11 Summer Saints Spirit - Saint Thomas Aquinas High School



11 Summer Saints Spirit - Saint Thomas Aquinas High School
Table of Contents
Saints in the Seminary
Holy Land Pilgrimage.................................. 3
Alumnus Answers God’s Call....................... 4
Celebrating 25 Years.................................... 6
Hall of Fame................................................ 7
Giving Corner............................................. 8
Teacher Profile............................................ 9
Saints Marrying Saints................................11
Where are They Going?..............................12
Student Highlights......................................14
Class Notes.................................................17
In Memoriam.............................................19
Winter & Spring Sports............................ 20
Trivia Challenge........................................ 22
Reunions................................................... 23
The Saints Spirit magazine is a publication of the Saint
Thomas Aquinas Advancement Office. We welcome your
comments or questions. Call or write:
Bryan Thrasher
Director of Communications
[email protected]
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School
11411 Pflumm Road
Overland Park, Kansas 66215-4816
Seminarians Evan Tinker, ’03, John Trecker, ’04, and
Jamie Zarse, ’05, visited Saint Thomas Aquinas in May to
speak with sophomores during seminar. Pictured here are
John and Jamie with Theology teacher April Bailey, who
arranged the visits.
Front Cover
Archbishop Joseph
Naumann, ordaining
Bishop and Principal
Celebrant at the Holy
Mass of Ordination on
June 18, 2011 performs
the ancient and apostolic
tradition of the Laying
On of Hands. Later in
the liturgy, Father Vince
Huber, Class of 2000,
blesses the Archbishop as
an ordained priest.
Photos courtesy of The Leaven.
William Ford, Ed.D.
Teresa Ahrens
Director of Special Events
Mary Bridget Kratofil
Director of Media Relations
Michon Quick
Director of Alumni & Constituent Relations
Cindy Winkler
Advancement Office Manager
Special thanks to Michelle Gress, photographer
Renewing your magazine subscriptions is now easier than
ever and also a great way to support the students at Saint
Thomas Aquinas High School! Anytime you see a magazine
you would like to receive at your home or when your
subscription is about to lapse, simply go to www.qsp.com,
and use school account #425007423. All profits from the
sale support student extra-curricular activities, which are
an integral part of each student’s development while here
at Saint Thomas Aquinas. Order or renew your favorite
magazines and help support the Saints!
Holy Land
Community Calendar
4�������������POSTPONED: Class of 2011 Yearbook Signing
25th Year Celebration
June 9-20, 2012
12������������Freshman-Parent Gift Gathering for Extravaganza
with Mike Scherschligt, Catholic Theologian
and School of Faith Director
21������������Class of 2015 Freshman Mass & Picnic
Trip Highlights: Daily Mass, Scripture
Teachings and Guided Spiritual Reflections:
six (6) nights in Jerusalem, three (3) nights at
Sea of Galilee. Current 2011 pricing (subject to
change for 2012): $3995 per person – includes
airfare from Kansas City; daily breakfast, light
lunch, and dinner; airport transfers, tours,
entrance fees as noted on itinerary, tips,
gratuities and all taxes.
Join us for an Informational Presentation:
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
7:00-9:30 PM
Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School
(northwest corner of the building)
If you cannot attend the informational
meeting or have questions, please contact
Michon Quick, Director of Alumni &
Constituent Relations, at [email protected]
or 913-319-2437.
Mike Scherschligt, founder and Director of School
of Faith, has a Licentiate in Sacred Theology
(STL) from the Marianum in Rome and previously
taught at the Saint Lawrence Catholic Center at
the University of Kansas for ten years. School of
Faith offers doctrinal and spiritual formation for
Catholics through catechetical programs that stress
the call to prayer, virtue, and holiness of life, with
a particular emphasis on mentoring those who have
the responsibility to teach the faith to others. The
School of Faith program currently teaches over 1200
individuals including students at the University of
Kansas, parishioners and Catholic school teachers
throughout the Archdiocese of Kansas City
in Kansas.
13�����������Sophomore-Parent Gift Gathering for Extravaganza
18������������First Day of School
19������������Junior-Parent Gift Gathering for Extravaganza
20�����������Senior-Parent Gift Gathering for Extravaganza
24������������Holy Land Pilgrimage Presentation
31������������Parent Back-to-School Night
1�������������All-School Mass of the Holy Spirit*
2�������������Blue & Gold Kickoff Event
11������������Saints Mass & Supper at KU: St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center
22�����������Homecoming All-School Mass*
23�����������Homecoming Tailgate and Football Game vs. Blue Valley Northwest
23�����������All-Years Alumni Mixer after the Homecoming Game –
Saints Pub & Patio, 97th & Quivira (new location)
23�����������Class of 1996 15-Year Class Reunion
23�����������Class of 1956 55-Year Class Reunion
1�������������Class of 1961 50-Year Reunion
2�������������Saints Mass & Lunch at K-State: St. Isadore’s Catholic Campus Center
20�����������Grandparents Day Mass*
22�����������Class of 2001 10-Year Reunion
30�����������Open House
1�������������All Saints Day All-School Mass*
22�����������Thanksgiving All-School Mass*
26�����������Class of 2006 5-Year Reunion
8�������������Feast of the Immaculate Conception All-School Mass*
21������������First Day of Christmas Break
January 2012
4�������������Second Semester Begins
7�������������Placement Test, Class of 2016
February 2012
2�������������Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas Mass*
4�������������Saints Trivia Challenge in the Commons
8�������������Mass of Remembrance Mass, 7 p.m. in the Chapel
*All are welcome to attend All-School Masses at Saint Thomas Aquinas! Please
check the school website to confirm the date and time. Most liturgies begin at
9:30 a.m. in the Gym.
Feature Saint
Huber Takes Priestly Vows in
Solemn Ceremony
students on campus. His relationship
with God strengthened through his
ever-growing commitment to prayer,
something he learned from his
mentor, Monsignor Vince Krische –
long-time director of the St. Lawrence
Father Vince celebrated with his sisters at Saint Thomas Aquinas after his Ordination.
From left to right: Jessie Huber, ’02, Lindsey Huber, ’05, and Tricia Huber, ’03.
When Vince Huber was seven or
eight years old, Monsignor Tom Tank
was having dinner with the Huber
family at their home in Leawood,
Kansas. He asked Vince if he might
like to be a priest. Vince replied, “I
would consider it, but only after I’m
done with my professional baseball
Ordained into the Holy Order
of Priests on June 18, 2011, Father
Vincent Edward Huber, class of 2000,
became the first graduate of Saint
Thomas Aquinas High School (est.
1988) to become a priest. “I may be
the first,” he said at a celebration with
family and friends in the school’s
Commons, “but I am surely not the
Through the ancient and apostolic
tradition of the Laying On of Hands,
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
ordained five men – Father Vince
Huber from Kansas, Father Edward
Ahn and Father Scott Kallal from
Illinois, and Father Mirco Sosio and
Deacon Alessandro Borraccia from
Italy. Four of these men made history
by becoming the first priests of the
Apostles of the Interior Life, an
emerging order founded in Rome in
2007 by Father Salvatore Scorza.
Debbie Huber, the young priest’s
mom, says that Vince was like every
little boy growing up. “He really did
think he would play major league
baseball – especially when he learned
that Bo Jackson’s real name was also
‘Vincent Edward!’” Vince played
baseball through high school as a
left-handed pitcher and first baseman
for the Saints. “He wanted to play
in college but because of his size, he
decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps
and study Civil Engineering at the
University of Kansas.”
Vince began discerning his vocation
while at KU but not formally until
his junior year. Debbie remembers
that Vince became active at the Saint
Lawrence Catholic Campus Center
during his freshman year when he
and his roommate/fellow Saint, Brett
Gaughan, ‘00, signed up for a School
of Faith class – then part of KU’s
nationally recognized Catechetical
Over the next couple of years
Vince continued his involvement in
the community created for Catholic
“Msgr. Krische taught us how to
go deeper with our prayer and ask
God for His intercession in our
lives,” says Fr. Vince. “One semester
he met several of us every morning
at 6 a.m. for the Liturgy of the
Hours. Sometimes only the two of
us showed up. My passion for prayer
strengthened even more.”
Around this time, Msgr. Krische
met the Sisters of the Apostles of
Interior Life at a conference in
Champagne, Illinois, and invited
them to Lawrence, Kansas. With
“As parents we taught
our kids about their
faith growing up.
Now, Father Vince
constantly leads me
to grow deeper in
my relationship
with God.”
Debbie Huber, alumni parent and mother
of Father Vince Huber, ’00.
the blessing of Archbishop James
Keleher, three sisters from the Romebased community took up residence
at the Center and began to actively
participate in the formation of
Catholic students on campus. A trail
was blazed.
Feature Saint
The female branch of the Apostles
for the Interior Life was founded
in Rome over two decades ago, in
1990 by Fr. Salvatore. As Vince was
making a decision on where to further
his studies, Sister Tiziana, spiritual
director and consecrated woman of
the Apostles, encouraged Vince to
pray about his calling and consider
the ministry of her community. In
the meantime, Fr. Salvatore was
contemplating the establishment of a
male branch of the Apostles.
