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Spring 2008





A Classroom of Friends

Reflections on Fr. Billac and his many friends

Houston, Texas

The Most Reverend George Murry, SJ, Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown, delivered the keynote address in the Lowman Theater at the New Orleans Province Colloquium on Social Justice host by Strake Jesuit, February 21-23. Read more go to page 7.

Table of Contents

Features My Friend p. 4 Beyond the Classroom to Real Solutions p. 10 Joe Piazza `72 Named Alumnus of the Year p. 19 Departments

President's Message - 2 Principal's Perspective - 3 School News - 7 - 10 Development - 12 - 13 Spirituality - 15 Athletics - 16 - 18 Alumni News - 19 - 20 Class Notes - 21 - 23 Births - 23 In Memoriam - 23 By George - 24 Spring 2008 Vol. 39, No. 3 Editor Rick Rivers, Director of Communications Contributors Fr. Daniel K. Lahart, SJ Richard Nevle Fr. Flavio Bravo, SJ Tim Scalzitti `90




The Chronicle of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory (USPS 024165) Vol. 39, No. 3, Winter Edition, is published quarterly by Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, 8900 Bellaire Boulevard, Houston, TX 77036. Periodicals Postage Paid at Houston, TX. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Chronicle of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, 8900 Bellaire Boulevard, Houston, TX 77036-4699.

President Fr. Daniel K. Lahart, SJ Principal Richard Nevle Director of Development NJ Santarcangelo `67

ON THE COVER - Fr. Billac, SJ and some of his friends from the Class of 2005 take a break from Latin class to celebrate his birthday. Photo by Tommy Romano.

President's Message

2 Spring 2008

Earlier today I was leaving my office after meeting with a couple about their upcoming wedding. It was Sunday morning, and Fr. Billac was sitting in his office. He told me he had slept in, but had lots of work to do. He had been out late at the home of some parents and friends celebrating mass for their family guild. He had caught up writing his birthday cards, all his quizzes were graded, and he was now working on the Day of Recollection that he was giving to Alumni Mothers. It is unusual not to find Fr. Billac in his office on the weekend. If he's not there, he's probably off saying mass, celebrating a wedding, a baptism, a funeral. Or he might be relaxing on his outdoor swing and saying his rosary. It is this dedication to his life's work that we celebrate on May 10th. He has touched the lives of thousands in his years at Strake Fr. Daniel K. Lahart, SJ President Jesuit. In the classroom, on retreat, at the altar, even sharing a cigar at a graduation party, Fr. Billac loves what he does because he loves his Lord and the Lord's people. I hope you will be able to join us on May 10th. All of us are fortunate at Strake Jesuit. Our faculty and staff are made up of dedicated and caring individuals. For generations we have been served by devoted Jesuits and lay men and women who engage in the work of secondary education, not for the money but for the opportunity to touch the lives of the young. I am proud to work beside them. After I finished my counseling of the young alum and fiancé this morning, we strolled through the campus. He hadn't been back since the athletic center was completed, and he was anxious to see the progress on the Moran Dining Hall. Like so many of his fellow alumni, he reminisced about the old weight room with barbells that stained your hands with rust, about the heat in summer, and the crowds throughout the year. He was impressed with the recent changes and excited about our current project. These are exciting times at Strake Jesuit. Having just passed the $26 million mark in The Greater Glory Capital Campaign ­ with a recent anonymous gift of $1 million to our financial aid endowment ­ I am deeply grateful to all those who have helped make Vision 2008 a reality. By the end of 2008 we will have completed all we set out to accomplish in that strategic plan we formulated in the fall of 2002. The Moran Dining Hall, the Clay Student Activity Center, and the Chapel will be tremendous additions to our campus and will set Strake Jesuit apart in the city of Houston. The incredible support for our endowment has also been moving to me. While so many have supported our plan, what people are supporting at the most important level is our mission and the people who implement it on a daily basis. Fr. Billac will be a special honoree in May, but our progress is a testimony to so many others past and present ­ Frs. Alchediak, Jenniskens, Bahlinger, Leininger, Bro. Casey, Messrs. Nevle, Hosty, Santarcangelo to name just a few ­ who have lived their lives in service to others for generations. Join me in thanking them in your prayers, or when you see those who still cruise the breezeway today. Know that I am grateful to the men and women who serve our students each day, and I am grateful for your support which provides us the ability to provide that service to students from all economic backgrounds. Be assured of my prayers for you and your family.

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This past February Strake Jesuit hosted the New Orleans Province Social Justice Colloquium. This gathering included teachers and administrators from the Jesuit secondary schools of the New Orleans province, as well as some faculty from the Collegio Belen in Miami, an Antilles Provinces school. The Colloquium was jointly sponsored by the New Orleans Province Assistant for Secondary Education and the province Social Ministries Commission. So, in addition to teachers and administrators, members of the New Orleans Province Social Ministries Office and the Jesuit Social Research Institute were part of the Colloquium. Such gatherings of Jesuit teachers in the South are nothing new, but there had not been such a gathering for nearly a decade and veterans of previous Colloquia were at a loss as to why we waited so long to come together. The idea for a colloquium on social justice came up at a meeting of the province Commission on Social Justice. Just a few weeks before provincial high school administrators were to begin working out the details of the Colloquium, Hurricane Katrina struck. As both the high schools and the Provincial Office addressed the more immediate issues that came with Katrina and its wake, Colloquium planning was postponed. As the waters receded, teachers in the high schools and administrators in New Orleans began to put together a program that grew more impressive with each exchange of emails. Bishop George G. Murry, SJ of the Diocese of Youngstown delivered the keynote address. Like most Jesuits, Bishop Murry had done his time in "the high schools." Besides being a teacher he had been a dean of students and a high school president. In addition to running his diocese, he serves on the Domestic Policy and Education Committees of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. He also serves on the Board of Catholic Relief Services. He understood the topic, Social Justice, as well as his audience, and his audience understood him. Besides hearing from sociologists and lawyers, the teachers also heard from one another. In fact, most of the sessions were conducted by teachers and people active in social work from around the province. A team of English teachers from Dallas described how they used film to connect the drug trade and the web of death it creates not just for the users and the dealers, but for innocent bystanders as well. Tampa Jesuit teachers detailed their international social justice program and a Strake Jesuit teacher connected the theological and philosophical roots which underpin Catholic teaching on social justice. A young Jesuit priest-lawyer and veteran of numerous immigration cases, made his own convincing case on how to improve our immigration policy and practices. As with past gatherings, the power of the Social Justice Colloquium was in the power of teachers teaching teachers. Such presentations have a ring of truth and utility that transcends any of the lectures teaches hear at most conventions and lecture halls. One of the reasons for the effectiveness of such meetings of teachers is the power of trust. Both the presenters and the audience

are very familiar with the class room experience. They know youngsters and they know what gets and keeps their attention. They know what turns them off and when they hear about the success of a new approach from someone they trust, they are far more likely to accept and implement that approach. The Jesuit teachers attending the conferences came from five different schools stretching from Dallas to Miami. They included priests, brothers, nuns, scholastics and lay men and women. Some, like this writer, were wizened veterans while others were new both to the profession of teaching and to "our way of proceeding ­the Jesuit way of doing things." They understood terms like cura personalis, cura apostolica, and magis, and they had all heard the phrase Men for Others and seen it put into practice in a myriad ways on a regular basis. So when they listened and talked, and sometimes challenged one another, there were many voices and they came from many perspectives ­ those of their disciplines, their regions, and their personal idiosyncracies - but the values, goals, and mission they shared came from one heart. Even better than teachers teaching teachers, the Colloquium provided the opportunity for students to teach teachers. For over a year Strake Jesuit's Drama Director, Michael Sullivan, had been searching for a play that his charges, the Southwell Players, could present for the Colloquium. About every three months he would stop me in the hall and say something like, "I found this great dialog that will flesh out ideas we will be discussing at the Colloquium." A few months later I would ask Mr. Sullivan how the dialog was coming and Mike would say something like, "I don't think that it works, so I'm looking at this other script." Finally, Mike admitted that there was no script that would do what he and his players wanted to accomplish. So they took cuttings from the speeches of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador and plays like the "Elephant Man" and the "Laramie Project," not to mention the Sermon on the Mount and a monologue from Studs Turkle. In the endm, Mr. Sullivan and the Southwell Players and created their own drama. When their performance was done the teachers spent over a half an hour more applauding the actors and asking them about how they had come to choose a particular reading or way of staging a reading. These were teachers who had spent entire careers patiently and politely watching student dramas, but in that powerful common experience of a shared emotion that only real theater can give, the students taught their teachers and inspired them. They added another dimension of reality that taught their teachers in the audience a new way of looking at things, but just as importantly, they let the teachers know that what they were teaching was being learned.

