News Archive

2021

2021

  • October

    Fine and Performing Arts

    Mr. Jeffrey Braconnier, Director
    Thank you to all of our FPA students for participating in our Open House this past Sunday. Our students did a fantastic job in representing all of the FPA opportunities at Saint Mark’s! Special shoutout to Mr. Bookout and our Marching Band. They along with our cheerleaders were the first thing our prospective families saw when arriving at our Open House on Sunday and they knocked it out of the park!

    A very job well done to  Mrs. Merrit’s art students. The murals they created for Homecoming week were on display in the cafeteria. It was a wonderful team building activity for our students. They all did a spectacular job!

    Attention Theatre Parents & Students-
    I will be sending a separate email about tickets, ad book, t-shirts and a few other important details to keep in mind as our production approaches. Be sure to look out for that email as there are some very important changes to keep in mind for purchasing tickets, ads and t-shirts. 

    Come see Saint Mark’s Theatre Department's production of The Great Fire!
    For anyone interested in purchasing tickets for the play, tickets will go on sale on Monday and can be purchased online. The link will be shared on Monday. 

    Saint Mark’s Dance Team & Spartan Squad have been working very hard for their pep rally performances this Friday! Good luck to the Dance Team and Spartan Squad under the direction of Coach Michelle Figueiredo.

    Great job to our choir students at Open House. The choir numbers are growing by the week. All are welcome! Any student can participate in the choir as an after school activity. You do not have to be in the class to be in the choir for Masses. Rehearsals are on Wednesdays after school until 3:15 in the choir room. Come join us! If you have any questions, please contact me at jbraconnier@stmarkshs.net or stop by my office (Room 156).

    Do you follow @SaintMarks_FPA on Instagram? Check us out!
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  • September

    SAINT MARK’S WELCOMES 19 NEW FACULTY AND STAFF

    Mrs. Denise Blum
    Expansion of staff is the result of explosive growth in enrollment and advancement

    While staffing shortages seem to be plaguing many institutions and businesses around the country, there appears to be no shortage of professionals eager to become Spartans. On the first day of duty for faculty and staff at Saint Mark’s, the school welcomed 19 new members to their team. While four hires were due to retirements or other attrition, 15 hires were for new positions for the 2021-2022 school year, including the addition of at least one faculty member in every academic department.

    The upsurge in staffing is primarily the result of the unprecedented growth in student enrollment at the school. Over the last two years, the student body has grown by more than 215 students, an increase of 40%. In June, the school graduated 108 students. This week, they welcomed 223 incoming freshmen “...and counting,” according to Director of Admissions Rob DeMasi. “We still have prospective freshmen and transfers in the pipeline.” Transfer students have contributed to the growth at Saint Mark’s as well, with the school adding 56 transfers from 28 high schools over the last two years.

    “The new faculty and staff members will have an immediate and significant impact on the student experience at Saint Mark’s,” says Principal Diane Casey. Casey, who served as Assistant Principal for Student Affairs for the last two years, took the helm as Principal on July 1st when the school adopted a President-Principal model of school leadership. Casey said 16 of the 19 positions are in academics and/or student life. “We are investing in our program so as to fulfill our vision of serving as the premier center for education and ministry in the Diocese of Wilmington,” she added.

    The remaining three positions are in advancement and communications. “As with enrollment, our growth in advancement dollars has been dramatic,” says school President Tom Fertal. Fertal came to Saint Mark’s as Principal in 2019 and moved to the role of President on July 1st of this year. “It is fitting that, beginning with our 50th anniversary celebration two years ago, our constituents have rallied around the school in unprecedented ways, including an 83% increase in annual giving during this time period,” he added.

    Saint Mark’s begins its 52nd academic year this fall.
     
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  • April

    Faculty/Staff College Decision Day Video

    Ms. Jaclyn Tatnall
    Saturday, May 1 is the National College Decision Day. To celebrate with our seniors, Faculty and Staff will wear their college gear on Friday, too. Enjoy the Faculty College Video.
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  • February

    Play Written by Saint Mark's Senior To Be Performed On Stage At Delaware Theatre Company

    Mrs. Denise Blum
    Move over, Arthur Miller. Delaney Burnham, a senior at Saint Mark's High School, was recently named a finalist in the Delaware Theatre Company's 2020-2021 Delaware Young Playwrights Festival. Her play, Stressed Out, will be performed on the DTC stage in March.
     
