Viatorians and the impact of a Viatorian education drove the success of Saint Viator High School’s Night of the Lion fundraiser Saturday night.The school’s largest fundraiser took place at the school and wove guests from the opening reception in Querbes Hall to the Jeuck Auditorium for a video presentation and awards, before heading to the Boler Center for a variety of entrée stations and the popular cover band, Exit 174.

The powerful testimonials began with Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, who was honored as the

Fr. Arnold Perham with members of the 2016 math team

Night of the Lion honoree. He has spent nearly 50 years teaching mathematics at Saint Viator, including this year when he continues to advance members of the math team further into the state series, and designs projects for the school’s Fr. Louis Querbes scholars.

“He is a living, breathing and inspiring example of our Viatorian mission,” said Mr. Brian Liedlich, “and everyone here recognizes Arnie as a master teacher.”

Guests in the audience gave Fr. Perham a standing ovation (twice) and he thanked them, saying he was “deeply gratified to be honored.”

“My life here at Saint Viator has been as a classroom teacher,” Fr. Perham said. “I accept this award for all the teachers who have cared for our students, who encouraged them to work hard and dream big — and if you fail, to pick yourself up and keep going.”

Tom Grubbe

One of his former students, Tom Grubbe ’75, followed him, accepting the Night of the Lion Business Partner award. Grubbe is president and founder of Directions, and audio-visual company in Schaumburg.

“I owe a tremendous amount to Saint Viator,” Grubbe said. “If it were not for my attendance at Saint Viator, I would not be doing what I’m doing today. I realize how fortunate I was — I had the dream team of Viatorians as my teachers.”

Grubbe went on to describe a skiing accident he suffered during the latter part of his freshmen year, which left him in traction for six months and nearly took him out of school. However, it was his gruff homeroom teacher, Fr. John Durkee, CSV, who arranged with his parents to tutor Grubbe at his home, allowing him to complete all of his classes for the year.

“Saint Viator High School has a saying, that they never leave any child behind — and they mean it,” Grubbe said. “My heartfelt thanks goes to the Viatorians for their grand and noble mission.”

Br. Leo Ryan with Connie Cookus and her grandson, Zac Jones, after a performance of The Music Man

The speeches kept getting better. Zac Jones ’17 spoke last, as a current representative of Saint Viator students, especially those who benefit from scholarships funded in part by the Night of the Lion gala.

Zac has appeared in multiple plays and musicals, while taking eight AP classes. He is an Illinois State Scholar and a National Merit Finalist.

I finally found an academic environment that emboldened me to expand my knowledge — and encouraged me to work harder,” Zac said. “The diversity of knowledge I’ve amassed while at Saint Viator will carry me forward, not only through higher education but also through the rest of my life.”