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My friend

by Tim Scalzitti `90

Tim Scalzitti `90 is the Alumni Director at Strake Jesuit. As such, he works and interacts with Fr. Chris Billac, SJ on a daily basis in his role as Alumni Chaplain. However, their interaction extends well beyond that official capacity. Each morning and afternoon, as Fr. Billac enters and leaves the Hamilton Building where he has his office, he passes Tim's office and always stops in for a beginning of the day or end of the day visit. In addition, Tim drives his friend to his doctor's appointments, makes sure his alumni birthday cards get in the mail on time, and much more. On these pages, Tim provides his personal insight along with those of other Alumni, into Fr. Billac's role at Jesuit and the impact his has had on so many lives. t usually starts with a little chuckle and I know a good story is coming. Whether we are at school or in the car, that is how many conversations begin between Fr. Billac and me. I have learned the quotes of Fr. Harry Thompson, SJ and been regaled r. with many stories of students, Alumni and their parents, family, friends, and fellow Jesuits. ith The first line of the story always begins "You know my good friend..." or "My very good b friend..." or some variation of that theme. iend..." the What has always struck me is that this is how he refers to so many people. It is obvious what is important to him. Sean Hanratty '81 put it best when he said of Fr. Billac, "It is what he is first ­ a friend." Any story about Fr. Billac must be one about his personal relationships ­ his friendships. At a recent lunch with Frank Rynd '70 and Mark Davidson '71, two of many of Fr. Billac's friends, Mark said that one of the things he admired most about Fr. Billac was his "dedication to mission." By that he meant not just his dedication to his mission as a priest, but also to his missions in life. In addition to the priesthood those include his mission to teaching and to friendship. The more I thought about Mark's observation, the more I realized how intertwined his individual missions are ­ how they all allow him to be the person he is. Mark also observed that Fr. Billac "was a Man for Others before the term was coined." (Being a person with a great sense of humor and a great ability to laugh at himself, Fr. Billac would probably say that's because he was born in Jesus' time.)



Spring 2008

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When I asked him about the W list, I was amazed at his memolist ry f the details, remembering for names and places and dates na for so many of the services. It was a real gift to watch him rewa call and listen to the stories ­ ca evidence of how much he apev preciates the gift he provides pre through these sacraments to th his friends. Like a true friend, he has L also given of himself to his al friends in their times of need fri as well. Fr. Billac has been called on many times to perca form the sacrament of anointfo ing of the sick and to perform in Over the years, Fr. Billac has officiated at over 170 Alumni wake services or funerals w weddings (such as the one for Matthew `91 and Lesley Clinton for deceased loved ones of in 2003 pictured here) and the baptism of their children. his friends. Like the calls to perform weddings and baptisms, such occasions are evidence that his The Priest Fr/. Billac ha been a member of the Soci- many friends call upon him for all the imporhas ety of Jesus now for more than 55 years. He tant events in their lives. Many times he is one and Fr. Michael Alchediak both took their final of the first people they call after a loved one vows together in the old Smith Gym on cam- passes, knowing immediately that they want pus in early February 1971, just days after the his presence and need his friendship at that school's financial problems began. Fr. Billac difficult time. Possibly the biggest gift he gives to his recently recalled that by taking those vows then, especially the vow of poverty, it held friends through his mission of the priesthood extra significance for them during the difficult is the sacrament of reconciliation. Countless times ahead for the Jesuit community and the Alumni have gone to confession to Fr. Billac when they were students at Strake Jesuit. Paschool. His mission of the priesthood is closely tied tiently, he has heard many confessions and, to his mission as a friend. He has tirelessly while not judging, absolved their sins and given of his services to the Strake Jesuit com- helped them to live better lives. l know that Fr. munity through this mission, especially through Billac holds this sacrament in great reverence the sacraments of marriage, baptism, anoint- understanding the gift that reconciliation is. At a recent school function, I heard the wife ing of the sick, and reconciliation. Fr. Billac recently supplied me with a list of an alumnus who is also the mother of a curof all the people he performed weddings or rent student tell Fr. Billac that her son told her baptisms for that were members of the Strake that recently he had heard her son's confesJesuit community. He gave me 30 handwritten sion. She told him that her son understood the pages of details of the many ceremonies he liturgical significance of this sacrament and he has witnessed. When I counted them all up, understood the bond of friendship that comes there were nearly 170 such ceremonies he has from it. She said her husband, the alum, also been a part of. (That does not even count the had the sacrament of reconciliation from Fr. ones he performed for his family or ones he did Billac as a student. while at Tampa Jesuit.) Amazingly it was almost evenly split between weddings and bap- The Teacher Fr. Billac's teaching career began in 1959 tisms and I was not surprised to see that, for many Alumni, he not only performed their wed- at his "alma mater," Jesuit High New Orleans. ding ceremony but also baptized their children. He began his tenure at Strake Jesuit in the fall So many of the names were familiar to me of 1967 by teaching Theology and World Hisbecause many of them are people he spends tory. The next year he moved to teaching Latin time with today, at dinner at their house, at holi- and Theology and he taught those subjects until the summer of 1982. During this time he day parties they have, as their friend.

also assisted the Debate Team and, among other duties, moderated the Latin Club and was the Chaplain for the J.V. football teams. After moving to Jesuit High School in Tampa, Florida, where he continued to teach Theology and Latin, he returned to Strake Jesuit in the fall of 1991. In addition to teaching Theology and Latin, he had a new title of Alumni Director, a position he held through the late 1990's. Those are the facts, but there is so much more to the story. The classroom is where Fr. Billac's friendships begin to form. "The alumni he knows now as friends, many of them were his students and being teenagers, were not always well behaved," recalled Davidson. More recently, if Fr. Billac was frustrated by the behavior of his students he would, in his words, `pull a Toye,' meaning that he yelled at the students that day as Fr. Richard Toye, SJ was known to do quite often. Even as frustrated as he might get with his students on a particular day, when he stops by my office to tell me the story, he'll laugh at how funny it is, knowing that they will outgrow this stage of life. He certainly has the understanding of the adolescent mind but, more importantly, knows that many of the students he teaches today will

Lessons learned in Fr. Billac's Latin or Theology class extend well beyond just the curriculum of the subjects. The classroom is where his friendships begin.

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grow up to be his friends. Never one to simply judge them upon the actions during their time as students, he has the experience and insight to see the good in them and forgive their misbehavior. Without a doubt Fr. Billac is, in the best Jesuit traditions, a well educated man and a great teacher. I have heard over and over from Alumni that many of the things they learned in his class, while they may not have understood them then, as they moved on in life they find the true lesson in them. I have also heard many stories from alumni who may not remember the lessons of Latin class, but do remember the life lessons from their time with Fr. Billac as their teacher. He is certainly also known for his storytelling and sense of fun he brings to class. "About `Fatha B', as we called him, he once told us of Rome's birthday and so we brought cupcakes to class," recalled Nathan Ledesma '05. "From then on, anytime it was a holiday of any kind, we would bring cupcakes or cake. Funny thing is, as much as he did not want to take time out of class to celebrate the Chinese New Year or some other unrelated holiday, he could not turn down a delicious slice of vanilla cake with frosting. Of course, we always ate while we discussed the day's vocabulary." The Friend "He's the most genuine person I know," Frank Rynd '70 said of Fr. Billac. "He does not try to hide anything about himself and, when you are with him, you know that he is being himself and sharing himself with you." "It's a lost art ­ writing a letter," noted Marcel Frey '74. "Today everyone e-mails or sends text messages. I am always so touched when I receive my yearly birthday card and letter from him. He doesn't just simply write `Happy

Birthday' but writes two pages normally. It's great to get a personal letter from a friend on your birthday." I have had the privilege of assisting him over the last few years with the Alumni Mothers' Retreat held each Lent. It is wonderful to see the alumni mothers who come to the retreat and their love for him. There are quite a few of them that I just assume will attend, without their having to call to let me know. I know they will be there to hear their friend, to spend time with him in this retreat setting. I also know how much he looks forward to this event each year, his opportunity y to socialize with and be a spiritual guide to his friends. Alumni Director Tim Scalzitti `90 (left) and Fr. Billac have Then there are the friends teamed-up for several years at the Annual Fantasy Auction he does not yet know - the fuand their Alumni Dinners have become quite the hot item. ture students of Strake Jesuit who will benefit from the generosity of many Billac. They want to honor their friend ­ who who honor Fr. Billac by giving to his scholar- again gives of himself ­ by giving his time actship endowment. The endowment is some- ing as the guest host for the dinner. I recall a comment made by Roy Duff `81 thing that he holds dear because he knows its significance both in the history of Strake Jesuit when he said how Fr. Billac has made friends ­ many of his friends today were students who with so many Strake Jesuit Alumni who he did attended because of the financial aid program not teach. While I never had the privilege of having ­ and the future of the school. Fr. Billac and I have teamed up over the Fr. Billac as a teacher in the classroom, like so last five years to offer a dinner to be sold at the many Alumni understand, he has taught me so Auction. The proceeds from the Auction benefit much. He has taught me to reflect on my own the financial aid program, so Fr. Billac is glad "dedication to mission" - husband, father, son, to lend his name and his presence. As much brother, friend, Alumni director. To use a line as my ego may want to believe that people buy from St. Ignatius' Prayer of Generosity, "to give this dinner because of the meal, I know very and to not count the cost." And for that, I want to thank my friend. well that they buy the dinner because of Fr.