    Burnham was among sixty-two students from 11 different schools to submit an entry. She will participate in a series of virtual workshops with DTC artists who will help her to refine her work. Burnham's play will be staged and performed for a small, socially distant audience, then shared online for the public to enjoy virtually.
     
    Stressed Out is the story of a teenage boy who misses a month of school due to being overwhelmed and vents to a friend about his heavy workload. The script was partially inspired by some of Burnham's own personal experiences. “At the time I was working on my college essay, as well as preparing an audition for college applications, and transferred some of the stress I felt onto the character,” she said. “I also gained inspiration after hearing how different people handle the stress that school can cause. Some people can handle it well while others cannot.”
     
    Burnham's win is not surprising as she is no stranger to the performing arts. She has been involved with the Saint Mark's Theater Program for four years, working both on stage as an actor and behind the scenes as part of the stage crew. She plans to pursue a career in the arts as an audio engineer and hopes to work on sound design for movies and video games.
     
    Saint Mark's Senior Owen Kanienberg also submitted an entry into the Festival and was recognized for the merit of his work with an Honorable Mention. His play, Returning Home, is about a senior in high school who reunites with his brother and is subsequently encouraged to follow his dreams of a career in the theater.
     
    Anne Marie Eanes, Saint Mark's English Department Chair, helped to guide both Burnham and Kanienberg through the creative process. “I was so excited that Delaney’s play was chosen as a winner and that Owen’s play received an honorable mention commendation in this year’s Delaware Young Playwrights Festival,” she said. “I am thrilled that everyone will be able to witness Delaney’s play come to life on the Delaware Theatre Company’s stage in March.
    Whether I am permitted to sit in the theatre to watch the production or will be watching a taped performance via Zoom, I will be so excited and proud of Delaney’s accomplishment.”
     
    Principal Tom Fertal echoed the sentiment. “As a school committed to the fine and performing arts, we are so very proud of Delaney! As we continue to expand our offerings and bring talented FPA students to Saint Mark’s through our merit scholarship program, we will expect great things from our students, and Delaney has certainly set the bar high for them.”
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  • January

    Saint Mark's High School is voted BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL IN DELAWARE

    Mrs. Denise Blum
    Thank you, Delaware!
     
    The votes are in and the celebration has begun. Saint Mark's High School has received the Readers' Choice award for BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL IN DELAWARE.
     
    “We are grateful to the community, as this honor validates our vision of serving as the premier center for education and ministry in Delaware,” said Principal Tom Fertal.
     
    The Readers' Choice Awards celebrate and recognize the best our community has to offer. Nominations were held in August. Members of the community-at-large were asked to nominate their favorite private schools. The five schools receiving the most nominations advanced to the voting round, which took place in October. Saint Mark's High School received more votes than any other private school in the state.
     
    “We are excited and honored that the community is seeing what we have felt all along. Saint Mark's has fantastic students, faculty and staff who make this a great school, as well as a home away from home,” said Diane Casey, Assistant Principal of Student Affairs. “We thank everyone who took time to vote.”
     
    The award is a fitting reflection of the school's upward trajectory. Enrollment numbers have been skyrocketing, with a 57% increase in freshman enrollment and a 20% increase in overall school enrollment.
     
    “It is quite clear that the good news of Saint Mark’s High School is reaching a wide number of people in the region. The Saint Mark’s community has a history of excellence in the past and a vision to continue that excellence in the future,” said Francis Corrigan, Assistant Principal for Mission and Academics.
     
    Plans for a school-wide celebration are in the works. “We look forward to celebrating with our students as they are the reason for our success,” said Fertal.
     
    There's been a lot to celebrate at Saint Mark's over the past few weeks. The girls volleyball team won its 11th state championship last weekend. Junior Tiffany Herrera took first place at the Division II Girls Cross Country State Championship, while the girls cross country team took an impressive second place overall.
     
    There's never been a better time to be a Spartan. “We encourage families to discover why Saint Mark’s is The Place to Be,” said Fertal.
     
    For more information about Saint Mark's High School, visit www.stmarkshs.net.
     
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  • Undefeated Saint Mark's Wins Volleyball State Championship

    Mrs. Denise Blum
    It was the perfect end to the perfect season. With a record of 15-0, Saint Mark's Volleyball iced the cake with a 3-0 sweep of Padua in the state championship match this past weekend.
     
