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Thursday, May 25th,  2017 *  Volume 14  *  Issue 42

Dear Parents and Friends of St. Benedict Prep:

We've been treated to week of celebrating accomplishments! Congrats to Girls on the Run 5K runners! Congrats to all our dancers who participated in YDA recital this past weekend. We had Honors Ceremonies for High School, Middle School and Elementary School this week. Last night we celebrated our Strings and Band Concerts in the GYM. If you missed the concerts, they were streamed live on from our Facebook Page. You can check it out here at  (I think people can view regardless of whether or not they have joined Facebook - enjoy!) We are proud of our strings and band students, as well as all our award recipients, dancers and runners. It is such a privilege to celebrate all that is good at St. Benedict! 

On a serious note, I would like to remind our parents and guardians who drive to school in the morning to be mindful of the safety of everyone commuting to and from school. I've received two complaints in the past two weeks - one about a regular occurrence of people blowing through stop signs, particularly within a two block radius of the school. Additionally, I received a complaint about people cutting through the alley just south of our driveway between Bell and Leavitt. These driving choices create an unsafe situation for people commuting on foot. Let us as a community strive to be good neighbors to all those around us and practice safe, courteous driving. 

There are about 10 days of school left...but who's counting? There's a lot left to do before the year ends so hang on to your hats! But we don't close for summer...this place is always hopping!  We do offer summer camps here for early childhood and primary, as well as athletic camps for elementary and middle school. See below for more details. 

And don't forget - Summer at St. Ben's only means ONE THING - BENFEST! It is officially BenFest season. We kick off in a fun way on May 31st! Students may come out of uniform and wear Blue, Orange, BenFest Shirts from the past or Bengal Spirit Wear...if they get caught dressed like that...there may be a special surprise after school! Keep your eyes out!

Have a very blessed weekend and enjoy the extra day! 

Here are a few more news items and updates below:    

  • BENFEST NEWS...we are ready to kick off! BenFest Spirit Day is May 31st - read more below
  • Father Jason Farewell Gathering June 4th - Invite and Info Below
  • Changes to the High School Entrance Exam for Rising 8th graders 
  • Changes to the Administration Team for 2017-18 
  • Welcome to our NEW SBPS School Advisory Board Members 
  • Summer Camp Information - Early Childhood, athletic camps and Summer Dance camps 
  • Tentative School Calendar Dates for the 2017-18 School Year
  • Youth Ministry Summer Opportunities - SAVE THE DATE!
  • How to Order the Gray Embroidered Fleece  
  • Last Chance to order the Elementary School Grades 1-5 yearbook - see details below

Peace to you, 

Ms. Rachel Gemo, Head of Parish School

Changes in the 2017-18 School Year Administration Team

We have been blessed to have the same administration team in tact for the past seven years as we created the "one-school" St. Benedict Preparatory School PK-12 under the strategic plan, "Vision of Excellence 2016." I've been honored to collaborate and create along side Rachel Waldron, Nancy Feely, Erika Mickelburgh, Joe Accardi, and Mike Kendrick as we have tried to grow the college prep culture and program since 2010. In light of the new mission articulation given our new strategic plan, Reaching New Heights, as well as changes in personal circumstances, there will be some changes in next year's team. I'm only capturing a small snap shot of what is to come, and encourage you all to come to next week's town hall meetings if you can. If not, more will be coming out with our State of the School Address.

Rachel Waldron will continue to serve as the Head of Early Childhood. She always says she has the “perfect job” which matches her own interests and talents and I couldn’t agree more.

Erika Mickelburgh will oversee the High School program and help with its two-year phase out plan and serve as our Director of High School Transition. She wants to see the high school students’ experience and education through to the conclusion of this ministry. We know she will attend to the needs for programming and college prep along with the teachers and staff, and cares deeply about this difficult process.

Mary Deletioglu will serve as Interim Head of Middle School for the coming school year. She is our current secondary school math department chair and has been a math teacher here with us for seven years. She is currently working on her Educational Leadership degree at DePaul University and completing the principal preparation program. She has demonstrated a keen understanding of young adolescents as well as curriculum, and will help us continue to building on the strength of our middle school programming as we create a unique and highly-successful middle school.

