2013 Hall of Fame Inductees
25th-Year Inaugural Saints Hall of Fame
Faculty and staff members who are past recipients of the Marian Award were grandfathered into the Saints Hall of Fame at the Inaugural Hall of Fame Gala & Tribute on March 2, 2013, during the school's 25th Year Celebration. They are: Gennaro Mirocke, 1992, Richard Scott (dec), 1995, Blake Mulvany, 1996, Janiece Dye, 1996, Sister Kathleen Condry, 1998, Evelyn Boutte, 1999, Gail Prieb, 2002, Archbishop James P. Keleher, 2005, Dennis and Geri Hord, 2005, James Enneking, 2008, Bonnie Patrick, 2009, and Bob Aley, 2010.
2013 Distinguished Service Award
Representing the grassroots effort of dedicated parents that was so necessary to the school’s success during its early years, Mac Ayer is the epitome of selfless commitment to Saint Thomas Aquinas High School. Beginning in 1990 and for most of the decade, Mac served as a volunteer coach, fundraiser, contractor, facilities manager and genuine ambassador for the Saints Softball program. Known for “filling in the gaps,” Mac found a way, when the budget would not allow, to provide transportation, equipment, uniforms and lodging not only for the Lady Saints but also for the school’s “Early Bird Invitational” visiting teams. Mac Ayer is largely responsible for the construction of the softball field, batting cages and many improvements including fencing, backstops, and a field drainage system at the Saints softball facilities on campus. Married to JoAnne Lascuola Ayer, the Ayers have two daughters, Rhonda Ayer Edwards and Angie Ayer Garrison, ‘93, and five grandchildren. The family owns and manages MAJ-R Thrift Stores in the Kansas City area.
Bob & Gail Foote
Continuing their commitment to Saint Thomas Aquinas High School well after their own children graduated, Bob and Gail Foote encourage young families to consider Saint Thomas Aquinas for their children’s secondary Catholic education. They have established a scholarship, in memory of their daughter Colleen, made available to eighth graders from Queen of the Holy Rosary-Wea. Strong supporters of the Chapel and Stadium/Field renovations, the Footes’ humble generosity has had a significant impact on the education of hundreds of students who attend Saint Thomas Aquinas each year. The Footes are members of St. Michael the Archangel parish and live in Bucyrus, Kansas, where they manage the Foote Cattle Company. Bob and Gail await the arrival of their seventh and eighth grandchildren in April. Their children are Scott Foote, ‘94, Brad Foote, ‘95, Colleen Foote, ‘98 (dec.), and Greg Foote, ‘05.
In 1985, under the direction of Archbishop Ignatius Strecker, Blake Mulvany recruited Bob Frankovic to help lay the groundwork for a new Catholic high school in southern Johnson County as well as secure financial support from his home parish of Holy Spirit for Catholic secondary education across the Archdiocese. Bob became active in fundraising specifically for Saint Thomas Aquinas while his children were in high school, serving on the Foundation Board and eventually as chair of the committee. Bob became an appointed member to the high school’s governing body -- the Order of Saint Thomas -- in 1998 . When the Order and Foundation Board merged in 2002, Bob continued to be actively involved in strengthening the mission of Saint Thomas Aquinas through the newly formed Board of Trustees until his retirement from this volunteer position in 2012. A scoutmaster, youth coach and Knights of Columbus member over the years, Bob is a principal with Cretcher Heartland, a commercial insurance firm based in Overland Park. Wife, Judy, is a member of the STA visual art faculty. Their children, all Saints alumni, are Christine Frankovic Zaroor, ‘93, Michael Frankovic, ‘96, and Lia Frankovic Cless, ‘04. The Frankovics have one grandchild, Josephine Zaroor.
For thirteen years, Dave Goebel served as Chair of the Saint Thomas Aquinas High School Board of Trustees. He and his wife Jan have six children, all of whom are Saints graduates: Lydia Goebel Bledsoe, ‘96, Lauren Goebel Salmon, ‘99, Lyssa Goebel Krumholtz, ‘02, Kyle Goebel, ‘06, Kerry Goebel, ‘06, and Kevin Goebel, ‘06. Dave and Jan first became involved at the school 1993 as Extravaganza volunteers. In 1998, when he assumed responsibilities as Chair of the Order of Saint Thomas, Dave worked diligently to develop a collaborative and constructive relationship between the school’s governing Board and administration. Under Goebel’s tenure as Board Chair, the school completed three capital campaigns to build the Theater, Auxiliary Gym and St. Mary’s additions, implemented the Technology initiative, and renovated the Chapel and Science Rooms. Saint Thomas Aquinas received the State of Kansas Standard of Excellence recognition in both Math and English every year since the award was established in 2001 until Dave’s retirement in 2010. While his children were young, through their high school years and now as a grandfather -- despite being an executive / director for Rent-a-Center, Boston Market, Applebee’s, Jack-in-the-Box and Mr. Goodcents -- Dave puts his family, his faith and the well-being of others first. His compassion and selflessness to help others sets Dave apart. He is a member of the U.S. Faculty of Mentors for Merryck & Co. He takes time to meet with individuals looking for guidance concerning employment opportunities, business issues or personal questions. Goebel is Chairman of the Board for Children’s Mercy (Hospital) Family Health Partners and teaches a class at the Children’s Mercy development institute on “Values and Leadership Legacy.” A youth and high school sports coach for many years, Dave and his wife Jan are members of Holy Spirit parish and grandparents of five with number six due in May.