On Saturday, May 10, Strake Jesuit will host a gala dinner at the Marriott Westchase to honor Fr. Chris Billac, SJ. The dinner will celebrate his many years of service to Strake Jesuit in the classroom as well as his dedication to the school's alumni as Alumni Chaplain - service and dedication that we hope and expect him to continue into the future. All of the proceeds from the evening, at his request, will raise funds for the Christopher Billac, SJ Endowed Scholarship. Table sponsorships and individual table and tickets are available now and can be purchased online through the Jesuit web site. Simply go to and click on Billac Gala in the Quick Links box on the home page. 6 Spring 2008 www. s t r a k e j e s u i t . o r g


Jesuit Hosts Provincial Colloquium on Social Justice

For the first time in 10 years, representatives of all of the high schools in the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus came together for a colloquium and they came together at Strake Jesuit. The focus of the colloquium, "Service, Generosity, and Understanding," was Social Justice. Over three days, February 21-23, more than 45 faculty and staff members from Dallas Jesuit, Jesuit High School in New Orleans, Tampa Jesuit and Belen Jesuit in Miami joined with the Strake Jesuit faculty for the gathering. The colloquium was officially opened with a keynote address by Very Reverend George V. Murry, SJ, Ph.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown. In his remarks, Bishop Murry put the role of the teaching of Social Justice into perspective. He told the gathering that including Social Justice teaching would help them "to grow and develop leaders who will constantly reflect change to the world." chan

on their experience, engage in proper social analysis, rely the

upon their faith tradition for moral guidance and act to

Over the course of the next two days, attendees O chose among many break-out sessions with a range of chos topics related to Social Justice. Among the topics was topic and Reason: The Roots of Christian Service," "Make a "A G Guide for Catholic Educators on Racism" and many more. mor The event also included a presen-

"A G Guide to Catholic Educators on Immigration," "Faith Difference, Reap the Rewards, Invest in Volunteerism," Diffe

tation by the Strake Jesuit Drama Departtat ment which featured a collection of scenes me and readings with attention to issues of lowed by a short talk-back discussion seslow sion. sio

Social Justice. The performance was folSo

Top left: Bishop George Murry, SJ opened the colloquium with a keynote address in the Lowman Theater. Bottom Left: Fr. Tom Greene, SJ led one of the many break-out sessions.

Crusaders Named to All-State Band, Orchestra, and Choir

When the Texas Private School Music Educators Association (TPSMEA) announced their All-State Band, Orchestra, and Choir members, Strake Jesuit was represented well in all three groups by the following students:

Top to Bottom: All-State Orchestra Members: (left to right) Grant Gordon, Michael Ehrenkanz, Orchestra Director Guillermo HernandezChiang, and Simon Lee All-State Band Members: (left to right) Sebastian Kawar, Michael Elmer, Daniel Miller, Colin Roach, Kyle Cousino, John Culbreteh, and Justin Chaney, Jr. All-State Choir Members: Back row (left to right) - Andrew Loperena, Stephen Janda, Sina Balogun, Andrew Schnieder 3rd row (left to right)- Luke Novick, Walker Smith, Rheme Sloane, Justin Jones 2nd row (left to right) - Gukaren Singh, Matt Stubbs, Jack Vargas, Alexander Lach 1st row (left to right) - Jared Castillo, Matt Frazier, Jacob Walker

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Jesuit Alumni, Parents Playing Key Roles in Houston Cristo Rey School Development

For members of the Strake Jevein. Long committed to the cause of Catholic education, Nugent, a vice president at BMC Software, Inc., was part of a group of parents whose efforts led to the founding of John Paul II, an elementary school in West Houston, in 1988. H particular interest in the Cristo Her Rey school is to find corporate partners to s sponsor jobs for the students. "I hope it's my legacy to say that I was involved in starting two phenomenal Catholic schools in Houston," she said. "My gift is not really in academia or grant fou foundation work. I'm an executive at a cor corporation, and I can hopefully attract oth other corporations." F For Susan Fernbach, whose son An Andre Boudreaux will graduate from St Strake Jesuit in 2009, it was her own mostly low income African American and His low-income African-American Hispanic students. The school, which would open in the fall of 2009, combines class work with a work-study program through which students finance the majority of the cost of their education. Nineteen other Cristo Rey model schools in urban areas across the U.S. are already educating students who could likely otherwise not be able to afford to attend Catholic school. Cristo Rey students ­ more than 4,000 in 19 schools nationwide ­ come from families with average yearly incomes of $33,700. In 2007, 99% of graduates enrolled in two- or four-year colleges. In the Houston area, only 20% of African-Americans have earned an associates degree or higher and only 13% of Hispanics have done the same. Cristo Rey hopes to make a dent in the city's educational divide. Mary Nugent, whose sons Daniel '04 and John '00 - now a Jesuit scholastic, studying for the priesthood - attended Strake Jesuit, said it was in part the positive impact of a Jesuit education on their lives that prompted her to become involved. "And of course, I can't say no to my sons," she joked, before continuing in a more serious experienc experience in another culture that made it so important to see the Cristo Rey school come to fruition. A nurse at Baylor College of Medicine who works with children with genetic diseases, Fernbach was on a medical mission trip to Guatemala several years ago when she met a little boy in sixth grade. Smart, with a "dazzling smile," as she recalled, he was a sad child nonetheless, "because he knew the rest of his life was essentially going to be spent picking coffee beans." His educational opportunities were at an end at the tender age of 11 or 12. Watching her own child and his friends, who some days had to be prodded just to get out of bed and get dressed for class, she remembered that little boy whose carefree school days were at an end. "To see a child so unhappy that he couldn't go back to school," she said, was deeply affecting. When the Cristo Rey project came around, "I jumped at the opportunity to be involved here with kids who might not have this opportunity." To learn more about the Houston Cristo Rey project and to find out how you or your business can become involved, please visit suit community, there was little question about their desire to get involved in the planning of the proposed Cristo Rey high school, which will provide a Jesuit, college preparatory education to traditionally under served students in Houston. Whether parent or alum (and in many cases, both), the urge to do something has everything to do with fulfilling the Jesuit ideal of being Men and Women "Just the concept itself is so

powerful," said Rob Dunn '94, a member of the Cristo Rey advisory board whose father, Bob '69, is also an advisory board member. Dunn, a lawyer in Houston, saw a 60 Minutes report a few years ago on the founder of the Cristo Rey Network, Fr. John Foley, SJ; the show piqued his interest and touched his heart. "To see the effect that the original Chicago school has had on these kids who never thought past finishing high school, and now they're talking about college," Dunn said, marveling at the change in those young lives. That was all he needed to hear. Some of Strake Jesuit's staff has been involved in the early stages on behalf of the school. As Fr. Daniel Lahart, SJ noted, "I'm very excited about a second Jesuit high school in Houston. While it will serve a different population and incorporate the Corporate Internship Program, it will be another way for the Society of Jesus to serve the Church in Houston. This is a perfect city for a Cristo Rey school. I am confident it will be a great success, and I am committed to providing support to it." A feasibility study for the Houston school is nearly complete and an advisory board is reviewing everything from site selection to curriculum development ­ not to mention recruiting corporate partners to employ future students. Hopes are high for the school, which will be located in an urban area and will likely enroll


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Senior Claims State Debate Title - Three Debaters in Top 10

As if battling the weather and delays weren't enou enough, David Donatti `08 of Strake Jesuit also battled over 150 competitors from both publ public and private high schools from across the state and emerged from a huge field to take the championship of the Lanier Law Firm Texas Forensic Association (TFA) Sta State Tournament on Saturday, March 8 in Co Coppell, Texas. Donatti won in the finals on 3 a 3-0 ballot. TFA State Tournament is the largest statewide championship in the United Sta States. As such, its trophies and titles are pa particularly coveted. In the March National Rankings done by Victory Briefs, the Jesuit Debate Team cla claimed three spots in the top ten, the only sc school with more than one member in the g group. Donatti was ranked fourth while te teammates Paul Tyger `09 ranked sixth a and Todd Liipfert `08 ranked eighth.

ship ability and skill as a teacher," commented

Debate Coach Jerry Crist. "He is remarkably well read and has the ability to convey that only has he had tremendous success, he has eryone else."

information to the rest of the students. Not played a significant role in the success of ev-

Overall, the Strake Jesuit team had seven debaters advance to out rounds. That number was double the number of any other teams. Individually Paul Tyger `09 and Todd Liipfert `08 tied for 5th and Phillip Wiggins `08 placed Jesuit in three years.