    The undefeated Spartans won in three sets, with scores of 25-18, 25-17 and 27-25. This is the Spartans' 11th volleyball state championship and the school's 102nd state championship overall.
     
    “The entire community celebrates with our newly crowned state champion volleyball team! These young ladies showed tenacity, passion, teamwork and incredible character throughout the season. They truly exemplify what it means to be Spartan Strong,” said Principal Tom Fertal.
     
    Head Coach Nancy Griskowitz has been leading the program at Saint Mark's for 23 years. “I am so proud of each and every player on this team. What they accomplished during this strange and unusual season is just amazing! Every day they worked so hard to bring home the championship. The incredible team chemistry these special young ladies shared was extraordinary and significantly contributed to their undefeated state championship season,” she said.
     
    Team Captain Samantha Gerhart played a huge role in the victory. “This year I have been so lucky to have been able to play my senior season with such an amazing team,” she said. “Despite the uncertainty of our season, we continued to practice and work hard everyday. This year especially, due to Covid, we had to rely on each other more than ever. Due to the lack of our student section and fans in the stands, we had to learn to bring our own energy to the court and thrive off of each other. Everyone, on and off the court, played a vital role in not only earning a state championship title but also in having an incredible, undefeated season.”
     
    With only four seniors graduating off the team this year, the Spartan team is young and will be looking for a repeat during next year's state tournament. Gerhart, who will be graduating in the spring, is beaming with pride. “I am beyond proud of this team, especially the seniors (Kyla Dow, Madison Znacko, and Caroline Detrick), and the fantastic season we have had this year. I also cannot wait to see what the returning Spartans (Brooke Dow, Faith Dowling, Nicole Dimiris, Chiara Grott, Sarah Hessler, Mya Lewis, Angelina Mendez, Katie Sonchen, Julia Yurkovich) accomplish next season. The future of Saint Mark’s volleyball looks very bright and while I am sad to go, I will cherish each moment I had with my best friends on the court. Go Spartans!”
     
    For additional information about Saint Mark’s High School, visit www.stmarkshs.net.
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  • SAINT MARK’S VOLLEYBALL HEAD COACH NAMED CO-COACH OF THE YEAR

    Mrs. Denise Blum
    The good news just keeps coming in for Saint Mark's Volleyball. Head Coach Nancy Griskowitz has just been named Co-Coach of the Year by the Delaware Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association. The honor comes just days after the Spartan team cinched the state championship on their home court in a 3-0 sweep.
     
    Griskowitz is extremely honored and humbled by the award. “Seeing the team reach their goal Saturday night and seeing the joy on their faces as they celebrated winning the state championship meant the world to me. As a coach, what more can you ask for? An undefeated championship season for a very special team.”
     
    Griskowitz has been Head Coach of the Saint Mark's Volleyball program for 23 years. Prior to that, she was Assistant Coach for nine years. She helped to lead the Spartans to four undefeated seasons and 10 of their 11 state championship wins (eight as Head Coach).
     
    Team Captain Samantha Gerhart is excited for Griskowitz and believes the honor is well-deserved. “One of the reasons I looked forward to the new season and practice every day was because Nancy was able to keep practices focused yet fun. Her dedication to the team and school largely impacted our success. The time and energy she committed to the team made us want to work hard,” she said. “Our undefeated record and state championship title this season just scratches the surface of what Nancy Griskowitz has achieved during her time as Saint Mark’s Volleyball Head Coach. I am grateful and honored to have been coached by Nancy during my four years at Saint Mark’s. Her belief in me has made me the player I am today and I hope all future Spartans will feel the same impact as I did.”
     
    Sophomore outside hitter Julia Yurkovich wholeheartedly concurs. “Nancy played a huge role in our success in our undefeated season with her ability to keep us grounded and focused on the game at hand and not overlooking any of our opponents, no matter their record. She was able to keep us on track at each practice and made us the determined team we came to be.”
     
    Athletic Director Matt Smith is proud to have Griskowitz on his coaching staff. “Nancy has a sound value system that prepares her players for success on and off the court,” he said.
     
    Principal Tom Fertal perhaps sums it up best. “Coach Griskowitz represents all that is best about high school athletics. She inspires her players to work diligently and to pursue excellence on and off the court. This recognition is certainly well-deserved.”
     
    To catch Saint Mark's Volleyball in action next season, visit www.spartanssports.com for a listing of their full schedule.
     
