St. Joseph School Alumni Newsletter
Issue #26 
Fall 2013
In This Issue
A Message from Patrick Fennessy
School News/Events
Team Gellin' ('74)
Alumnae ('99) Back in the Buuilding
Alumni in the News
Class Reunions
Support St. Joseph School
Endowment News
About Reconnections
Quick Links

A Message from Patrick Fennessy  


Dear St. Joseph School Alumni,


I'm excited for this issue of Reconnections because it highlights some people who I actually know!


Sam Procopio and I first met at Notre Dame. He was just about ready to graduate with his master's in teaching from the ACE program and met with a few of us who had graduated from ACE previously and were living in Seattle. There is quite a group of ACE grads here in Seattle, and we get together from time, so I get to see Sam, his wife Britt and their one-year old, Dominic. Sam is doing incredible things in his vocation as a Catholic schoolteacher at Holy Names Academy.


The '74 alums are a force to be reckoned with. I've gone on several bike rides with some of them, and I can barely keep up. If I'm in half as good a shape as they are when I'm their age, I'll be happy. Their story is one of many that describe the lifelong connections that form here at our school. Keep those stories coming as they help weave the fabric of our great school.


The 2013 school year is off to a great start. We just kicked off our annual school pledge drive at the annual Celebration Dinner. We hope this year's drive brings in $515,000 to support the many programs we offer here at the school. If you'd like to help us, please pledge online. Our alumni always help us reach our goal, so thank you in advance for pledging!


The school year also began with several new teachers joining our staff. Two of them, it's no surprise, are St. Joe's alumnae: Kathleen Ross '99 and Susie Raney '99! They, and their fellow new teachers are off and running.


The expansion project that you read about in the last issue is going well. We finished Phase 1 right before school began. Much of the work completed during this phase prepares us for what is coming in Phase 2. That begins on March 31, 2014. If you'd like to know more about how and why we are expanding, please read more here.


Please know that you are in my prayers daily and remain part of our community always.





School News/Events

Summer Construction Wind-up 

Ms. Crocker and art students brighten up construction 
remnants from the first phase of the expansion completed this summer. Phase 2 will begin March 31. 

Meet and Greet! 
a 1B welcome from Ms. Doquilo
Vice Principal Kris Brown chats with St. Joseph parochial vicar Rev. Glen Butterworth, S.J.
Back to School Night
Fr. Whitney and Patrick Fennessy receive a check from
Board President Mike Vila on behalf of the Endowment
for St. Joseph School.

Mass of the Holy Spirit
Eighth graders lead the liturgy music.

 Theme Assemblies
"Come to the Water" 



Parish/PAB Pancake Breakfast 


 Feast of St. Francis of Assisi 

Blessing the animals


Champion for Girls in Technology:
Sam Procopio ('96)

"I never imagined my biggest passion would be girls in tech." Sam

Britt and Sam Procopio 

Procopio ('96) is making waves on the local STEM scene from the halls of Holy Names Academy. Currently co-chair of the math department at Holy Names, Sam began teaching its AP Computer class in 2011. In two short years, the program has taken off in no small part to his enthusiasm and talent for giving girls the foundation to head into computer science.


How did this St. Joe's alum, always interested in math (and soccer), who pictured himself a lawyer ("Miss Marion always said I would be a lawyer"), end up as a force for educating girls in computer science? Sam honed his early math skills at St. Joseph: "I was always good at it, thanks to Miss Marion and Mr. Miller," he says. He headed to Bishop Blanchet for high school, played soccer and basketball, graduated as the top male student in his class, and took time to come back and coach CYO soccer for St. Joe's. Sam went on to the University of Portland where he majored in math, still coached youth soccer, and took off to Australia for studies during his junior year. He finished up at UP in its popular Entrepreneurship program. Still thinking about law, Sam hesitated: "I would not be using my math." So he postponed, wanting to volunteer in something math-related and finding that with Notre Dame's ACE (
Alliance for Catholic Education) program. He completed his two-year ACE stint in Charlotte, North Carolina, teaching middle school math at a Catholic school. Upon returning home, he taught math and coached soccer at Interlake High School in Bellevue. Although he liked the Interlake years, Sam missed the sense of community he had grown up with at St. Joseph, as he expressed, "the spiritual component, the focus on social justice." "My best friends are from kindergarten," he says.