9th. This is the second state championship for

"I think that the difference in the teams performance for this year's team is the amount of work they put in during the weeks leading up to the tournament," noted Debate Coach Jerry Crist. "They would stay each day until 5:00 pm discussing positions and debating practice with success." rounds. All of the hard work was rewarded

David Donatti `08, State Debate Chamnpion

"David is different than prior team presidents because of his remarkable leader-

Jesuit Offers "Our Ignatian Foundation" Lecture Series

In response to the expressed need from current parents, alumni parents, and friends of the school to be "educated" in the Ignatian way, this spring Jesuit will begin a year-long lecture series, "Our Ignatian Foundation." School Chaplain and Director of Pastoral Ministry Fr. Flavio Bravo, SJ said, "So many of our families come to our school and hear the buzz words we use so often like "Magis," "Men for Others," "Cura Personalis," "AMDG," "Spiritual Exercises," and so many others. Our goal in putting together this lecture series is to invite families to learn and to reflect on our Ignatian Mission." These lectures will be a way to share the Jesuit tradition tions with all and to bring in mor more of our families to an unders derstanding of what it means to s share in the Ignatian/Jesuit par paradigm and mission of the Soc Society of Jesus. Particularh ly, here at Strake Jesuit. Additionally, the series can create a space and com community that meets regula ularly and shares/breaks bre bread and opens the word tog together. This sharing and lea learning together will only strengthen our bond as members of the Strake Jesuit family, but more importantly, as members of the Church and Body of Christ. The series will begin this spring with two lectures: - April 1 - 7:00 pm - Lowman Theater "Ignatius of Loyola: A Brief Biography" Presented by Richard Nevle, Strake Jesuit Principal

A brief overview of the life of St. Ignatius and his transformation from a soldier to that of a spiritual director.

- May 13 - 7:00 pm - Lowman Theater

"The Spiritual Exercises: A Model of Encountering God" - Presented by Michele Theology faculty

Catanese, member of the Strake Jesuit A deeper review of the Spiritual Exercises, which St. Ignatius developed to help us become in touch with God's presence within us and the world.

For more information and to stay inagain next fall, use the Quick Links box on the school web site and click on `Ignatian Series.'

formed about the lecture series as it begins

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creating a solution. cess. school setting." people.



Beyond the Classroom to Real Solutions

Teacher to Present at National Conference on Projects in Computer Science Class

Computer Science Department Chair Trip Norkus, a 1995 graduate of Strake Jesuit, wanted to create a class for his more proficient students. However, he wanted to develop something more than just an upper level class in programming. He wanted to give them more real-world, hands-on experience, to go through the process of visiting with a client, listening and understanding their needs, and then The result is his Projects in Computer Science class. Now in

its fifth year, by most any measure the class has been a big suc"Before starting the class here four years ago," he recalls, "I met

with the professor who had taught me during my senior year at the University of Texas. She handed over a great deal of planning materials and we discussed how to organize the course in a high Norkus noticed almost immediately that the students in the

class gravitated to the hands-on aspects of the course rather than the project-planning materials. He made the decision to let the students' interest in technology guide things. In terms of real projects and real solutions, the school itself has benefited from the class and the students' work. Last year, his class took on the task of building an online Test Board for the school. Since school policy limits the number of exams a student can have in a single day, teachers used to post their exam schedule on a dry erase board in the faculty workroom. Now, with the help of Norkus' class, they can simply do it online. Teachers login, navigate to the day that they want to schedule a test and, if a slot is available, they can put it on the calendar. The Test Board can also be viewed by students and parents through the school web site to look at upcoming exams. This is just one of the success stories of Norkus' Projects class. This overall success led him to submit a proposal to make a presentation on the course at the College Board's 2008 AP Annual Conference in July, 2008. Norkus was recently notified that the conference's Steering Committee had accepted his proposal.

Trip Norkus `95 (above) returned to Strake Jesuit in 2003 as an inaugural member of the Alumni Service Corps. He remained as a full-time member of faculty. Prior to his return, he worked both as a software engineer and as an IT consultant.

"When applying for the conference in the fall, I definitely did not think that I would be accepted," he admits. "Most presentations focus on some aspect of the AP curriculum, while my presentation is geared for teachers looking for an alternative to teaching the traditional multi-year AP curriculum." He added that he is looking forward to letting Computer Science teachers from other high schools hear about Jesuit's curriculum and the great software that his students have developed, so that they will consider it as an alternative to the traditional model. Time will only tell, but success tends to breed success. The way that Computer Science high school teachers look at their curriculum may be on the verge of seeing big changes. And who knows, they may someday point to Mr. Norkus' class at Strake Jesuit as the place where that movement started.

Students Take Part in D.C. March

A group of 22 students and 6 chaperones from Strake Jesuit and St. Agnes Academy attended the 35th Anniversary March for Life in Washington, DC this past January. The group visited the Holocaust Museum, the John Paul II museum, attended the Mass for Life at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, participated in the Cardinal O'Connor Conference at Georgetown University and attended the Mass at Gonzaga College High School. The visit culminated in the March along with a crowd of about 200,000


Spring 2008

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Why We Choose to Give

W When it came time for us to revise our wills, since we d don't have children, our plan was to distribute virtually a all of our estate to a portfolio of faith-based causes. We re received advice to look at institutions which had establi lished an excellent track record of investing and achievin ing superior returns, much they same way we would e evaluate a money manager to manage our assets. In our view, Strake Jesuit is the best `investment manage er' in our group of faith-based causes. Not only is Jesuit on that list, it is the foremost beneficiary of our estate, a o fa fact that we are both proud of. J Jesuit's track record of achieving good returns on inv vestment is evident on two levels. Most obvious is the tr track record of shaping young men that are spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically equipped to bring a positive impact to our world. Equally as important as the product Jesuit produces is the responsible manner in which it conducts its fiscal affairs. We offer thanks to the many directors, faculty, staff, alumni and parents whose collective wisdom, management and sacrifice have enabled Strake Jesuit to evolve into one of the most admired secondary education institutions in our city and state. More than the thanks we offer, we pledge our long term support to Jesuit through our estate planning decision. We urge all of you in the Strake Jesuit community to consider a planned giving gift as you are able.

Rick `76 and Shana Walker

For more information on The Loyola Society and Planned Giving at Strake Jesuit, contact N.J. Santarcangelo `67 in the Office of Development at 713.490.8152.

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The Chronicle 11

evel evelopment

ery walk of life.


Benefactors Enjoy Night of Appreciation at Annual President's Dinner

Over 350 of Strake Jesuit's major benefactors

gathered on Sunday, February 10 at The Houstonian Hotel for the annual President's Dinner. The event was an opportunity for President Fr. Daniel Lahart, SJ to thank Jesuit's supporters for their contributions and efforts on behalf of the school and its mission. In his prepared remarks, Fr. Lahart emphasized the importance of the work done at Strake Jesuit every day. That it is during these critical years that the seeds are planted in the young men at Jesuit to go on and become the leaders of tomorrow in medicine, the law, and in evIn conclusion he said, "Strake Jesuit has never been

stronger than it is today. Strong because of your support, strong because of our mission, strong because we have been blessed by God. For this I am filled with gratitude, and I vow that we as an institution and as the Jesuit Community will continue to be generous in our own response. r We will continue to grow our financial aid, to improve our t retreat and service programs, to provide the facilities that support our mission, to support our faculty in their classroom excellence and support our students and families in their various needs. "Tonight is a small way of saying `thank you' for all that you, and so many others, do to serve Strake Jesuit. With your time, your commitment, your confidence, and your financial support, you make us the excellent educational program that we are."

Fr. Daniel Lahart, SJ expresses his gratitude to the many school benefactors who gathered at The Houstonian Hotel for the annual President's Dinner.

Those who contribute at the President's Club level and above are invited to the annual event. Next year the dinner is scheduled to be on campus in the new Clay Activity Center and Moran DIning Hall.

Markle Steel Field Gets Press Box, Additional Seating

Thanks to the generosity of a Strake Jesuit supporter as well as a group of current baseball parents, as of this spring, Markle Steel Baseball Field now has a new press box and seating behind home plate. When completed originally in 2004 as the first project under The Greater Glory Capital Campaign, the new field had sets of bleachers down both the first and third base lines. The new bleachers directly behind home plate give the field almost continuous seating from dugout to dugout. The new press box is a welcome addition as it will now be home to the public address announcer as well as members of the media.


