Welcome Back to School!

St. Mary’s finished the 2020-21 school year completely in-person 5 days a week. As the school begins the 2021-22 school year, they’re ready to hit the ground running and put the necessary policies and procedures in place to have a safe, successful, and fun school year. You can red more about the school’s reopening plan here:

2021-2022 Reopening Plan

Graduation Returns to Campus

After the Class of 2020 held their graduation at the Drive-In, St. Mary’s was able to bring back its 117th Commencement Ceremony to campus for the Class of 2021. It felt like a victory for these seniors after a year of so much change and uncertainty. Congratulations, graduates!

St. Mary’s Holds In-Person Prom

After months of waiting, St. Mary’s Juniors and Seniors were finally able to hold a school dance – the 2021 Prom – masked edition! Students were able to have a fun, safe night in the Athletic Center decked out to look beautiful by the hardworking moderators.

St. Mary’s Announces Members of National Honor Society

After a thorough review of the application materials submitted by those students who were nominated for candidacy to the Marian Chapter of the National Honor Society at St. Mary’s High School, the Faculty Council has granted admittance to the following students:


Christina Kocol

Nicole Norton

Eric Pfalzer

Allison Shepard


 Ryan Slade


Ethan Agustyniak

Dallas Beeman

Jack Bojarski

Shay Ciezki

Frances Colby

Kamryn DeMarzio

Anna Dovey

Isabella Farina

Riley Faso

Gabriella Gambino

Michael Georger

Dakota Gorny

Dylan Gurnari

Erin Hayes

Ava Hickok

Carly Howard

Jordan Hummel

Grace Kicinski

Natalie Kupczyk

Courtney Kurkowiak

Matthew Larroque

Lily Lauck

Grace LaVarnway

Bridget Martin

Jeffrey Martin

Hailey Miller

Grace Monheim

Aidan Murty

Shae O’Rourke

Charlotte Pawli

Katherine Sieber

Jacqueline Simpson

Leah Wierzbowski

Aloise Wipperman

Hannah Wolf


Be sure to keep an eye out for our virtual induction ceremony at the end of this month!

Congratulations to all of our new members! We can’t wait to see all you will accomplish!

Head of School Grants Extra Week of Christmas Vacation

December 9, 2020


As I reflect back on the last 100 days or so since the start of the 2020-2021 school year, the one word that continues to be at the forefront of my mind is pride.  I am well aware that I have begun to sound like a broken record, but I truly could not be more proud of the entire St. Mary’s Community.  Due to the virtues of diligence and cooperation that have been on display since the start of the school year, I am more than content with the knowledge that we have provided more face time and in-person instruction than any school in Western New York and likely throughout New York State.  These virtues have been witnessed in every member of the St. Mary’s Family from our students to our parents to our faculty and our staff.  For all of you, I am ever grateful.

With the above thoughts in mind, coupled with the rise in COVID positive cases throughout Erie County, I have decided that the St. Mary’s High School Community has earned some time to heal, rest, relax and enjoy the gift of family.  To do this properly, we will be extending our Christmas break, and this Friday, December 11th, will be our last day of classes, in-person or virtual, until we resume after winter break on Monday, January 4th.

I ask you to remember that there are also some personal reasons for us to embark on a lengthened break.  Some very important people in the St. Mary’s Family will still need you to send a ton of positive vibes their way.  I ask that you continue to pray for the health and recovery of Mr. Ard as he fights his battle against COVID-19.  I also ask that you keep the Junik Family in your thoughts and prayers, as Emily continues her courageous fight against breast cancer.  Please do not lose sight of the power of prayer during this Christmas Season.  Enjoy your time, enjoy your families, and stay safe!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  As always, Go Lancers, and keep the faith!


Kevin Kelleher

Head of School

St. Mary’s High School

St. Mary’s Night in the Village Is Huge Success


On Thursday, December 3rd and Thursday, December 10th, St. Mary's took to the village of Lancaster to shop local and show support for the revitalization of the village and new West Main Street project.

St. Mary's High School and Elementary School families were encouraged to visit the participating shops on Central Avenue in the village from 5-9 p.m., which is much later than the shops' normal shopping hours. The nights brought several families who haven't been in the Village in quite some time down to the area to experience all of the boutique shops to get some Christmas shopping done. Santa Clause himself even made appearances and greeted shoppers, and the St. Mary's High School Varsity Chorus sang carols outside the Lancaster Opera House to add to the Christmas Spirit.

St. Mary's is looking forward to continuing this partnership with the Village of Lancaster as work continues! We are excited for the future!

Check out some high lights from the night!

St. Mary’s Takes Proactive Steps to Ensure In-Person Learning

In accordance with the ever-changing guidelines set by NYS and Erie County concerning the standards to offer in-person instruction to students, St. Mary’s High School opened its doors to students, faculty, and staff to resume in-person learning on Monday, November 30th.

A mass testing plan was implemented on November 28th and 29th of over 600 students, faculty, and staff members in conjunction with St. Mary’s Elementary School. All students who tested negative were welcomed back to school on Monday, November 30th. Students who opted out of testing or received a positive result were able to switch to the school’s remote learning model for the time being.

