Thursday, May 18, 2023

The Role Of A Lifetime: Justin Katin As…”Pat Riot”

His school ID and driver’s license both read “Justin Katin.”But around campus, Katin, a senior at Stevenson, goes by all kinds of names, and frequently hears greetings in the hallway like: “Hey SpongeBob,” or “It’s Beast!”Even the attendance office has had fun with Katin’s various theatrical personas.“When I go there to check in for school, they’re like, ‘Hey! It’s ‘SpongeBob!’” Katin said with a laugh. “They’ll actually write ‘SpongeBob’ on my passes.”They also could have written…’ Pat Riot.’ Had they known. Katin, who has participated in musicals and theater at Stevenson since his freshman year and has snagged three headliner leads, including “Jack Kelly” in “Newsies (Katin pictured right),” “SpongeBob” in “SpongeBob The Musical,” and “Beast” in “Beauty And The Beast,” has also played another prominent character on campus. He is Stevenson’s very own…”Pat Riot.” As in, the mascot. The big, green, fun and cuddly one! And it was a big secret. Until yesterday. The cat was let out of the bag on that bombshell when Katin officially revealed himself as “Pat Riot” in Wednesday’s edition of the Daily Digest via a dramatic “de-masking” video.“I kept it quiet for a long time, but some of my friends eventually figured it out,” Katin said. “And at this point, I think a lot of seniors probably know. “But I think maybe there are a lot of freshmen and sophomores, maybe even quite a few juniors who don’t know it’s me. I’ve tried really hard to keep it quiet.”

It adds to the mystique, to the fun…to the tradition.
Katin has proudly, and mostly secretly, worn the “Pat Riot” suit since midway through his sophomore year ~ rousing school spirit at dozens of athletic contests, greeting students and faculty in big moments, such as the first day of school or teacher retirements, leading send-offs for teams going to state and attending various major unity events such as StreetFest, Give-A-Thon (Katin pictured left), Spring Fling and countless others. He estimates that he’s been to nearly 300 Stevenson events as “Pat Riot.”“I’ve tried to bring “Pat” to as many things as possible because I think it’s cool for students to see ‘Pat,’” Katin said. “Sometimes, I’ll just be at an event as myself and I’ll think, ‘You know, it would be really cool if ‘Pat’ were here,’ and I’ll run to go change into ‘Pat.’ I think it’s fun for ‘Pat’ to show up to things.“And for me, I love being “Pat” as much as possible, because I see it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”This final edition of “Stories Of Stevenson” for the 2022-23 school year is special in that it involves not only the video from yesterday, but also a different kind of feature story. It’s a profile on Katin, but it’s also an explanation of a unique and mostly unspoken Stevenson tradition that has come to define the transition from one “Pat Riot” to another.
“You Kind Of Look Like Me…”
 In Choir, during his sophomore year, Katin (pictured right in Choir this year, middle) became fast friends with Jordan Giddens, a senior.“It was funny, we were wearing masks then because of COVID, and people would get me and Jordan mixed up because we look kind of similar, especially with the masks on,” Katin said. “We would laugh about that and I think that brought us closer.”Friendship aside, Giddens didn’t let Katin in on a big secret until much later.“Jordan and I had become really good friends but I still didn’t know he was ‘Pat Riot’ for the longest time,” Katin said. “Eventually, I found out, and I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea. I had tons of pictures of me with ‘Pat Riot,’ at football games and everywhere, and I had no idea all that time that it was Jordan. He kept it a really good secret.”Katin had barely wrapped his head around the idea that his buddy was “Pat Riot” when he got his mind blown again.“One day, Jordan called me and asked if I’d want to be the Stevenson mascot next year. And I was like, ‘Uhhhhhh…WHAT????’ You want me to be ‘Pat Riot??’ Katin said. “Then Jordan said, ‘You’ve got to keep it a secret,’ and I was like, ‘Well…it’s kind of a hard secret.’ I was so excited about it. I wanted to tell everyone.”The secret part was important. Jordan Giddens explained the whole “Pat Riot” tradition to Katin, starting with how the mascot was passed down to him…and how no one on campus is supposed to know who “Pat Riot” actually is.
“Pat Riot,” a Stevenson tradition that goes back decades with costumes that took on many different looks, was part of the Giddens family for nearly 12 years before Katin came into the mix. Matthew Giddens (Class of 2014) started the family tradition when he took on “Pat Riot” duties in the early 2010s. The current “Pat Riot” is then given the privilege of picking the next “Pat Riot” and Matthew Giddens picked his sister Jaclyn (Class of 2017), and then Jaclyn, the first to wear the more modern “Pat Riot” suit that is used today, picked Jordan (Class of 2021). There were no more Giddens to be “Pat Riot” after Jordan. On the day that Jordan Giddens asked Katin to be “Pat Riot,” he joked about how he and Katin looked similar…and that would help with the transfer.“He said, ‘Well, you kind of look like me…’ so, to him, it was like ‘Pat Riot’ was kind of still being kept in the family, like I was part of the Giddens family, too,’” Katin said.“I’m just so thankful he passed it down to me because it’s definitely been my most valued experience here at Stevenson.”
Acting The Part
 Of course, besides being able to pass for a member of the Giddens family, Katin had other essential qualifications that made him the perfect “Pat Riot” candidate. He is a perfectionist who was intent on learning how to be the best mascot possible. He taught himself moves such as “The Worm” and “The Griddy,” which he performs at athletic events. And he’s watched hours of YouTube videos about how to be a fun and engaging mascot.“If you look it up, there’s a ton of videos about how to be a great mascot,” Katin said. “Like how to wave, how to high-five, how to hype up a crowd. I was always looking for new things that I could do that would help make people happy, or get them excited.”Katin also happens to naturally have a big personality ~ outgoing and friendly. He’s a theater kid who comes from a long line of family singers ~ his grandpa, his aunt, his father. Since grade school, Katin has been singing and acting ~ and performing, which is essential in the mascot world.“I was playing sports, pretty much every kind, until about fifth grade, and that’s when I told my parents I wanted to take singing lessons,” Katin said. “I got set up with a singing teacher and I started lessons and, at that time, my teacher was directing a play at the (Buffalo Grove) park district and she told me I should really audition for it. I auditioned, but I was not good. I was surprised that I ended up making it, though. It was “Fiddler On The Roof.” That was my first (production). I was in the ensemble. I was shaking backstage. I was so nervous.” The nerves went away quickly. Katin, who describes himself as an “extrovert” and a “talker,” was craving more. The very next time Katin tried out for a show, he got a part…in “Peter Pan.”Between Stevenson, the Buffalo Grove Park District and a few other bigger theater companies, Katin has been in more than 25 productions, and has held a handful of leads. One of his favorite leads outside of Stevenson was playing Adam Sandler’s “Robbie Hart” in a production of “The Wedding Singer.”“’Robbie Hart’ is definitely my favorite character, mostly because it’s Adam Sandler,” Katin said. “We had very similar lines to the movie, it was a very similar plot. That was so fun. It was such a great part and such a great show. I love the serious roles, but the goofy roles…those are the fun ones.”Cue “Pat Riot.” That’s a role in which Katin can be as fun and as goofy as he wants. But in many ways, he’s still playing a part…and the actor in him is always cognizant of that.“I think Theater and ‘Pat Riot’ intersect a lot, they go hand-in-hand,” Katin said. “Being overly dramatic and making all of your gestures really big is good for both. Being really expressive is really important in both, too.”Bringing a cartoon character like “SpongeBob” (Katin pictured left) to life also required some extra effort with expressions and gestures, and with vocal sounds.“The voice of ‘SpongeBob’…it was a lot, especially singing with it,” Katin said. “But I grew up doing voice impressions with my cousin and one he always did was ‘SpongeBob’ and I was always trying to copy him so I had already been doing that voice a little bit. ‘SpongeBob’ was so fun.

