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When an Alumna Returns to Her Dreams

Teresa Szczerski Czaja ‘96 played softball at St. Scholastica Academy, Chicago, in the early 1990s. Twenty years later, her friend Melissa Palis VanDermeir ‘95 posted a photo of Teresa’s softball picture from her freshman year. It may have been 2016, but the memories came flooding back.

“We talked about missing playing together,” remembers Teresa. “I mentioned we should get a team together, and it snowballed from there!”

Teresa and Melissa put together a team of former classmates and friends to play for the Evanston Park District’s Recreation Division women’s league. They pulled together Susies ranging from the class of 1957 to the class of 2000. With six decades of Susie-support, they make for an energized team!

(pictured above, The 1995 St. Scholastica Academy Softball Team including Sylene Nagle Calvacca, Gabi Owen, Renee Kozlowski, Coach Cox, Katie Fearon and Teresa Szczerski Czaja.)

They call themselves “Organized Chaos.” The team name came from their experience of trying to pull together a group of players in a short amount of time. “I was trying to do the behind the scenes stuff to get us together, get registered, get shirts, etc.,” recalls Teresa. Meanwhile, Melissa was finding players and getting sponsors. (To see a list of alumnae on the team, see the team lineup below.)

“During one of our pre-season practices,” says Teresa, “we were talking about how everything was coming together (and how some of us handle our day to day lives, in general), and the term ‘organized chaos’ found its way into the conversation. The rest is history!”

Teresa notes that while many of the team hadn’t seen each other in 20 years, they got back into rhythm in no time. “It was an incredible feeling. The relationships built at St. Scholastica Academy are truly special. We really are family!”

You are invited!

The team invites all St. Scholastica alumnae and friends to come cheer them on during the tournament this Sunday, July 24th at 6 p.m. The game will be held at the Robert Crown field in Evanston at the corner of Main and Dodge. Hope to see you there!

Team Cheerleader:

Ann Volante, Class of 1973

St. Scholastica Alumnae Players include:

Penny Kerndt, Class of 1957 and former St. Scholastica Academy teacher

Aysha (Ali) Hagene, Class of 1995

Sylene (Nagle) Calvacca, Class of 1995

Cate (O’Shea) Rivera, Class of 1995

Melissa (Palis) VanDermeir, Class of 1995

Teresa (Szczerski) Czaja, Class of 1996

Carla (Blatz) Fires, Class of 1997

Melissa (Curran) Doggett, Class of 1998

Deanne Bauer Straughn, Class of 2000

Non-Susy Players include:

Julie Bohannan

Michelle Frank

Colleen Gogerty

Michele Lendino

Kristi Elsner Streff

*The team is looking for a few additional players for the fall season. It will be a co-ed team so that husbands, brothers, and others will be able to play with the team, too. Registration is this month! Contact Teresa Czaja for more information at

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