Spring 2008

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New Dining Hall on Track for Completion by Summer

The final phase of The Greater Glory Capital Campaign is well on its way to completion. The first part of this final phase, the conversion of the Smith Gymnasium into the W.T. and Louise J. Moran Dining Hall should be complete by early June. That conversion began the day after the ground-breaking ceremony in mid-November, 2007. Since then, the three walls on the east-, west, and north side of the gym have come down and the floor and goals have been removed. When students return for the start of the 2008-2009 school year, they will have lunch in the new Moran Dining Hall with seating for 600. In addition, they will see progress being made on the construction of the new Clay Activity Center. Once the new dining hall is complete, work will begin almost immediately on the razing of the existing cafeteria. It is on this site that the much-awaited Student Activity Center will be built. With a targeted completion date of the end of the fall 2008 semester, this new facility will immediately become the centerpoint of the Jesuit campus. The Center will be a three-story building with a window-enclosed atrium. It will house the Pastoral Ministry Center and Spirit Store as well as new offices for the yearbook, student newspaper, debate, the arts as well as SJET and SJET studios. Attached to the Clay Center will be the new Chapel. With seating for 150, the new chapel will provide a new space for daily Masses as well as personal reflection time for students, faculty, and staff. The most dominate feature of the new chapel, and highly visible, will be the distinctive bell tower. At the base of the tower, a space will be created to house the Sanctuary Light, proclaming the presence of the Blesses Sacrament. The light will be visible from the outside. There will also be a Prayer Garden, which will provide a quiet space for contemplation.

By the spring of 2009, a year from now, the projects called for in The Greater Glory Capital Campaign will be complete. The result will be have gone through the most dramatic stage of the school's history.

that, in just five years, the Jesuit campus will new construction and physical improvement in

Top: Soon after ground-breaking last November, the external walls, the gym floor, and the basketball floor ofthe Smith Gym were removed. Middle: By mid-March, the foundation for the servery (kitchen) part of the new Dining Hall was in and the walls were beginning to go up. Bottom: Once the Dining Hall is complete, work will begin to raze the cafeteria to make room for the new Clay Student Activity Center and the Chapel.

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The Chronicle 13

When you Sponsor a student, your gift comes with a face and a name.

Whether you have been a longtime contributor to Strake Jesuit, or you have just been waiting for the right opportunity to get involved, consider sponsoring a financial aid student. As a Sponsor, you will be able to meet the student and watch him grow throughout his Jesuit experience. It is a very personal and rewarding way to reach out to a deserving young man and impact his life in a meaningful way. For more information, contact NJ Santarcangelo `67 in the Development Office at 713.490.8152.


Spring 2008

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How is my driving?

by Fr. Flavio Bravo, SJ

Driving in Houston can be an adventure. Recently, I was on Beltway 8 driving north of our campus and found myself stuck in traffic right at Beltway 8 and I-10. The blinking lights on top of work road signs ahead of me added to what was already a rather uneventful and boring drive. Road work ahead, narrowing lanes, merging lanes, and no shoulder lanes, all at once! It's pretty amazing how we manage to get where we want to go around Houston. The radio, a myriad of sounds, was dull. Some Tejano romantic ballad is playing on one of the Spanish radio stations. Hit the seek button on the radio panel: accordion sounds, alternative rock, classic rock, and then the voice of Mattress Mack, proclaiming his good news "Save you money, Today!!!" The news on the war, over 2,000 U.S. casualties since the war on terror began. Hillary, Obama, McCain, gas prices skyrocketed again. This is quite a traffic jam, I thought. Is there a shortcut to where I need to go? Should I take Memorial Drive? It's almost 5:00 pm; do I want to go through the messy roads around Memorial City Mall? Would that be a faster road? Gessner seems impossible to get to, I am simply stuck, or am I? Iñigo de Loyola, as he began his spiritual journey, one providential night in 1522, decided to take on the life of a pilgrim, a beggar. After making a general confession, he asked permission from his confessor to give up his horse, hang up his sword and dagger leaving them lives?

"He did not go by the direct route that leads to Barcelona, as he might have met those who knew him and would honor him, but he took a byway that led him to a town called Manresa." From the autobiography of St. Ignatius of Loyola

in the church at Montserrat, near the in ing lanes, no shoulder lanes: The pil-

a altar of Our Lady. Narrow lanes, merg-

g grim--on his way to greater union with G God--took a turn for the better. Instead o of going through the roads that would find him shelter and honor, he decided to take a byway and found himself in

M Manresa. From then on, Iñigo's lifejo journey became a path of faith and c complete surrendering to God's will.

Iñ Iñigo took on the beggar's cloak and

re remained on his knees before the altar in ing to serve and to honor, not his own w will, but God's greater glory.

o of our Lady, with staff in hand, choos-

L Life may often feel as though we are

s stuck in traffic. How is my driving? You m may ask yourself, again and again. D Dead ends, speed bumps, merg-

ing traffic, and construction work can be overwhelming as we travel of Loyola, we have an example of changing lanes that led to a fruitful new way of living for God and for others.

through the highways and byways of our lives. In the life of St. Ignatius

Sometimes, the road that we take may not be the fastest route to our destination, but it may lead us to contemplate new avenues of living and perhaps, a renewal of purpose in life.

How is the Lord inviting us to take the byways and new routes in our

How is our driving, our journeying, and our pilgrimage these days?

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The Chronicle 15



Hoopsters Claim First UIL District Title

Trust, Intensity, Sacrifice, Unity. This would be the motto for Jesuit basketball and the cornerstone of their program as the Crusaders started their 2007-2008 campaign. Coming into the season, the team would find high expectations early on as the Crusaders found themselves ranked #8 in the state by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches and #6 by the Houston Chronicle. Out of the gate, the Crusaders looked to live up to their billing with big tournament wins starting with the Magnolia Invitational where they won the championship. Another visit to the annual Texas Jamboree against #8 state ranked Dallas Kimball would prove challenging right before the Crusaders participated in the Lee College Classic. They would be tested again, facing off against the 2007 Louisiana 5A State Champion Westgate. The Crusaders closed out the Classic and became tourney champions with a win over ranked Louisiana St. Thomas More. Their final tournament would be the prestigious 50th anniversary Whataburger Classic, where the Crusaders would once again be matched against top ranked opponents including Texas #7 ranked Richland Hills, Louisiana #3 ranked Monroe Carroll, and Texas #2 ranked Mansfield Summit. All this would be in preparation for their district run and a bid for the playoffs. #1 The start of district proved shaky as the district-ranked Cy Spring Panthers got the best of the Crusaders in their 1st match up. It was from that point the Crusaders would go on a 14-2 run throughout the rest of district that would give the program its first ever UIL District Title, as they claimed the 17-5A district championship. The title also gave the Crusaders a top seed for the first round of the playoffs. Jesuit's experience from last year's playoff appearance was put to good use as they defeated a strong fundamental team in Katy Taylor for a big bi-district win. The win put them into a 2nd round game at home against the touted Houston Chavez Lobos. The game and atmosphere was intense and the home crowd got a chance to root their team on, but the Crusaders fell just short in the final sec seconds in their quest for a stat state appearance. Though the they wouldn't attain their ma main goal, Head Coach Wa Wayne Jones reminded the team of the foundation tha that had been laid as he bid farewell to his graduating seniors. "Getting young me men like Austin Claunch, M Mark Reed, Trent Rogers, Br Brian Tate, Ben Vuong, Ja James Wiseman helped to pu put the program back on th the road to success and o our focus from this point w will be to continually get b better," he said. The basketball program posted its best season since joining the UIL with a 27-7 overall record, 14-2 district record, a #4 citywide ranking, and a #13 state ranking while advancing 2 rounds into the playoffs. The program returns seven core members of the team next year when it will compete in District 18-5A.

ath athletics

Junior Joey Brooks (above), an All-Region and 1st Team All-District selection, helped lead the Crusaders to their first district title since beginning UIL play.

Post-Season Honors Follow Successful Hoop Season

On the heels of their most successful basketball season since join-

ing the UIL five years ago, several Crusaders also brought home postseason honors. Leading the way was junior Joey Brooks who was named All-Region

Joey Brooks

Tim Frazier

and 1st Team All-District for 17-5A. This season Brooks led the team in points per game averaging 20.1, steals with 79, and rebounds per game with 8. Junior Tim Frazier claimed Defensive Player-of-the-Year honors for

the district. He led the team with 98 steals for an average of 3 per game. Senior Austin Claunch was named 2nd Team All-District while leading the team with 108 assists and shooting 84% from the free throw line. Senior Trent Rogers was also named 2nd Team All-District while he led the team by shooting 31% from three-point range.