Sam in first grade (front row, third left) 

Sam's career at Holy Names began when a friend saw an opening in the math department, and he got the job. "I was reinvigorated as a teacher," he says. After three years, he was looking to start up an entrepreneur-type class like the program he enjoyed at UP. He proposed the class to Principal Liz Swift, who supported it, but who also persuaded him to take on the AP Computer class. Sam accepted, and spent the summer on intense professional development in the world of Java. That first year he was fortunate to have "a delightful group" of 20 students, a successful class, and received Holy Names Academy's Distinguished Teaching Award along the way. He recalls his realization of how valuable the AP Computer elective is and that more students should be taking it! Going into the second year, Sam put on his entrepreneur hat and marketed the computer class to all the underclass math students, pointing out the low percentage of girls graduating in computer science. "The kids flocked to the challenge," he remembers, and last year saw 43 girls in the course.


The computer world and the local press quickly started to notice. He popped up in a Seattle Times article in July. More than a third of Procopio's students did full-time, paid internships over the summer. Seven of his students received the NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology) Award for Aspirations in Computing. Sam was the recipient of the NCWIT Educator Award, which goes to educators that have demonstrated a commitment to encouraging young women's aspirations in computing. He proudly points out that this year over half of the girls taking the College Board AP computer exam in Washington State will be Holy Names students. And, over 70 girls are taking his 3 AP classes this year.


Sam Procopio's contribution to Catholic education is a tribute to his formative years at St. Joseph. "I have more St. Joe's pride than anything," Sam admits. "I credit who I am as a person - morally, ethically and certainly academically - to being able to go there." Sam and his wife Britt (Hesse), a fellow Blanchet Brave, welcomed son Dominic last year. He has just applied to a doctoral program in education at Seattle University with the hope of going into administration. "So I can do for other kids what St. Joe's did for me," he says.



Sam's 1st grade coed soccer team: Sam at center


Reconnecting with Team Gellin'  


The St. Joseph School Class of 1974 is a tight group. Their 30th reunion organized by John Sauvage in 2004 was a resounding success; 68 alums showed up along with teachers and coaches.The event was "tons of fun," says John Sauvage. "It got everything going." The "everything" is a now-infamous group of those alums known as "Team Gellin' " that began with a few guys at the reunion who said, hey, let's do something together. The original group - Jim Carney, Jim Patterson, John Smith and Mike Talevich - decided to climb Mt. Rainier. And they did!


The word got out, and several other St. Joe's alums wanted to get involved. Pat Grimm determined they should do the STP (Seattle to Portland) bike race that summer. A message went out to the "climbers," and they bought into the idea. The guys started training  ... although according to Sauvage and Grimm, "Talevich did no training" and definitely said "no" to the bike pants. The group razzed him that they would be "gellin' " while he would be sufferin'. As it turned out, Mike Talevich did not ride, but the others did the STP that first year (2006): Carney, Patterson, Smith, Grimm and Sauvage rode as Team Gellin'.


First STP finish for Team Gellin': Jim Patterson, Jim Carney, Pat Grimm, John Sauvage, extra guy Bruce Tuesley and John Smith (2006) 

"We had a blast," says Pat Grimm. "It was a really great time to connect. We said we were going to do this again." The next year the group rode the RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver (BC) and Party). The following year (2008) saw a disastrous attempt at the STP in one day, so in 2009 Team Gellin' went back to the RSVP. In 2010 they had success with the one-day STP - the real challenge! The last two years have been the RSVP that now includes the famous "Chuckanut Challenge" up Chuckanut Drive heading into Bellingham that has turned into a contest (was that competitive streak instilled at St. Joe's?) for Team Gellin'.

Team Gellin' 2009 RSVP 

This past summer, Team Gellin' stepped out to look for a new bonding adventure. The group settled on a bike ride on Orcas and San Juan Islands to coincide with taking Pat Grimm's boat up. The plan was to include a ride around Orcas that would finish with an ascent of Mt. Constitution. Pulling into Rosario, the group headed out not realizing the elevation they would encounter riding just outside of Rosario before even getting to the six miles up Mt. Constitution. Jim Carney and John Sauvage managed the Mt. Constitution climb when the rest of the guys said "no way." Another challenge!


Team Gellin' looking sharp in the San Juans (2013) 


Team Gellin' is definitely planning to continue the new event next year. Pat Grimm expressed that it was a great time together. Pat and John explained that it was the St. Joe's 30-year reunion that really reconnected the group. Three of the five live outside of Seattle: Jim Carney (Raymond, WA), Jim Patterson (Minneapolis, MN), and John Smith (Santa Monica, CA). Although Mike Talevich is not riding, he still stays connected. "We've always appreciated the long-term relationships from St. Joe's," said Grimm. "We were the last class before George (Hofbauer)." Both John and Pat encourage fellow alums not to waste that strong St. Joe's bond, to consider being a catalyst for getting their classmates together. It can be a great time, just gellin' ...


