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Friday Faculty Feature: Mr. Slawik!

Today's Friday Faculty Feature highlights Mr. Donald Slawik! Mr. Slawik taught 8th grade for many years at St. Viator Elementary School, and is currently our dedicated Media Studies teacher. He was generous with his answers, so get comfortable and enjoy learning more about Mr. Slawik!

Mr. Slawik got his Teaching Degree from Northeastern Illinois University and his Master’s Degree from St. Xavier University. He has been a teacher for 31 years total; this is his 30th year at St. Viator! This afforded Mr. Slawik time to discern about teaching, and he shared, “My favorite thing about teaching is being with and helping the kids. I don’t really hear about the impact I have on them until years later when I hear from them as adults and they tell me that I was their favorite teacher and that they learned so much from me. It is those words that make me so proud of them, their accomplishments, and the job I did as a teacher.

Something kept Mr. Slawik at St. Viator for 30 years. According to him, “I have always loved the family atmosphere that St. Viator provides. As a faculty group and with the students and families, I have always felt at home.” When asked what he wants parents to know, Mr. Slawik mentioned how hard teachers work because of their dedication to teaching. He stated that the children are important to the teachers, explaining, “When I was still in the classroom, I would always stress to the students that we are a family. I have always considered each and every one of them as one of my own children and wished nothing but success and happiness for them.” Reflecting on St. Viator parents, he declared, “You guys are great and awesome parents. I know it is sometimes a financial sacrifice to send your children to us. I really appreciate this and all you do for St. Viator.” Mr. Slawik’s tenure at St. Viator is the professional accomplishment that he is the most proud of, explaining, “It has been so rewarding to be a part of the childrens’ lives and to help shape their futures.”

In the classroom, Mr. Slawik many books with his students. Some of his favorites include The Outsiders, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Fahrenheit 451. He doubled-down and reported that his favorite authors are Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. Outside the classroom, Mr. Slawik has been involved with a variety of extracurricular activities at St. Viator. In the past, he was involved in the Student Newspaper, Student Council, Battle of the Books, and Safety Patrol. Currently, he is involved in the Knights of Columbus Spelling Bee, yearbook, and Today in History (the morning announcements) keeps him busy each week. This author notes that Today in History was the inspiration for a St. Viator podcast, which grew into the Podcast Club. For this reason, we dedicated the first podcast episode to Mr. Slawik.

Mr. Slawik does not claim any official hobbies, but he told us he does love to sing. He said that “In my head, I’m a rockstar. Others might think it sounds like two cats fighting - LOL.” He notes that, “I do love music though, and I enjoy putting together Christmas compilation CDs for my family and friends. This year was Merry Slawik Christmas - Volume 21.” When Mr. Slawik was in college, his first major was mass communications. He hoped to use that to become a radio disc jockey. If he wasn’t a teacher, we might have heard him on the airwaves!

We gave Mr. Slawik the standard “favorites” questions, and his answers are thorough. When asked about his favorite color, he answered, “I have many favorites but my go to is usually black or blue.” For his favorite food, Mr. Slawik explained, “I love many different foods but could probably eat pizza every day.” His favorite holiday is Christmas (as evidenced by the Christmas mixes he gifts each year). When asked about his favorite morning drink, there was certainty to his answer, “I NEED MY COFFEE IN THE MORNING”!

Mr. Slawik graciously shared about his personal life. For starters, his birthday is September 18th. And he told us, “I am blessed to have a wonderful wife who loves and can put up with me and a great daughter, who some know from her brief time working here (Ms.Terry). I also love my animals. Right now, we have three cats - one adopted and two grand-cats. My favorite pets are dogs. (Shhh! Don’t let the cats know!).” Obviously a long-time Chicago resident, Mr. Slawik has managed to travel all the way to Hawaii. This was for a week-long trip as a High School Senior. In talking about his personal hero, Mr. Slawik shared, “I think my uncle was a big hero of mine while growing up. He was a teacher and a principal, and as a kid I always thought that was cool. I think it was partly because of him that I gravitated to the same profession.” Well, Mr. Slawik, we think that is pretty cool.

We hope you have enjoyed getting to know more about Mr. Slawik. Our list of questions couldn't capture all of the good stories from his time at St. Viator Elementary School, but that’s a good reason to talk with him! Thank you, Mr. Slawik, for your thoughtful answers to our questions. We appreciate you and everything you do for St. Viator Elementary School!

Be sure to check back as we continue to share about our wonderful faculty. If you are a parent interested in learning more about St. Viator Elementary School, please contact our Main Office at (773) 545-2173. Diane or William can answer your school questions. We are currently accepting applications for the ‘24-’25 school year!

We are Peace Builders; We are Eagles; We are St. Viator!


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