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IHS Alumni in the News!

Immaculate High School's 6,000+ alumni form the heart of our Mustang family. Since the first class entered these hallowed halls in 1963, the Mustangs have established a tradition of excellence. Our alumni are doing great things and we love to share their stories. We are also grateful for the wonderful testimonials that our alumni provide as to their experiences at Immaculate.


Megan Mitchell '10

Megan Mitchell is an alumnus of IHS, Class of 2010 and was the keynote speaker at the IHS Annual Career Day on Friday, January 30, 2015. Megan is currently the morning news anchor for NBC North Dakota News. Click here to see her video presentation to the students:


Paul Bayer '02

Paul Bayer is an alumnus of IHS, Class of 2002, and was at the Vatican for a Mass with the Pope this past week. Paul read the Gospel during the Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. He can be seen in the video (linking to the VaticanTV website) below starting at minute 15. Paul entered a Cistercian Monastery in 2008 and has been ordained to the diaconate.

Joseph Stabile '02

Immaculate Alum and Firefighter Joe Stabile credited with saving the life of a woman with food lodged in her throat in the Danbury Fair Mall on Monday, Nov 12, 2012.

Amy Loya '10

Amy received a grant to conduct Bio Medical Research at Union College over the summer, and her work was recognized by the Bio Medical Engineering Society. Here she is presenting her research at the BMES Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

Patricia Gillespie '07

Trish Gillespie, IHS '07, (left in this picture), produced a documentary film entitled Able, which received first place in the Wasserman/King competition at the First Run Film Festival in New York City in March, 2012. Trish's film was the first documentary to win the Wasserman award, and she is the first woman to win the award! Her film was nominated in the categories of Achievement in Documentary, the Nestor Almendros Award for Excellence in Cinematography, and the Wasserman/King Award. Trish received a $10,000 prize, and an expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles where her film was screened at the Directors Guild. Kudos, Trish!

Keith Bliss '87

The Cary, NC News featured a story about Keith, who was the 2011 Cary Hometown Spirit award winner for his efforts to organize a community Pocket Garden in his town.

Doug Riepe '00

The Connecticut Post and Danbury NewsTimes featured Doug in a June, 2011 story about his career as a member of the pit crew for NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jamie McMurray, and as a member of the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing team.

Margaret Williamson '70

Mrs. Williamson is being honored by the National Catholic Educators Association as one of only six high school educators in the country.

Javier Soegaard '06

Read the story from the Danbury News Times about the JFK Legacy Award which Javier received on February 15, 2011.

Nikki Weiss '07

Nikki was in goal for Notre Dame's winning national women's soccer team last fall, as published in this article from the News Times!

Jen Scholl Gilberti '88

As printed in the September, 2009 edition of the Fairfield County Catholic, on page 16.

The Class of '88 kicked off the Angel Aid Tuition Assistance Program with a generous donation of $1,000, given in memory of classmate Tom Peterson. Jen Scholl Gilberti (Class of '88) presented the check for $1,000 to Immaculate President Kathleen Casey and issued a challenge to other Immaculate alum to match the donation. On hand for the presentation were Mr. & Mrs. Peterson (Tom & Doris, Class of '66) and Tom's brother, Mike. The Angel Aid Tuition Assistance Program will help provide tuition assistance to current or prospective Immaculate High School students in need.

When members of Danbury's Immaculate High School "Class of 1988" heard that some current and prospective Immaculate students were struggling to make tuition payments because of the challenging economy, they knew standing idly by wasn't something they had learned during their years of Catholic education. "Immaculate is a family and we are all part of that family. Our alumni class felt the need to step up and help give the same opportunity we had as students to other families who were having trouble financially attaining it," said alum Jennifer Gilbertie, who helped plan the "Class of '88's" late 20 year reunion, which took place during the recent Immaculate Gala. Along with her fellow classmates, Gilbertie, who is now married and lives in Bethel with her husband and two children, helped make the decision to donate monies from the Class of 1988 to Immaculate's Angel Aid Tuition Assistance Program in memory of their former classmate, Tom Peterson, who passed away three years ago from cancer. Tom's parents, Doris and Tom Peterson, also from Bethel, are Immaculate alumni as well from the "Class of 1966." "We wanted to do something special to honor Tom and to help someone have the same opportunities we were so lucky to have," said Gilbertie. "We felt our Immaculate years played such an important part in who we are today and we should help someone have that same experience." There was a vote among the class officers at the reunion and it was a unanimous decision to support the Angel Aid program. According to Gilbertie, the Class of 1988 mentioned a challenge at the Gala and "is sending this message out again now - we challenge other alumni classes to raise funds to support this effort as well!"

Meredith A. Liberto '05

Meredith A. Liberto of New Milford is a biochemistry major from Western Connecticut State University with a 3.72 GPA. She was named to the Dean's List and received the WCSU Academic Scholarship, the WCSU Alumni Association Scholarship, the Student Leadership Recognition Award and was a Boehringer Ingelheim Connecticut Business and Industry Association Fellowship Recipient. Liberto is a member of the WCSU Honors Program, the American Chemical Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She is president and a volunteer tutor for the WCSU Chemistry Club. During her presidency, the American Chemical Society's Committee on Education selected WCSU's student affiliate chapter for a Commendable Achievement Award. She was also coordinator of WCSU's "Careers in Science" seminars and "Wizards of Chemistry" show, and is a research intern at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceutical Company in Ridgefield.

