann (4-5)

Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy (4-5)

Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch

  • Book 1: The Name of this Book is Secret

The Mysterious Benedict Society (5)

Castle Glower Series by Jessica Day George (5)

Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2015! Check out where they are going...MAKE US PROUD!!

Thomas Ahern - Loyola Academy

Mackenzie Ahrens - Resurrection

Cody Autry - Maine East

Eric Clancy - Ridgewood

Erin Dillon - Loyola Academy

Margaret Gercone - Taft

Pedro Grimaldo - Notre Dame

Liam Kelly - Taft

Lauren Kinel - Resurrection

Michael Korhonen - St. Patrick

Megan Kurtz - Loyola Academy

Cinnamon Machaj - Guerin Prep

Andrew Malarski - Guerin Prep

Daniel Malik - Notre Dame

Shannon Marbach - Ridgewood

Joseph McKermitt - Loyola Academy

Kyle Meier - Loyola Academy

Sean Mullany - St. Patrick

Devin O'Neill - St. Ignatius

Matthew Pagani - Notre Dame

Michael Pierri - Taft

Anne Santangelo - Loyola Academy

Kate Santangelo - Loyola Academy

Grace Savino - Maine South

James Spanola Jr. - Ridgewood

Dimitrios Tambakos - Guerin Prep

Marco Troiano - Loyola Academy

Anthony Vitullo - Loyola Academy

Brianna Vitullo - Loyola Academy

May Crowning Court - 2015

Joseph McKermitt

Marco Troiano

Anthony Vitullo

Grace Savino

Lauren Kinel

Shannon Marbach

8th Grade Altar Servers...recognized for service since 4th grade! WOW!!

Erin Dillon

Lauren Kinel

Andrew Malarski

Daniel Malik

Shannon Marbach

Joseph Mckermitt

Sean Mullany

Devin O'Neill

Matthew Pagani

Grace Savino

James Spanola

Marco Troiano

Anthony Vitullo

Brianna Vitullo

Dancin' the night away at the 8th grade Dance!

Graduation Day!


To our WONDERFUL morning drop off parking lot crew! We never would be able to get our kids in the door and be SAFE doing it! Rain, sleet, snow or shine, these dads were out there for our kids directing traffic!







One more thing....we had a wonderful email come back from an alumni!!

PLEASE READ!! exciting to read this newsletter about all the activities happening at St.Eugene's. Surely had a smile reading about 8th grade Ribbons! Could it possibly be the tradition of the long Blue and Gold??? Month of May with Holy Communion and..May Crowning. Could not wait till it was my turn to be in 2nd grade and wear my First Communion dress and veil after lunch...we ALL walked home the afternoon May Crowning. Made my Communion on May 7,1966. It was in the "Adult Church". Kids at that time went to church in the the seventh grade classrooms. May Crowning of the 1960's was REALLY something to experience. Never forgotten fond memories. Always envy of the person selected to climb up to Crown Mary. Someone always fainted on the blacktop. The heat of a May afternoon...with voices singing endless songs to the sky.

The 8th graders got to wear the graduation robes and caps. And the long ribbons...flowing in the wind.

It was all tradition.....tradition!

Bronwyn Strass Estephan

Class of 1972

Hi Mike. You are welcome to use and edit my story. The Kenneth Strass Sr family had graduates in class of '68, '69, '72 and '75.

The youngest didn't graduate at Eugenes since the family moved to CA. However the youngest was in the FIRST preschool class of St.Eugene. My father was active in Holy Name Society which later was renamed to the Mens Club.He was also an usher. My mom was in the Alter and Rosary Society. My sister Edean sang in the church choir. My brother Ken was an Alter server and one of the youngest church lectors. I joined the church choir too under the direction of Ed Nesson who was also our organ music teacher for all three Strass girls. And our family organ was purchased from a St.Eugene parishioner. And is sitting in my home in Lakewood CA. Still being enjoyed. The womans name was Dorothy who was an organ player at the church. The foundation values our family learned from participating at St.Eugene was carried throughout all of us through out our lives. My Dad continued to be an usher at every parish until his passing. Edean continued to sing in church choirs. Bronwyn became a Stephens Minister. Kreighton became an alter server in his youth and actively involved in many activities. Just to mention a few. Our family has carried the foundations and traditions that were taught and shared so long ago. For our roots went deep at St.Eugene.One can only hope families today too carry on the traditions.

Bronwyn Strass Estephan


Lakewood, CA.

Wishing all VIKING families a HAPPY and SAFE summer!!

Time to relax and kick back :)