Awards & Recognitions

Congratulations to the Saint Francis Xavier School Class of 2016! Graduation took place following the 4:00 Mass on June 11 and the following students received their middle school diplomas:  Elleanor Beaulieu, Amelia Canney, Cassidy Carlson, Nicole Dirmaier, Alexandria Dostie, Brian Eustis, Jessica Eustis, Jessica Forcier, Beatrice Guariglia, Abigail Hayden, Maria Paloma Herrera, Emma Hoza-Frederick, Ryan Johnson, Kiara Keenan, Arianna Kruger, Magdalena Lelito, Alex Line, Christopher Llanos, Sean McCormick, Caleigh Monette, Jenna Reynolds, Jaydon Sartwell, Olivia Simon, Evelyn Stearns, Lisa Uwiduhaye, Lea Wetzel, Andrew Zierak, and Matthew Zuk.

The Class Valedictorian was Emma Hoza-Frederick

The following Scholarship Awards were presented:
The Sister Imelda Caissie Citizenship Award: Ryan Johnson
The Mother Gamelin Spirit Award: Kiki Keenan
The Mother Gamelin Leadership Award: Beatrice Guariglia and Andrew Zierak
The Roderick C. Marcotte Award: Abigail Hayden
The Ladies of St. Anne Award: Amelia Canney and Paloma Herrera
The Robin McCormick Award: Olivia Simon
The Knights of Columbus Award: Brian Eustis, Jessica Eustis, Matthew Zuk

The following Academic Awards were presented:
Social Studies: Sean McCormick
Language Arts: Beatrice Guariglia and Emma Hoza-Frederick
Pre-Algebra: Emma Hoza-Frederick and Ryan Johnson
Algebra: Sean McCormick
Science: Lea Wetzel
Religion: Lea Wetzel
French: Emma Hoza-Frederick
Spanish: Lea Wetzel
Art: Lea Wetzel
Digital Learning: Emma Hoza-Frederick
Music: Nikki Kathy Dirmaier
National French Award:
Bronze: Evelyn Stearns , Silver: Amelia Canney and Beatrice Guariglia
MathCounts Count Down Round: Amelia Canney


By Amelia Canney

             Mrs. Varhue. Science and algebra teacher extraordinaire, supervisor of MathCounts, coach of our cross-country team, and director of our school’s annual science fair. Every day, she continues to amaze me with all she does for our school. She has become my main inspiration.

             In science and algebra, her passion for these subjects springs to life. By the end of our lesson, the board is covered with chalk, and she is, too. But we walk out with our knowledge and, in my case, love of the subject increased. I’ve heard students in my class groan when the bell rings, even when recess follows. Science is always full of fun activities and facts we never knew, with lessons that range from evolution to taxonomy. Before starting Mrs. Varhue’s class, science was far from my favorite subject. Now I enjoy and look forward to it. Algebra has become my favorite class. All the branches of math I found difficult have, under her teachings, become effortless. Thanks to her, I will be going into an advanced math class next year in high school.

             I have attended MathCounts since the sixth grade. While sitting in a classroom doing math problems after school may sound more like detention to most students, it has become my favorite after-school activity. I was nowhere near confident when I first started, afraid I would never gain the skill to make it to the February competition. Mrs. Varhue worked with me, teaching me new calculations and how rechecking work is incredibly important.  This year, I went to the regional competition, made it to the difficult-to-get-into Countdown Round, and progressed to the State competition. I made it beyond my wildest dreams, and I owe it all to my amazing math teacher.

             Cross-country was always a big part of my middle-school life.  I started cross-country in fifth grade, and was thrust into a whirlwind of sweaty, exhausting, and thrilling practices.  Mrs. Varhue always encouraged us to work to our full potential.  Even though the phrase is often overused, coming from her it was a huge motivator.  Thanks to her tips and exercise, I have become faster and stronger.  When I start high school cross-country this fall, it will be sad not to have my favorite coach with me.

