Alumni News and Honors

Jake Zappa '08

Congratulations to Jake '08 and Heather Zappa as they welcomed their second child Isabella Rose on May 19, 2018. The happy family of four reside in Waukesha and attend St Mary Visitation Parish in Elm Grove. Bella baptism is scheduled for June 2, 2018. She is the niece of  Karleigh '14 and Kelsi '16 Mallek.


Ann Bruss '05

The Future 5 Young Professional Awards is a community awards program managed by YLink, Kenosha’s young professional organization.

Future 5 honors five individuals who live or work in the Kenosha area, and who are positively influencing quality of life in our community through professional accomplishments, community involvement, civic engagement, leadership and inspiring vision for Kenosha’s future.

The 2018 winners:

  • Annie Bruss, Jack Andrea
  • Mathew Collins, Kenosha County Parks Division
  • Kerry Korn, Uline
  • Vince Montemurro, Riley Construction
  • Sabrina Morgan, Gateway Technical College

 


 

David Manka '72

A Snap-On Inc employee received a patent for a battery clamp cleaning device. David Manka received a patent for a battery clamp cleaning device.

According to information from the U.S. Patent Office, Manka’s device minimizes corrosion that can accumulate on battery clamps during storage. His device “provides for a surface where the battery clamps can be scraped or otherwise frictionally cleaned while inserted or removed to remove unwanted deposits from the battery clamps.”

“The cleaned battery clamps may then be connected to terminals without significant reduction in flow of current between the battery clamps and terminals.”

 


Jason Atanasoff '02

Racine County 2018 Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year

April, 2018.  It could be suggested that it was easy to be Jason Atanasoff this season. With a senior-dominated Prairie School boys basketball team, which included All-Racine County Player of the Year JC Butler, it could be said that all Atanasoff had to do was sit back and relax as the team he created dominated opponents game after game.

Instead, Atanasoff made it as difficult as he could by scheduling the most elite competition he could find for his Division 4 program. Appleton Xavier. Caledonia of Minnesota. Chicago De La Salle.

Instead of fattening up his record with easy victories, Atanasoff wanted to fatten up his team’s chances of a state championship.

That didn’t happen, but write it off as one of those things. When Prairie lost 60-50 to eventual WIAA Division 4 state championship Manitowoc Roncalli March 10 in the sectional championship, it was after the Hawks went just 3 for 22 from 3-point range.

And when the dust settled, Atanasoff was voted the All-Racine County Coach of the Year for the second straight season.  The job Jason did this year, with the schedule he played, and the expectations that were on that team, was incredible. They had a bullseye on them all year, and Jason just did a tremendous job. There was a lot of pressure on him and that team to succeed, and they did just that.”

St. Catherine’s coach Nick Bennett had that same admiration for the 35-year-old Atanasoff. The Hawks progressed from a program that went 7-17 in his first season of 2011-12 to one that went 42-9 the last two seasons and Bennett sees Atanasoff as the focal point for that progression.

“Jason was able to take excellent talent and get them to play sound and team-oriented basketball,” Bennett said. “That isn’t easy to do. He is a terrific basketball mind and Prairie is lucky to have him as their coach. Every time we play Prairie, I know it’ll be a spirited, tough, and enthusiastic contest. 

For Atanasoff, who started doubling as Prairie’s athletic director this school year, the credit should be spread around. And that starts with assistant coaches David Roehl, Matt Joost, Tony Stafford and Dale Hatem.

“I can’t help but think of seven years ago when I accepted the head coaching position, I cannot tell you how many people warned me and shared their thoughts,” Atanasoff said. “They said, ‘You can never build a winner at Prairie in boys basketball. You won’t be able to push those kids, you don’t have basketball players and you cannot win games without having some tough football players.

 


Kyle Vitkus '98

As vice president of commercial lending for Johnson Bank, Kyle Vitkus said he takes pleasure in watching his clients put the money to work in the community. Vitkus got into banking during college, working a part-time job as a teller. Vitkus has a degree from Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin School of Banking. He has also earned a Master of Business Administration from University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

“At the bank where I was working (during college) I knew a lot of the people coming in, and I enjoyed my interaction with them,” Vitkus said. “That drove me to major in finance and I followed that with some internships with banks in Milwaukee through Marquette University. I liked it.”

Commercial lending allows Vitkus to see how the bank’s money moves through the community.

“It’s neat to drive down the street and to know that you helped that person start a business, buy a business or grow a business,” said Vitkus. “I like to think what it has done for the community, like creating jobs. There are a lot of things involved in commercial lending that I enjoy.”

Vitkus has followed a family tradition of volunteerism that was imprinted on him by his family. “I’m on the board of Little Leaguers of Kenosha,” he said. “We provide a program for between 300-400 kids to play baseball every summer. I try to help ensure that the program run smoothly.