St. Mary’s knows the importance of in-person learning and has been as proactive to ensure students can attend school in a safe environment: “We have been closely monitoring the increasing COVID-19 cases in our area over the past several weeks, just like every other school,” said Kevin Kelleher, St. Mary’s Head of School.  “We strongly believe that there is no substitution for in-person learning and have been able to provide that to our students since the beginning of the school year due in part to the policies we have put into place.”  He continued to say that, “the proof that our safe practices are working can be seen in the testing results. After testing the entire population, we had a less than a 2% positivity rate.”

Providing a safe environment is just one piece of the puzzle, as Kelleher went on to say, “…Our faculty has been leading the charge to support best practices amongst our students. Realizing that for various reasons some families may not feel comfortable with in-person learning, our faculty has been very accommodating, and we currently have every class available online in real-time. This way, students who are learning remotely can maintain their individual schedules.” Mr. Kelleher also stated that “the second piece of the puzzle has been the support we have received from our families. They make sure our students continue safe practices while away from the school, which has been a great help to all of us.” Mr. Kelleher closed by stating that “Going forward, St. Mary’s High School will continue our best practices, we will continue to test, and most importantly, we will continue to provide in-person learning in accordance with the guidelines provided.“

Mary Ann Esposito ’60 Chosen to Make Tribute Dish for Dr. Fauci

Mary Ann Esposito, native of Depew NY and chef/host of Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito, America’s longest-running television cooking series, has been asked to create a dish honoring Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 45th Anniversary Gala.

The NIAF’s 2020 Leonardo da Vinci Award for Leadership in Health and Science will be presented live to Dr. Fauci during the virtual gala on Saturday, Oct. 31st.

Chef Esposito will share the tribute recipe – Fettucine Fauci ai Funghi Freschi – in a video during the gala’s pre-show festivities, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Guests are then encouraged to make the dish at home. The recipe is available at ciaoitalia.com.

Chef Esposito will be joined on-screen by Dr. Fauci and other honorees and supporters including Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Andrea Bocelli, Francis Ford Coppola, Tony Bennett, Al Pacino, Alan Alda, Michael Douglas, Patti LuPone, Isabella Rossellini, Mike Piazza, Franco Harris, and Frankie Valli.

Chef Esposito has been involved with NIAF for the past 15 years, promoting the history, recipes and joy of Italian regional food. Her fans can see her when she makes her triumphant return to Buffalo in Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito Returns Home, which will be run by her alma mater, St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster, NY. “Everyone at St Mary’s is anticipating Mary Ann’s return to the school for this event April 24 & 25, 2021,” stated Mark Tramont VP of Institutional Advancement.  “This event will have Mary Ann on stage providing a cooking demonstration of a meal while a group of area chefs will be preparing that meal for the attendees. Afterwards entertainment will be provided by the Bobby Militello Quartet.” Tickets and further details are available at smhlancers.org (this event will adhere to required social distancing protocol for everyone’s safety and enjoyment).

Get Tickets Here!

Chef Esposito grew up in Depew, NY, she and her husband, Dr. Guy Esposito, are graduates of St. Mary’s High School, Lancaster class of 1960.

Ciao Italia has been aired on PBS for 30 years, making it the longest-running nationally televised cooking show today. In addition to PBS, Ciao Italia is now available on Amazon Prime Video. Mary Ann’s recipe’s are available in one of her 14 cookbooks including her latest Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Adventures in Italy. www.ciaoitalia.com

More about Mary Ann Esposito:

Mary Ann is a graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster, NY, received her Bachelor’s Degree from Rosary Hill College (Daemen College) and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of New Hampshire. Johnson and Wales University presented Mary Ann with their Distinguished Author Award. St. Anselm College conferred an honorary doctorate for her dedication to teaching and preserving authentic Italian cuisine.

Numerous organizations have recognized Mary Ann for her efforts to preserve the traditions surrounding Italian regional food and culture. She received the Order of the Star of Italy Cavaliere award from the President of the Italian Republic as well as the Premio Artusi award for her work in promoting Italian food. The Italian Trade Commission further distinguished Mary Ann by naming her a Hall of Fame honoree. The Order Sons of Italy in America honored Mary Ann with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Culinary & Cultural Arts of Italy award.

For more information regarding Mary Ann please contact:

Chris Esposito


St. Mary’s High School, Lancaster, NY– Founded in 1904, St. Mary’s has been preparing its students to achieve success for 116 years. A community of over 400 students and faculty, it continues a tradition of scholarship in the footsteps of countless alumni, parents, friends and supporters.

Today, we are proud to be a private, Catholic, college-preparatory school offering an outstanding education in a co-ed environment that mirrors the world in which we live. We are ranked #7 academically out of the 131 of Western New York high schools by Business First. Further to that, we are the highest-ranked private co-ed school in the ranking. Our curriculum is both cutting edge, with a one-to-one Google Chromebook program and significant investments in STEM, and still focused on traditional values and our Catholic faith. Our small size and breadth of extracurricular offerings, including more Varsity sports than any other Western New York Catholic high school, give every student an opportunity to become involved and grow as a leader.

