St. Mary’s Wins Inaugural School Pride Food Drive Competition

St. Mary's students (from left to right Alyssa Okon '21, Chelsea Okon '18, Andrew Wargo '18, and Emma Ridolfi '20) pose with the winning plaque.


Like The Little Engine that Could, St. Mary’s High School came out on top of the Village of Depew and Tops Friendly Markets School Pride Food Drive.

The food drive, which ran from September 11 through October 13, involved three area schools – Lancaster High School, Depew High School, and St. Mary’s High School – in an effort to donate non-perishable food items to three food pantries located in Depew – Tri-Community Food Pantry, St. Martha’s Food Pantry, and Trinity Food Pantry. 

In addition to donating as much food as possible, there was a competition within the drive to see which school could bring in the most donated food items.  Given the sheer size difference among the public school giants Lancaster and Depew and the small, private St. Mary’s, we went right to work devising plans on how to best get the entire student body involve through class competitions, where class that brought in the greatest amount of food got a free dress down day.  We also promoted the food drive through in-school announcements, in the Scoop, through our social media channels, and we held a dress down day on the last day of the drive, asking students to bring in at least one canned good for a final push.

Service to the community is really one of the pillars of St. Mary’s.  Head of School Kevin Kelleher knew that despite the odds, his students would persevere: “The spirit of service in our hallways and then the action to carry out that spirit out is amazing.” Kelleher said.  “We really stress how important giving back to the community is, so to see our kids come through in such a big way to help people literally in our own backyard is truly touching.”

A press conference was held on October 14 to announce the winner of the School Pride Food Drive.  Student representatives from each school were present to hear the announcement.  Depew Trustee and the organizer of the entire food drive, Audrey Hamernik, declared St. Mary’s the winner of the drive, awarding the school a beautiful, wooden plaque to display in the school for one year and a sponsored dance at a to-be-determined date. 

St. Mary’s senior, Chelsea Okon was one of the student representatives at the press conference and was thrilled to be a part of the whole day: “Thank you to the Village of Depew and Tops for affording us the chance to participate in such a wonderful cause.  I know I speak for all Lancers when I say what a great feeling we’ve had over the last month,” Okon said.  “To see the culmination of all of our donations, knowing we have helped provide meals for people in need that we might see on a daily basis – that’s the real prize. The whole process has been so rewarding.”

St. Mary’s Partners with AAA to Offer Driver Education Program

St. Mary’s has partnered with AAA Western and Central New York to offer Driver Education programs at the school this Fall.  Along with the Driver Ed program, St. Mary’s will also be able to offer several 5-Hour Pre-Licensing classes and several 6-Hour Points/Insurance Reduction classes thanks to its new partnership with AAA.

You can learn more about the program and how to sign up here.

Classes run October 3, 2017-November 28, 2017 and the cost for the program is $520.








Photo courtesy of AAA website.

Homecoming Week Set to Take a Journey Around America


This year’s Homecoming Week, planned by the Junior Class, will have quite the patriotic theme.  Each day of the week will have a different themed-dress corresponding to an area of the country and each class will be assigned a part of the U.S. to theme their hall decorations around.  The big Homecoming Dance is scheduled for Thursday night from 7 to 10 p.m., and the Lancers will take on Honeoye Falls/Lima at home on Saturday at 1 p.m. for the big Homecoming Game!  Make sure to check here to see all of the rest of the teams that are in action this week and need some Lancer support!

Take a look at all we have in store for the week below:



2017 Open House a Huge Success


St. Mary's held its annual Open House for prospective students September 21 and 22.  We want to thank all of the families who came out to spend their evenings with us over those couple of days.  The turnout was fantastic, even with the balmy summer-like weather we've been having.  We hope you enjoyed getting to see all of the things that make St. Mary's such a wonderful place to be! If you couldn't make it to the Open House but still want to take a tour, please contact Andrea Drabik, Dean of Student Life and Enrollment, at 683-4824 ext. 211.

RPM Heads on Retreat


Retreat Peer Ministry (RPM), a group that some of our Seniors applied to be a part of, went on their own retreat September 17-18, to start off the school year the right way. They went to Camp Pioneer to grow closer as a group and with God. RPM is responsible for planning all of the class retreats here at St. Mary's. Looks like a fun couple of days had by all!

Psychology Classes Get 9/11 Perspective


Mrs. Connelly's Psychology classes had a very special guest speaker this month. Mrs. Lisa Amatura - a parent of a 2017 alumna and an SMH sophomore - was on the 78th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11. She shared her memories of that day with our students, making it come to life for them in a very real and meaningful way. Thank you for sharing an incredibly difficult and emotional journey, Mrs. Amatura. 

St. Mary’s Participates in “School Pride Food Drive”


St. Mary's is participating in a food drive to help benefit some local food pantries. The event runs through October 13th, and our Lancers are in a friendly competition with Lancaster and Depew High Schools to see which school can bring in the most food, based on percentage of students in the building. With a cause like this, everyone is a winner! Don't forget to get those non-perishable food items in, Lancers! As always, thank you for being so generous!

Fall Play Announced and Cast is Set

This year's Fall Play will be:

Photo credit: StageAgent

According to StageAgent, here's a look of what's in store when we meet Mortimer and his rather peculiar family:

Mortimer Brewster is living a happy life: he has a steady job at a prominent New York newspaper, he’s just become engaged, and he gets to visit his sweet spinster aunts to announce the engagement. Mortimer always knew that his family had a bit of a mad gene -- his brother believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt and his great-grandfather used to scalp Indians for pleasure -- but his world is turned upside down when he realizes that his dear aunts have been poisoning lonely old men for years! When Mortimer’s maniacal brother, Jonathan. (who strangely now resembles Boris Karloff) returns on the night that the aunts were planning to bury the newest victim, Mortimer must rally to help his aunts and protect his fiancé -- all while trying to keep his own sanity. as well. An uproarious farce on plays involving murder, Arsenic and Old Lace has become a favorite amongst regional theaters throughout America.

Read more here.

Auditions will be held in The Gus after school on Thursday, September 14, with callbacks the following day, Friday, September 15.

We can't wait for what will surely be another amazing performance in from the Performing Arts Department!

9/18/17- The Cast List has been announced for the Fall Play this week.  Here are your leads for Arsenic and Old Lace:

Abby Brewster- Stephanie Baran

Teddy Brewster- Scott Brown

Martha Brewster- Molly Callahan

Officer Brophy- Andrew Domros

Mr. Gibbs- Jacob Fay

Mortimer Brewster- Joe Flading

Officer Kline- Julia Hartloff

Elaine Harper- Mackenzie Kwilos 

Dr. Einstein- Vincenza LaMagna

Rev. Dr. Harper- Joe Lebron

Mrs. Witherspoon- Riley O’Malley

Officer O’Hara- Kylie Wagner

Jonathan Brewster- Matthew Walter

Lieutenant Rooney- Jeff Zoyhofski

Student Directors/Understudy- Brianna Propis and Madison Meredith

Deacon Robb Starts Off the St. Mary’s School Year Right


One of the newest additions to the SMH family as a Religion teacher and Campus Minister, Deacon Robb Ciezki, went around the whole school and blessed every corner of the building with holy water. He also made a pit stop at football practice to give our boys a blessing that helped them get off to a 1-0 start this season!  Now, we're ready to get the school year started!




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.”

You can read a story in the Lancaster Bee as well here.