In 2004, after much prayer and
discernment, Vince Huber and several
other men decided to move to Rome
and take vows of poverty, chastity and
obedience in preparation to become
priests. Because the Apostles did and
do not yet have the canonical status
of a religious order, Archbishop
Naumann extended a welcome
hand to assist the community as a
diocese while the men studied under
Fr. Salvatore in Italy. By agreement
between the Apostles and archdiocese,
the men will split time between Rome
and northeast Kansas.
During the Ordination Mass at
Holy Spirit Church in Overland
Investiture of Father Vince by Father Francis
Hund, pastor at Church of the Nativity and
brother of STA Math Department chair
Cathryn Hund Radiel.
Alumni parents Debbie and Randy Huber wait with their son Deacon Vince Huber, ’00, to
process into Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Overland Park, Kansas, for his ordination into the
Park, Kansas, Archbishop Naumann
emphasized the significant role of
each ordinandi’s family, especially
the parents. “Each of these men has
been given great grace because of the
faith of their parents to grow up in
a strong and believing family where
faith was celebrated and lived,” said
the archbishop.
“These men have received the
beautiful example of parents faithfully
living their marriage vows,” he
continued. “They have seen in the
lives of their parents what God’s
grace can accomplish in those who
surrender their lives to Our Lord and
seek to follow Him on the path of
heroic love.”
During his First Mass at Church
of the Nativity on the day following
his ordination, Fr. Vince recognized
many people who have influenced
and supported him along the way. He
invited his advisor Msgr. Krische to
give the homily, a customary gesture.
He thanked Father Francis Hund,
pastor at his home parish of Nativity,
for his support, and well as many
others who were instrumental in his
Before thanking his parents, Fr.
Vince recognized his three little
sisters, Jessie Huber, ’02, Tricia
Huber, ’03, and Lindsey Huber, ’05,
all present to witness their brother’s
special moments. “I was raised with
three girls, surely so that I could be a
good minister to women through my
vocation.” He giggled, “Since one of
my sisters is blonde, one is brunette,
and one is a red-head, I should pretty
much have all the personalities
Then, reaching in his pocket, Fr.
Vince explained to the congregation
the meaning of the liturgical cloth
used to wipe the chrism oil from his
blessed hands at the ordination. “As is
customary, a new priest presents this
cloth to his parents at his First Mass.”
He paused, and continued, “This
cloth should be buried alongside my
mother so that when she arrives at
the Pearly Gates of Heaven, she can
present it to St. Peter and say, ‘I gave
to Him my son.’”
Vince’s parents honored their
son in the 2000 edition of the Saint
Thomas Aquinas High School
Medallion Yearbook, with his senior
ad reading, “Dear Vince: Always
remember: work hard, follow your
dreams and make the pathway lead to
God.” As usual, parents know best.
Celebrating 25 Years
Celebrating 25 years of growing in
knowledge, guided by Catholic values
A headline that ran in The Kansas
City Star newspaper on August 5,
1987, announced: Construction of
high school is on schedule.
June 2012
The article further stated that a
fall 1988 opening was anticipated
of a new Catholic high school in a
field at 114th Street and Pflumm
Road in Overland Park– the name of
the school would be ‘Saint Thomas
August 2012
And so it began.
Five thousand six hundred thirtysix graduates, three major building
expansions and nearly two-and-ahalf decades later, we are gearing up
to celebrate 25 years of providing
exceptional Catholic secondary
education for families of the
Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
The quarter-century milestone will
actually kick off in 2012 with a yearlong line-up of events* celebrating our
legacy of successful students, generous
parents and dedicated teachers.
November 2012
Mirocke Golf Classic (Monday, June 4)
Saints Trip to the Holy Land
(June 9 – 20; see related information, page 3)
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Extravaganza Parent Gift Gathering Parties
December 2012
Class of 2016 Freshman Mass & Picnic
Fine Arts Week
Mark Your Calendar!
Sunday, August 12, 2012
“25 Years of Saints”
Community Kickoff Mass & Picnic
September 2012
January 2013
Inaugural Alumni/Parent March-for-Life Trip
to Washington D.C.
Saints Trivia Challenge
February 2013
Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas Mass
Mass of Remembrance
Blue & Gold Kickoff
Grandparents Day Mass
Hall of Fame Gala
Saturday, February 23, 2013
October 2012
Homecoming Mass, Tailgate
and Football Game
Homecoming All-Years Alumni Reunion
Hall of Fame Gala
March 2013
Community Service Mass
Open House
April 2013
Saints Walk for Life
We’re starting
to plan now, so
Save These Dates!
invited to join –
current students
and parents,
alumni, parents
of alumni, faculty,
staff, friends,
former faculty
and Archdiocesan
priests! Each one of
you is a member of
our Communion of
Dinner Theatre
May 2013
Class of 2013 Graduation –
25th Class of Saint Thomas Aquinas
High School
Senior Mass and Luncheon for
the Class of 1989
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Celebrating the first graduating class
of Saint Thomas Aquinas
High School
The 1986 Kansas City Star
25th Annual Saints Extravaganza
Hall of Fame
Announcing the Saint Thomas Aquinas High School
Hall-of-Fame Awards Program
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School is pleased to announce the establishment of its Hall-of-Fame Awards Program to
formally recognize alumni, parents and friends that help define and advance the institution and its mission.
Hall-of-Fame Awards will be announced and bestowed on the first class of recipients during the 2012-2013 academic
year in celebration of Saint Thomas Aquinas - 25 Years. Moving forward, the school will accept nominations and honor
new recipients at an annual induction celebration.
Nominations are currently being accepted for the Alumni Award and Distinguished Service Award. Below are
descriptions of each award, and also an outline of selection criteria and the nomination process. You may also access this
information at www.stasaints.net/HallofFame.
Alumni Award
This recognition honors alumni who have exemplified dedication and faithfulness to the mission and ideals of Saint
Thomas Aquinas High School through exceptional personal or professional accomplishment. Nominations for this
award are accepted on an ongoing basis from all STA constituencies, and selected annually by an appointed Selection
Committee. Recipients must be graduates of at least ten years from Saint Thomas Aquinas High School. This award can
also be given posthumously.
Distinguished Service Award
This honor is given to a person or persons who by example represent the beliefs and ideals of Saint Thomas Aquinas
High School. Qualities for induction include outstanding achievement in a person’s profession, vocation or avocation,
selfless dedication and involvement that have led to the growth, expansion or continued development of Saint Thomas
Aquinas High School, and/or significantly influencing the lives of students through commitment to and enthusiasm for
personifying the mission of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School. Recipients can include friends and benefactors from all
STA constituencies. Nominations are accepted on an ongoing basis, and recipients are selected annually by an appointed
Selection Committee.
Marian Award
This award is bestowed upon faculty, staff, and administrators of
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School for their life-long commitment
to the ideals and values of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School.
Recipients of this award are identified and selected by the President
and/or Board of Trustees, and can be conferred at any time during
the recipient’s tenure. This honor may also be given posthumously.
Saints Hall-of-Fame Awards Program
a. All nominees must demonstrate Catholic values that represent
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School and its mission within the
Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
Teachers who have received the Marion Award include
Jim Enneking, Dennis and Geri Hord, Bonnie Patrick and
Bob Aley.
b. “Exceptional professional or personal achievement” shall be deemed appropriate and worthy of recognition as
determined by the Selection Committee.
c. Areas of “outstanding achievement in profession, vocation or avocation” may include – but not are not limited to –
fields of industry, religion, science, business, the arts, medicine, the military, or athletics.
Additional criteria and information about the selection process is located at www.stasaints.net/halloffame
Celebrating 25 Years
Charitable Giving Corner
Endowment Gifts
Although there are many long-term needs for Saint
Thomas Aquinas High School, at the heart of the school’s
current efforts is our response to the call as set forth by
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to provide
affordable and accessible Catholic secondary education for
all our families. In order to meet the increasing demand
for financial assistance, Saint Thomas Aquinas High
School must increase its endowment.
During the past decade, the percentage of families
receiving tuition assistance at STA has increased from
8.7% to over 23%. In 2010-11, $745,725 in financial
assistance was disbursed so that families could continue to
provide Catholic secondary education for their children.
That figure is expected to exceed $800,000 during this
fiscal year.
An endowed scholarship fund that honors or
memorializes a loved one can be established with a gift of
$25,000 or more. The principal balance of the fund may
be added to at any time, thus generating a greater amount
of interest income. You may choose to make installments
toward establishing a named endowed fund over a period
of five years.
The STA Advancement Office can help you finalize your
Letter of Gift, which will establish your named endowed
scholarship according to your wishes. Your gift and legacy
will be held in perpetuity for the benefit of Saint Thomas
Aquinas High School for generations to come.
If you would like more information about Endowment,
Honor & Memory or Charitable Bequest programs
at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, please contact
Michon Quick at 913-319-2437 or [email protected]
Memorial and Honor Gifts
There are several ways to memorialize those who are
dear to you. Gifts of any amount may be designated for
the Saint Thomas Aquinas High School General Honor
& Memory Fund to memorialize deceased persons, honor
living persons, or commemorate anniversaries or other
special events. Proceeds generated from this fund are
designated for tuition assistance and faculty enrichment.