“We are one of the less expensive baseball programs in the community and we work hard to keep it that way. I’ve been involved with that since shortly after I got out of college."

 
He also serves on the board of trustees of St. Joseph Catholic Academy and serves as treasurer for the organization. I’m a graduate of St. Joe’s, as are my brothers. My parents are graduates. “My two nieces are in the school and my son is in the 4-K program there,” he added. “That’s been something we’ve taken from our parents and continued with. My dad has been involved in one way or another with St. Joe’s Athletic Association and my brother is currently the treasurer.”

Vitkus also serves on the finance committee for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, while finding time for his “wife and two beautiful kids.”

“I spend as much time with them and we travel when we are able,” Vitkus said. “I love to play golf and attend sporting events, especially with my kids and nieces and nephews.”

The nominator for the 20 Under 40 recognition noted: “Kyle is very dedicated to the youth of Kenosha through his participation in organizations that promote education and sports. He supports organizations and schools that he attended and participated in while he was growing up in our community. He is giving back to his community this way.”

 

 

Bill Althaus '78

Bill began working for Piasecki Funeral Home in 1984 and partnered with Nancy Piasecki in 1986 to form Piasecki-Althaus Funeral Home. Service to his hometown of Kenosha includes involvement with St. Catherine’s Hospital Development Council, Knights of Columbus, Polish Legion of American Veterans, Kenosha Library Foundation, St. Joseph High School, and others. As a lifelong member of St. Mary Catholic Church, Bill serves as cantor and is a former catechism instructor. He also enjoys emceeing community events and sharing the gift of his voice.

 


 

Samantha Kuffel '11

Samantha is from Kenosha, WI and is your typical Cheesehead. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in May 2016 with a degree in Atmospheric Science. While in school, she interned under John Malan at TMJ4 in Milwaukee, and also worked as an Operational Meteorologist for a private forecasting company called Innovative Weather.

 


 

Elizabeth Schuch - '98

Elizabeth Schuch produced her first feature-length film in Greece — is bringing that film, “The Winter,” to Chicago. The movie will be screened as part of Greek Film Fest Chicago. The film “follows a romantic writer from London to his abandoned family home in a remote Greek mountain village. In financial ruin, he retreats to the ruins of an eerie and desolate cottage to seek shelter from crushing debts only to be haunted by his imaginative and eccentric father.” “It’s been a busy year,” Schuch tells us. “We’ve taken the film to Brazil, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, New York, Australia, San Fransisco, Germany, Cyprus — and it was released in Greek cinemas.” Stay tuned for more.

 


 

Art Harrington '68

 discussing renewal energy efforts in Milwaukee, on channel 58. Milwaukee Shines: Solar Technology Growth in Milwaukee  http://www.cbs58.com/clip/11660103/milwaukee-shines-solar-technology-growth-in-milwaukee

 


Peggy Hugunin Hughes  '71

A 2015 Vatican II Award recipient for Service in Liturgy. 

 

 

The Vatican II awards were established in 1991 to honor men, women and young adults who exemplify the Catholic Church’s vision set forth in the Second Vatican Council.

On Wednesday, November 11, 2015, 15 individuals received the Archbishop’s Vatican II Award for Distinguished Service for outstanding contributions to the Church and society. A prayer service and award ceremony took place at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee, followed by a dessert reception.

 


Brock Portilia '02

Brock Portilia - KABA Director of Finance and Administration

Brock Portilia is KABA's  Director of Finance and Administration. Brock comes to KABA from Assurant Health in Milwaukee where he was Senior Auditor. His previous work experience includes accounting positions at CliftonLarsonAllen and Baker Tilly Virchow Krause.

Brock is responsible for effectively managing all financial matters for KABA, a 501c4 non-profit economic development financing corporation. He performs a wide range of duties including financial accounting and reporting, revolving loan fund management and administration, budget preparation, project management accounting and office administration.

Brock holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh and a master's degree in professional accounting from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.

Brock grew up in Kenosha and attended local schools, including St Joseph High School. He enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife, Nadia '03, and hunting and fishing with his dog, Waddie.


Maureen Ryan Giroux '88 

The 2014 Winona State Athletics Hall of Fame Class inducted  Maureen Ryan-Giroux, a St Joes Alum from Class of 1988, is one of the most decorated runners in Winona State history, holding 12 school records when she graduated in 1993. The runner qualified for the NAIA Indoor and Outdoor Championship in 1991, 1992 and 1993, earning All-American honors in all three campaigns. She posted a second place finish at the indoor national meet in the mile in 1993 and was sixth in the 800 meters in 1992. She also posted a fifth-place finish in the 1400 meters at the outdoor national championship in 1992. Ryan-Giroux also was a member of the WSU cross country team in 1992, leading the team to the NAIA National Championship while finishing eighth as an individual at the meet. 

 


 

Frank Matrise, Jr '84

Inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame