Alumni News

Stankevitch '16 has a call to serve

Stankevitch '16 has a call to serve

by Josh LaBella, West Haven Voice Reporter (Published 9/4/19)

Marcin Stankevitch has worked under two West Haven mayors and will now be making the journey to Hartford to work in the office of U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. He said he has learned a lot from his time as an aspiring political operative.

Stankevitch has lived in West Haven since he was three-years-old. He said he attended St. Lawrence School from kindergarten to eighth grade and then went to Notre Dame High School.

“I graduated and then went to the University of New Haven,” said Stankevitch. “[I study] political science. I’m a senior now.”

He said he was in the model United Nations at the university for four semesters; playing the role of a delegate three times and a head delegate once. Stankevitch was also a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission.

“We’d plan events like WestFest or we’d host town hall meetings,” said Stankevitch. “Sometimes we’d do a food shuttle for UNH students around West Haven.”

When Stankevitch first got to UNH he had yet to declare his major but, after an American Government class with Professor Chris Haynes was motivated to become a political science major.

“I find politics very interesting,” he said. “But it’s not that I just like politics. We also do a lot of community things.”

In the fall of 2017, Stankevitch started an internship in the O’Brien administration. He said he was there mostly as overseeing operations with WestFest. But, after Nancy Rossi became mayor, was invited to continue working in City Hall’s third floor.

“It was kind of surprising to me because I had worked for the past administration,” said Stankevitch. “I felt like I had to prove myself a little bit. So, the first thing I really did in that office was a Town Hall meeting in January of 2018.”

The student described work in the Rossi administration as interesting and fun but also challenging. He said working in West Haven gave him a good perspective regarding local government.

Taking his experience studying local and international government, Stankevitch said he wanted to split the difference and find opportunities in national politics. He said it was for that reason he applied to an internship in Senator Blumenthal’s Hartford office.

“They are going to start me off doing a lot of casework,” said Stankevitch. “But I’d like to a little bit of everything because in the mayor’s office I did a little bit of everything.”

Stankevitch said he enjoys that type of work because he likes to help people solve problems while using government in a “way that’s good.” He said he’s learned a lot from his time in politics so far.

“There’re a couple of important things that I learned,” he said. “Like having a good network and being able to network is very important. Being willing to do menial tasks, even if you think you’re above them, is very important.”

The intern said he has developed a good work ethic and has grown as a person every step of the way. He said he envisions himself staying in Connecticut after he graduates in the spring.

Welcome Class of 2023 Legacy Students

Class of 2023 Legacy Students

Anthony Constantinople (son of Anthony Constantinople '89 and grandson of Andrew Constantinople '56)

Santino Chancio (son of Robert Chancio '94 and grandson of Joseph Chancio '68)

Daniel Cusack (son of Daniel Cusack '89)

Kevin McGroary (son of David Thomas McGroary '83)

Sean Hannan (son of Gregg Hannan '87 and grandson of Richard Hannan '59)

Tyler Koenig (son of Jason Koenig '89)

Austen Glass (son of John Glass '91)

John McCormick (son of John McCormick '91)

Christopher Schuler (son of John Schuler '85)

Kyle Grande (son of Justin Grande '91 and grandson of Philip Grande '61)

Edward Corcoran (son of Kevin Corcoran '83 and grandson of Edward Corcoran '51)

Brady Kubicko (grandson of Richard Carew '74 and great-grandson of John Carew '50)

Peter Alfano (son of Peter Alfano '92)

Ryan Hogan (son of Timothy Hogan '78)

Nicholas Bruno (son of Wayne Bruno '73)

Timothy Fiengo (grandson of John McCarthy '63)

Vincent Russo (grandson of Paul LaMonica '56)

CJ Romaniello '20 Completes Eagle Scout Project
Scout’s bog walks aid Shelton Land Trust article

CJ Romaniello '20 Completes Eagle Scout Project

Shelton Troop 19 Eagle Scout candidate Christopher “CJ” Romaniello of Derby earlier this month completed his Eagle Scout project building bog walks on the Blue Trail at Nicholdale Farm to benefit the Shelton Land Trust.

The sections of the trail where the bog walks were placed frequently flood during heavy rains. Romaniello said this project highlights scouting’s commitment to the local community.

Romaniello is a graduate of St. Joseph’s School in Shelton and is heading into his senior year at Notre Dame West Haven, where he is a varsity soccer player.

Pictured with Eagle Scout Scout candidate CJ Romaniello (second from left) are, left to right, Jared Lawrence, Joe Singh, Ryan Haack, Scoutmaster Andrew Bickford, Michael Dwyer, Monty Singh, Kushal Singh(dark brown shirt), CJ's brother Brian, and CJ's sister Emma.


Dan McDermott '20 Inspired By U.S. Senate Page Experience

Pam Johnson, Senior Staff Writer • Contact Reporter

Published July 24, 2019


Dan McDermott won’t turn 18 until March, but that didn’t stop him from serving in the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. for five months earlier this year—as a Senate page, that is.

And, while the Guilford resident is excited to be entering his senior year at Notre Dame High School in West Haven this fall and going on to college after that, he’s also battling a slight case of FOMO—fear of missing out—from what’s taking place at the U.S. Capitol.

“I’ve watched it on TV and the past few weeks have been painful. I feel like I’m left out,” says Dan. “It’s very exhilarating being down there. It was just total culture shock, at first, then it just become so surreal and it remained that way throughout.”

Some of the most surreal moments? Meeting Captain America (actor Chris Evans) when he came to town to talk climate policy with Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski. Being captured, for a moment, on national TV while standing by at the State of the Union address, where Dan also shook the president’s hand. Meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a joint meeting of Congress. Receiving words of wisdom from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and “hearing corny jokes daily from Senator Cory Booker,” says Dan.

If you’ve detected an unlikely mix of political parties among those moments, you’ve glimpsed what Dan says was one of the surprises he found during his time serving all of the senators working on Capitol Hill.

“They’re certainly a lot more down to earth than they appear, and they get along a lot better,” Dan says.

But make no mistake: They also get to work, says Dan.

“I don’t think I was prepared for how fast-paced it was,” he says. “So you’ve really got savor every minute working on the Hill. Time is very, very valuable.”

Immersed in Politics

As one of 30 high school Senate pages from across the nation sent to D.C. to serve the senate from January to May 2019, Dan’s days were exceptionally busy.

“We lived in a dorm four blocks from the Capitol, and our school was in the basement. We attended school from six in the morning until 8:45 [a.m.] and then we went to work in the Capitol,” he says.

The Senate Page program is the country’s official, highly selective high school internship program with the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C. High school juniors are selected to serve one of four semesters (fall, spring, or one of two each summer). The pages get to rub elbows with senators and government leaders working at the Hart Senate Office Building. They prepare the chamber for daily business and deliver things like messages and legislative materials. When Congress is in session, they stand by to take on any tasks required.

The routine was quite a bit different from the daily life his peers were experiencing back at Notre Dame, but Dan says he wouldn’t have missed it.

“I’m very glad I had that experience,” he says. “I do feel like I missed out on my junior year of high school a little bit—I did get back for prom—but I think it was definitely worth the sacrifice.”

Dan’s interest in politics, combined with his volunteer work in federal and state campaigns in recent years, opened the door for the opportunity to become a senate page, with help from Guilford State Representative Sean Scanlon (D-98).

“I’ve always been very interested and involved in our local politics, and I’ve always been pretty close with Representative Sean Scanlon, and he kind of helped me through the process a little bit. I applied, and he was very helpful to me, and fortunately, I got it,” says Dan.

Dan says he considers Scanlon to be among the role models that have “helped ignite my passion for public service.”

The Local Connection

“I met Sean at a charity hockey game raising awareness for the opioid crisis, where we were both volunteering. Sean and I talked for the duration of the game and he later invited me to the state capitol to watch the General Assembly in session. Sean and I stayed in touch and he helped me get involved in campaigns during the 2018 cycle,” says Dan.

Dan committed himself to working for U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Chris Murphy on their respective campaigns during that election.

As a page from Connecticut, Dan was sponsored in the Senate by Murphy, whom he also got to meet.

“He was extremely nice to me. He made me feel at home, being so far away from Connecticut, and his office was also very helpful to me,” says Dan.

During his time in D.C., Dan also sought some advice from DeLauro, he says.

“I was worried, my last few weeks, about getting back to the Capitol,” he says. “I had a meeting with our congresswoman, Rosa DeLauro, and I asked her, ‘How can I get involved? I’m worried I’m going to miss this.’ She’s always been very nice to me, and she told me, ‘We’ll get you involved in municipal elections.’ I do think that’s the best thing that young people can do, is just get involved.”

