Alumni Spotlight

Thomas Mills (Center)

Thomas Mills - Class of 2015

SVF alumnus, Thomas Mills, made history as part of the youngest officiating crew to ever officiate a high school varsity basketball game in the state of Iowa earlier this year. Thomas is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in sports and recreation management with a minor in political science.

What was your favorite subject?

My favorite subject at SVF was probably social studies. I loved learning about our government’s history and current roles in our society. Learning about the US Constitution is what inspired me to potentially major in political science.

Who was your favorite teacher at SVF?

Ms. Szczesny was probably my all time favorite teacher. We had a great relationship for the two years I had her as a teacher and she constantly reminded me at a young age of the potential I had to do great things in this world.

What is your favorite memory at SVF?

Eighth grade boys basketball pack the gym is hands down my favorite memory. Having my entire class there and having the gym packed to the max was one of the best nights of my life. Seeing all of our teachers, younger students, my entire class,  and all of our families made our last home game in that gym the best experience of my life.

Witnessing one of my teammates scoring for the first time and the entire gym erupting in excitement was one of the most powerful and impactful experiences I have ever been a part of.

What high school did you attend? What activities were you involved in?

I attended Fenwick High School and graduated in the class of 2019. I played basketball freshman year, and football the rest of my time there. I had the honor of being a captain on my senior year team as well as receiving the Paul Raffaelli Friar Pride Award. I also had the pleasure of coaching several SVF students in basketball, track, and volleyball throughout my time at Fenwick.

Are you involved in any organizations, clubs, or volunteer activities?

In addition to being the youngest crew chief to ever lead a crew in the Iowa High School Sports Association, I also serve as the Chief Justice of the Interfraternity Council here at the University of Iowa. I also am the standards and accountability officer for my fraternity. Last Spring, I had the pleasure of serving as Head Coach of our Girls club basketball program and this upcoming fall I will serve as head coach and Co-president of the program. When home for the summer, I volunteer at the Oak Park/River Forest Food Pantry.

2021

2005

Giuseppe Lollino (Joe) & Dr. Giana Paterno DDS - Class of 2005

What many considered as “puppy love” back in 2003 when Giana and Joe were in 7th grade eventually turned into a happy and loving relationship. After many dances, homecomings, proms, and years of dating, the two will be married on Saturday, April 23rd, 2022 right here where they met at St. Vincent Ferrer.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Joe – Mrs. Bergen

Giana – Mrs. Bergen

We both enjoyed math and Mrs. Bergen made it fun yet challenging. We loved the grid puzzles and DOM (daily oral math), we sat next to each other and would compete to see who could get it done first. She went beyond just teaching from a textbook and always pushed us to do our best.

What was your favorite subject?

Joe – Math

Giana – Math

What is your favorite memory at SVF?

Joe – Some of my favorite memories would be playing sports, especially basketball. Nothing was better than playing at home when the gym was packed and full of energy.

Giana – SO many great memories, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be our 8th grade class trip. I think we almost had as many parents as students on the trip. We went to the Milwaukee Zoo, a museum and a Cubs/Brewers baseball game.

What high school, college, or university do you attend?

Joe – Fenwick High School – Kendall College

Giana – Trinity High School – Indiana University – University of Illinois at Chicago

 

What is your profession?

Joe – Inventory Specialist at Ferrera Candy Company

Giana – Dentist

Are you involved in any organizations?

American Dental Association and Chicago Dental Society.

Ann Mentone - Class of 2012
When did you start teaching at SVF and what grade(s) do you teach?

I started teaching at SVF this year and I am one of the 2nd grade teachers!

What is your educational background?

I went to SVF from Junior Kindergarten until 8th grade. Then I attended Trinity High School and Illinois State University for College!

What is your favorite memory from SVF?

I have so many! When we took a class trip to “Hawaii” in Junior Kindergarten. Beating my class in scramble during PE class and Mr. K rewarding me with a gatorade! My 8th Grade dinner dance. Playing Mary in the Christmas show when I was in Kindergarten. My 8th grade class field trip to the Sears Tower and being too scared of heights to actually go out on the skydeck! SVF holds the majority of my most precious memories and allowed me to meet my bestest friends, who are still today my best friends, 19 years later!

Who influenced you most during your time at SVF and why?

I was very blessed to have been taught by so many excellent teachers and my wonderful parents. My parents taught me the importance of education and made the sacrifices to send me to some of the best schools. Mrs. Madormo was my kindergarten teacher. I remember how fun she made learning, and set the stepping stones for my further academic success. My second grade teacher, Mr. Covington, was the funniest and made all of us want to go to school everyday. He always provided us with extra recess and valued the importance of hands-on learning. As I got older I had the privilege of having so many wonderful teachers who prepared me for high school. One thing that stayed constant at SVF was our wonderful gym teacher Mr. Kmiecik! Everyone who was lucky enough to have Mr. K absolutely adored him! He made exercising fun, allowed us to play games and be silly, and he truly cared for all of his students. Gym days were and still are always the best at SVF!

What is your greatest teaching accomplishment?

