Associate Jason Kuffel was the emcee at Wednesday’s National Letter of Intent ceremony at Saint Viator High School. It’s always a highlight for him, when he can celebrate student athletes, grounded in faith and the Viatorian tradition, who are committing to play their sport at the next level.

Associate Jason Kuffel, left, enjoys a laugh with baseball coach Terry Behna.

“We want to celebrate these athletes, and all their hard work and dedication,” Jason said at the outset, “but we also want to thank their parents, coaches and teammates for helping them develop into the student athletes that they have become.”

As a 1999 graduate of Saint Viator, now serving as athletic director at his alma mater, celebrating the school’s student athletes comes naturally. But, he’s also a Viatorian associate, having made his first commitment last year after a two-year discernment process.

“I have worked and coached in Catholic schools my entire adult life, including 25 years leading young people in the mission, vision and values of the Viatorians and Saint Viator High School,” Jason says. “It was a no-brainer in my mission as a Viatorian educator to take the next steps to become a lay associate.”

Saint Viator student athletes sign their letters of intent.

In his role as athletic director, Jason oversees 32 athletic programs, played out through 70 different levels. Each year, between 75-80 percent of students participate in at least one sport and all under the guidance of 110 coaches.

Jason’s role as an associate comes out in the way he has distinguished the athletics program, by implementing “The Viator Way.”

“We encourage student athletes and coaches to STRIVE to do everything well,” Jason says, “so that through us Jesus may be adored and loved.”

The acronym stands for: Sacrifice Intentionally, Thrive Spiritually, Rise Above Negativity, Ignite the Community, Value Adversity and Embrace Gratitude.

“I feel blessed on a daily basis to be part of the Viatorian Community as an administrator,” Jason says. “I look forward to the important conversations, reflections and decisions our community will make to keep alive the spirit of Fr. Louis Querbes and Saint Viator.”