All proceeds go to the St Mary’s Scholarship Fund.

St. Mary’s Names Advisory Board for Reopening Plan

Lancaster, NY –  On March 16, 2020, St. Mary’s High School closed its physical building and transitioned to distance learning when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in full force. Since that time, the health and safety of every single one of the students, faculty, staff, and administration members has been of the highest priority.


Now, as schools look to transition back to in-classroom learning and some sense of normalcy, St. Mary’s High School has been doing its due diligence to facilitate this transition as safely and efficiently as possible. To help with this transition, St. Mary’s has composed an advisory board of alumni, community and industry leaders, who will lend their expertise and guidance in several different important areas, in regards to the steps the school needs to take to prepare for a safe reopening. This advisory board consists of:

  • Michael Aquino81Chief Operating Officer A2Z Diagnostics
    • Aquino practices out of New Jersey, and his labs have served as testing sites for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. His direct experience with testing and the ever-changing trends of the virus itself will be beneficial to the advisory board.
  • LuAnne Brown77, RN – CEO Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network
    • Brown also has 16 years of experience with Kaleida Health and Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo as VP and Chief Nursing Officer. With so much experience as a nurse, Brown can help spot potential trouble zones and solutions to those problem areas. As a current member of the St. Mary’s High School Board of Trustees, she will be invaluable in creating proper health policies for our students.
  • Glenn Butler – VP of Personal Touch Food Services, Inc.
    • Butler brings with him nearly 40 years of experience in the food industry and is a member of the NYS Restaurant Association and Erie County School Nutrition Association. St. Mary’s is a Personal Touch Food Services, Inc. client, so Butler has agreed to work with the school to ensure students are still able to receive nutritious breakfast and lunches in a safe and healthy environment.
  • Dennis DePerro, Ed.D – President of St. Bonaventure University
    • DePerro has over 35 years of experience in college administration. St. Mary’s High School will work closely with Dr. DePerro to see how reopening is being handled on a collegiate level to emulate the policies deemed appropriate.
  • Bryan Fiume01Associate Deputy Comptroller of Erie County/Erie County Legislature’s Chief of Staff for the Republican Caucus
    • From 2008 to 2011, Fiume served as the Erie County Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, where he was responsible for managing the county’s relationships with other governments, particularly at the state level. Fiume is clearly very familiar with public policy at the state and county levels, which is key in moving forward to prepare the building and student/group behavior for reopening.
  • William Karn – Lancaster Chief of Police
    • Karn has been a member of the Lancaster Police Department for the past 23 years. It is key to have local law enforcement involved with the school’s reopening planning in order to ensure compliance to all rules and regulations and to enforce said rules and regulations.
  • Michael McCartney – CEO and Owner of Respiratory Services of WNY
    • Respiratory Services of WNY is one of the local leaders in the sales and distribution of durable medical equipment and mobility supplies for all ages and needs. McCartney is also a graduate of the Respiratory Therapy Program. Respiratory therapy is clearly critical with this type of virus, so having an expert in this area on the advisory board in invaluable.
  • Dean Ramierez, Ed. D – Principal of Iroquois High School
    • All schools in the area will be facing the same concerns upon reopening, and each will have to handle the situation slightly differently based on the size of the school building itself, the number of students, etc. It will be incredibly beneficial to work with a neighboring public school official and current St. Mary’s High School board member to collaborate on any potential plans.
  • John Ulatowski71, M.D., Ph. D., MBA – VP and Executive Medical Director, Johns Hopkins Medicine International Leadership Team and Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
    • Johns Hopkins is a worldwide leading medical authority on the spread of COVID-19, providing research and timely, expert information. As one of the leading names in medicine in the world, Dr. John Ulatowski specializes in the study of the brain and is developing new methods of perioperative and periprocedural care, which could optimize patient safety in the future.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have a diverse network of intelligent, experienced professionals who care deeply about St. Mary’s High School and the quality of education our students receive,” said Kevin Kelleher, St. Mary’s High School’s Head of School.  “We plan to leverage the wealth of knowledge each of these individuals brings to the advisory board and allow them to do just that – advise us on the best policies and practices we need to implement in order to open the school to our nearly 400 students in the safest, best way possible come September.”

Founded in 1904, St. Mary’s High School has been preparing its students to achieve success for 116 years.  St. Mary’s High School is the leading Catholic, co-ed college preparatory school in Western New York—a beacon of faith, excellence, achievement, and inspiration.


Varsity Chorus Puts on a Show… Virtually!

“Opening up, letting the day in
Over a cup, we’ll say, ‘Hello, how ya been?'”

The St. Mary’s Varsity Chorus, led by their music teacher Mr. Ryan Kaminski, put together this amazing piece from the hit Broadway show, Waitress the Musical! This song is incredibly timely as NYS continues its process of opening back up from the shutdown imposed by the pandemic.

Take a listen to how talented our music students are!

“Take a breath when you need to be reminded that with days like these
We can only do the best we can
‘Til we do it again…”