Story contributors:


John Sauvage 
Pat Grimm 
1999 Alumnae Back in the Building!

Kathleen Ross ('99)

(class photo bottom row, second from right)  

Kathleen (Keegan-Boes) Ross ('99) is "back in the building" teaching first grade this year. Asked about her road back to St. Joe's, Kathleen expressed that "one of the things I loved growing up was the community. That is what was so vivid. That is what I was looking for, and it's a place I want to be." Kathleen is off to a busy start in the whirlwind that is St. Joseph School.


Mrs. Ross revs up her class
at the Jogathon.


Upon graduating from St. Joseph, Kathleen attended Holy Names Academy. "I came out of my shell there," she says. She went on to University of Portland, majoring in education. She completed her master's in education at Seattle University while teaching first grade at St. Alphonsus Parish School in Ballard where she was "Teacher of the Year" last year.


What does she like about first grade? "It's the transformation in reading I find most exciting," she explains. "Their excitement about reading makes them fun to work with." How about being back in her old building? "It's fun," she says. "The stairs and handrails seem smaller ... and I remembered the familiar smell of the old building. A lot has changed, but the basic things are still the same: the energy, the friendliness, the respect."


Kathleen in Ms. Ramos' first grade class (first row, third left)

Kathleen is content to be back in the St. Joseph community. She met her husband, Devin, when she was in the parish youth group. Her parents moved to St. Joseph's when she was five to be part of a Jesuit parish and school, and she has two Jesuit great uncles. "The Jesuit tradition runs deep," Kathleen says.


Susie Raney ('99)

(class photo fourth row, middle) 

Susie Raney ('99) joins the longtime sixth grade team of Chris Miller and Chuck Woletz this year. She teaches Literature to all grade six students and English Language Arts and Religion to her 6A homeroom. Susie says that it's fun teaching with her old teachers. "I had a great time in sixth grade here," she says. "Those were my favorite classes, ones like the Egypt unit from Mr. Woletz." She still has good friends from her St. Joe's class.


Ms. Raney meets and greets one of her
6th grade students.



Susie went to Seattle Prep after leaving St. Joseph, then on to Gonzaga University where she majored in English. After graduating, she started coaching cross-country at Seattle Prep and began to substitute at St. Joe's, working with the fifth and sixth grade teams. She spent some time as a math specialist at the school, and decided to go into the teaching program at Western Washington University where she completed her master's. She has spent the past three years at Our Lady of Fatima School teaching math, science, English and social studies in grades five through eight.


Susie in the top row in Mrs. Geraghty's first grade class

Susie has fond memories of her St. Joseph years, especially the Passion Play and the fifth grade talent show. How is it now versus back then? "It feels a lot the same," she says, "especially the old building. The kids are pretty much the same, but technology adds a new dimension. We were learning 'home row' back in our computer class!" Importantly, is the Woletz/Miller team learning anything from her? "If not yet, they will!" she replied. "They genuinely care a lot about their students." Susie fits right in.

Alumni in the News  


William David "Will" Swenson will receive the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama on October 15.
Will attended St. Joseph School from first through sixth grade. Former Army Captain Swenson will be the sixth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. Swenson, who left active duty as an Army Captain in February 2011, is credited with facing a hail of enemy fire in a U-shaped ambush, leading survivors to safety and coordinating air support that eventually helped calm the battlefield, according to military documents outlining the battle. The White House press office officially announced the award in September. St. Joseph fourth graders recently wrote and sent him letters of congratulation. 



St. Joseph alum Joe Cannon '67, was featured in the Seattle Times in an enjoyable article this summer for his play in the Tennis Week tournament at the Seattle Tennis Club.





St. Joseph School  

Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the St. Joseph School Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award to be announced in September 2014. Please visit the Alumni page on the school's website to find a description of the award and list of previous years' recipients. If you would like to submit a nomination, please contact Maureen Cartano at or 206-329-3260 ext. 201.




Class Reunions

Class of 1964

Calling all members of St. Joseph School's first co-ed class...Before you know it, it will be 50 years since you graduated from St. Joe's.


Sheila Sifferman Marie has stepped forward to be part of the reunion planning committee. If you would like to be involved, please contact Sheila by phone (206)251-7035 or email at Information about the reunion (tentatively set for July 2014) will be posted on both the school's website and in Reconnections.


You may also connect with your classmates and get involved in the reunion planning on their new Facebook page: St Joseph Grade School, Seattle Class '64.