Nancy Feely will conclude her eleven years here at St. Benedict Preparatory School, successfully serving as the Head of Elementary School for the past seven. After much thought, Mrs. Feely has decided not to return next school year as Head of Elementary School.  With three boys under the age of five, she looks forward to spending time with them.  We thank her for the eleven years of service as a teacher and administrator at SBPS. We are currently looking for the right candidate to fill Mrs. Feely’s shoes. We will certainly find an appropriate "send off" for her. We will pray for Mrs. Feely as she begins this new chapter of her life. 

Joe Accardi will continue to serve in the Mission Advancement Office. There are changes coming to this area of our operations and more information will be coming soon. Mr. Accardi has a lot to offer St. Ben's and this has been clearly acknowledged when he was honored with the Heart of the School Award from the Archdiocese of Chicago. (see below).

Michael Kendrick has served as our high school dean and athletic director for the past two years. He has been learning about educational leadership through his principal preparation at Loyola University. Mr. Kendrick, too, will be moving on at the end of this year. He accepted a principal position at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Wilmette and will be beginning his new path in Catholic education. He has served us well and we will pray for him in his new role. 

Catholic High School Entrance Exam Date Changes to December 2, 2017 

Superintendent of Chicago Catholic Schools, Dr. Jim Rigg, has asked us to send out this communication below regarding the High School Entrance Exam Date change for next year's 8th graders. Please note this change in your calendars. Thank you! We hope all our students test at a Catholic School in December 2017. 

Click here for PDF of memo

Warm weather and summer is right around the corner and that means so is BenFest 2017!

Mark your calendars for July 14th-16th for St. Ben’s annual BenFest!  We know you are counting down the days until let's begin the celebration early by having a BenFest Spirit Day!  Join us on May 31st and wear Blue or Orange in honor of BenFest!  You may also dress in Bengal Spirit Wear.  Keep your eyes open after school for a BenFest surprise!  We're hoping its a sunny day!

WELCOME AND THANK YOU! We are pleased to introduce our 2017-18 SBPS School Advisory Board

Welcome to the new advisory board members who will serve a 3-year term starting in August 2017!

- Megan Biggam (Strategic Planning)

- Elizabeth Zakaras (Finance Chair)

- Beka Kohmescher (Finance)

- Dean Evans (Technology)

- Jenny Hoban (Academic Excellence)

- Erich Parker (Marketing/Communications)

Welcome to our new committee members that will serve a 1 year term starting in August!

- Carrie Tracey (Academic Excellence)

- Annie Beach (Catholic Identity)

- Anne-Marie Finger (Catholic Identity)

- Robyn Parker (Development

- Mike Dzamba (Facilities)

Thank you to those board members who served and are rolling off their 3 year term

- Aileen Blake (Chair)

- Rachel Combs (Secretary)

- Mike Hart (Finance)

- Jamee Insko (Development)

- Peg McLaughlin (Academic Excellence)


Current Board Members

- Tim Urguhart (Chair)

- Becky Hauman (Vice Chair & Strategic Planning)

- Karla Stearns (Marketing & Communications & Secretary)

- Pat Patras (Academic Excellence) 

- Gina Hortasos (Catholic Identity) 

- Bill Yankowski (Development)

- Jose Ronchetta (Facilities)

- Julie Rothweiler (Marketing & Communications)

- Ron Wojcik (Technology)

- Alan Johnson (Technology)

For updated information on the advisory board and all of our work please see our page in the Buzz or click here. 

Crawford Supply showcases St. Benedict
K-12th grade Students artwork
May - August, 2017

Crawford Supply is hosting an art show featuring St. Benedict student artwork called, "Celebrate the Future". The artwork from Kindergarten through 12th grade students will be on display from May through August, 2017. Crawford Supply hosted a reception for the artists and their families on Wednesday, May 17th. Visit the Crawford Showroom at 3924 N. Lincoln Avenue to see the beautiful display of student artwork. The photos are from the artists' reception and include photos of students, families, teachers, Crawford staff and student artwork.