Neil Cavuto ' 76

Neil Cavuto became the managing editor of business news and television anchor of Your World with Neil Cavuto on Fox News Channel in July 1996, later becoming a vice president of business news in March 2006. He serves all three positions concurrently. Your World is Fox's main business news program.

Before joining Fox, he hosted Power Lunch on CNBC and contributed to NBC's Today. He worked with the Public Broadcasting Service for 15 years. He was also a New York bureau chief.

He has been awarded numerous times by his peers in the journalism industry, including recognition by the Wall Street Journal as the best interviewer in business news, best business television interviewer four consecutive years, and five nominations for Cable ACE awards. Cavuto was also awarded the 1980 Hellinger Award, the highest award for graduating journalism students from Saint Bonaventure University.

Cavuto is also the author of More Than Money: True Stories of People Who Learned Life's Ultimate Lesson (ISBN 0-06-009643-8) and Your Money or Your Life.

Dr. Ian Smith '87

Dr. Ian Smith is a medical/diet expert on VH1's highly-rated "Celebrity Fit Club," host of "Meet the Faith" on BET, and the creator and founder of The 50 Million Pound Challenge. Dr. Smith is also the host of his own nationally syndicated radio show HealthWatch on American Urban Radio Networks. He is the former medical correspondent for NBC News network and for NewsChannel 4 where he filed reports for NBC's "Nightly News" and the "Today" show as well as WNBC's various news broadcasts. He has appeared extensively on various broadcasts including "The View," "The Tyra Banks Show," "Larry King Live," and "Anderson Cooper 360." He has written for various publications including Time, Newsweek, Men's Health, and the New York Daily News, and has been featured in several other publications including, People, Essence, Ebony, Cosmopolitan, and University of Chicago Medicine on the Midway.

Dr. Smith's work has been honored by several organizations, including the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for his coverage on the momentous events beginning on Sept. 11, 2001. Dr. Smith is very active in charitable causes, serving on several boards including the New York City Mission Society, American Council on Exercise, and the New York Council for the Humanities.

Dr. Smith graduated from Harvard College with an AB and received a master's in science education from Teachers College of Columbia University. He attended Dartmouth Medical School and completed the last two years of his medical education and graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Dr. Smith is also the author of five books, the #1 New York Times Bestseller Extreme Fat Smash Diet, the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Fat Smash Diet, the critically acclaimed The Blackbird Papers (2005 BCALA fiction Honor Book Award winner), Dr. Ian Smith's Guide to Medical Websites, and The Take-Control Diet. He is currently at work on his second novel.

A native of Danbury, CT, Dr. Smith resides in Manhattan

Chris Palmer '68

Chris Palmer is a former American football head coach of the Cleveland Browns and former assistant coach of the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, and Houston Oilers of the National Football League. He was the former quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He is currently the Quarterbacks Coach for the Superbowl Champion New York Giants.

Palmer played high school football at Immaculate High School a small Catholic high school located in Danbury, Connecticut. After high school he attended and played at Southern Connecticut State University.

After graduation from Southern Connecticut State University, Palmer coached under Larry Naviaux at the University of Connecticut. While at UCONN, Palmer also devoted his time to help develop sports talent, as quoted by Jeff Naviaux "Chris helped me learn the importance of a team".

Kate Drohan '91

Kate Drohan enters her seventh year at Northwestern's helm after building the program into one of the nation's best and leading the Wildcats to back-to-back Women's College World Series semifinal appearances. Drohan took over the 'Cats after serving as an assistant under legendary head coach Sharon Drysdale for four seasons.

After six seasons, Drohan's career record of 238-103-1 gives her a .697 winning percentage -- ranking her 14th in winning percentage among active Division I head coaches with a minimum of five years at the DI level. In the past two seasons, NU has compiled a combined record of 102-28 while becoming the first private school in NCAA history to advance to the WCWS semifinals in consecutive years.

Drohan coached NU to its third-straight NCAA appearance in 2005, advancing to Super Regional play after winning the Ninth Regional hosted in South Bend. Four Wildcats landed first-team All-Big Ten honors, at the time tied for the most in NU history.

After the record-setting season, Drohan and her staff were named the NFCA's Mideast Region Co-Coaching Staff of the Year.

Drohan came to Evanston from Boston College, where she had served as an assistant coach for the Eagles for two seasons. There she served as assistant softball coach and assistant athletic director for facilities from 1995-97. In addition to her duties with the softball team, Drohan worked game operations and administration with the Eagles. She also directed the YES Clinic at the 1996 NCAA Field Hockey Championships hosted by Boston College. Drohan also has been a guest lecturer at the Hofstra University Softball Camp and the Providence College Baseball Camp.