             Lastly, science fair. Between helping set up experiments, grading procedures, guiding students to make sure they have the best project possible, and still teaching classes during the four month science fair preparation, I would be surprised if Mrs. Varhue slept during this time period.  Without her help, especially this year, I wouldn’t have finished my project.  She assisted me, providing suggestions for testing and editing my procedure.  Even when I wanted to give up, I didn’t want to disappoint her. Next year I won’t have to do science fair, but when it rolls around, I’ll know she is working hard at our school.

             Mrs. Varhue represents everything I want to be: smart, kind, patient, and hardworking. She has helped mold me into who I am today. 

Saint Francis Xavier Teacher Winner of Local “My Favorite Teacher” Contest

Saint Francis Xavier School math and science teacher Mary Ellen Varhue has been selected as the local winner of the “My Favorite Teacher Contest” sponsored by Barnes and Noble. Mrs. Varhue was selected based on an essay written by Amelia Canney, a Saint Francis Xavier 8th grade student. The contest called for students to write an essay, poem, or thank-you letter sharing how a teacher has influenced their life and why they appreciate and admire them. 

Mrs. Varhue will be recognized by the Barnes and Noble store in South Burlington during Educator Appreciation week in April. Amelia will read her winning entry at that time. In her essay, Amelia details Mrs. Varhue’s talents and dedication as a math and science teacher and also as one of the school’s cross country team coaches. She summarizes her feelings about her teacher in her conclusion. “Mrs. Varhue represents everything I want to be: smart, kind, patient and hardworking.” 

Amelia’s essay will now go on to the regional and possibly national competitions where Mrs. Varhue will have a chance to win $5000 for herself and for Saint Francis Xavier School.

Congratulations to all of our students who made honor roll!

High Honors

Amelia Canney

Nicole Dirmaier

Alexandria Dostie

Jessica Forcier

Beatrice Guariglia

Maria Paloma Herrera

Emma Hoza-Frederick

Ryan Johnson

Arianna Kruger

Christopher Llanos

Sean McCormick

Olivia Simon

Evelyn Stearns

Lisa Uwiduhaye

Lea Wetzel

Melanie Dostie

Isabella Herrera

Rachael Herriot

Caroline Canney

Ashleigh Forcier

David Mount

Larissa Zierak

Honor Roll

Elleanor Beaulieu

Cassidy Carlson

Jessica Eustis

Kiara Keenan

Magdalena Lelito

Caleigh Monette

Jenna Reynolds

Jaydon Sartwell

Andrew Zierak

Peter Matthew Zuk

Ana Dykeman

Cassidy Gorrigan

Amy Hester

Anna Picard

Zachary Roy

Maelynn Sartwell

Brady Spencer

Emmilia Bishop

Kayden Burke

Amy Dragosljvich

Tylan Emch

Juliana Herrera

Sierra Matte

Gregory Roy

Michael Stockbridge

Sally Zuk

St. Francis Alumni ('13) and Rice Junior Nathalie Simon Will Participate in New England Young Writer's Conference

Congratulations Nathalie Simon.  She has been accepted to participate in the New England Young Writer's Conference at the prestigious Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. This is a four day writing-focused workshop for high school students from all around the country. Students will have the opportunity to attend writing seminars, workshops, readings, and work with professional writers to gain skills and inspiration while also meeting with other young writers.

Well done Nathalie!!!

Amelia Canney is having an amazing eighth grade year. Last fall she saw a notice about a Scholastic Books’ writing contest. Students from fourth to eighth grade were invited to write a myth in the style of Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and one of Amelia’s favorite writers.

Amelia worked diligently on her myth. She asked language arts teacher Cathy Richards and librarian Kathleen Finn for feedback. She shared her story with some classmates. All encouraged her to enter the contest. 

With nearly 10,000 other entries, Amelia knew the odds of winning one of the top prizes were slim. When her homeroom teacher, Mr. Chris Melnyk, handed her an envelope from Scholastic in January, she was expecting a polite thank you for entering the contest. She was shocked and delighted, however, to see that, though she had not won the grand prize, she was one of just ten runners up in the entire country! 

