St. Mary’s Softball Heads to Italy

Win the Monsignor Martin League Championship.  Check.  Go to New York City to compete in the state championships.  Check.  Have some members of the team travel to Italy; meet the Pope at the Vatican; see Rome, Venice, and all of the culture and beauty these places offer; and play some exhibition games against actual Italian National Teams.  Check.  The St. Mary’s Softball Program has been on quite the ride the past few months.

Some members of the team and their families have just returned from a week abroad in Italy.   Most people in Italy for the first time head right to the beach or hit the closest restaurant, but the St. Mary’s student athletes “did” Italy a little differently.  The Lancers participated in a day of community service, attended Mass at Duomo diForli, and topped it all off with an audience with the Pope at the Vatican.  As many as seven in the St. Mary’s group were blessed or touched by the Holy Father.  St. Mary’s Head of School, Kevin Kelleher, who also went on the trip with the program, was thrilled to see the girls so excited: “To be that close to Pope Francis was truly awe-inspiring.  He radiated goodness and peace,” Kelleher said.  “And for our kids to actually be blessed or touched by the Pope, to experience something like that, is something that will stay with them for years to come.”

Erin Hufford, a member of St. Mary’s Class of 2017 and the Monsignor Martin Softball Player of the Year was one of the members of the team who was close enough to be touched by the Pope: “He is such a gentle, kind man.  To be able to receive that type of blessing from Pope Francis, himself, is a life-changing thing.  It is something I will be telling my grandkids about years from now,” Hufford said.

The softball program has been planning this trip for a full year.  Mike Rappl, first-year coaching mentor at St. Mary’s and long-time legendary Canisius College softball coach, used to take his Canisius teams to Italy to play games against completely new competition and experience all the country offers.  He saw it fitting to continue the tradition at St. Mary’s: “When I started at St. Mary’s this year, I quickly realized how great this group of girls is.  I thought that involving them and their families in this type of trip could give them a true once-in-a-lifetime type of experience and really give them a sense of confidence that only an experience like this can provide,” he said.  Rappl ʻ71 is a St. Mary’s High School alumnus and member of the school’s athletic hall of fame.

While in Italy, the team also saw the mountainous Republic of San Marino, took in the beauty and history of Rome, rode gondolas in the canals of Venice, and joined in a dance party in the local Forli Square.  Aside from these new places and experiences, a part of the trip that stuck out for many of the girls was the opportunity to meet Italian softball players.  They may not have been able to speak English, but the teams were still able to communicate through their bond over the game of softball: “We may have not been able to understand a lot of what each other was saying, but we still shared so many laughs and stories about softball,” Hufford said. “We shared meals with the Italian teams and exchanged gifts with them.  We even met former Italian Olympic softball players.  It was, hands down, one of the most amazing experiences of my life!”

Coach Rappl echoes Hufford’s sentiments about the power sports can have in bringing people together: “I wanted them to see what the game of softball can do for them – where it can take them,” he said. “Softball has taken me all over the world, so to organize a trip like this for these girls is my way of giving back to a sport that has given me so much.”

Kelleher hopes these student athletes got everything out of this experience they could: “At St. Mary’s, we want our students to get real-world experiences to go along with the academics.  What type of real-world experience is better than this – doing the community service, exposure to different languages and cultures, and meeting the Pope?  On this Italian adventure, we wanted them to see all they could, to really soak up this experience, and to open their eyes to things they’ve never experienced before.”

Class of 2017 Marian Award Winner Featured in Bee

Class of 2017 alumna and Marian Award Winner, Anna Heerdt, was featured in the August 3, 2017 issue of the Lancaster/Depew Bee.  The article discusses Anna’s love for community service, her broad array of talents, and the impact she had on St. Mary’s.  We know one thing is for sure, she will be missed around these halls, along with her other classmates, in the Fall!  Congratulations, Anna!

You can read the full story here.

Help St. Mary’s “Beef up” Some Support

 

Starting August 25, 2017, St. Mary's will hold the first in a series of meat raffles to support the Athletics Department and other groups in the school.  Each month, teams, clubs, the arts, or other St. Mary's groups will have the opportunity to host a raffle at the school.  The proceeds from each individual meat raffle will support the group that hosted it that month.  A $5 ticket gets you in the door with access to pop, water, and snacks.  Doors will open at 6:00 pm, with the first raffle beginning at 7:00 pm.  Additional prizes and raffles may be available and is up to the discretion of the hosting team.

The Women's Volleyball Team will be the first ones up, as they host the meat raffle on August 25th.  We ask not only volleyball fans, but the whole Lancer Family, to attend as many of these raffles as you wish.  We can promise a fun-filled night, and hopefully a little something to put on the grill Labor Day weekend!
 
For tickets or more information, please contact Zach Weiss at zweiss@smhlancers.org.  So, let's "beef up" the support, and we hope to see you there!
 

St. Mary’s Receives Three Buffalo News Prep Talk Award Nominations

St. Mary’s received THREE nominations for The Buffalo News Prep Talk Awards on June 14, 2017.  The Women’s Volleyball Team was nominated for Team of the Year, Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Don Pieczynski for Coach of the Year, and the entire St. Mary’s Athletic Department, including all of our teams, for Program of the Year! Our Lancers are remarkable!

The Prep Talk Awards took place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Buffalo, where the volleyball team and Coach Pieczynski were in attendance along with St. Mary’s Athletic Director Brittany Heist.

Take a look at the article from The Buffalo News for all of the details: http://bit.ly/2ss3Qsj

St. Mary’s Team of the Year and Coach of the Year Nominees with former Buffalo Bills great Fred Jackson 

St. Mary’s Ranks 9th in Business First Poll of WNY High Schools

St. Mary’s is thrilled to take its place as one of the top 10 high schools in Western New York, according to Buffalo Business First’s rankings.  Measuring students’ abilities in English, Math, Science, and Social Studies based off of Regents exam scores, Business First complies a yearly ranking of 135 high schools in Western New York.  St. Mary’s also moves up 5 spots from last year’s ranking.

For the complete list of high schools, you can read the full story here.

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Photo from Buffalo Business First at http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2017/06/08/hswny.html#g3.

Chris Griswold Memorial Run Recap

The 25th annual Chris Griswold Memorial Run on May 20th was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who came out- SMH students and faculty, alumni, members of the Lancaster community, friends, and those who just love to run. Can’t wait for next year!

 

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Prom is as Star-Studded as a Night in Hollywood

 

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On May 18th, St. Mary’s held their annual Junior-Senior Prom.  This year’s event was at Acqua on Niagara Street.  The beautiful venue on the river was the perfect setting for a night to remember. After walking through the receiving line of faculty, administration, and Board members, the students found their tables, had dinner, and then spent the night on the dance floor!

Prom CourtPhoto Credit: Dan Rosati

Of course, no Prom is complete without the crowning of the Court!  In Lancerville, Matt Ciezki and Danielle Norton were named Prince and Princess and Matt Pietrzak and Gina Appenheimer were named King and Queen.

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Student Senate Gives Back to Women and Children’s Hospital

St. Mary’s High School’s Student Senate completed their year-long service project this week and delivered the fruits of their labor to Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. The students chose to hand-make 50 blankets so that newborns can go home from the hospital safe and warm!

 

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Here are Collin Tytka ’17 and Ryan Tytka ’18 with Sue from Child Life Services at the entrance to Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.