GYM FLOOR RENAMED
MICHAEL CHIARITO COURT
Former Athletic Director Mike Chiarito, who oversaw athletics at Saints Peter and Paul School from 1992 - 2016 was recently honored by the school community with having the court in the gym named after him. Spearheaded by former Athletic Association presidents Bruce Guay and Shawn LaPean, a dedication service was held on Saturday, September 9.
Attending the festivities were Mike's wife of 50 years, Vicki, as well as many of his siblings and other family members. A great representation of former Athletic Association members who served during Mike's tenure were also present to pay tribute.
Current Athletic Association president Brad Drendel was the emcee for the festivities and joining him on the dais were Mike Bava, former DuPage Parochial League president and current CFO for the Diocese of Joliet, Jim Nelson, former athletic director at St. Mary of Gostyn School (Downers Grove), Frank Glowaty, current Advancement Director who worked with Mike for 23 years, and Karen Meskill, current SSPP principal. Each shared reflections as to how Mike either impacted the basketball and volleyball leagues (he was president for 20 years), or broadened our school's athletic program, enhanced the aesthetics of our gymnasium, and lightened the load of the principal by directly handling a myriad of issues, complaints, and conflicts himself.
"It was not just twenty-five years of dedicated service that warranted this honor," noted Drendel. "More importantly it recognized a body of work which was always student driven with the desire to continually upgrade and
improve our athletic offerings and facilities." As many as 90% of the student body in grades 5-8 participated in at least one sport during his career.
Principal Meskill said, "It was always a relief to walk into school on Monday mornings after a weekend of athletic competitions and know you won't have people sitting outside your office or have a myriad of phone calls to return because your athletic director has everything under control."
Frank Glowaty remarked that "Mike brought a business structure to the Athletic Association with clearly defined roles for members, committee chairs, and coordinators. He professionalized grade school athletics to the point where other schools continually relied on him for advice."
Glowaty went on to say that Mike insisted that all student-athletes be treated equally whether they were 'A' players likely to play in high school or perennial 'B' players who were competing more for the fun and camaraderie.
Prior to being appointed AD in 1993, Mike spent 12 years coaching each of his daughters in track and then helped form the Athletic Association for which he served 8 years, 6 as president.
Mike loved Saints Peter and Paul School, sports, and student-athletes, and also had a burning desire to continually upgrade our gym facilities. Under his direction, he spearheaded the addition of new lighting, new bleachers, a new scoreboard, the painting of the gym floor with the Trojan logo at half-court, banners trumpeting our athletic successes, and the school's name on each baseline. He also brought in tackle football, expanded volleyball to include boys' teams, and initiated an intramural volleyball and basketball program for students in grades 1-4.
"I wanted our own families and students to take pride in our gym, as well as have visitors and opposing teams coming to play us to be impressed, and even awed, by our facilities," Chiarito commented when thanking those in attendance for being part of his special day and working by his side throughout his tenure.
"Even more impressive," noted Drendel, "the Athletic Association paid for each of these upgrades on their own. Not one dime came from the school budget."