You may also designate a Memorial gift in lieu of flowers
or as an additional sentiment to honor someone who has
recently passed away, such as a family member of a friend.
Please provide contact information so that we may let the
family know of your kind gesture.
Charitable Bequests
Including a charitable bequest as part of your Will
or Living Trust – or naming the school as a beneficiary
on your retirement plan or life insurance policy – is a
wonderful way for you to provide visionary support for
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School while also effectively
managing your estate. Charitable bequests are not subject
to estate or inheritance taxes and therefore reduce the tax
burden of an estate.
If you have already named Saint Thomas Aquinas High
School in your Will, Living Trust, retirement plan or life
insurance policy, please let us know so that we can properly
thank you!
Faculty Spotlight
Engineer turns teacher and joins
faculty at Saint Thomas Aquinas
Conversation with a fellow Little League coach and reflection on
how to make physics more interesting prompt local businessman
and STA dad to go back to school
John Tompkins admits that seeing
names of his children’s teachers on
desks when he first walked across the
threshold into the faculty room at
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School
was very humbling. “I didn’t really
know any of them. But I felt like I did
by how they’ve helped my children.”
John and his wife, Connie, are the
parents of four STA Saints: alumni
Annie, ’00, Beth, ’02, and Johnny,
’06, and current sophomore Julie.
Connie grew up in Topeka’s Sacred
Heart parish community and attended
Hayden High School. John attributes
Connie and her parents, Raymond
and Julia Etzel, for introducing him
to the Catholic faith and instituting
the importance of Catholic education
in their lives. Saint Thomas Aquinas
High School has been a supportive
extension of their family life and also
of their parish community, Prince of
Peace in Olathe.
Now at age 56 and beginning his
third year as a high school Physics
teacher, John Tompkins wants to pass
on the lessons he’s learned and also
help students and families recognize
the integral importance of Catholic
faith and tradition in the many facets
of their lives.
Engineering Education
– Business Background –
Genuine Curiosity
John has always allowed his curiosity
to lead him. A 1973 graduate of
Shawnee Mission East High School,
John says his interest in science
didn’t necessarily evolve in the
classroom but rather developed
mostly through experiential
learning from camping trips,
photography, building models,
and a backyard telescope.
His first exposure to career
possibilities came through an
8th grade school assignment
when he interviewed one of the
lead architects for the Truman
Sports Complex.
“Seeing some of the original
concepts on paper resolved into
a scale model was compelling
– particularly the rolling roof
on railroad tracks,” John
Mr. Tompkins helps a student test his rocket.
Growing up in Prairie Village,
John played golf with his brother
James through high school. And
like most of his experiences, John
still turns the sport into a learning
opportunity. “Golf provides many
life skills -- observation, patience,
attention to detail, rules, problemsolving, competing with Mother
Nature, and overall respect.”
John attended Johnson County
Community College for one year
after high school and then transferred
to Kansas State University to study
engineering. He considers himself
fortunate for having “close friends
who were amazing thinkers, outdoor
adventurers and problem solvers,”
and were motivated simply for the
love of knowledge rather than the
accumulation of points.
Upon earning his Bachelor
of Science degree from KSU in
Mechanical Engineering, John worked
for Kansas City-based engineering
firm Burns & McDonnell, designing
equipment for electric utility
companies. John describes working
with an experienced project team
to design and implement emission
control technology for coal fired
power plants as a “great adventure
in problem solving, drawing,
modeling, outdoors, and a meaningful
contribution towards cleaning up the
Six years after graduation, John
asked his father about joining the
family business, which provided
custom-engineered equipment for the
power industry. His father welcomed
the opportunity and made John an
Faculty Spotlight
offer that included a 30% pay-cut
based on his limited experience.
Recognizing another chance to learn
and grow, John accepted his dad’s
“My father challenged me to think
through what clients need most to
help their businesses be successful,”
explained John. “He taught me that
a business must operate with the
highest standard of ethics, have a
clear mission statement, learn from
loss, and manage success. And that
there is no such thing as failure,
but rather that things sometimes
don’t work. Mostly, he taught me
that the energy business will always
have great challenges to resolve into
During his 25 years in the energy
equipment business, John developed
an interest in volunteering for his
community which also provided
him with some separation from
the challenges of managing a small
business. John’s volunteer projects
include work for the City of Olathe,
youth baseball, the neighborhood
homes association, Prince of Peace
Catholic Church, Bishop Ward High
School and the Archdiocese of Kansas
City in Kansas.
A Teacher Emerges
John’s evolution from businessman
to teacher was a slow process that
seemed almost inevitable.
“For such a big change, it took
a number of situations and events
including years of coaching baseball
and working with youth, time
spent contemplating how science
could be taught in schools for more
meaningful learning, a downturn in
business, and – I don’t want to use
the word ‘retirement’ which sounds
like “tired”— an opportunity to try
something new.
“I remember a conversation during
a Little League baseball game, when
we had a big lead and as coaches
we were feeling pretty good about
John Tompkins, second from right, in December 2010 with his family, left to right: son Johnny,
‘06, daughter Julie - class of 2014, wife Connie, daughter Beth, ’02, son-in-law John Kearney,
’02, and daughter Annie, ’00.
ourselves. I mentioned to my good
friend/fellow coach and STA alumni
parent Bill Haefele, that hanging
out with kids – not necessarily our
own – and teaching them how to
hit, throw and catch would be a nice
endeavor. Known as ‘Dr. Haefele’
at Rockhurst University where he
is Vice President for Academic
Affairs & Student Development, Bill
responded that there is a great need
for Physics teachers. He urged me
to get my transcripts together and
said he would set up the meeting
with the chair of the Education
department at Rockhurst. I ran the
thought of teaching by Dr. Kathy
O’Hara (Superintendent of Schools
for the Archdiocese) with whom I
had served on the Prince of Peace
School Council. She agreed that the
opportunity seemed viable, and gave
me a volunteer assignment at Bishop
Ward High School which lasted for
the next seven years.
“I worked with the Archdiocese to
secure a grant for math and science
education at Bishop Ward through
the Kauffman Foundation. I joined
a project team to rebuild the St.
Albert Room of Chemistry at the
school, and traveled across Kansas
on science/theology expeditions
with faculty, administrators and
students. My experiences through
the Bishop Ward community along
with good counsel from the school’s
president Fr. Michael Hermes
helped me understand the great
history of Catholic education in
our Archdiocese, the significant
contribution that Bishop Ward is
making in our community today, and
that teaching was an opportunity that
I wanted to formalize. “
John has had lots of help along
the way and recognizes a few key
mentors. “When I was doubting my
journey, Steve Kucharo, a classmate
and science teacher at Resurrection
School in Kansas City, Kansas, took
me into his classroom at 9 p.m. on a
Friday night and concept-mapped why
I needed to keep working on finishing
my graduate degree. Saint Thomas
Aquinas science department head, Iris
Flournoy, and STA science teacher Joe
Orrick helped me through the process
of getting certified to teach Physics.
And my daughter Annie, a teacher
herself at Bishop Ward High School,
also provided tremendous support.
Saints Marrying Saints
Combining Faith and Reason
John has made it a priority to make
physics enjoyable to learn by infusing
lots of hands-on experiments related
to the subject matter. He genuinely
wants his students to be fired up
about science but, most of all, about
learning. Teaching in a Catholic
school adds an additional benefit for
John – his own faith enrichment.
”The Catholic Church has a rich
history in the sciences and having the
opportunity to teach at Saint Thomas
Aquinas has really helped me in my
own formation. Just walking by the
chapel each day is a reminder of why
we are here. The development of a
Physics lesson-plan that is aligned not
only with the State of Kansas and
the Archdiocese, but also through
the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas
himself has been an incredible
learning experience for me. St.
Thomas Aquinas said, “We must first
start by believing, and then we will
be led on to master the evidence for
ourselves.” What better fit is there for
a teacher to work in an environment
where science and religion do not
When asked what has been the
greatest challenge going from the
business world to the educational
arena, John answered, “I’m
continually learning how to manage
the pace of a really fast day. Mornings
start at 6:00 a.m. and the day lasts
into the evening. Recently I shared
with some former business associates
the concept of going to work each
Monday and seeing 123 clients in 5
hours and 41 minutes while making
sure that each one’s needs is taken
care of. And that’s just on Monday!”
Getting to know each student is
another enormous challenge that
teachers face, one that requires a
different strategy than the business
world. Most important is how to
apply the school mission statement
in helping each student be successful,
which is John’s goal in developing
lesson plans.
“As a society, I believe we are
sometimes so focused on points that
the overall mission is missed. I learned
through my own son’s question as
he was studying for a history test,
Bridge building in John Tompkins’ physics
“Why do I need to know this?”
Making learning meaningful through
inquiry-based instruction is critical
in developing problem solvers rather
than professional test-takers.”
Saints Marrying Saints
Tompkins - Kearney
Beth Tompkins, ‘02, and John
Kearney, ‘02, were married on
December 4, 2010, at Prince of Peace
Catholic Church with Fr. Frank
Burger presiding. The couple met
during their sophomore year of high
school ~ John sat behind Beth in
their Social Justice class. Years later,
at a friend’s wedding, they were
reintroduced and starting dating.
John is a History teacher at Alta
Vista Charter High School in Kansas
City, Missouri, and Beth is a Nurse
Practitioner at Women’s Clinic of
Johnson County. The couple resides
in Overland Park.
Back row, from left: Chris Overman, ‘02, Liz Novacek, ‘02, Mary St. George, ‘02, Abby Geist,
‘06, Annie Tompkins, ‘00 (maid of honor); Front row, girls-side from left: Julie Tompkins, ‘14),
Alicia Heins, Sarah Dorward.
Bride and Groom: Beth Tompkins, ‘02, and John Kearney, ‘02
Back row, boys’ side from left: Joe Kearney (best man), Kelly Kearney, Luke Kearney, Kyle Moore,
‘02, Chris Grindinger, ‘02; Front row, boys from left: Dan O’Connell, Mike Conlan, ‘02, John
Tompkins, ‘06.
Where Are They Going?
This list is representative of what was reported by students as of May 9,
2011. College Bound map courtesy of Carole Trickey and Murphy Marx.
Student highlights
Highlights of a very good year at
Saint Thomas Aquinas!
This year has been a banner one
that will be hard to top. Barely a
week went by that the morning
announcements didn’t broadcast
Wall Don’t Lie!
When Debate Coach Steve DuBois
took center stage to introduce his
2011 State-Champion Debate team,
he didn’t have a script in front of
him, but his mantra – borrowed from
a professional basketball player – of
“Ball Don’t Lie!” echoed all day long
throughout the school. A former
debater himself, DuBois was at ease
with the microphone as he described
the debate team’s climb to the top of
5A competition.
His voice resonated throughout the
gym as he addressed allegations that
Saint Thomas Aquinas is “all about
state championships.” Pointing to
the large crucifix on the south wall,
DuBois proclaimed, “This is who we
are!” followed by, “God asks us to pray
and this is vital. . . He also gives us
talents and abilities . . . when we take
them and make the most of them, we
are celebrating God’s glory by putting
them to use.”
To those who claim that sports rule,
DuBois referred to the 56 students
honored for their over 100 extra
hours of service to the community,
the penny drive for needy Catholic
schools and the canned food drive
that resulted in over 62,000 items
collected for Catholic Charities.
He cited the 2010-11 State Debate
championship as evidence that we are
a school that excels in academics while
pointing to the banner declaring,
“And this is who we are!”
a first- or second-place win for the
Saints. It seemed as if an unseen
force was fueling the efforts of
our academic and athletic teams,
performers and musicians. Our
faith tells us that we need to look no
further than the presence of the Holy
Spirit among us to thank for His
special gifts.
2011 Saints Debate
Team: Coach Steve
DuBois, Michelle
McOskar, Jack Goza,
Maggie Bernard, Casey
Hancock, Amanda
Gress, Anthony Frook,
Taylor Ruisch and
Zach Watson
Repetition of the phrase, “Ball don’t
lie”, drew loud cheers and applause
while providing the perfect overture
to his introduction of the 5A State
Champion Debate team consisting
of: sophomore Taylor Ruisch, juniors
Jack Goza and Zach Watson, seniors
Michelle McOskar, Casey Hancock,
Anthony Frook, Maggie Bernard and
Amanda Gress.
Since Mr. DuBois’ infamous speech,
the halls of STA have resonated with
a fitting “Wall Don’t Lie” exclamation
of all that Saint Thomas Aquinas
students have achieved this year and
since the school’s inception in 1988.
To date, 68 state championship
banners hang in the school gym,
underneath the prominent image and
reason for our existence: Christ on the
Trombonist Paul Radke
had an incredible senior
year beginning with
being chosen the first
high school senior from
the state of Kansas to
participate in the US
Army All-American Bowl
Marching Band, a 2010
finalist in the US Marine
President’s Own
concerto competition
and being a part of the
MENC National Honor
Student Highlights
President’s Service Award
The following students received the President’s Service Award for over 100 hours of service during the
2009-10 academic year. They were recognized after an all-school Mass in April.
Freshmen 09-10
Rebekah Tyler
Erin Gartland
Moira Reilly
Catherine Kluempers
Emily Curran
Jessica Satterfield
Brian Gier
Sophomores 09-10
Matthew Mravunac
Emily Wheeler
Anna Jenkins
Samuel Cunningham
Taylor Haak
Scott Davis
Mary Bathon
Alexis Leiker
Mackenzie Lutz
Emily Spencer
Margaret Miller
Michael Schugart
Carly Van Blaricum
Will Male
Jennifer Reichmuth
Tess Halling
Matt Clemons
Cari Olberding
Lauren Watson
Emily Ewert
Juniors 09-10
Brenna Lynch
Matthew Castinado
Taylor Schulte
Jack Whitney
Mary Kate Pruett
Jillian Pfaff
Meghan Zych
Bridget Dupin
Libby Voda
Paige Vickers
Katherine Elder
Holly Hutchison
Jennifer Saxer
Molly Porter
Ryan Smyth
Elizabeth Amaro
Michael Hartung
Brad Matteuzzi
Laura Negley
Natalie Bunker
Anne Clark
Anne Jansen
Matthew McKernan
Michael Short
Lisa Larcom
Katie Gould
Margaret Waggoner
Tayler Vena
Kelsey Thomeczek
Madeline Johnston
Lillian Prince
Seniors 09-10
Allyssa Adamany
Kyle Ahern
Caroline Berko
John Bertels
Anna Bono
Audrey Boring
Geoffrey Calvert
Ted Clemons
Ellie Coater
Sarah Coplen
James Dold
Hallie Dusselier
Erin Ebeling
David Ecklund
Renee Flagler
Erin Henderson
Matthew Hinck
Zach Horn
Alec Joseph
Katie Heit
Sarah Kwapiszeski
Megan Lenhausen
Adrienne Mather
Leslie Mecca
Anastacia Miller
Chris Miller
Sarah Moore
Marissa Morgan
Kelsey Nygren
Clayton Pauls
Bridget Petersen
Libby Reichmuth
Annie Sneed
Blakely Swanson
Laura Talken
Brigid Walton
Ashley Washburn
Matthew Wheeler
Meagan Wilderson
Daniel Woodward
Elizabeth Zack
Show Choir / Band
Award-Winning Musical Production
After receiving top marks at
the district level, 17 singers and
instrumentalists from Saint Thomas
Aquinas qualified for the State Solo
and Small Ensemble Music Festival
in Newton, Kansas. These students
were: Caleb Brewer, Jordan Calovich,
Christy Jeffries, Mallory Keating, Dan
Killilea, Hannah Leiker, Katie Lind,
Katie Martin, Andrew Michuda,
Alex Nagle, Michael Peck, Paul
Radke, Annie Schugart and Andrew
Wahlberg. (Katie Gould, Molly Porter
and Marie Gavin qualified but did
not participate.) The students were
doubly challenged, especially singers,
because the
music festival
with Dinner
Theater which
required two
in a day.
The Saint Thomas
Aquinas fall production of
“West Side Story” resulted
in an unprecedented eight
nominations for recognition
at the Starlight Theater’s
Blue Star Ceremony on
May 26. Each year all high
schools in the metropolitan
Members of the cast of West Side Story
performed at Starlight Theater for the prestigious
area are invited to participate
Blue Star Awards Ceremony.
in the prestigious and highly
competitive Blue Star Awards
program which recognizes area performers, cast and crew for outstanding
work in musical theater. Remarks from Starlight adjudicators (which
included theater professionals, performing artists, designers and theatre
art educators) offered extremely positive comments about the Saints’
production of the modern musical production by Robbins/Bernstein/
Sondheim of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The Saints cast and crew
was one of just six nominees for “Outstanding Overall Production” and
wereinvited to perform on the Starlight stage for the Blue Star Ceremony
guests. In addition, Anthony Fortino performed solo for his Best Actor
nomination as Tony.
Abby Hadel accepting her award for
Outstanding Female Ensemble Member
at the Blue Star Ceremony at Starlight Theater
in May
Saint Thomas Aquinas received EIGHT (!) nominations in the following
categories: Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Technical Crew,
Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role (Katie Martin), Outstanding Actor
in a Lead Role (Anthony Fortino), Outstanding Male Ensemble Member
(Andrew Walberg), Outstanding Female Ensemble Members (Katie Bourk
and Abby Hadel), Outstanding Overall Production.
Student Spotlight
We the People
A senior course at Saint
Thomas Aquinas that focuses on
understanding America’s past and
educates students about government
and civics, We the People culminates
in an activity that develops critical
thinking skills. Each year more than
1,200 high school students participate
in the We the People national finals.