My greatest teaching accomplishments are when I see the looks on my students faces when they achieve something that they were finding difficult at first. There is no greater moment of being an educator than witnessing these milestones!

Patrick Mentone - Class of 2010
When did you start teaching at SVF and what grade(s) do you teach?

I started teaching P.E. to Junior Kindergarten- 8th grade in 2019.

What is your educational background?

I went to Fenwick High School, Class of 2014. From there, I graduated from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Currently, I am enrolled at Concordia University Chicago for my masters program in education.

What is your favorite memory from SVF?

I have so many, but here are a couple that come to mind. Mr. Kmiecik’s P.E. classes, Kabunga-ball and Scramble were always a good time. Winning the Classic League Soccer Championship in 8th grade. The only class to do so, but I hope that will change soon! My favorite memory above all is all the friendships that I made while I was there and still have today. SVF has a very special place in my heart because of this. I still talk to a majority of my class on a daily basis!

Who influenced you most during your time at SVF and why?

I was very fortunate to have many great teachers while at SVF. Mrs. Bergen always taught me to believe in myself and always had her students’ best interests in mind. Obviously, Mr. Kmiecik is another amazing teacher. He made P.E. the best period of a day which is something that I strive to do as well. Lastly, Ms. D’Alessandro was always enthusiastic and lively about the material being taught. Social Studies isn’t always the most exciting class, but she made it very enjoyable.

 

What is your greatest teaching accomplishment?

Being able to teach all my students the importance of sportsmanship. I believe good sportsmanship is the foundation to a bright future. Finally, motivating and encouraging my students to do well in school. There is nothing better than seeing your students achieve great things!

Dominic Bolton - Class of 2005
When did you start teaching at SVF and what grade(s) do you teach?

My first year at SVF was 2018. I am currently the middle school math teacher and 7th grade religion. I am also the athletic director and have been so since 2014.

 

What is your educational background?

I received my bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and master’s degree from National Louis University.

What is your favorite memory from SVF?

I have numerous memories beginning with our Jr. Kindergarten sleepover; playing flashlight tag in the gym, going on a scavenger hunt throughout the school. All the other favorite memories center around sports and gym class. My class had many successful seasons, including championships, a very exciting Pack the Gym night with a win against St. Luke’s in the final seconds, and hitting home runs in Kabunga-ball.

Who influenced you most during your time at SVF and why?

Mrs. Bergen was a very influential teacher because she instilled many concepts that I currently teach today to my students. Math was always one of my favorite subjects, especially with her. She interacted with us and found a way to make math enjoyable for all. From a sports perspective, Mr. K was also extremely important in my education journey from being an athlete to a coach and athletic director. He is someone that I could go and talk to as a student but more importantly, as a young adult.

What is your greatest teaching accomplishment?

The greatest accomplishment is when a student comes into my class with a negative feeling towards math and then leaves SVF with the confidence and math skills to succeed in his or her future math classes. Math can sometimes be a subject that students don’t enjoy so it’s important to find ways to relate the subject to them and their lives.

Dana (Berti) Warmbold - Class of 2000
When did you start teaching at SVF and what grade(s) do you teach?

I started teaching at SVF in August 2014 as one of the Jr. Kindergarten teachers. I currently teach kindergarten and have been doing so for 3 years.

What is your educational background?

I have a bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Studies with an emphasis in Family and Individual Development. I also received my Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education and currently hold a type 04 teaching certificate.

What is your favorite memory from SVF?

My favorite memory of SVF is winning 3rd place at State for cheerleading and playing coed soccer.

Who influenced you most during your time at SVF and why?

My third grade teacher- Mrs. Senese is the one who started my love for teaching (other than my mom). I remember all the math games she would play with us and her daily jobs that she would assign. She cared about each one of her students and really made us feel at home.

What is your greatest teaching accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment happens when the kids get their ‘ah ha’ moment. Students come into my classroom at all different learning levels and I enjoy seeing their faces when they understand something new and it just clicks for them. The greatest thing I can do for these kids is to make them feel comfortable and grow their love for learning.

Gina (Boveri) Ruggiero - Class of 1984
When did you start teaching at SVF and what grade(s) do you teach?

This is my 10th year teaching Junior Kindergarten at SVF. So that would mean I began in 2010.

What is your educational background?

I have an undergraduate degree in Business Administration with a minor in child psychology. I also have a Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education.

What is your favorite memory from SVF?

The Hot Dog Days! When I went to SVF they didn’t offer hot lunch every day. Once a month they had Hot Dog Day. You filled out your order form; how many hot dogs you wanted, picked white or chocolate milk, and if you wanted a bag of chips. I think it cost around $2 or $3. It’s my favorite memory because my mom would always volunteer to help and it was so exciting to be able to see her during the school day.

Who influenced you most during your time at SVF and why?

I could never begin to name all the SVF faculty and staff that influenced and helped me develop the skills needed to move onto a successful Trinity experience.

 

What is your greatest teaching accomplishment?

I don’t have just one. For me, being able to help students grow daily socially, emotionally, and academically is the greatest gift of all. You can call it an accomplishment but for me it’s not only my job but it’s the best part of my job. The smile on a student’s face when he or she understands or overcomes something is priceless!