John & Barb O'Donnell
Humility and generosity -- these words best express the qualities of John and Barbara O’Donnell. Another example of alumni parents who have remained involved in the mission of Saint Thomas Aquinas well after their children graduated, John and Barb began their involvement in the school even before their oldest child entered its halls. Willing to help as part of the “grass roots” effort in the school’s early years, the O’Donnells have participated for well over a decade as steering committee members, Tournament Sponsor and event chairs for the Mirocke Golf Classic -- ultimately benefitting the Guardian Angel Fund at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School. Also active at the parish and Archdiocesan level, Barb and John were 2004 Future Full of Hope campaign chairs for Church of the Ascension parish where Barb is a ministry leader and coordinator for funeral lunches since 1999. John is a current board member of the Archbishop’s Call to Share Allocation Committee and benefactor to the Archbishop’s Crosier Society. Long-time supporters of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, Barb has served as a member of the Catholic Charities Board of Directors, Women’s Golf Classic steering committee and event chair, Women’s Auxiliary member and current president, and Development Committee member. Since 1996, Barb has also served as board member and chair of the Johnson County Christmas Bureau and the Client Services Committee, helping to establish innovative ideas and new procedures for the organization that serves over 14,000 low-income residents each year. Barb and John enjoy golf and traveling, and even then share their service by volunteering for their golf-community associations. Their children are Johnny O’Donnell, ‘97, Patrick O’Donnell, ‘01 (STA alumna daughter-in-law Carrie Furman O’Donnell, ‘01, and Jen O’Donnell Forrest, ‘04. Barb and John have two grandchildren, Abigail and Jacob O’Donnell.
2013 Alumni Award
Fr. Vince Huber, ‘00
Father Vince Huber, ‘00, was ordained into the Holy Order of Priests on June 18, 2011. He is the first and only graduate of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School to be ordained a priest at the present time. During his undergraduate work at the University of Kansas, Vince Huber was an active member of the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center. Through encouragement from friends, family and the intercession of the Holy Spirit, Vince moved to Rome in 2004 and committed to his vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on January 1, 2008. At the historic Ordination Mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Overland Park, Father Vince became one of the first four priests of the Apostles of the Interior Life, an emerging order founded in Rome in 2007 by Father Salvatore Scorza. Father Vince and the other priests and nuns in his Order split their ministry time between Rome and the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. Father Vince is the son of Debbie and Randy Huber of Church of the Nativity parish. His three sisters are also Saint Thomas Aquinas High School alumni: Jessie Huber, ‘02, Tricia Huber Sprouse ‘03, and Lindsey Huber, ‘05.
Erica Thesing Kratofil, ‘97
Erica Thesing Kratofil, ‘97, leads an altruistic life guided by faith, compassion and respect for life. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies with a concentration in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. Following this, she went to work with the AmeriCorps VISTA program that provided social services to homeless clients seeking legal assistance. This led her to seek a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis where she was the recipient of a prestigious Women in Management Scholarship. At the age of 26, she accepted the challenge of helping launch a non-profit organization that provides shelter and social services for homeless families -- the Johnson County Interfaith Hospitality Network. In her role as Network Manager, she coordinated all facets of the program and trained more than 850 volunteers. Erica’s first-hand knowledge of issues related to poverty and homelessness have grown along with her passion to help children and families in need. She subsequently worked for Episcopal Community Services in Kansas City as Director of Development, where she managed grants and the agency implemented a culinary arts career training program for low-income adults and expanded its feeding programs to serve more than one million meals a year for the working poor and homeless. Erica and her husband, John Kratofil, ‘97, have four children and are active members of Church of the Ascension in Overland Park. She currently manages grants and social media for the archdiocesan Catholic Education Foundation, and also serves as a Field Instructor for the Schools of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri - Kansas City. Erica is the daughter of Cindy and John Thesing of Church of the Nativity parish. She has four sisters: Kelly Thesing Rose, ‘00, Laura Thesing Fisher, ‘03, Kathryn Thesing, ‘07, and Mary Thesing, ‘10, and a brother, John Thesing, current junior at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School.