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  • *SAINT MARK’S RUNNER WINS CROSS COUNTRY STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

    Mrs. Denise Blum
    The Spartans have a new state champion!
     
    Tiffany Herrera, a junior at Saint Mark's High School, took first place in the Division II High School Cross Country State Championship. She crossed the finish line in front of 115 other runners, from 15 different area high schools, with an impressive time of 18:51. And, if that wasn't enough... she ran 40 seconds faster than the Division I Champion!
     
    Herrera is the first ever female state championship cross country runner in Saint Mark's history. She broke her own school record for the Killens Pond course (18:53), which she had established last season at the state meet.
     
    “Representing Saint Mark's makes me so happy because our community here is like no other. We are one big family that supports and cares for each other and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else,” she said.
     
    Herrera has had the state championship in her sights for quite some time. “At the end of indoor track last year, when I found out spring track wouldn’t be happening due to the pandemic, I tried to look at it in a bright way and started taking my training more seriously,” she said. “My goals for this cross country season were to set a personal record and to win States. During all of quarantine and summer, on all my runs, I would just keep visualizing myself finishing first at the state meet and our team bringing home a trophy.”
     
    Herrera has been building toward this success for years. As a freshman, she took third place at States and was named 1st Team All State. In her sophomore year, she placed second at States and was, again, named 1st Team All State. Her junior year has been a whirlwind of accomplishments and accolades. In addition to her recent state championship win, she had an undefeated season, was Catholic Conference Champion and was the #1 ranked female runner in the state of Delaware. To top it all off, she is the fastest female runner in Saint Mark's history (18:07 set at Bellevue), breaking the previous record by a whopping 20 seconds.
     
    Herrera's coach, Michael DiGennaro, who happens to be the 2019-2020 Delaware Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year, is beaming with pride. "Tiffany is extremely coachable and is willing to do whatever is necessary to be great. From the moment she stepped foot on campus, she has led this team with the competitive spark that has made us contenders at the state level for the last three seasons. She simply asked what it would take to be a champion, and then she spent an entire summer and fall focused on that one goal. We are all very proud of her accomplishment as our first ever state champion!"
     
    Principal Tom Fertal is impressed by Herrera's grit and determination. “As a Spartan family we are so very proud of Tiffany. Her tenacity is a testimony to her own character and to the dedication and support of her teammates and coaches. At Saint Mark’s we seek to inspire all students to pursue excellence. Mission accomplished Tiffany!”
     
    To make things even more exciting, Herrera wasn't the only Spartan bringing home a victory last weekend. The Saint Mark's Girls Cross Country team took an impressive second place overall in the state championships. The team is made up of Herrera, her twin sister Stephanie, Natalie Donaldson, Kaileigh Brady, Kelly Barker, Hannah Heredia, Jordan Ormsby and Marissa Cirillo.
     
    DiGennaro can't stop smiling. "Over the last three years we have shared some unbelievable moments as a program, and our future continues to look bright. What we love about the group is that they know how to work extremely hard, but they can have fun and make it entertaining at the same time.”
     
    While the cross country season has ended, Herrera's training is far from over. “Now, since cross country is over, I’m focusing on track. My goals are to hopefully go under five minutes for the mile. Also, I would love it if I could get another state champ title and that our team places well at the state meet,” she said. “Next year, for cross country, my biggest goal would be to keep lowering my 5K time and finally bring home a first place team trophy.”
     
    “After high school, I would love to run at a Division 1 school. I want to take my running career as far as it can go. My ultimate goal would be to have a chance to run in the Pan American Games or the Olympics. It’s been a dream of mine forever,” she said.
     
    Herrera graciously shares her victory with all those who have supported her along the way. “At practices I always try my best, but I am not anything without my family, teammates and coaches. They motivate and push me to be the best athlete and person I can be.”
     
    “Coach DiGennaro, Coach Katelyn and Coach Hannah are the best coaches I could ask for. I’ve never met more supportive, caring people. They also know how to keep the sport fun,” she said. “My parents and twin sister play a big part in my training. I just want to make them proud.”
     
    To catch a glimpse of the Spartan runners in action, check www.spartanssports.com for a listing of upcoming meets.
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  • Saint Mark's High School Taps John Staudenmayer as New Head Wrestling Coach

    Mrs. Denise Blum
    UNC grad was a PA state champion and four-time NCAA qualifier
      
    Saint Mark's High School is pleased to announce that John Staudenmayer has been named Head Wrestling Coach.
     