The competition involves a simulated
congressional hearing. Students are
divided into six different teams and
each team is connected to a unit in
the We the People textbook. After
qualifying for nationals, each small
team prepares three four-minute
presentations over questions provided
from the national panel. During
the competition, students give their
presentations followed by six minutes
of questioning from a panel of
judges. Student-teams are scored on
basic understanding and depth of
knowledge on constitutional issues.
Katie Gould, Amanda Gress, and
Michelle McOsker won first place
in the Unit 6 award. The team
researched and presented material
on challenges that face American
constitutional democracy in the 21st
‘We the People’ nationals team, left to right:
1st row - Katie Gwynn, Maureen Treacy, Ali
Kruse, Emily Wilson, Amanda Gress, David
Gier, Casey Hancock, and Mitchell Cota;
2nd row – faculty moderator Amy Sudduth,
Margaret Bernard, Jenna Rosberg, Mady
Johnston, Katie Gould, Betsy Donahue, Rachel
Stompoly, Katie Bolin, Michelle McOsker, Roz
Henn, and Molly Porter.
A combination of acting and public
speaking in a competitive format,
Forensics challenges students to
perform, think fast and be creative.
The Saint Thomas Aquinas Forensics
team was strong from the beginning
of the year. After seven tournaments
during second semester that resulted
in two first-place, four second-place
and one third-place finishes, the
Saints were named 2011 Catholic
Forensics League champions.
This year the Saints qualified eight
students for the National Forensics
League national tournament in
Dallas in June, the most the school
has had qualify in one year (the
previous record was four). Two
competitors made it to the top 60 in
their respective events: Katie Gwynn
in Original Oration, and Courtney
Bollig in Humorous Interpretation.
All the Saints at the national
tournament scored in the top half of
2011 Catholic Forensics League champions,
left to right: Katie Gould, Katie Bolin, Katie
Gwynn, Rachel Stompoly, Jenna Rosberg, Katy
Wright, Anthony Fortino, Courtney Kern,
Amanda Gress, Maggie Bernard, Jack Goza,
Courtney Bollig
the competition, and most were in the
top third of the nation.
Forensics head coach Susan
Dillingham held in high regard the
2011 team, stating: “We had a strong
group of seniors this year, most of
who have participated in competitive
forensics all four years. Their hard
work and subsequent success inspired
other members of our team to do
the extra work necessary to have an
excellent year.”
Scholars Bowl
With three National
Merit Semi-Finalists on her
team this year, it came as no
surprise to American History
teacher and Scholars Bowl
coach Elizabeth Vrabac that
the team would do well.
Practice began in August
with the season running from
October through February.
The 2010-11 Scholars Bowl team and coaches, left
to right: 1st row - senior Molly Porter, coach Elizabeth
Vrabac, junior Claire Nuti; 2nd row - seniors
Jonathan Shoulta and David Gier, sophomore Jason
Gruenewald and assistant coach Nat Burstein
The 2010-11 Scholars Bowl
team competed in seven
varsity tournaments, taking
second-place in three matches
and third-place in two others.
The team also won third place in Washburn University’s Quest competition.
The Saints were one of the top eight ranked teams in the entire state of
Kansas, and ended the season with the 5A Regional Runner-Up title. Vrabac
was pleased with the caliber of competition this year, saying, “Scholars Bowl
students are always enjoyable to work with. It takes practice and dedication
to be as consistent as we were this year.”
Class Notes
Class of ’74 Blue Streaks create special
wall-hanging quilt for Extravaganza
A group of alumni gals from
St. Joseph’s High School in
Shawnee have been getting
together for years. Many of
them have known each other
since Kindergarten and were
classmates through high school
graduation in 1974.
Allison Dreiling is a World History teacher
and varsity cheer coach at Basehor-Linwood High
School in Basehor, Kansas.
After an outing to Nell Hills
in Atchison where they saw some Quilters with ties to St. Joseph’s High School are Kathy
Pinkelmann Benedick, ’74, Karen Roberts Horn,’74, Lida
beautiful hand-made quilts,
Wurtenberger (honorary graduate*), and Carol Wurtenberger
Losey, ‘74. (Not present: Patty McGrew McKiernan, ’74.)
several members of the group
decided it would be fun to learn
the craft. They turned to Lida Wurtenberger, Carol Wurtenberger Losey’s
mother, who graciously agreed to teach them. A quilter’s group was formed.
Just for fun, the group decided to create a quilt together in honor
of St. Joseph and the “Mighty Blue Streaks” and donate it to the 2011
Extravaganza auction. The larger group behind the effort including the
non-quilters are: Karen Roberts Horn, Carol Wurtenberger Losey, Kathy
Pinkelmann Benedick, Patty McGrew McKiernan, Jane Wheeler, Cathy
Campbell, Mary Ellen Bergman Kreigh, Marilyn Lane Figuieras and Linda
Spero Emy.
*Lida Wurtenberger has nine children who attended of St. Joseph’s, Aquinas and Saint Thomas Aquinas
High Schools!
Cathryn Hund, Math
Department Chair at
STA, married Chris
Radiel at Church of the
Nativity on Saturday,
June 11, 2011.
Jeff Redmond is a project manager for Murray
Company Construction. He lives in Lenexa,
Kansas, with his wife Cristine and children
Madison – age 4, and Erin – age 2.
Colleen Bolin
Hochberg and her
husband Mike live in
Olathe with their two
children, Claire, age 3,
and Grace, six months.
Colleen works for
Hallmark in product
William Marshall and his wife Pamela live
in Shawnee, Kansas, where he is a self-employed
health insurance representative. They have two
children: Jennifer – 24, and Billy – 22.
Jodie Long Gittemeier and her husband Kevin
live in Leawood, Kansas, with their six children:
Mary Jane - 11, Laura - 9, Ella - 7, Harry - 5,
Maggie - 3, and Georgia Rose - 22 months.
Lesley Rigney lives in Louisburg, Kansas, with
her daughter, Quinn – age 11. She is a consultant
for environmental project management, strategic
planning, and personal/professional development.
Kansas. Nicole was a founding board member
and the couple is actively involved in supporting
of the LIVESTRONG Army of Kansas City, a
nonprofit organization which supports the Lance
Armstrong Foundation LIVESTRONG and the
University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Jonathan Ossie is a project manager for
R-Squared, a consulting and software group that
helps global life-science companies develop more
efficient and effective ways to adhere to web
compliance laws and regulations. He recently
received his Master of Business Administration
(MBA) from the University of San Diego and was
a Dean’s Merit Scholar. During this 16-month
fast-track program, he studied abroad in over 15
countries. Before this he was a consultant for IBM
Global Business Services providing e-business
solutions to financial services companies.
Ginny Kersten Chrun lives in St. Louis,
Missouri, with her husband Greg and their
children Lilly, Kennedy and Ella.
John Creal and Emily Weideman Creal
announce the birth of their second son, Lou
William Creal - born May 4, 2011. He joins
brother Henry, 18 months. The family lives in
Overland Park, Kansas.
Laura Kriegshauser earned her bachelor’s
degree in Early Childhood Education from St.
Louis University and her master’s degree from
Vanderbilt University in Deaf Education. She is
now a deaf educator at the renowned Boys Town
National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska.
Nicole Gandy Moodie and her husband
Patrick welcomed their first child, Jayne Eleanor
on May 5, 2011. Nicole completed her Doctorate
of Philosophy degree in Applied Physiology at
the University of Kansas in May 2010 and is
currently a professor in the Exercise and Sport
Science Department at Rockhurst University in
Kansas City, Missouri. Patrick is the founder and
president of Dynamic Athletics in Overland Park,
Brandon Moritz married Anna Dwyer at the
Basilica of St. Louis, King of France on Saturday,
May 7, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The couple
was honored at a dinner/reception/dance held
at Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. Brandon
is employed by JP Morgan / Private Wealth
Mgmt and Anna is a Senior Sales Consultant
for Aramark Refreshment Services. The couple
resides in Richmond Heights, Missouri, with
their dog Huck.
Class Notes
Mikey Needleman
released a new praise-andworship album entitled “All
for You” in March 2011.
Inspired by his work with
youth ministry, Catholic
grade schools and Catholic
high schools including Saint Thomas Aquinas,
his goal was to create a CD that would appeal
to the needs of the Young Church. Mikey drew
sound influences from John Mayer, Owl City,
U2, Postal Service and Angels and Airwaves for
the collection of songs which is appropriate for
youth and also a worship setting. Available on
i-Tunes and at www.mikeyneedleman.com.
Jeff Woodall and his wife live in Overland
Park, Kansas. Jeff is a store manager for
Finish Line and Willow is a store manager for
Bock, 1st Lt
Marine Corps,
returned to the
United States
from combat
in Afghanistan
on February
10, 2011. His
mother, Mrs. Rebecca Bock who teaches French
at Saint Thomas Aquinas, shared upon receiving
the notice, “We just got news this morning that
his platoon is back at a command post where they
have the luxuries of showers, indoor plumbing,
and beds… To those of you who knew he was
there and prayed for Andrew and his men, thank
you from the bottom of our hearts. If I could, I
would also ask that you please pray for him and
his men that they will recover from trauma of
Grace DelNero hasn’t stopped since running
cross-country and track at Saint Thomas Aquinas.