Not one to rest on her laurels, and prompted by Mrs. Richards, Amelia submitted a short story to the Vermont Young Writers Project. She was recently notified it was chosen for publication. With the encouragement of teacher Teresa Hawes, Amelia has entered a French essay contest. Just to round out her efforts, she also submitted an entry to the Hildene Lincoln Essay Competition for 8th graders.  

As much as Amelia loves literature, she also excels at math and science. She is a varsity member of the SFX MathCounts team, coached by teacher Mary Ellen Varhue. During a February competition at the University of Vermont, Amelia was one of just twelve students, out of 120 contenders, to qualify for the challenging Count Down round and she qualified for the state competition. 

Amelia was also one of Saint Francis Xavier School’s representatives at last year’s State Science Fair at Norwich University. She is finalizing her project for this year’s school Science Fair in hopes of a return trip to Norwich. 

Amelia’s teachers praise her intelligence and diligence, but Amelia is quick to point to the help and guidance she receives from them as her inspiration. “Starting in kindergarten, Ms. Wood made reading fun and Ms. Catozzi really got me hooked on reading and writing in second grade,” says Amelia. “Mrs. Richards and Mrs. Finn are always willing to help me with my writing projects and Mrs. Varhue is amazing. She is just the best math and science teacher.” 

An excellent student encouraged by excellent teachers -- clearly an award winning combination.

How Eclipses Came To Be

By Amelia Canney

Once, a very long time ago, there was a mortal king named Hostan, who ruled a small kingdom named Jeth. He was very arrogant, and didn't believe in the gods. “Who needs them?” he reasoned, watching his villagers in disgust. “We do just fine on our own. Besides, we shouldn't sacrifice precious crops to non existent beings. That’s just a waste of goods!”

Hostan’s townspeople disagreed with him, but they were very afraid to confront him. Whoever did this was quickly made an example of with the many forms of torture that were available in those days. The king’s advisors were all on his side, except for one by the name of Gelgerborth. He helped the townspeople worship the gods behind the king’s back at a hidden temple in an abandoned workshop. As scared as the townspeople were of Hostan, they were even more afraid that the gods would condemn them to eternal pain in the Fields of Punishment. By serving as high priest, Gelgerborth helped burn offerings to the Olympians, hoping to please them.

However, it is very hard to hide anything from someone in charge of an entire kingdom. Hostan, disguised as an old beggar in ragged robes, made a secret trip into the marketplace one day. He occasionally did this in order to better understand the happenings in his kingdom. The king was observing a play when he heard a commotion across the street. Walking across the street, he asked a young woman what was happening.

“Today is a special day of the gods,” she responded. “We are honoring them in our temple. The king’s advisor Gelgerborth has helped us sacrifice to them for years in this old workshop. You must be new to Jeth, not to know this. Our king does not believe in the gods and refuses to let us sacrifice to them, so we must worship the gods in secret.”

Hostan was furious. He stormed into the temple where Gelgerborth was just finishing the last offering, a lamb for Apollo. He flung off his costume, ignored the cries of fear and shock, and shouted “YOU! You have snuck behind my back, wasting our resources on a group of completely imaginary beings. Gelgerborth, you will pay for this!”

Gelgerborth had turned the color of the lamb’s wool. He hung his head. “My king, I am sorry for this offense to you. However, I have been left no choice. If you refuse to let us build a temple, we must find other ways to worship the gods.” He raised his head, defiance in his eyes. “Even if it means breaking laws.”

The king roared with anger. Pulling out his sword, he swung it at Gelgerborth. The king’s advisor fell to the ground, bleeding profusely from a deep cut in his chest, and moved no more. The crowd broke into a riot, screaming and crowding for the door, trying to escape from their crazed king.