Austin Claunch

Trent Rogers


Spring 2008

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Athletics Hall of Honor Created

With almost 50 years of athletics to draw upon, Strake Jesuit has announced the creation of an Athletics Hall of Honor. A Selection Committee comprised of alumni and faculty/ staff members has been selected and nominations for the inaugural class are now being accepted. "The purpose of this venture is to create a means to celebrate the accomplishments of so many that have participated in sports at Strake Jesuit," stated Athletic Director Bill McDonald. "Stories recounting events abound at Reunions and other Alumni and community gatherings. By creating this Hall of Honor, we can pull together the greatest performances and share the accomplishments of athletes, coaches, and others in a public area for all to witness." As a first step in the development process for the Hall of Honor, a set of by-laws was drafted. Under those guidelines, categories under which members of the Hall of Honor may be enshrined are athletes, coaches, teams, and distinguished individuals. The fourth category was created to allow for those who do not fall under the other three but should be included, such as Booster Club members, trainers, etc. Individual athletes are eligible for consideration for selection into the Hall ten years after graduation. Coaches must be five years removed from the position for which they are to be considered to be eligible. There are not similar time restrictions on the other two categories. Plans call for the first, inaugural class to be a large one. Then, in subsequent years, the number inducted will amount to a smaller annual class. All nominations, which are now being accepted, are made using an

online form on the Strake Jesuit web are eligible will be collected. Multiple team will be consolidated.

site. All nominations of those that nominations of the same person or Plans call for the Selection Committee to meet in May to select the first class, which will be announced soon thereafter. An

induction ceremony and dinner will be planned for next fall to coincide with a football home game.

To make a nomination, go to strakejesuit. bar, and click on Hall of Honor in the dropdown menu.

org, scroll over Athletics in the top navigation


Crusaders Claim Two Big Titles, Reach Regionals

The Crusaders Swimmin ming Team had some not noteworthy individual succes cesses during the 2008 sea season, while as a team the they claimed a couple of sig significant team titles. In early December, the team traveled to New Je Jersey to take part in the St St. Peter's College Jesuit In Invitational. The Crusader ers won that event with 14 149 points while host S St. Peter's Prep came in 2 2nd with 60 points and X Xavier finished 3rd with 41 points. On an individual basis, the Crusaders finished first in every

event but one. Top medal winners were Kevin Mehrinfar-4 Gold, Phillip 1 Bronze, Khang Tran- 2 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze, and Tim Lyons-

Denkler-3 Gold, Mark Strickland-3 Gold, 1 Silver, Chris Jennis-3 Gold,

2 Gold, 2 Bronze. A month later, in January at the Houston Private Schools City Championships Meet, Jesuit claimed their fourth straight event title. At the District 17-5A Tournament, while the squad managed only the Regional Meet. In addition, both the 400 free relay and the 200 4th and 6th respectively.

a 7th place finish, Matt Kenny placed third in the diving to advance to freestyle relay teams also advanced to the regional meet by placing At the Regional Meet, Kenny managed an 8th place finish, while the Individual recognition went to sophomore diver Kenny who finished 8th in the UIL regional meet and was recognized as our most improved athlete. Meanwhile, senior Phillip Denkler was recognized as the team's MVP.

400 free relay finished 10th and the 200 freestyle relays came in 13th.

Senior Phillip Denkler was named the team's MVP for the season.

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The Chronicle 17



Three Wrestlers Make Regionals, One Goes on to State

By all accounts it was a very successful season for Strake Jesuit wrestlers. In addition to seeing the leaders of the team succeed, it saw some of the younger team members step up and show promise for next season. Senior Colin Day led the way most of the season. He got off to a tling team with the most victories in school history and he aspires to wrestle at the next level for the Naval Academy. "Sophomore Corey the said Barrett district," Head placed third in


Outstanding Wrestler. Carolina-Wilmington.

quick start by winning with Tournament Championship at 145 pounds at the Klein Oak Gator Roll. He then won the Cy-Fair Invitational where 40 teams were in attendance and was voted the tournament's Most At the district meet, he was again claimed the title at 140 pounds to

earn a berth in the Regionals. This time, however, he would have company as junior teammates Brett Provenzano and Patrick Henning. At the Regional meet, Patrick Henning won one match before losing two and was eliminated from the competition. However, he gained valuable experience at a top level and is poised for next year. Brett Provenzano made a statement by winning 3 matches. His toughest test came in the semi-finals against the ranked state # 1 wrestler whom he had lost to twice before during the season. This time he battled hard but came up short 4-2. Day earned the right to represent Jesuit in Austin at the State Tournament as he was able to make it to the medal round and qualified for the state meet. At the state meet, Day won two matches and managed to survive to the second day of competition. There he was matched up against the eventual state champion and, although he put up a great effort, his opponent was just too good and it was not to be. Day leaves the Jesuit wres-

Coach Robert Buley in looking to the future. Sami tential "Junior Sultan and

has great poJuan Adams is

Senior Colin Day earned a berth into the State Tournament. He leaves Jesuit with the school record for victories.

the JV district champion. These young men are positioned to form a strong nucleus of a winning team. I think that the program is definitely on the rise."

Several Crusaders Look to Continue Athletics at Next Level

The Annual National Signing Day, when high school stu-

dent-athletes can formally commit colleges and universities to play college athletics arrived on Wednesday, February 6. That day, four Jesuit athletes from three different sports signed their Letters of Intent. Committing to play college football were Jeff McVaney - Texas State and David King - Oklahoma. Signing to play college golf was Ben Thorseth - Rice and signing to play soccer was Christian Davidson - University of North In addition to those four, two members of the successful

Jesuit basketball team made plans to play college basketball. Trent Rogers committed to play at Tulane and Austin Claunch committed to Emory University in Atlanta.

Top (left to right): Jeff McVaney, Ben Thorseth, David King, and Christian Davidson. Bottom: Trent Rogers


Spring 2008

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Joe Mike Piazza `72 has been named the Strake Jesuit Alumnus of the Year and recipient of the 2008 Ignatian Award. Each year, the Strake Jesuit Ignatian Award is presented to a distinguished alumnus whose life exemplifies the academic, religious, and social values of the Jesuit tradition; outstanding generosity to the community; professional achievement contributing to the advancement of his area of expertise, and he exemplifies a Man for Others. Upon graduation from Strake Jesuit, Dr. Piazza attended the University of Texas. A year and a half later, he returned home after the death of his father and continued his studies at The University of St. Thomas, where he graduated. He then went on to graduate from University of Texas Dental College in Houston where he earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1979. With the support of his wife, Ann, and his family, he built a successful dental practice in the Bear Creek area on the west side of Houston. Over the years, Joe has developed a reputation for using his gifts as a doctor to help others, especially the poor. As a young dentist, he frequently volunteered as the San Jose Dental Clinic in downtown Houston. After a medical mission trip to Honduras where he felt the joy of treating those less fortunate, he began to seek out a way to provide the same care in Houston. In that search he found Casa Juan Diego, which serves immigrants and refugees and the poor. He has served as the Dental Director there for five years. Joe has also served on a team of dentists with The Texas Dental Society that services the poor with the Texas Mission of Mercy. In addition to this sense of service to others, Joe has always been active professionally.

He is on the board of the Academy of Den-

tistry. He has also served with the Greater Houston Dental Society in various capacities including on the Board of Directors, the Nominating Committee, the Judicial Committee, and the Peer Review Committee.

Aside from his community work as a den-

tist, Joe has also kept Catholic Education as an important part of this life. As a member of the Archdiocese Board of Education, he is working to improve and increase access Galveston-Houston Archdiocese.

to Catholic Education for the youth in the

"The Strake Jesuit experience started me on a journey to serve others," Joe said upon receiving news of his selection

as the Ignatian Award winner. "It is an honor for me to have received that education and now this prestigious award."

Joe and his wife of 25 years, Ann, have raised three children. Their daughters, Julie Anne and Allison, each gradu-

Joe Mike Piazza `72, Strake Jesuit 2008 Alumnus of the Year

ated from St. Agnes. Their son, Joseph, is a sophomore at Strake Jesuit. Past recipients of the Ignatian Award include 1984 ­ Larry Mason `66; 1985 - Marcel

Frey `74; 1986 - Jim Stewart `67; 1987 -Charlie Atchison `72; 1988 - Ray Albrecht `72; 1989 Pat Moran '66; 1999 - Tom Adolph `75; 2000 2002 - Frank Rynd `70 and Steve LePore `75; - NJ Santarcangelo `67; 2001 -Mike Koch `75;

2003 - Msgr. James Anderson `70; 2004 - Dr. Julius "Jay" DeBroeck `73; and 2006 ­ Dr. Brian Parsley `74.

Annual Ignatian Award Dinner

On Tuesday, April 29 in the Parsley Center, the Ignatian Award Dinner will be held. At that time, Joe Piazza will be formally honored and recognized as the recipient of this year's award. Past recipients, alumni, and friends are welcome to attend the evening to join in the awarding of the Ignatian Award to Joe. If you would like to attend, please contact Tim Scalzitti `90, Director of Alumni Relations at 713.490.8153 or at [email protected]

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lu lumni new

The Chronicle 19

Joe Mike Piazza `72 Named Recipient of 2008 Ignatian Award as Alumnus of the Year

lumni news

union Weekend. `67.