Mikey Needleman, ‘02
The gift of music that he shares makes Mikey Needleman, ‘02, a worthy member of the 2013 Hall of Fame. Beginning his transformation in high school, Mikey was an active participant in Spring Break Mission Trips, Kairos retreats and sharing his testimony with other grade school and high school students through Clean Team Outreach. As lead singer and creator of the Mikey Needleman Band, Mikey has released two records of original music and plays over 100 shows a year at local and regional venues. His work as a youth and music minister exemplifies his effect on the spiritual growth of individuals and communities within the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. As Youth Minister at Holy Spirit parish, music teacher at Nativity parish, Adult Team Leader for Kairos and Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) retreats, music leader for countless retreats, reconciliation and adoration services at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School and at many local parishes, Mikey has had direct and positive impact on countless youth in the Archdiocese. In addition, Mikey has shared his gift of Christian music across the country and internationally, playing at Prairie Star Ranch, National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), Stuebenville Retreats, Camp Tekakwitha, World Youth Day, youth rallies, Life Teen camps, Shine Work camps, and Catholic Mission Trips Inc. In January 2008, Mikey initiated the 6:30 p.m. Sunday-evening Life Teen Mass at Holy Spirit parish, offering the community a dynamic, upbeat style of worship. Mikey still leads music at this Mass every Sunday. Living in Olathe with his wife Allison (Day) Needleman, Mikey enjoys traveling, his family and his friends. Mikey’s parents are Tati and Mike Needleman of Holy Spirit parish. His sisters are Celia Needleman Thompson, ‘98, and Kelliana Needleman, ‘05.
Benjamin Schloegel, ‘96
Benjamin Schloegel, ‘96, is a triathlete, firefighter and entrepreneur who embraces service to others. As a triathlete he has won numerous competitions at many levels and has raced in over 20 Ironman triathlons, frequently finishing in the Top-Ten. Although he never swam, biked or ran competitively while growing up, Schloegel ascended to the professional level of triathlon in just two years after struggling tremendously with alcohol and drug abuse as well as discipline issues and the court/legal system. His behavior resulted in his removal from Saint Thomas Aquinas for a year, but he remained in contact with some key people at the school who he credits with bringing him back from the fringe and carrying him when he was not strong or disciplined enough to do it himself. Through his company Endurance Management Group llc which owns and operates EnduraCamps and FireFighterAthlete.com, Ben now coaches others to become better athletes and firefighters as well as better parents/spouses/co-workers/children by encouraging life-balance and sustainable fitness. Ben, who is known to friends and colleagues as a highly motivating, inspirational and driven individual, also risks his own life every day as a full-time firefighter and EMT for the city of Kansas City, Missouri on Truck 8. For Ben, being a firefighter is the culmination of turning around his life to ultimately and selflessly serve others. Schloegel serves on the Board of Directors for First Call (an affiliate of the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence), mentors for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Kansas City, and counsels adolescents: sometimes through the Student Formation office at STA. One of his companies’ core values is to give a substantial portion of its earnings as well as time back to support physical activity among youth. Retired from multisport, Ben enjoys consulting, boxing, extreme sports and his dog Sammy. Two of Ben’s siblings, Charlie Schloegel and Ali Schloegel Dunn, ‘98, attended STA along with numerous cousins. His parents are Debby and Jake Schloegel, members of Church of the Nativity.
Dr. Brigid Molen Sullivan, ‘95
Brigid Molen Sullivan, ‘95, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame while on ROTC scholarship. She was named Distinguished Graduate in 2000 from the United States Air Force in Air Battle Manager Training and became Senior Director at Tinker Air Force Base where she supervised a team of Air Weapons officers during planning, preparation and execution of airborne missions for Operation Enduring Freedom. As a Marine Corps software analyst in 2003-04, Brigid provided technical support to deployed U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence Forces. Upon completion of her active military duty, Brigid earned her Doctor of Medicine degree and was recognized with the Family Medicine Research Award in 2011 from the Medical University of South Carolina. Now a hospitalist at Trident and Summerville Hospitals, Dr. Sullivan and her husband Roger volunteer at a local free clinic as well as participate in medical missions to Guatemala with their local diocese. The Sullivans reside in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina with their three young children, where Brigid enjoys running, cooking and gardening. Brigid’s parents are Susan and Joe Molen of Holy Spirit parish. Siblings who also attended Saint Thomas Aquinas are Ryan Molen, ‘90, Sean Molen, ‘92, and Lily Molen Beach, ‘97.
2013 Legacy Award
The recipient of the 2013 inaugural Saints Hall of Fame Legacy Award, honoring persons or organizations who have been instrumental in helping to build the Saints community over a number of years, is MRZ Corporation.
The partnership’s generous contributions to Aquinas 2000 helped launch the school into the next millennium. As geographic growth continued to the south and west and demand for Catholic secondary education in the Archdiocese continued to increase, the original facilities for Saint Thomas Aquinas High School had to be expanded and enhanced. Air-conditioning, additional classrooms and a new performing arts theater were the result of the Aquinas 2000 campaign.
“MRZ,” abbreviated for ‘McAnany, Rieke, Zarda’ includes Richard (dec) & Betty McAnany, Leo & Helen Rieke, Max, ‘39, (dec) and Frances Rieke (dec), Tom, ‘52, & Mickey Zarda, ‘53, and Ben, ‘45, & Betty Zarda.
Well over 25 grandchildren of the MRZ principals have attended or graduated from Saint Thomas Aquinas High School since its opening in 1988.