Dan is certainly an example of getting involved. During the 2018 midterm election cycle, “I put in over 300 hours on the campaign trail, between September and November, on top of school,” he notes.

“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my parents,” Dan adds. “Notre Dame has also been critical in fostering my passion for service and leadership.”

At Notre Dame, he’s been elected to serve on the school’s Student Council each year since freshman year. In his freshman year at Notre Dame, Dan and a group of seniors founded Model UN (United Nations) at the school, now entering its fourth year with Dan serving among its leadership.

“It was a great success and one of my proudest accomplishments in high school,” says Dan.

He was also sponsored by Notre Dame to attend numerous leadership conferences including Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference and New England Student Leadership conference.

As for the future, Dan has a lot to undertake and plans to accomplish much. He’s excited to be entering his senior year and looking forward to applying for colleges in the New York City and Washington D.C. area, In college, he intends to specialize in economics and political science. Dan’s also looking forward to becoming eligible to vote in 2020.

“I turn 18 in March, so I’m very eager to vote and finally have my voice heard,” says Dan.

Dan says he will also find his way back to the Capitol, the place which helped to solidify his intent to work for the public.

“I definitely look forward to going back there, hopefully soon. It was a great experience. I think it set a good foundation for what I want to do,” says Dan. “I’ve always been very interested in public service, and that’s what I aspire to do.”

One Knight’s Path to Priesthood

One Knight’s Path to Priesthood

While at Notre Dame, Father Anthony Federico ‘02 wrote for the school newspaper, The Knight Errant, which sparked his appreciation for journalism and led him down a path to sports media. After completing his undergraduate degree, Federico broke into the sports media world when his talents secured him a job at ESPN.

“I was doing really well. I had an exciting job and a fun career -- writing, traveling and covering sports,” reminisced Federico. 

But that was not enough for Federico. “I wasn’t satisfied.  I would go home from work at night and stare at the ceiling, wondering what I was doing with my life. I wasn’t helping anyone,” he explained.

In search of a sense of fulfillment, Federico started to volunteer his time with the elderly. Seeing their loneliness awakened something deep inside of him. Through this volunteer experience, Federico soon realized the Lord was calling him to the priesthood. 

In February 2012, Federico was suddenly fired from his job at ESPN for inadvertently writing a controversial headline. His seven years at ESPN were followed by a consulting job in Stamford. Federico admitted he continued to ignore the Lord’s call. 

During this time of transition and reflection, Federico began attending daily Mass at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in Stamford. He describes having a profound experience while observing a single priest patiently ministering to a long line of individuals who had come to the Basilica for the Sacrament of Penance. 

“There were so many people in attendance. I thought to myself if only we had more priests, this would be so much easier” Federico remembered.

Shortly after this experience, he realized he could no longer ignore the call. Federico decided to enter the seminary and began his studies for the Priesthood at Catholic University, Washington, D.C.    

“The most rewarding part of what I do is the relief that comes over an individual’s face either at confession, at someone’s bedside, or in counseling after they encounter Jesus. Somehow the Lord works through me and my brokenness to help heal people. When you can see that sense of relief in a person, it’s special.”

Federico has fond memories of his time at Notre Dame.  A favorite and prideful ND memory was seeing his brother, Mike Federico ‘03, score a goal as the hockey team won the State Championship. Over the course of his four years, Federico was a member of the tennis team, the National Honor Society, and served as a Peer Counselor.

Highlighting one former faculty member, Federico explained former ND President Brother James Branigan, CSC, had a lasting effect on his life. Brother James taught students that being the authority figure does not mean being the harsh taskmaster. “Brother James showed me how to lead with gentleness and firmness. He really embodied, for me, what it means to be a Notre Dame man,” said Federico.

After a period of trials and tribulations, Federico found the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that he was looking for. On June 22, 2019  he was ordained to the Priesthood by Archbishop Leonard Blair at Saint Joseph’s Cathedral, Hartford. On Sunday, June 23, surrounded by his family and friends, he celebrated his first Mass at Saint Barnabas Church (Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish) his home parish in North Haven.  His first priestly assignment is that of Associate Pastor at Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish, Cheshire. 

The Notre Dame Community is looking forward to Father Federico’s return to his alma mater on Thursday, September 12 when he will celebrate the Eucharist with the faculty, staff, and students to bless the new academic year.  

If your schedule permits, we invite you to attend the Opening Liturgy in Alumni Hall at 10:15 am on September 12, 2019.