Once they had exited, Hostan stepped out and bellowed loud enough for the whole kingdom to hear, “Should I ever catch word of this insanity happening again, I shall execute anyone and everyone involved, be it man, woman, child, or infant. I shall make this clear; the gods do not exist! They are figments of the imagination.” He laughed in a maniacal way. “If they do exist, let them make themselves known! Until they do, all offerings and sacrifices to your precious gods are forbidden.” With that, the king retreated to his castle, feeling satisfied and believing that the problem had been solved, that he no longer had to worry about the idiotic ‘gods’.

However, Hostan, in his attempt to yell loud enough for all of Jeth to hear, had raised his voice so loud that those on Olympus heard him as well. And they didn’t like what they heard.

Zeus was so furious that lightning crackled around him. “This foolish mortal dares to cast us to the side?! I shall strike him down, let him feel more pain than any mortal has ever felt. Perhaps that will teach him to disbelieve. Hades, please give him a special punishment when he enters the Underworld. I want to see his soul punished for eternity.”

Hades gave a cruel, menacing smile that would make even the bravest warriors quake in their sandals, a smile that promised no mercy. “Yes, my lord. As you command.”

But before Zeus could cast the bolt, Athena gracefully stood. “There is another option, my fellow gods. He denies us because he is afraid of us, afraid to admit there are beings more powerful than he. By proving ourselves to him, we would frighten him into a nightmare that he would be forced to live, day in and day out. He would always have to worry about how his actions  would affect us; whether they would please or anger us. It would be far worse than any torture Hades could provide.”

The rest of the council murmured agreement. Then Zeus spoke up once more. “But how shall we go about this?”

Apollo stood, a wicked gleam in his eye. “The king interrupted a sacrifice to me. I would like to take responsibility for the revenge against him. I have an idea that will prove without a doubt that the gods exist. He will no longer be able to deny us.”

Apollo was given permission by the rest of the council, who knew that when he held a grudge against someone, he had terrifying ways to pay them back. They only hoped that Apollo’s idea would truly shock the mortal king beyond any doubt whatsoever.

And that it did. The next day, around noon, the sun started to disappear. When the mortals noticed, they were astounded and scared. All started praying to the gods, hoping that this strange, unwanted phenomenon would end soon. They needed the sun desperately. But Apollo wasn’t done yet.

Hostan was writing to a nearby kingdom when he noticed the light getting dimmer, resulting in his need to squint in order to see the parchment. Hostan, frustrated by the occurrence, got up to see what was causing the lessening light. What he saw made his jaw drop.

Where the sun should have been, there was only a black spot in the sky, surrounded by a circle of white light that shone like a polished diamond, reaching out like the tentacles of a squid. Hostan trembled. There was no doubt in his mind, the image was the work of the gods. Nothing else could make this happen. Nothing else was powerful enough.

Hostan fell to his knees and prayed for it to stop. “I promise, I’ll worship the gods from now on. I’ll allow the people of Jeth to worship you as well. I’ll even make many glorious temples in my kingdom. Please, just make this stop!” By the end, he was sobbing in desperation.

Apollo looked down upon the broken king and smiled. This was what he had been waiting for. Concentrating, he let the sun shine bright upon the darkened earth again.

Down on Earth, the mortals rejoiced. The king collapsed from relief. When he came to, he immediately started to work on plans for a temple in the grandest part of town, swearing he would never ignore the gods again.

From that point on, Jeth was known as a kingdom with some of the finest temples in the world, with a king that respected and feared the gods more than any mortal ever had. The gods on Olympus congratulated Apollo on a job well done. And occasionally, Apollo repeated his phenomenon of a glowing ring of light in the sky that replaced the sun. He would even use a variation of this sometimes, a blood-red moon shining in the night.

Just to remind the mortals that the gods were still there.

Michelle Bolger, an alumna of St. Francis Xavier School, was named Miss Rice at the recent Rice graduation ceremony. The Mr. and Miss Rice awards are considered Rice's highest award. They are given to students who exemplify the Rice ideals of academic excellence, service to others and seeking God. Academically, Michelle sets the bar very high and works to meet those expectations. Tremendously organized and hardworking, her transcript reveals a student near the top of her class.She has been an active member of Peer Ministry and has volunteered with many different service groups. Athletically, she has been a star player and teammate in field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse. Michelle's parents are Barbara and Greg Bolger. 