Summer Camp 2017

We will once again be offering summer camp for the summer of 2017.  Weekly theme-based summer camps will be offered for students who are currently enrolled in Preschool through Second Grade.  (stay tuned for more options from 3-Point Athletics for older students).

Current Preschool students (children were 3 on or before September 1, 2016) will have weekly themed camps beginning June 19th - August 4th.  (Please note that the week of July 4th will be a three-day camp week)

  • June 19-23 - Western Round-Up
  • June 26-30 - Fun in the Sun
  • July 3 - 7 (Camp is only 3 days this week) - Sports Extravaganza
  • July 10-14 - Space is the Place
  • July 17-21 - Construction/Tools
  • July 24-28 - Land Before Time
  • July 31 - August 4 - Animal Planet

Current Kindergarten-2nd Grade students will have weekly themed camps offered beginning June 19th-July 14th and July 24th-August 4th.  There will be Totus Tuus camp offered during the week of July 17th-21st.  (Please note that the week of July 4th will be a three-day camp week)

  • June 19-23 - Gardening
  • June 26-30 - Fun in the Sun
  • July 3 - 7 (Camp is only 3 days this week) - Sports Extravaganza
  • July 10-14 - Space is the Place
  • July 17-21 - Totus Tuus
  • July 24-28 - Land Before Time
  • July 31 - August 4 - Animal Planet


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Yvonne's Dance Academy is excited to offer TWO Summer Dance Programs for 2017!

Summer Dance Camp is open to Bitty - Level 2 dancers and starts on June 19th! Join us for one day ($60) or full week ($300) sessions at our IPR studio location (1733 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60613.) Available Monday through Friday, drop off at 8am, camp is in session from 8:30am-11:30am. SDC is offered for the following weeks this summer: 

SDC Week 1: June 19-23
SDC Week 2: June 26-30
SDC Week 3: August 7-11

YDA Summer Intensives are open to Level 2+ dancers! Sign up your dancer for Monday through Thursday sessions ($240) of Ballet, Contemporary & Hip-Hop. From 4-7pm at our IPR studio location (1733 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60613.) Dancers will prepare for a small, informal performance for family and friends following each 4-day session. These performances will take place at our IPR studio on the Thursday of each session from 7:30-8PM.*** Any current or prospective ELITE TEAM member must sign up for any TWO Summer Intensive sessions ***Summer Intensives are offered for the following weeks:  

Intensive Session 1: June 12-15
Intensive Session 2: June 19-22
Intensive Session 3: June 26-29
Intensive Session 4: July 31- Aug 3
Intensive Session 5: Aug 7 - Aug 10

We look forward to dancing with you this summer! Register today via classjuggler

Totus Tuus is Returning! July 16-21

St Benedict Summer Catechetical Youth and Teen Program is scheduled for Sunday-Thursday, July 16-20 for  grades 7-12 from 7:00-9:00pm and Monday-Friday, July 17-21 for grades 1-6 from 9:00am-2:30pm. 
Join the summer fun! For more information contact Nancy Uczen at

Important Dates for the 2017-18 School Year - SCHOOL CALENDAR 


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Are You Looking for the Gray SBPS Embroidered Fleece?

Is it time to replace your child's Gray fleece?  Families may be looking for where to order the SBPS GRAY FLEECE Jackets.   Look no further...  We know these gray fleeces are HOT items because they are still part of the uniform code for grades K-8.  We are pleased to announce that the HS Parent Network will be organizing Gray Fleece Sales out of the secondary school office. Proceeds will go to support the programs of the HS Parent Network (think HSA for grades 9-12).  You can send in your order forms to the secondary school office any time. No shipping charges....get them now while you can. Grades preschool, high school and parents can purchase them and use them for spirit wear and cold weather wear outside the school day.

Click here for the order form.        

2016 Elementary School Yearbooks - It's not too late to order, but get your orders in soon! 


Yearbooks for students in grades Kindergarten through 5th are still available. New orders will be delivered to your home. Please contact with any questions. 

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Please pray for our families this coming Holiday Weekend that they receive the gift of time to relax with families and friends. Also, let us give thanks to God for all those who served or who are serving in our armed forces. May God keep our troops safe during these turbulent times.