A member of
the Truman
State University
team (Kirksville,
Missouri) until
she earned her
Studies degree in 2008, Grace recently won the
2011 Olathe Oz Marathon in a time of 3:06:07.
She broke the women’s course record and
qualified for the Boston Marathon.
Sarah Drew is Director of Membership for
the Financial Services Roundtable, a financial
services trade association based in Washington,
D.C. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in
Government and Spanish from the University of
Texas at Austin in 2008.
Valerie Micheels graduated from Paul Mitchell
The School in 2010. She is a stylist and lives in
Shawnee, Kansas.
Research All Over the World
Robert (Bobby) Shriver, ’06,
recently graduated from the
University of Wyoming with a
degree in Biology. Son of STA
faculty member Dave Shriver,
‘73, and Jane Dillbeck Shriver,
‘79, Bobby was recognized
as the university’s Arts and
Bobby Shriver with school children in Kenya.
Sciences graduate-of-the-year
and also awarded membership
to Phi Beta Kappa as a higher-education scholar.
During his time at the University of Wyoming, Bobby received grants from NASA
for environmental research. Through these grants, Bobby researched fungus growths
(lichens) which exist in some of the most extreme environments on earth but can be
vulnerable to environmental disturbance. Bobby also participated in research in the
Brooks Range in Alaska, the Snowy Range Mountains in Wyoming, and the Sangre
de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico where he assisted professors in studies that
may help predict future ecological effects of climate and allow scientists to better
plan for such conditions.
Bobby is in Kenya from May to August 2011 where he is participating in
environmental research of plant life at the Mpala Research Centre, a site established
through the collaboration of The Mpala Wildlife Foundation, the Smithsonian
Institute, and Princeton University.
Bobby has been awarded a Fellowship for Doctoral Studies from The National
Science Foundation and a fellowship to Duke University in Durham, North
Carolina, where he will complete his Doctorate in Environmental Biology.
Megan Specht graduated from Kansas State
University in 2009. She is Business Manager
for Rainmaker Graphics, Inc., a custom apparel
and promotional marketing company located in
Shawnee, Kansas.
Gina Littlejohn and
Chris Pyle were in the
cast of the Chi Omega/
Phi Delta Theta show
that won Best Overall
Show at KU’s 2011
Rock Chalk Revue.
Angela Dobbie earned her Dietetics degree
in 2010 from Central Missouri State University
in Warrensburg, Missouri, where she played
soccer for four years. Angela was married to Mike
Pope on April 2, 2011. He is an Officer in the
US Army and she is a nutritionist at Western
Missouri Medical Center.
Caitlin Drew is a Behavior Analyst for
Autism Concepts, Inc., a private learning clinic
for children diagnosed with autism in Lenexa,
Kansas. She is engaged to be married in October.
John Jurkovich entered the
Marine Corps after high school and
spent eight months in Iraq followed
by a stint at Okinawa, Japan. John
worked as a door gunner on a Huey
helicopter which provides utility
combat helicopter support to the
landing force commander during ship-to-shore
movement and in subsequent operations ashore.
John plans to attend KU in the fall where he will
major in Engineering.
Chris Pyle
co-directed and
performed in the 2011 “No Turning Back”
performance for Phi Delta Theta and Chi Omega
at the 62nd annual Rock Chalk Revue at the
University of Kansas Lied Center, which won 12
of 15 awards including Best Overall Show. Chris
earned top honors for Best Supporting Actor and
Best Set Design.
This campus-wide variety show has raised
over $896,000 since 1991. Rock Chalk Revue
is one of the largest student-run philanthropies
in the United States. Each year several Saints
alumni participate in the show as actors, stage
crew and organizing committee members. The
five performing teams represent a year of work by
the entire Greek community at KU in writing,
directing and producing the theatrical event
as well as raising funds for the United Way of
Douglas County.
Class Notes
The Louisiana Street Band, including Austin
Quick on keys, won the “U Rock! Battle of the
Best” national band competition sponsored by
General Mills Foodservice. The University of
Kansas-based blues/rock/jazz ensemble won a
January 2011 trip to Los Angeles where they
performed original music for industry judges at
the legendary Troubadour in West Hollywood.
Earning top honors, the band stayed in L.A. for a
two-day recording session at renowned Firehouse
Recording Studios.
Elizabeth DeMars is a member of the Kansas
State University Rowing Team and was named to
the Big 12 Conference 2010 Fall Commissioner’s
Honor Roll with a perfect cumulative 4.0 GPA.
James Boddicker and the Chipola College
Indians from Marianna, Florida, advanced to
the National Junior College Athletic Association
(NJCAA) World Series in Grand Junction,
Colorado, this spring. James is playing infield for
the Park City Rangers (Walter Johnson Baseball
League) in Wichita, Kansas, this summer.
In Memoriam
James Connors, age 79 of Overland Park,
Kansas, died May 12, 2011. He is the father of
STA faculty member Kathleen Halling, and
alumni parent Lori McGroder; father-in-law of
faculty member Jim Halling; and grandfather of
alumni Anthony Halling, ’06, Brigid Halling,
’07, Mary Cate Halling, ‘10, Tess Halling, class
of 2012, Joe McGroder, ’07, Jake McGroder, ’11,
and Meg McGroder, class of 2012.
Michael Patrick Daly, ‘01, age 27 of Overland
Park, Kansas, passed away on February 6, 2011.
He is the oldest son of alumni parents Debbie
and John Daly, and brother of Chris Daly, ‘03,
Anna Daly, ‘05, Megan Daly, ‘07,
and Liz Daly, ‘09.
Kyle Crosby Ernst, class of 2015, age 13 of
Olathe, Kansas, passed away on February 24,
2011. He is the son of current parents Ann and
Dan Ernst, and brother of Christopher Ernst,
class of 2014, and twin brother of Katie Ernst,
class of 2015.
Robert “Bob” Gutierrez, age 59 of Overland
Park, Kansas, died July 3, 2011, from cancer. He
is the father of alumni Jacob Gutierrez, ’98, and
Derek Gutierrez, ’00, and also of Dusty Gutierrez.
Bob is preceded in death by his wife of 35 years,
Debbie, who died at age 55 from cancer on
December 31, 2007.
David Mirostaw, age 58 of Shawnee, Kansas,
passed away on May 4, 2011. He is the husband
of alumni parent Gail Mirostaw and father
of Jay Mirostaw, ‘97, Jill Mirostaw , ‘01, Julie
Mirostaw,’02, and Jordan Mirostaw, ‘04.
Wohletz Receives Prestigious Award
Jerry Wohletz,
with prospective students.
‘08, was recognized
Within the Ambassador
as one of ten
Program, Wohletz was
graduating seniors
recognized for increasing
to receive a 2011
volunteer retention
Chancellor’s Student
rates and the numbers
Award at the 139th
of new volunteers. He
also worked for two
at the University
years as an assistant for
of Kansas on May
KU Info, the campus
Jerry Wohletz accepts prestigious recognition information desk, and
22, 2011. These
from Bernadette Gray-Little, 17th
prestigious awards – Chancellor of the University of Kansas
a year as an orientation
for whom recipients
assistant in New Student
are nominated and
selected by students, faculty and staff –
Since 2003, Wohletz has helped his
recognize students’ academic, volunteer parents produce and market vegetables
and leadership accomplishments
on their farmstead in Lawrence, Kansas:
during their time at KU. Jerry received
Tomato Allie. He created and marketed
the Donald K. Alderson Memorial
the family’s brand. When he wasn’t
Award, established in memory of
helping with the farm, he was employed
the former dean of men and dean of
in local restaurants. Since grade school,
student services, by demonstrating
Wohletz has also freelanced as a solo
loyalty to and interest in the university
violinist. At KU, he volunteered his
and being active in events and services
violin skills with KU’s Music Mentors
that benefit other students.
program teaching youngsters who may
Jerry earned his bachelor’s degree in
three years with majors in American
studies and communication studies.
A first-generation college student, he
funded his education completely with
scholarships and jobs — including
working on his parents’ farm and as
a freelance violinist. Wohletz entered
KU with a National Merit Scholarship
sponsored by UPS and a Summerfield
scholarship, KU’s premier four-year
scholarship offered to top male
graduates of Kansas high schools.
Wohletz said he learned on the farm
that, “Nothing is impossible; the job
always gets done.” On campus, he
held jobs focused on assisting new or
prospective students. He worked for
three years with KU’s Ambassador
Program in the Office of Admissions,
coordinating 110 student volunteers to
provide campus tours and correspond
Virginia M. “Ginny” Nash, age 78 of Lenexa,
Kansas, died on July 2, 2011, from cancer. She is
the mother of STA faculty member/alumna Lisa
Nash Stoecklein, ’81, and alumni Ann Nash Neal,
’75, and Michael Nash, ’76 (dec). She is also the
grandmother of Maggie Neal, ’11.
not have opportunities for private music
lessons. Wohletz was a member of the
KU Board of Class Officers and served
as vice president of the junior class.