Here are some of the awards received by SFX grads at Rice Memorial High School recently. We are so proud of you all! 

*Rev. Msgr. Bernard W. Bourgeois, principal of Rice Memorial High School, proudly announces that the Class of 2015, made up of 100 students, received their diplomas on June 7, 2015. The following graduates are St. Francis Xavier alumni:

Michelle Bolger+, Miss Rice Award, Senior in Excellence in Mathematics Award, Senior Excellence in Visual Arts Award, Outstanding Performance in Girls' Lacrosse Award, John Varricchione Outstanding Female Scholar Athlete Award, Society of Women Engineers, Coca Cola Scholarship,

Fleur Diambou*+, UVM Vermont Scholars, Society of Women Engineers,

Jenna Flint+, Susan Valley Scholarship, 2015 Linda Cataldo Gerlach Award,

Chris Jansen, Senior Outstanding Football Award,

Madison Myers*, Outstanding Performance in Girls' Prep Hockey and Outstanding Performance in Girls' Golf,

Elisa Prehoda+, UVM Mathematics Prize Exam-Certificate of Merit, Senior Excellence in Science Award, Outstanding Performance in Softball Award, St. Michael's College Green Mountain Scholarship, American Society of Microbiology, Francis M and Helen E Martin Scholarship,
Sean Remillard, Kayla St Marie.

+National Honor Society
*Four Year Honors

*Through achieving the qualities of Leadership, Service, Scholarship and Character, the following Rice Memorial students, who are alumni of St. Francis Xavier School, were inducted into the Rev. Raymond J. Adams National Honor Society on Friday, May 29th: Joseph Hester and Benjamin McCormick.

Alex Dostie, 7th grade, and Abigail Monahan, 8th grade, were both honored at a Vermont Foreign Language Association reception in Montpelier on Thursday, April 9th. Governor Shumlin participated in the award ceremony. This year's themes were:

Poster Contest: Language is the roadmap of a culture.
Essay Contest: TOPIC: “Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” -Rita Mae Brown.

Alex won 3rd prize ($15 and notecards made of her poster) in the Middle School Poster division.
Abigail won 1st prize ($50) in the essay contest (French Novice division).

Thank you to all the students who participated and congratulations to our winners.
In February and March 2015 all 3rd through 8th graders at Saint Francis Xavier participated in the annual National French Contest sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. More than 90,000 students in all 50 states and Puerto Rico participated in the contest this year. Depending on the level, the contest involves showing mastery of listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. It is a demanding experience, and every student who completed it deserves hearty congratulations.

The following students received national awards:
3rd grade: Jack St. Peter : "Mention d'honneur" cetificate
4th grade: Dilly Siki: Bronze Medal
5th grade: Amy Dragoljvich, Bruni Guariglia, David Mount, Sally Zuk: "Mention d'honneur" certificates
6th grade: Stephie Sik: Bronze Medal
7th grade: Amelia Canney, Beatrice Guariglia, Evelyn Stearns, Alex Dostie: Bronze Medals, Lea Wetzel: "Mention d'honneur" certificate
8th grade: Zachary McCormick : Bronze Medal, Abigail Monahan: :Mention d'honneur" certificate


Nine Saint Francis Xavier Middle School students won multiple awards at the 2015 Vermont State Science and Math Fair, held at Norwich University on March 28. These students were among nineteen State Science Fair attendees from Saint Francis Xavier School. Middle School science teacher Mary Ellen Varhue noted that this was one of the strongest showings in school history. The following is a list of awards and prizes for each student. 

