Alumni Perspectives

OLW’s Lasting Impression

Our Lady of the Wayside School is just as vital and important in the Arlington Heights community as ever. The same values that were introduced in 1955 when the first students entered the brand new school building are still the guiding values today: providing a quality faith-based education. Our Lady of the Wayside’s spiritual training and high academic standards prepare our students for a successful future. Many OLW alums talk about how teachers and friends positively shaped their time during grade school. If you are a graduate and would like to share your thoughts on OLW’s lasting impact on you, please do so via our Alumni Registration page.  We would love to hear from you!

Some comments received at

My family moved to the area, one block from OLW, when I was in the 3rd grade. I graduated, attended St. Viator and then Loyola University… During my working life as a teacher and administrator in Catholic high school and community college I have appreciated the foundation and experience of Wayside. I am happy you have received the National Blue Ribbon Award. It shows that you continue to provide a wonderful experience for your students preparing them for high school and beyond. Blessings on the students and families and staff of Wayside.
Thomas Pilat, OLW Class of 1962

I currently live in the area with my wife and 3 boys. I teach HS Spanish (in the area) and I look back fondly on many teachers that I had who influenced my decision to become a teacher; Mrs. Keefer, Mrs. McCall and Mrs. Kerwin just to name a few.
Michael Aldworth, OLW Class of 1992

OLW prepared me for high school by forcing me to find good study habits and preparing me for the intense homework load that high school brings. Wayside will always feel like home.
Conner Mongoven, OLW Class of 2011

My family moved to the area, one block from OLW, when I was in the 3rd grade. I graduated, attended St. Viator and then Loyola University… During my working life as a teacher and administrator Started in 3rd grade in 1953… Best buds were Paul Splittorff and Joe Mueller. Played Basketball for 4 years or so. I remember our class was the first baby boomer class where each grade doubled in size over the older grade. Somehow we learned with 30-35 kids in each classroom. Order was maintained by all the Dominican nuns and Father O’Hara. I remember Bill George Middle Linebacker for the Bears then came and spoke… Always pray for Wayside and hope it continues to be successful. May God be with you.
Michael Ainslie, OLW Class of 1960

Best memories are of Christmas Shows and Volleyball Games. I am a Chemical Engineer living in Houston with my husband Dorden and two teenage children Chris and Nicole. Both attended Catholic K-8 and are currently enrolled in brother/sister Catholic schools.
Donna Ficker Burke, OLW Class of 1983

I started at Our Lady of the Wayside in 2nd Grade in the fall of 1962 and am still very close to a number of my OLW classmates… At OLW I had a mix of lay and religious teachers and fondly remember many even 50 years later. I still have the pictures of our 1969 graduating class with Father O’Hara in front of the brand new Junior High and gymnasium building. I remember attending mass every weekday morning and becoming an altar boy a year after mass was changed from Latin to English. I am proud of my Catholic upbringing and continue to hold dear the very fond memories of my years at Our Lady of the Wayside.
Mike Cook, OLW Class of 1969

Following OLW, I attended St. Viator High School and the University of Notre Dame… I completed Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) where I taught middle school math and science at Catholic elementary schools in Los Angeles… Following the ACE program, I went on to work in investment banking in Chicago… Since 2011, I’ve been working in…investment banking…in Chicago. Additionally, I’m active in the Big Shoulders Fund, which supports Catholic education in Chicago.
Paul Daday, OLW Class of 1996

I graduated from OLW in the class of 2006, St. Viator in 2010, and went on to Vanderbilt University. Wayside provided me with the solid foundation of both academics and morals which I continue to rely on today. In Ms. Cavers’ honors math class I observed her passion for math and she helped me realize how much I enjoy it too, which is why I studied to be an engineer. Also, my first experiences in peer ministry with Kevin O’Connell caused me to be involved in Youth Ministry all through high school, leading retreats and going on mission trips.
Tyler Stanley, OLW Class of 2006

I started at OLW with the 5th grade class having moved from… Chicago. I look back at a great educational experience and also moving on with fellow OLW grads to the Charter Class of 1965 at St. Viator High School. I am now retired living in Florida and playing golf and volunteering in church and community activities.
Larry Sieck, OLW Class of 1961

Wayside has been and continues to be an important part of my family’s life. My mother taught at OLW for 25 years and all three of her children graduated from Wayside. OLW not only provides an excellent academic experience, but strongly instills a Catholic focus on daily life that has helped me both professionally, as a parent and being a friend. Our children both graduated from Wayside and we saw those same virtues reflected in their education.
Karen DeZellar, OLW Class of 1978

The sense of service and community that I developed at OLW led me to a career of service in the US Army. Wherever I go in the world, those strong values serve as the foundation for my actions. Court Harris, OLW Class of 1999