He was a member of the Rock Chalk
Revue advisory board, representing the
non-greek community for the annual
benefit event sponsored by fraternities
and sororities.
A member of the University Honors
Program, Jerry served on the Provost’s
Strategic Planning Committee during
his senior year, providing perspectives
related to admissions, advising and
retention of students.
Following graduation in May, Jerry
moved to Rochester, New York, to begin
working for Hobart and William Smith
Colleges in Geneva, NY (just outside of
Rochester) as a Leadership Fellow with
the Centennial Center for Leadership.
Please contact Cindy Winkler in the STA
Advancement Office at 913-319-2425 or
[email protected] if you would like to
recognize a deceased loved one or submit a
Winter & Spring Sports
Winter Sports
Boys Basketball
Season: 15-10
Regional/Sub State Finish: 1st
League: 8-6, 3rd place
EKL First team: Joe Downey
Coaches: Sean Reilly (head), Rick Allison,
Bill Kolich, Brian White, Chip Ahern, Jude
Girls Basketball
Boys Swimming
Regional Sub State: 7th
League: 6th
Team Record: Daniel Ecklund 500 Free-style
All State: Daniel Ecklund (2nd team)
Coaches: Rick Jenkins (head), Coach
Allisantto (Diving)
Season: 1-0
Regional/Sub State: 4/9th
League: 7th
Team Records: Tommy Williams (takedowns)
EKL First team: Luke Henes, Tommy
Williams, Eric Mason
All State: Eric Mason – State Champ. – Jr.
Coaches: Lorne Parks (head), Andy Leiker,
Tom Williams, Randy Ewing, Larry Parks,
Joe Ibarra (assistant)
Spring Sports
Season: 25-0
Regional/Sub State: 1st place
League: 14-0, 1st place
Team Record: DaShawn Harden - 360 career
steals, 1st all-time; DaShawn Harden - 1243
total points
EKL: DaSahwn Harden, Nelly Weledji
All Sun Country: DaShawn Harden, Nelly
All Metro: Metro Player of the Year – DaShawn
All State: DaShawn Harden
Coaches: Rick Hetzel (head), Bob Harbour,
Justin Wrigley, Angela Cordel (assistant)
Season: 8-14
Regional/Sub State: 2nd Place
League 6th, 5-9
EKL: Clayton Henning (OF)
Coaches: Lorne Parks (head), Brandon
Greeson, Mike Jacobs, Ryan Kinney, John
Hermsen, Bob Specht, Brandon Adams
Boys Golf
Season: 16-5
League record/finish: 6-1;
2nd Place
Regional Sub State: 1st Place/
1st Place
Team Records Broken or Shared: Kelly
Sweeney, 15 assists, 3rd all time: 11th Girls
State Title; 4th fewest goals given up in a
season; 15th Regional Title
EKL: Molly Khoury (Defensive Player of the
Year), Claire Pavlovich, Jordyn Beck, Nicky
All State: Claire Pavlovich, Jordyn Beck, Nicky
Alfonsin, Molly Khoury, Maggie Harrison
Coaches: Craig Ewing (head), Chuck
Hammons, Brian White, Erin Ellefson, Mim
Colwell, Erik Jones (assistant)
Season: 20-5
League: Record/finish: 11-3
Regional: 1st Place
State: 3rd Place
Team Records: Paige Mason, Season Doubles
(14), Brooklin Hinz (Season Runs Scored
EKL: Lauren Thimmesch (IF), Brooklin Hinz
Coaches: Chris Orel (head), Craig
Drummond, Kerri Jennings, Jerry Nosbish,
Stan Spurlin (assistant)
Girls Swimming
The information was not available.
League: 4th Place
Regional/Sub State: 3rd 5A
Regionals, 1st 5A State
Team Records: Low team score (State score)
-284 – Joseph Winslow (66), Cameron
Wiltse (70), Tommy Williams (74), Kevin
Buchanan (74), Jo Stuckenschneider (78),
Max Frederes (87)
Low Individual Score (and State score) –
Joseph Winslow (66) par 72
All State: Joe Winslow, Camber Wiltse,
Tommy Williams, Kevin Buchanan
Coaches: Ryan Best (head), Mark Smith
Girls Soccer
League: 5th Place
EKL: Sara Lopez (1st Place 200 Freestyle)
Coaches: Rick Jenkins (head), Alison Beck
(assistant) and Allison Ho (diving assistant)
Winter & Spring Sports
Boys Tennis
title and 1st singles title
League: 4th Place
Regional/Sub State: 1st Place/
1st Place
Singles: Christian Boschert, Blake Jackson
(title); Doubles teams: Michael Stukel,
Donald Mulvaney (title); David Gier/
Christopher Shinn
All State Academic Team: Christian Boschert
Coaches: Dave Shriver (head), Tim Lillis
Caption Contest
Track and Field
EKL: Girls -3rd Place,
Boys – 7th Place
Regional: Girls - 2nd Place,
Boys – 5th Place
State: Girls – 6th Place,
Boys – 9th Place
Girls State Individual Event Results: Bailee
Cofer – 1600 M Run – 6th place, Betsy
Donahue – 1600 M Run – 12th place, 3200
M Run – 10th place, Kate Drilling – 400 M
Dash – 5th place, 800 M Run – 7th place,
Molly Herbic – 100 M Hurdles – 15th
place, Morgan Hicks – Javelin – 15th place,
Maddie Hopfinger – 3200 M Run – 6th
place, Rachel Mahon – 3200 M Run – 7th
place, Brie Putthoff – 800 M Run – 5th
place, Megan Teahan – Discus – 8th place,
Laynie Timmons – High Jump – 2nd place
(tie), Long Jump – 6th place, Triple Jump
– 3rd place, Girls – Relay results: 4x400
M Relay (Kate Drilling, Kayla Hare, Brie
Putthoff, Anna Sabatini) – 5th place, 4x800
M Relay (Anne Clark, Kate Drilling, Kayla
Hare, Brie Putthoff) – 2nd place.
Boys State Individual Event Results: Tom
Coffin – 1600 M Run – 13th place, Jordan
Kupersmith – Javelin – 10th place, Jack
Luther – 3200 M Run – 13th place, Steven
Radetic – Long Jump – 5th place, Alex
Weitkamp – 800 M Run – 11th place, 1600
M Run – 4th place, 3200 M Run – 2nd
place, Nick Williams – Long Jump – 3rd
place. Boys Relay results: 4x400 M Relay
(Tom Coffin, Lucas Johnson, Dillon Moran,
Bobby Morrie) – 15th place, 4x800 M Relay
(Chris Ernst, Mike Geist, Daniel Robison,
Bryan Zack) – 13th place
Coaches: Craig Moss (head), Darrin Bryant
(pole vault), Rick Hetzel (jumps), Jeff Hicks
(javelin), Greg Wilson (distance), Jim Woods
(throws), Justin Wrigley (distance)
National Letter of Intent Signing
The Saint Thomas Aquinas student athletes listed below signed their National
Letter of Intent. The signings took place Wednesday, February 3, 2011 at 3:00
PM in the Theatre.
“…and then by the time I turned
40, I was down to this tall…”
In the Winter 2011 edition of
Saints Spirit, readers were asked
to submit a caption for the photo
above, taken in June 2010 at Quivira
Lake Golf & Country Club, at the
Class of 1975 35-Year Reunion.
Our winner is Joe Tschirhart,’75,
of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He
explains, “I was at this reunion and
the person doing the hand motion
in the picture, Dennis Klein, was a
classmate of mine. We are all in our
fifties now and beginning to “grow”
in the opposite direction!”
Alex Drew – Fort Scott Community
Katie Brown – Lindenwood University
Dashawn Harden – University of
Richard Davila – University of Central
Joe Winslow – University of Iowa
Isabella Baldacci – Short University
Ali Kruse – Seton Hall University
Nicky Alfonsin – Rockhurst University
Moira Cullings – Benedictine College
Thomas Schermoly – Drake University
Kyle Whigham – Drake University
Lauren Thimmesch – Iowa State
Lauren Ford – Lipscomb University
Sara Rooney – University of Central
Joe wins a $25 gift certificate to
the Saints Spirit Shop.
Trivia Challenge/Mendenhall
Over 325 alumni, current and
alumni parents and friends of
Saint Thomas Aquinas High
School competed for the $1,000
and 1st place honors at the 2nd
Annual Saints Trivia Challenge
on Saturday, January 22, 2011, in
the school’s auxiliary gym. Trivial
PurSaints took home top honors, followed by The
Tailgaters with $750 in 2ndplace prize money, and
Wild, Wild West with the 3rd place $300 purse.
The all-girls STA Happy Hour celebrated as Best
Decorated Table winning $300 for the team!
Mark your calendars for Saturday, February 4,
2012, as Saints Trivia Challenge has become the
event not to be missed!
Alumna Beth Mendenhall, ’08,
named Debater of the Year
Alumna Beth Mendenhall won the national
championship at the 2011 Cross-Examination
Debate Association’s national tournament at
Binghamton University in New York.