Alexandria Dostie of Colchester

  • 2015 VPA Superior (Gold) Medal
  • Renewable NRG Systems ($250) Award
Magda Lelito of Milton
  • 2015 VPA Superior (Gold) Medal
  • Society of Women Engineers, Top Prize ($100)
  • Vermont Energy Education Program award
  • Broadcast Masters Rising Stars Award ($50)
  • U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Award
Margaret Martell of South Burlington
  • 2015 VPA Superior (Gold) Medal
  • Broadcast Masters Rising Stars Award ($50)
Abigail Monahan of Essex
  • 2015 VPA Superior (Gold) Medal
  • American Chemical Society Award ($50)
  • Biophysical Society Award ($100)
Gabrielle Lajeunesse of Colchester
  • 2015 VPA Excellent (Silver) Medal
Noah Simonds of Burlington
  • 2015 VPA Excellent (Silver) Medal
Jared Forsythe of Winooski
  • 2015 VPA Excellent (Silver) Medal
  • Green Mountain Water Environment Association Award ($25)
Colin McKay of South Hero
  • 2015 VPA Excellent (Silver) Medal
Olivia Simon of Burlington
  • Society of Women Engineers Award, Honorable Mention

All 19 of the SFX students did an impressive job preparing their presentations for the State Science Fair. Kudos also to Amelia Canney, Jessica Eustis, Patrick Lepsic, Chris Llanos, Leyla Marzbani, Sean McCormick, Madeleine Parzyck, Eliza White, Andrew Zierak and Matthew Zuk.


Winooski, VT – The Saint Francis Xavier Boys 8th Grade CYO Team won the Vermont State Tournament on Sunday, March 15, at the championship game held at Rice Memorial High School. The boys captured the State Championship with a 40 to 19 win over St. John Vianney. The boys advanced to finals with a semi final victory over Mater Christi 30-17 the day before. The team is comprised of Evan Eaton of Winooski, Zachary McCormick of Colchester, Griffin McDermott of Williston, Alex Messineo of Georgia, Merase Niyonsaba of Winooski, Ian Parent of Williston, John Rousseau of Fairfax, and Anthony Spencer of Milton. The coaches are Jeff Brosseau and Kevin McDermott.

Coach Jeff Brosseau had this to say about his team: "Back in October this team set a goal to win the state championship and go to the regional tournament as Vermont's representative. Their hard work, dedication and commitment have paid huge dividends. This is such a great group of young men; this team is very talented in many areas and we are looking forward to regional play." The team advances to the New England CYO Regional Tournament in Leominster, Massachusetts, on March 27-29. The Burlington Roman Catholic Diocese sponsors the CYO program as one dimension of its ministry to youth. The goal, according to its mission statement, is to foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person.

Fourth Grade: Judges’ Presentation Awards: Aida McCormick and Elliot Wood

Fifth Grade: Judges’ Presentation Awards: David Mount and Larissa Zierak

Sixth GradeJudges’ Presentation Award: Amy Hester
Excellence Awards: William Burke, Melanie Dostie, Cassidy Gorrigan, Rachael Herriot, Amy Hester, Chris Prim, Zachary Roy, Maelyn Sartwell, Brady Spencer, Jonathan Stockbridge

Seventh Grade Section A: 
Judges’ Presentation Award: Evelyn Stearns
Excellence Awards: Ella Beaulieu, Amelia Canney, Cassidy Carlson, Jessica Eustis, Emma Hoza-Frederick, Ryan Johnson, Evelyn Stearns, Lea Wetzel, Andrew Zierak Matt Zuk

Seventh Grade Section B:

Judges’ Presentation Awards: Alexandria Dostie and Olivia Simon
Excellence Awards: Alexandria Dostie, Brian Eustis, Jessica Forcier, Chris Llanos, Sean McCormick, Caleigh Monette, Olivia Simon

Eighth Grade:
Judges’ Presentation Awards: Abigail Monahan and Eliza White
Excellence Awards: Oliva Bombardier, Jared Forsythe, Simon Garen, Gabrielle Lajeunesse, Patrick Lepsic, Leyla Marzbani, Zachary McCormick, Colin McKay, Abigail Monahan, Merase Niyonsaba, Madeleine Parzyck, Christina Peters, Noah Simonds, Eliza White