If you are the contact for your class and would like to post information about your class reunion in Reconnections or on the school's website, please contact Maureen Cartano at .

Support St. Joseph School 


Auction 2013 in the Enchanted Forest 
Be sure to mark November 15 and 16 on your calendar for the 38th school auction. Parent Chairs Jill and Ed Allen are leading this year's event, with the help of Procurement Chair Celeste Ramberg. Friday night is open to all; doors open at 5 p.m. for bidding. Saturday night is by invitation. If you would like an invitation, call the Special Events Office at (206) 329-3260 ext. 244 or 221. For details see the school website.


Celebration Dinner kicks off School Pledge Drive
School Pledge Drive Co-Chairs Alida and Douglas Oles launched this year's appeal with an entertaining and heartfelt call for support at the annual Celebration Dinner in early October. This year's goal is $515,000. St. Joseph alumni support the pledge drive year in and year out.
It's easy to


School Commission Chair Linda Walton (center) congratulates Hall of Honor recipients Lisa and Bob Ratliffe. 

Bob and Lisa Ratliffe received this year's Hall of Honor Award at the Celebration Dinner. The Ratliffes have been a part of the St. Joseph community for many years, sending four children through St. Joseph School. From staffing the SCRIP table to serving on countless commissions and committees, they have given tirelessly of their time for over 20 years. Bob chaired the capital campaign that built the Wyckoff Gymnasium, and together, Bob and Lisa were major contributors to that effort.


The Hall of Honor Award is devoted to members of our community who have gone above and beyond in their dedication to St. Joseph School. Recipients of this award have shown great dedication to the school's mission by giving selflessly of their time, talents and treasure.




Congratulations went to Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
Jordan Howell ('00) at the Celebration Dinner.


Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Jordan Howell graduated
from St. Joseph in 2000 as a recipient of the Joseph Boyle Memorial Scholarship. He went on to Seattle Prep where he played varsity soccer, football and basketball. Jordan graduated cum laude from Sonoma State in 2007 with a degree in psychology. He received his master's in counseling from Seattle U in 2012, magna cum laude. Jordan has really worked at St. Joe's since he graduated in 2000, starting as part of the summer work crew. He now wears a tricorn hat: CYO/Facilities/Counselor, and manages all with aplomb.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to a graduate whose life is an example of the traits we consider crucial in the development of our students.




Endowment News

Save the Date!

Endowment Golf Tournament

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Newcastle Golf Club


Proceeds will benefit the Learning Resource Fund.

 For more information please contact Najat Cola at
(206) 329-3260 ext 267 or

Alumni Andy Read ('80) and Jayson Lacktrup ('87) enjoyed  the Endowment Golf Tournament in May.

Endowment for St. Joseph School:
Educating and inspiring students
to reach their God-given potential.

The purpose of the Endowment is to strengthen and sustain, for years to come, a rich, faith-centered academic experience for all students at St. Joseph School.

Through the support of generous donors, the Endowment finances student tuition, supports teacher enrichment programs, and pays for special academic programs and opportunities. Each year, grants from the Endowment enable dozens of children to attend St. Joseph School, help stimulate our students' academic achievement and their unique passions for learning and further the skills of our teaching staff.Because we spend only the interest earned from the principal, the Endowment will support these goals in perpetuity, advancing St. Joseph School's mission to educate and inspire students to reach their God-given potential for many generations to come.

Our vision is to create a fully endowed school, where the Endowment covers all student and program expenses and is the sole funding source of the school.

For more information or to make a donation to the Endowment please contact Patrick Fennessy at (206) 329-3260 ext 218 or


About Reconnections


Reconnections is an e-mail newsletter from St. Joseph School sent to our alumni, their parents and grandparents, parents whose students attended St. Joseph School but withdrew prior to graduation, and former staff.
If your contact information is incorrect, please help us update your information by responding via e-mail or clicking on "Update Your Contact Information." Please feel free to forward the newsletter to your family members for whom we do not have an e-mail address. They can add their names to the mailing list.

If you do not wish to receive Reconnections, simply use the

"unsubscribe" feature, and your e-mail address will be removed.  

If you would like to us to spread the word about your class reunion, please send us the information, and we will include it in the next issue.


Comments, story suggestions and inquiries can be sent to  

Maureen Cartano by responding to this e-mail.

Thank you,

Maureen Cartano 


St Joseph School 
700 18th Avenue East 
Seattle, WA 98112 
Principal:  Patrick Fennessy 
Academic Vice Principal:  Rick Boyle 
Vice Principal for Student Life:  Kris Brown 
Pastor:  John D. Whitney, S.J.