The dates for Reunion Weekend 2008 their own parties. These gatherings traditionally take place at some of Houston's most popular restaurants and night spots. If you did not receive a Reunion Announcement email from Alumni Director Tim Scalzitti `90 in mid-March, contact him at 713.490.8153 or at [email protected] As more details are made for the big weekend, they will be posted on the school web site at under the tab `Alumni.' Reunion year alumni interested in helping in the planning of the weekend should contact Alumni Director Tim Scalzitti. the Parsley Center. Aside from a chance to visit with fellow classmates, alumni from other classes and Jesuit faculty and staff, class group pictures will be taken that evening. That evening, individual classes will have

Reunion Weekend 2008 Dates Set, Planning Underway

have been set and the planning is well underway. This year's Reunion Celebration will be held on Friday and Saturday, September 19 and 20. This year's Reunion Classes are from the years 1968, `73, `78, `83, `88, `93, `98, and 2003. A team of class representatives is working with the Office of Alumni Relations at Jesuit in putting together the events of ReThe weekend will begin on Friday af-

ternoon, September 19 with a golf outing at Wildcat Golf Course, one of Houston's more popular courses. An afternoon start will be arranged to allow for out-of-town alumni to arrive in time to take part. That evening, Fr. Daniel Lahart, SJ will host a President's Reception on campus in

Members of `66 and `67 Classes Gather

A handful of members of the Class of 1966 held an impromptu get together, prompted by the arrival of Louis Le Blanc in Houston. The group met for lunch at Gourmet Pita Express, a restaurant co-owned by Jesuit classmate Joe Polichino. Good fellowship was the order of the day along with a lot of reminiscing. A guest, and member of the Texas High School Coaches Hall Of Fame, was former coach Dick Janse.

Pictured left to right: Rusty Senac, Tom Taylor, Larry Mason, Joe Polichino, Louis Le Blanc, Coach Janse.

Houston-area members of the Class of 1967 held their annual get-together luncheon in December. This year's event, which featured one of the largest turn-outs in many years, was held at the Four Seasons. Fr. Daniel Lahart, SJ was in attendance as was classmate and current Director of Development N.J. Santarcangelo

Pictured left to right: Gene Nettles, Mike Guarino, Bruce Dugey, Jim Gibson, Abner Burnitt, Jim West, Jim Glenney, Frank Gullo, George Gaenslen, Roy Adamcik, Tom Standish, N.J. Santarcangelo, Jim Booth, Mike Lallinger, Fr. Daniel Lahart, Jim Stewart, Johnny Webre. Seated: Glen Boudreaux. Not pictured: Rick Sindelar.

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Spring 2008


Bill Everhart '70 retired after 30 years in higher education administration. Most recently he was Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. He and his wife, April, has moved to their farm in eastern Tennessee near Knoxville. Jerry Smith '70 is living in Houston with his son, Anthony, and looking for employment in the oil & gas exploration business. Fr. Luke (Bob) Uhl '70 and his wife, Ruth, led their third annual pilgrimage to Greece last November. Their youngest son, Stephen, is a Marine currently serving in Iraq. Dan Nix & Kyle Teas '77, along with Kyle's wife, Clare, have opened a new restaurant in Houston called Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen. In addition to receiving rave reviews, it was named one of Houston's best new restaurants by both the Houston Chronicle and City Search. Their web site is

Louis Fontenot, Jr. '84 and wife, Cindy, welcomed the birth of their first child, Louis Fontenot III, On February 28. Louis (the Dad) also recently completed his first novel, Shelters, which is available online. James Lee '84 was appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

Trey Moeller '89 and his wife, Leslie, welcomed the birth of their daughter, Mallory Kathleen, on November 15, 2007. Robert Montoya '89, his wife, Roselina (SAA `89), and their daughters, Alyssa and Gabriella, welcomed the birth of daughter number three, Adriana Isabel, on July 22, 2007. Richard Riccetti '89 and his wife, Chandra, welcomed the birth of their first child, Luca Xavier, on December 7, 2008.

Josh McMorrow '91 and his wife, Priya, welcomed the birth of their son, Benjamin Singh, on January 10, 2008.

`90's `90's

Nick Temple '85 is happily married and living in Christchurch, New Zealand where he works in the transport industry. John Uecker, M.D. '85 is a general and trauma surgeon in Austin with Texas Surgical Group. He is also Director of Shivers Breast Cancer Group. He has two children, Michael and Olivia. Greg George '86 recently joined Energy Finance Group in Houston as Managing Director for the French bank, BNP Paribas, after 13 years with Scotia Capital. Robert Meute '87 is an account executive for Royal Travels and Rico Tours in Austin. He recently spent three week in India where he visited and helped with many children's orphanages. Clayton Holy '90 and his wife, Kristin (SAA '90) recently welcomed their third child, Madelyn, on October 31, 2007. Her older brothers, Brandon and Cameron, are adjusting to the new addition of a baby girl. Matias Adrogue '90 has been practicing law since 1999. He handles personal injury claims. In addition he handles commercial litigation matters. He and his wife, Leila ElHakam, have two children, Athena Mariam and Matias Esteban. Dan Coussirat `90 and his wife, Angie, had a Christmas surprise with the birth of their daughter, Sofia Carmen, on Christmas Day.

Michael Mineo '91 is in his 3rd year of practice in Urology at the Houston Medical Center. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children ­ Evelyn who is 6 and Michael who is 3.

Lewis Nix '92 and his wife, Cristi, welcomed the birth of his first child, Carter Allen, on January 20, 2008.

`80's `80's

Jeb Bashaw '80 is CEO of James E. Bashaw & Co. and has been named to the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities in Houston. David Huff '80 and his wife of 8 years, Anna, are living in Hawaii where he works with Green Energy Solution, LLC. His son, David, is a video game animator, and his daughter, Monica, is a nursing student. Bob Newhouse '82 joined Noble Corporation in February as Director of Leadership Development.

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The Chronicle 21

`70's `70's

William Vaseliades '83 ad his wife, Rosemary, and their two children, Joanna and Peter, have lived in Corpus Christi for three years. He is currently First Vice President and Branch Manager of Morgan Stanley, managing the Corpus Christi, Rockport, and McAllen offices.

Andrew Mihalick '89 is living in Houston with his wife, Melissa, and they welcomed the birth of their first child, Lucy Ann Mihalick, on January 31, 2008.

Jack O'Brien '90 and his wife, Kari, welcomed their second child, Emma Joy, on February 6, 2008. She joined her 20-month old sister, Makenna Grace, in the family.

clas class notes


Philip Wilhelm '94 and his wife, Kathryn, and their daughter Mary Frances welcomed the birth of their second child, Heidi Hansel, on December 6, 2007. David Hoggatt '96 graduated from Texas A&M in Galveston with a Masters of Marine Resource Management and is now an Environmental Scientist with ARCADIS in the Houston Office. David Brown '97 is living in Chicago with his wife, Beth. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College in May, 2006 and is a second-year otolaryngology resident at the University of Chicago. Seth Flechsig '98 and Becky Jackson were married in New Orleans on January 26, 2008. The couple met while attending Tulane University and now reside in Houston., two years ago and has exclusive rights with five professional teams. James Jones '01 married Kathy Lynn Gates on January 5, 2008. He is currently working on his MBA at Rice University and recently accepted a position of Rotation Associate at Calpine Corporation. Tony Polichino '01 is currently managing the Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen in Stafford, Texas. He once again will be volunteering for MDA Camp this summer. Tim Szafran '01 graduated from Texas A&M in 2005 where he majored in Philosophy and minored in English. After serving a year at Strake Jesuit as a member of the Alumni Service Corps, he is now at Cypress Springs High School where he teaches English, is Assistant Swim Coach, and Head Water Polo Coach. He is currently working on his Masters in Education Administration. Brandon Dybala '03 graduated Summa Cum Laude from St. Louis University in December, 2007 with a BS in Computer Science. He and his wife, Catherine, were married on January 8, 2008 and they are now living in Rosenberg, Texas where he works as a Software Engineer for Martin Company.

Ted Gorman `93 married Margeaux LaFleur (SAA `01) in Houston on January 19, 2008 at St. Anne's Catholic Church. The wedding party included Jim Hyland `93, John Gorman II `87, Tim Collins `93, Mike Espinosa `93, Shane Hudson `93, and P.J. Hennessy `93. They are now living in Houston where he works for Bell and McCoy Lighting and Controls and Margeaux is a legal assistant.

Jeremy Mouton '93 graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 2002. He then joined the Houston office of Bracewell & Giuliani as a corporate attorney. In December, 2006 he and his fiancé, Elizabeth, moved to St. Louis where he joined Anheuser-Busch as associate general counsel. In September, 2007 the two were married in St. Louis.