Drohan earned her bachelor's degree in biology from Providence in May of 1995. As a member of the Providence softball team, she was named to the All-Big East team in 1992, 1994 and 1995.

Kenny Rausch '91

Hailing from Danbury, Connecticut, Kenny Rausch recently finished a seven year stint with the UMass Lowell coaching staff and his 10th season with head coach Blaise MacDonald.

A 1995 graduate and four-year player at Boston University, Rausch serves as UML's recruiting coordinator and will assist in all facets of practices and games.

As a player, Rausch played primarily on the wing and also saw action as a defenseman under Head Coach Jack Parker and MacDonald, then the associate head coach at BU. During his playing days, the Terriers won the national championship in 1995, advanced to the Frozen Four three straight times (1993, 1994, 1995) and won the Hockey East Tournament and regular season championships in 1994 and 1995. In 1994, Rausch scored the game-winning goal against the River Hawks in the Hockey East Championship.

In addition, BU won the Beanpot championship in 1992 and 1995. Rausch captured Most Valuable Player honors in 1995 - the last Beanpot played in the hallowed Boston Garden - as he scored two goals in a 5-1 win over Boston College.

Rausch was named to the Hockey East All-Academic Team four straight years, earning him recognition as a Hockey East Distinguished Scholar Award Winner. As a senior, he was the recipient of The Friends/Albert Sidd Unsung Hero Award. He graduated in 1995 with a degree in business management.

A graduate of Immaculate High School in Danbury, CT, Rausch was a two-time all-conference player in hockey and baseball. Rausch also played one season of baseball at BU.

Rausch lives in South Boston.

Andre Hauser '88

Andre Hauser was named the 2008 High School Assistant Principal of the Year.

Andre Hauser, Assistant Principal, Coginchaug Regional High School, Durham.

Andre Hauser began his career in education in 1995, working as a high school English teacher in Bethel, CT, and Palmer, MA, before joining the staff of Enrico Fermi High School in Enfield, CT. In 2003, after three years as an English teacher and department chair at Fermi, he became assistant principal of Coginchaug Regional High School in Durham, the position he now holds.

Nominated for the High School Assistant Principal of the Year Award by his principal, Dr. Steve Wysowski, Andre was chosen by the selection committee for his
purposeful leadership and uncompromising dedication to his students and school community.

A gifted instructional leader, Andre keeps careful watch for new research and best practices to present to and share with his staff. His commitment to continued professional growth has set a powerful example for his teachers and has had a positive influence on instruction. Says Superintendent Susan Vicaro, "Andre is remarkably skilled in coaching teachers and staff to improve their instruction, behavior management and interpersonal skills so as to better interact with students and help them improve their learning." Adds Dr. Wysowski, "Andre's strength is his understanding of the dynamics of classroom teaching. He has improved education at Coginchaug by undertaking insightful work with staff members who have needed help."

Andre leads by example, always exhibiting the characteristics of respect, responsibility, honesty, kindness and courage that comprise the "Core Ethical Values" established by Regional School District #13. He is credited with building a cohesive school community which is responsive to the educational needs of all of its students. Since joining the Coginchaug staff, he has introduced several programs designed to create a nurturing, safe community where each member feels valued. Under Andre's leadership, CRHS staff have been introduced to
the Capturing Kids Hearts program which builds positive, affirming relationships between teachers and students.

Highly visible and engaged, Andre is a constant presence in the cafeteria, in the corridors, and in the classrooms. The Reverend Dr. Elven Riggles, Jr., a leader in the Durham community and a former CRHS parent, calls Andre a "vital part of the character and complexion that makes our school district a marvel of education and a comfortable home for students and their families," says Rev. Riggles.

A self-described "data nerd," Hauser developed a data management system for student discipline that has led to a significant decrease in CRHS's expulsion/suspension rate. Furthermore, he worked with staff to compile, study and analyze data on at-risks students as a means to monitor their academic progress and, ultimately, help them feel more "connected" to the school.

Andre has been a prominent instructor and leader not only at the high school, but within the district as a whole. In addition to serving on the district's Strategic Plan 5-Year Renewal Committee, he recently oversaw the revision of the district's Crisis Response Manual which outlines emergency policies and procedures that will be implemented in all six of the district's schools.

Andre has been selected by CAS to represent Connecticut in the National Assistant Principal of the Year Program sponsored jointly by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and Virco, Inc. Andre, along with assistant principals from each of the other fifty states, as well as the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity associations, will compete for the national honor. The national winner receives a $5,000 award from Virco.

David Maslak '04

David Maslak, Class of '04 recently graduated from St. John's University with a BS in physics and physical science (biomedical engineering concentration). At the May 18th commencement, David received the President's Gold Award which is given to the student from St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the highest GPA. David earned 155 credits with a perfect 4.0.

This is the third time David has finished first in his class. He did it at St. Lawrence O'Toole, at Immaculate, and again at St. John's University where he was a Presidential scholar. This accolade is not only a testament to David's hard work, but to the academic rigor and encouragement he received at Immaculate High School.

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