She has participated in 55 tournaments
during her college career, and received an award
at nearly all of them. In her first tournament
as a K-State freshman, she competed in JV at
the University of Northern Iowa and was first
speaker, first seed and took first place. She has qualified to the
National Debate Tournament four times which is the maximum
and this year was named a Cross-Examination Debate Association
Debater of the Year and was on the All-American first team.
“She spoke in sentences and learned to read very early,” said
Beth’s mother, Joann Mendenhall. “She was simply trying to
mimic her older brother and sister.” Beth was a voracious reader
with a good vocabulary who as a young child could carry on
conversations with adults.
“Trivial PurSaints” display the 1st Place Traveling Trophy
Tom Waggoner, Teresa Ahrens, Bill & Peggy Ford, Gary
Mellard, Bit Clark, Eileen Clune Forbes, ’92, Susan
Dillingham, Brenden Forbes, Peggy Waggoner, Keith Clark
“STA Happy Hour” wins Best
Decorated Table. Bottom L to
R: Deb Castinado, Becky Mize,
Susan Schilling
Middle row L to R: Elisa
Fernholz, Monica Ahern, Teresa
Reilly, Mary Beth Mecca, Pam
Johnson. Back row: Ellen White
and Rhonda Kelley
Beth will head to Johns Hopkins University to pursue a PhD
in International Relations armed with a degree from Kansas State
University in Political Science and Philosophy and a minor in
Spanish. Long term plans are still undecided, but one thing is
certain – the skills honed from her debate experience will give her
an edge in a broad range of fields.
Asked if she has a winning formula or specific talents that
have made her a good debater, Beth claims that no set of skills is
necessary to debate, except a willingness to learn and try something
“It helps if you are confident, able to speak in public, and don’t
mind arguing for things you don’t believe in,” she adds. “It also
helps if you are interested in politics and/or philosophy, and don’t
mind making points in a structured and logical format. But there
are no rules in debate, except speech times and 2-person teams,
because the “rules” are part of the argument – you must argue that
a team has violated a rule, and that that rule should be enforced.
So debate allows for all types of expression, including poetry,
music, and traditional policy argumentation.”
Beth’s success with Debate coincides with Saint Thomas Aquinas
High School winning this year’s state title in Debate. A key factor
is Debate Coach Steve DuBois who refers to his students as the
future world leaders. And as for Beth, he describes her as a “very
self-directed and intellectual” person.
Beth is quick to praise her coach and debate experience at Saint
Thomas Aquinas referring to it as incredible.
Alumni-group “Run for the Roses” sets the table for a fun evening
John Kratofil, ‘97, Erica Thesing Kratofil, ‘97, John Koehnecke,
Kate Kratofil Koehnecke, ‘93, John Menghini, ‘94, Jennifer Ruhl
Menghini, ’93, Bob Owens, ’97, Jennifer Owens, ‘97, Katie
Olson Tholkes, ’93, Steve Tholkes.
“Our coach (Steve DuBois) absolutely cultivated my love for
debate . . . Many of the other freshmen debaters at K-State had to
be taught basic elements of research and argumentation, but I had
received a thorough and advanced training from Mr. DuBois at
STA that I have never forgotten.
Old School
All-Years Reunion
Friday Night, September 23, 2011
Saints Pub & Patio
9720 Quivira Road
Overland Park, Kansas
8 p.m. ++ (some reunions begin earlier)
And/or after the Homecoming Football
Game at Saint Thomas Aquinas
No RSVP Needed!
No Cover Charge!
Drink Specials! *
Great Dinner Menu! *
DJ Begins at 10 p.m.!
*Pay for what you order.
Class of 1961
50-Year “Gold Medal Club” Reunion
Saturday, October 1, 2011
5 p.m. Mass
St. Joseph Church
11311 Johnson Drive
Shawnee, Kansas
6:30 p.m.
Dinner Celebration & Gold Medal Club
Mission Hills Country Club
5400 Mission Drive
Mission, Kansas
$40 per person; guests welcome; cash bar.
A representative from Project Talent* will also
be in attendance.
*For more information, go to
Questions and Reservations to:
Stephen Sullivan
Sanctuary of Hope
2601 Ridge Avenue
Kansas City, Kansas 66102-4617
[email protected]
Class of 1956
Class of 2001
Friday, September 23, 2011
Saints Pub & Patio
7:00 p.m.*
9720 Quivira Road
Overland Park, Kansas
No admission; pay for what you order.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
7:00 p.m.
Coach’s South
14893 Metcalf
Overland Park, Kansas
NO RSVP needed; pay for what you order.
*All-Years Reunion to begin after the
Homecoming Game at Saints Pub.
Please check in at the Class of 1956 table!
Sunday, October 23
Join us for a Family Picnic! Details to come.
55-Year Reunion
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Luncheon & Gold Medal Club Pinning
2:00 p.m.
Hereford House
17244 Midland Drive
Shawnee, Kansas
For more information and to RSVP: Margie
VanNieuwenhuyse Miller, 913-631-7965
Class of 1996
15-Year Reunion
Friday, September 23, 2011
Homecoming BBQ Tailgate
STA Commons
5:00-6:30 p.m.
Families welcome!
Special seating for the Class of 1996!
Pre-paid reservations required:
Saints Pub & Patio
8:00 p.m.*
9720 Quivira Road
Overland Park, Kansas.
No RSVP needed; pay for what you order.
*All-Years Reunion to begin after the
Homecoming Game at Saints Pub & Patio.
Please check in at the Class of 1996 table!
Class members should update their mail and
email information on the STA website at www.
stasaints.net. Look for updates on Facebook:
“Saint Thomas Aquinas Alumni - Overland
Park, KS” and “Saint Thomas Aquinas (STA)
Class of 1996.”
For more information, contact Colleen Bolin
Hochberg at [email protected]
10-Year Reunion
Send questions and inquiries to:
[email protected]
Members of the planning committee are
Carrie Furman O’Donnell, Emily Wiedeman
Creal, Alison Darby Boddicker, Mandy
Stanley Menghini, Caitlin Faddis Ginestra and
Stephanie Frost.
Class members should update their mail and
email information on the STA website at
www.stasaints.net. Look for updates on
Facebook: “Saint Thomas Aquinas Alumni
- Overland Park, KS” and “Saint Thomas
Aquinas (STA) Class of 2001.”
Class of 2006
Save the Date
5-Year Reunion
Friday, September 23, 2011
For more information, contact Rebecca Eads at
[email protected]
Members of classes
ending in “1”
or “6”
If you are interested in organizing
your reunion yet this year, please
contact the STA Advancement Office
at 913-319-2425! We can help you get
started, provide a class-list to you, and
send out an advance mailing.
Simple solution: You can always
reserve a table at the Homecoming
All-Years Reunion on Friday evening,
September 23, at Saints Pub & Patio –
97th & Quivira in Overland Park!
Please update your mailing address at
Non-Profit Organization
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School
11411 Pflumm Road
Overland Park, Kansas 66215-4816
25th Year Calendar of Events Inside
Ryan Best Selected Girls Golf
National Coach of the Year
The National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA)
announced its selections as National High School Coaches of the
Year for 2011.
It is the 12th year the NHSCA has honored these achievers
in the high school coaching community nationwide. This year’s
recipients, selected in a total of 20 boys and girls sports, are from
17 different states.
While these coaches represent a multitude of different
backgrounds, they exhibit a common theme: a strong dedication to
supporting and developing high school student-athletes.
“The coaches we are honoring today are outstanding examples
for successful high school coaches in their sports,” NHSCA
executive director Bob Ferraro Jr. said. “They place a high value on
the teamwork skills their players learn for success in the classroom
and on the field, and we are proud to be honoring them.”
Ryan Best holds an interesting dual role at Saint Thomas
Aquinas. He is the chairman of the Theology Department…and
has been the coach of the boys golf team since 1997 and the girls
golf team since 1999. He has held numerous campus ministry
positions, including director of the KAIROS Retreat Program,
and has coached basketball at the school in addition to golf. Last
fall, Best guided the Saints girls golf team to a state-record fourth
consecutive team title, shooting a state-record score of 303 to win
the 5A title by 66 strokes. It was
Best’s fifth girls statec hampionship,
his first coming in 2002. He also
has had one of his girls golfers win
medalist honors six times, including
each of the past five seasons. The
Kansas coaches Association named
Best Girls Coach of the Year in 2003.
Best’s boys teams have qualified for
state every year of his tenure, and
broke through to win back-to-back
5A titles in 2007 and 2008, to go
with five state runnerup finishes, two third-place finishes, two
fourth-place finishes and a sixth-place finish. In 2011 the boys
team broke a school and state record shooting 284 (4 under par)
to win the class 5A title by 12 strokes. He has coached four boys to
state medalist honors, and nearly 20 of his golfers have gone on to
earn college scholarships. Best was guest speaker at the National
High School Golf Association annual conference in 2007 and also
created and directed “Golf for the Soul,” a summer golf retreat
program for players of all ages. Best played basketball and golf at
Benedictine University in Atchison, Kan. and earned a master’s
degree from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas.
Courtesy of the NHSCA website

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