James Harris '95 and Renee Sitz 5 (SAA '95) were married on September 29, 2007 in Houston. The father of the bride is David Stitz '69 and the wedding party included Beau Harris '87, Benchmark Harris '91, Christ Stitz '91, Christ Knight '95, and Frank Simcik '95. He is currently an Assistant Harris County Attorney and Renee is the Director of Marketing and Communications for a Houston non-profit agency.

Dennis Stasio '98 is a financial advisor in Houston Galleria office of Merrill Lynch. He has been with Merrill Lynch for three years and was previously Assistant Vice President with their commercial banking group in New Jersey. Matthew Simpson '99 received his J.D. degree with honors from Emory University in Atlanta in May, 2007 and was admitted to the Georgia Bar in November, 2007. He is now an associate with Fisher & Phillips in Atlanta, a labor/employment law firm

Rusty Ulrich '93 and his wife, Julie, welcomed the birth of their first child, Eliza Rose, on Galveston Island on September 20, 2007. Brian Bausano '96 is in the last year of residency as the Chief Resident of Emergency Medicine at Washington University Medical School - Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. He was recently awarded Resident of the Year in Emergency Medicine at the Hospital. Jason Ciminieri '96 graduated from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry and moved to Kansas City where he opened his practice in January, 2007 and lives with his wife, Lisa.

Dan Skarbek '00 lives in Austin where he is managing Asleep at the Wheel and Carolyn Wonderland. Kyle Burks '01 is engaged to Steffi Hutto with a wedding in Hawaii planned for the summer of 2009. He started his company, SeasonTicket-

`00's `00's

Drew Maresh '03 graduated Magna rew 3 Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in December, 2007. He interned with Boeing in Seattle in the summer of 2007 and, after graduation, accepted a position with Bell Helicopter in Dallas.


Spring 2008

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Christopher Scott Carr `70 Eleanor Callahan Mother of Donald `68 and Laurence `71 Luke A. Cash Father of Lee `67 Winston Chin Father of Winston '94 Dorothy Mae Grady Davies Mother of Dick `68 James Dilger Father of Jim `69 and David `72 Michael Louis Dina Father of Todd `83, Tony `84, and Michael `90 Eleanor Neeley Gribble Mother of Jay '76

Leona Deborah Haley Mother of Anthony `80, Sean `84, and Kyle `88

Marguerite C. Van Osselaer Mother of Paul `68 Daniel Howard Reat Father of Francis `78 and Daniel '80 Rena Vitale Mother of Steve `86

Strake Jesuit Alumni Director Tim Scalzitti `90 and his wife, Lynn, welcomed Anthony Castenzio Scalzitti (Jesuit Class of 2026) into their family on February 13, 2008. Anthony's middle name, Castenzio, is given to him in honor of Br. Castenzio Ferlita, SJ - more affectionately known as Br. Casey. Pictured here with his Mom & Dad, Anthony makes his first visit to Jesuit and meets Br. Casey.

Michael Thomas Kutka Father of Michael `74 Lou Anne Wells Mother of Michael `84





One Last `Lunch' in the Cafeteria

Louis Fontenot III on February 28, 2007 Louis `84 and Cindy

Eliza Rose Ulrich on September 20, 2007 Rusty `93 and Julie Madelyn Holy on October 31, 2007 Clayton `90 and Kristin

Mallory Kathleen Moeller on November 15, 2007 Trey `89 and Leslie Luca Xavier on December 7, 2007 Richard `89 and Chandra

Mark your calendars now - Thursday, May 15

Demolition of the Cafeteria, which has served Jesuit students since the early `60's, will begin with the completion of the new Dining Hall in early June. Watch your mail box and e-mail inbox for details later this spring.

Benjamin Singh McMorrow on January 10, 2008 Russell `89 and Kelly Carter Allen Nix on January 20, 2008 Lewis `92 and Cristi

Lucy Ann Mihalick on January 31, 2008 Andrew `89 and Melissa

Emma Joy O'Brien on February 6, 2008 Jack `90 and Kari

Anthony Castenzio Scalzitti on February 13, 2008 Tim `90 and Lynn

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The Chronicle 23

Fan Fare

Just the other day, I received an e-mail from John McVaney, father of senior Jeff Mc Vaney. He thanked me for supporting Crusader sports. "The boys keep me young," I quipped in my reply. Later that day, I saw Jeff at baseball practice and I was reminded of his dad's email. The boys really do keep me young ­ or so I like to think. But as I watched the team practice I began to reflect on the `08 football season when Jeff was asked to move from the backfield and step in as the Varsity quarterback. At the last minute, the team needed a quarterback but the position change would be a huge challenge. In the end, Jeff accepted the challenge and with the team's backing, he led them to a playoff berth. It was for me just the latest Strake Jesuit success story. A lot of years have gone by for this Olde Crusader and I have been around this campus for a long time. I remember a lot of great stories just like Jeff's. It's been over four decades since my graduation. I was one of those (many) students who loved this school from the very start. Looking around the campus today I realize that by comparison we had a very humble beginning. At the time, there was only one small classroom building and a gymnasium but no matter, both structures were brand new and we needed little more. I was proud to be here. I was a shy kid, but a get along kind of a guy so I made a lot of friends. To be honest, I never really excelled at any one thing but I am proud to say that I did make good grades. Eventually, I outgrew my shyness and ventured in to a few extra-curricular, after school activities. Again, I never really excelled at any one thing, but there were a lot of kids who did and I admired them all. I was never jealous. I simply did the best I could for myself and then cheered the others on. I loved just being a part of it all. The sports were great fun. I enjoyed the plays, the debates and even the intramurals. I went to all the games and I painted spirit posters. Though never great art, my posters were large and they were numerous. The team always knew that I was rooting for them. I was handy with a hammer and nails so for the Southwell Players, I fashioned sets. I was proud to be a (small) part of their very first production. I have always loved to read and I respect great writers. By senior year I had made the staff of the student newspaper and there, I managed to get my name in print for the first time. My efforts were overshadowed by better writers whose talents I could only hope to emulate. But I tried my best to be like them and I used to read that paper cover to cover. That's the key, I do believe: At Strake we all strive to do our best. Some do better than others and I guess that's just a part of life. The common bond is that we are all committed to doing our best and we

love to compete. I see that same need to succeed in the students today just as I saw it 40 years ago. "Magis" is a word that is often heard around these premises. The students know that this Latin word means "more" and they also know that "more" is exactly what is expected of them. Magis is the Jesuit call to action. Here at SJCP, it is a call that each of us, in accordance with his own abilities will surely answer. Magis is not a final destination but is instead a lifelong journey. That's because deep down inside, each of us knows that within us there is always "more" that can done. Lately a lot of folks have begun to affectionately refer to me as the # 1 Jesuit fan. I appreciate the compliment but the truth is that my vote would have to be for Brother Casey or Father Billac. These two Jesuit greats have dedicated their lives to the betterment of thousands of our students and alumni. We all love and respect them both. In my book they are both #1. I guess I have always been a fan. If in fact, I have now achieved some elevated status, then I will say that I owe it all to longevity. OK, maybe intensity and sincerity play a part, but if I admit to that, then I may as well let you in on my little secret: I still love this school. Forty two classes have graduated from this school. Each young man has his own story and each has made his mark on the olde alma mater. I remember them all ­ each and every one - with great fondness and affection. It would be an insurmountable task to attempt to chronicle all their stories: great athletes, great thespians, great musicians, unequalled debaters, great giving, respectful and devout young men. To have known so many of them has been a blessing and a joy in my life. Today's young men continue the tradition; the torch having been passed to capable and steady hands. I am inspired by these young men. Simply stated, the boys are my personal source of pride and inspiration. If I really were the #1 fan, then at last I could claim that like all the Crusaders past and present, I too have excelled! Best of all it would surely be at the one thing I enjoy the most ­ Cheering on the Crusaders! To the memory of those young men that I have cheered for, I pledge my shield and my sword.



Spring 2008

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Fantasy Auction Father-Son Breakfast NHS Liturgy and Induction Special Olympics at Jesuit Junior Cross and Ring Liturgy Blood Drive Awards Assembly Senior/Junior Prom Mothers' Day Mass Take God to College Baccalaureate Mass Graduation Strake Jesuit Scramble Summer School Registration Summer School Begins

8-11 Kairos XXXI


18-21 Senior Silent Retreat


6-7 9

For up to date event information, go to

PARENTS, if you are still receiving your son's Chronicle although he no longer lives with you, let us know so we can change our records and send the magazine directly to him. If you enjoy reading the publication but do not receive a copy of your own, let us know that too. We would be glad to send a copy to your son's new address and continue to send you one. Contact the Alumni Office at [email protected] or at 713.490.8153

Woman with Ball, by Pablo Huerta, is a bronze statute. It is located on the stairway landing on the east side of Moran Hall. and is on loan from Frank Ribelin.

Strake Jesuit College Preparatory 8900 Bellaire Boulevard Houston, Texas 77036



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