Wednesday afternoon as St. Rita students were changing classes and going to lunch, the St. Rita chapel foyer filled with over 50 alumni, young and old, to the monthly “Ritaman” luncheon. St. Rita, a college preparatory school established in 1905, has thrived on the Southside of Chicago for 107 years. The school continues to be rooted in their Augustinian faith and strives to reach their mission to provide the necessary skills for college and life in an all-boys environment.
The Ritaman is held once a month at the school and is put on by Tom Ramsden and the Advancement Office. The purpose of this luncheon is to bring back all alumni that are 40 years removed from graduation back to campus to give them an update on the happenings of the school, but most importantly, to bring these men back together to share their St. Rita experiences. 64 years of Rita alumni were in attendance including Gene McGrail ’41 and Bill Heaney ’05, a member of the St. Rita advancement team. “It’s an amazing experience to be able to speak to alumni from that far back and to hear the stories they have to tell,” Heaney stated. “It proves that the mission at St. Rita is still strong in these men because they speak with such great pride about their time here.”
The afternoon is filled with lunch, laughs, and a lot of storytelling. Fr. Erwin Dodge opened the lunch with a prayer and short sermon about the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary. After that the 50+ in attendance enjoyed a meal catered by Countryhouse. After lunch, head football coach, Todd Kuska gave the alumni an update on the state of the program and the men were wowed by the fact that there are over 220 students in the football program. After coach Kuska, newly appointed Director of Augustinian Mission, Fr. Rich Young O.S.A. ’82 gave a brief description of his goals in his new role. He explained that faith and community are the mainstays in his mission and he is looking forward to continuing the great tradition of religious teaching at St. Rita.
Lastly, President Ernie Mrozek ‘71 spoke to the alumni about enrollment and recruiting and shared the good news that the number of students the school currently enrolls is higher than the original projections. “This is a true testament to our hard working Admissions Office and everyone in the building who takes an active role in recruiting,” Mrozek stated.
The tradition of pride and excellence is alive and well at St. Rita High School and it shines through the alumni. 64 years of graduates coming together to share their past and current experiences with each other speaks volumes of the state of the school and the Augustinian faith. It was truly another great day for St. Rita.
The next Ritaman luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 12:00pm in the St. Rita Chapel foyer.