    Staudenmayer comes to the Spartan program with 23 years of wrestling experience and a long list of accomplishments and accolades. He is a former Pennsylvania State Champion, a two-time Pennsylvania State Medalist and a FILA University National All-American. In addition, he received an ASICS High School All-American Honorable Mention and was a member of the Dapper Dan All-Star Team Selection. In college, he was a four-time NCAA qualifier for Division I University of North Carolina and a two-time ACC Conference finalist. After graduation, he wrestled on the International Circuit as a Resident Athlete and is the former Assistant Wrestling Coach for Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in Pennsylvania.
     
    Saint Mark's Athletic Director Matt Smith is delighted to welcome Staudenmayer to the Spartan coaching staff. “The Spartan Community is excited about the limitless possibilities that John Staudenmayer will bring to our wrestling program. The high character of this man, as well as his wrestling experience, will benefit Saint Mark's into the future.”
     
    Staudenmayer joins an already robust coaching staff led by Saint Mark’s alum Brian Willis, who was a two-time Delaware State Champion and a Division I wrestler at Bloomsburg University. By all accounts, the two will make a dynamic duo, charging full speed ahead to the state tournament. “You've gotta have big dreams,” said Staudenmayer. “A state championship is the ultimate goal.”
     
    Willis, who also has his eye on the prize, is ready to get to work “I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with someone of John's caliber. His success in the sport and his accomplishments thus far are very impressive and I have no doubt his knowledge and skills will really help to take the wrestling program to the next level.”
     
    Staudenmayer believes the key to a winning season starts way before a wrestler hits the mat. “I want to create a winning mindset. Half the battle is mentality,” he said. “I'm all about building kids up. They need to feel like they have someone in their corner. I'm building a foundation. I'm building trust.”
     
    “My goal is to expose the guys to great competition, get them out of their comfort zone.” Staudenmayer is eyeing up matches in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland as possible additions to the Spartan schedule.
     
    Principal Tom Fertal is extremely optimistic about the possibilities that lie ahead for the Spartan wrestling program. “Coach Staudenmayer is a welcome addition to the Saint Mark’s team. He will relentlessly pursue excellence while serving as a great role model for our young men.”
     
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  • Senior class privilege brightens up the Saint Mark's High School parking lot

    Denise Blum
                                                                
      
    It has been said that some people look for beauty where they go. Others create beauty where they are. The senior class at Saint Mark's High School has created beauty in a most unexpected place... the school's parking lot.
     
    As part of a new program this year, the seniors gave the school's parking lot a welcome face lift by using the black asphalt as a canvas for their artwork. Students were encouraged to express their school spirit and individual style by painting their personal parking spaces with whimsical designs and vibrant colors. The parking lot has gone from fine to FABULOUS with just a few drops of paint and some creative thinking. The designs include giant smiley faces, colorful geometric patterns, sports honors, famous characters and more.
     
    Diane Casey, assistant principal for student affairs, was the mastermind behind this fun project. She said the painting of the parking spots was something she had done in the past with another school where she had previously worked. “It is a great fun senior privilege. I mentioned it to my senior class officers. They loved the idea and made it come to life.”
     
    There were, of course, some ground rules for the project. Students were instructed to use water-based latex exterior paint. All designs had to be submitted in sketch format for pre-approval.
     
    Senior Class Officer Abbey Creswell helped to organize the project. “It was a fun bonding experience that brought some positivity to the start of the school year,” she said. “The spots really brighten up the parking lot and so many people have driven by just to see them. It is special to be a part of starting a new Saint Mark’s tradition.”
     
    Olivia Davis, also a Senior Class Officer, said she felt the project encouraged class unity. “Having the option to paint your parking spot the way you want shows senior class unity. It shows how each and every one of us are different yet can come together to make something amazing... I personally decorated my own spot based off of the time cards from Sponge Bob and wrote “Four years later” to symbolize my four years at Saint Mark’s and show that it’s my senior year. I am extremely happy with how they all turned out, and I hope that this is a tradition that lasts forever.”
     
    About Saint Mark's: Saint Mark's High School serves as the premier center for education and ministry within the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington. Saint Mark's inspires young men and women to create a better world, one more pleasing to God and more helpful to others.
     
    For additional information, contact Denise Blum, Marketing Consultant, at dblum@stmarkshs.net.
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