The Cardinal Mooney Alumni Spotlight showcases and recognizes outstanding Cardinal Mooney Alumni for their academic and professional achievements, service to their community, and their continuation of Cardinal Mooney’s tradition of “Sanctity, Scholarship, and Discipline.” With the Alumni Spotlight, we will explore and regularly share the diverse accomplishments of our graduates.
Pictured above – The Olesh Family: From left, Decklan (2031), Spencer (2014), Delanie (2025), Cameryn (2019), Madison (2012), and Brennan (2018).
Anyone involved with Cardinal Mooney events this past decade has undoubtedly met Jason and Kathy Olesh. Whether it’s an open house, campus clean up, tree lighting, auction, Golden Cardinals’ meeting, athletics event, speech tournament, play performance, Baccalaureate, or commencement, they have supported everything in some capacity. Four of their six very talented and accomplished children have graduated from Cardinal Mooney since 2012, with two more to come.
Mr. and Mrs. William Casey, Kathy’s parents, began the commitment to Catholic education by sending Kathy and her two brothers to St Christine School in the 1970s and ‘80s.
Based on the positive impact that St. Christine had on Kathy’s life, she knew she wanted her children to have the same opportunity. Raised Catholic, Jason respected Kathy’s wishes, and when their first daughter, Madison, enrolled at St. Christine, they knew a faith-based education was the right decision.
Since neither Jason nor Kathy attended a Catholic high school, they planned to send the kids to public high school after St. Christine. However, when Madison visited Cardinal Mooney for Fifth And Sixth Grade Day, she expressed her desire to become a Mooney Cardinal. The family then began attending Cardinal Mooney events. Jason and Kathy immediately felt that Cardinal Mooney was an extension of the environment at St. Christine, and knew everyone at Cardinal Mooney would provide a comfortable transition into high school.
And it continued: Madison, Spencer, Brennan, Cameryn, Delanie (2025) and Decklan (2031) committed to and guided by their Catholic faith.
Sending all six to Catholic schools presented a definite financial burden, but Jason and Kathy decided they would find a way. They felt strongly that the tuition cost would be well worth it. The return on their investment has always been evident to the Oleshes. They saved on college tuition because of their kids’ scholarships, and Cardinal Mooney’s AP classes allowed for early college graduations. The Oleshes also cherish all the meaningful relationships and the personal and professional opportunities afforded to a Cardinal Mooney alum.
So, how have the Olesh children carried what they learned while at Cardinal Mooney with them into adulthood?
Madison, a 2012 grad is currently the Senior Health Ally at Heyday Health Primary Care, a startup company that provides primary care to seniors in Youngstown. Madison ties her career path back to her senior year service class. She had the opportunity to visit area nursing homes and spend time with the residents.
“Working with the senior population was my true passion,” she said.
She has fond memories of dances, games, classes with friends and – as she put it – “an overwhelming sense of community.” She is married to Alan Rodges and is the proud mother of beautiful Emerson (class of 2035), who recently graced the stage as a munchkin in Cardinal Mooney’s production of The Wizard of Oz this past spring.
Spencer, class of 2014, attended Case Western Reserve University on an academic scholarship and graduated in less than four years with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. His early graduation was possible because of AP credits from Mooney and afforded him the chance to “jump start” his career. For the last five years, Spencer has been at Prout Boiler, Heating & Cooling where he is now the Corporate Secretary.
“My Cardinal Mooney experience has directly and indirectly helped to shape who I am and what I have accomplished so far,” he said.
Cardinal Mooney has allowed Spencer to take part in a wide variety of activities, fostering growth in his personal identity. He was able to experience the student section at a football or basketball game on Friday and compete in a speech and debate tournament on Saturday. He was able to play in a baseball game after school and join an AP physics study group right after the game.
Brennan, class of 2018, graduated in May from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. His focus is in Sports Communications, and has worked for the University of Kentucky football program throughout his undergraduate studies. Brennan is remaining at UK and plans to make his career in college football.
Brennan was a Ron Stoops Scholarship recipient while at CMHS. He will never forget his opportunity to address the attendees at the annual scholarship dinner in February 2018.
“It was the perfect opportunity to thank all those who supported my success at CMHS,” he said of the event.
He also credits the relationships and connections as something unique to being a Cardinal Mooney graduate.
Cameryn, class of 2019, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Youngstown State in May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Primary Education and Special Education. Though she first began to pursue a doctorate in pharmacy, she redirected her sophomore year and, because of her AP courses at CMHS, she earned her degree in Education in only three years.
For the upcoming school year, Cameryn has accepted a fourth grade teaching position at Saints Robert and William Catholic school in Euclid, teaching math, science, and religion. Her time at both Cardinal Mooney and St. Christine has inspired her to pursue a career in Catholic education.
“That is truly a reflection of the values that this education has instilled in me.” Cameryn said. “It is because of their [her parents] hard work and sacrifice that we were able to experience the privilege of a Catholic education”.
All of the older Olesh kids enjoy supporting their younger siblings, rooting them on in all their academic and athletic endeavors.
“It brings joy to watch my younger siblings walk through those halls and experience the things that were so important in my life,” Madison said.
Spencer reconnected with the Cardinal Mooney baseball program in 2018, and is currently one of the coaches. He enjoys having a positive impact on the players and sharing in their successes. Spencer says that his involvement with the baseball team gives him an opportunity to stay involved with the current Cardinal Mooney students and remain invested in the future of his alma mater.
For Cameryn, one of her most cherished Cardinal Mooney experiences has been continuing her involvement in the Mooney Family as a girls’ basketball coach for the past two years, providing her with the opportunity to coach her younger sister, Delanie.
When Delanie entered Mooney as a freshman two years ago, her last name, of course, was very well known by teachers and staff. Delanie loves continuing the tradition, but she has confidently created her own unique course. It is important that she is not in a shadow of any of her siblings, but rather building on the Olesh legacy at Mooney.
“I have established my own identity and created my own path” Delanie, who developed bonds with her calssmates very quickly, said. “I’ve made so many new friends from different schools, backgrounds and perspectives, and I love the way everyone comes together as a family.”
Jason and Kathy would not change a thing. They are extremely proud of all their children, and the moral code, and their connection to their faith.
Jason said that Decklan, who continues the family tradition as an altar server at weekly mass, is “cognizant of God’s place in the world, even at a young age.”
The Oleshes are one of many dedicated Cardinal Mooney families who share a common experience and appreciate all that the school has provided.
Cameryn will marry her high school sweetheart, Mark Ricciardi (2017), on June 17th. They will live in Cleveland Heights until Mark completes his medical degree at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. Then they hope to return to Youngstown to be close to family and to serve our community.
Spencer is engaged to Carley Francis (2020). Carley is working towards her degree in Early Childhood Education at YSU and is a Cardinal Mooney softball coach. Spencer and Carley plan to marry in the fall of 2024.
The extended Family: Madison (Olesh) Rodges (2012), Spencer Olesh (2014), Mario Ricciardi (2015), Mark Ricciardi (2017), Brennan Olesh (2018), Cameryn Olesh (2019), Carley Francis and Gina Ricciardi (2020), Ian Francis (2021), Alaina Francis (2022), Delanie Olesh and cousin AJ Olesh (2025), Decklan Olesh (2031) and Emerson Olesh (2035).
Thank you to Jason & Kathy Olesh for your commitment and sacrifices and to the Francis & Ricciardi families for your dedication & support over the years.