“The ‘Beast’ (Katin pictured right) was fun, too, because I had never played a part like that with all the makeup.“Stevenson has given me so many experiences in theater that I’m going to take with me. I’ve been so fortunate to have so many diverse and different experiences that have really broadened me as an actor.”Katin personifies the idea of a diverse and well-rounded Stevenson student. In addition to being “Pat Riot,” he’s also a member of the Freshman Mentor Program, National Honor Society, and Pep Club, and he is a Flag Football diehard.“My team won the Flag Football championship three times in a row,” Katin said proudly.
But it’s his membership in Stevenson’s various musical productions as well as multiple acting- and singing-related clubs (Choir, Improv, Thespians, Tri-M, Script Studio and Polyphonics) that has really helped his artistic development. And Katin isn’t going to back off of his trajectory now.
 The Next Act
 In the fall, Katin will be majoring in musical theater at Indiana University, where he undoubtedly earned his spot in a program that is beyond highly competitive. It took only 10 high school seniors from across the country for its entire incoming freshmen class. Katin, a decorated actor who is a two-year member of the Illinois All-State Musical, had to make all kinds of video submissions while undergoing various auditions to make the cut at Indiana.“I put all my shows in the video, I did a whole montage of me being ‘Pat Riot,’ it was a lot,” Katin said. “And I think there were maybe 1,700 videos submitted. The fact that they took only 10, and to know that the program is going to be so individualized, that made me really excited to pick Indiana. It’s such a great program. I still can’t believe this is happening to me. But I’m super excited to jump in and explore.”That’s how Katin has been about most things, from singing to acting to taking on the role of school mascot: jump in and ask questions later. He says it’s his spontaneity and high tolerance for operating outside of his comfort zone that have served him well in theatrical roles.“My goal is to be singing, or dancing or acting someday ~ on stage or in film, or on Broadway,” Katin said. “There’s no greater time that I’ve ever had than being in front of an audience and hearing people cheer.”Of course, the cheering is the loudest when Katin transforms into “Pat Riot.” The adrenaline rush that comes from making people smile and scream with excitement simply can’t be matched. Katin has had so much fun being a mascot that, over the years, he’s expanded his duties to include “guest-mascotting” at a few local grade schools as a “Wildcat” and a “Bear.” And he’s even been the “Easter Bunny.”“People got my name somehow,” Katin said with a laugh. “I’ve actually done a lot of stuff with mascots.”
Saying Goodbye To Pat

However, Katin’s days as a “heavy-lifting mascot” are nearing the end of the line. And it’s incredibly bittersweet. He’s excited about who he selected as the next “Pat Riot.”“They,” Katin said, not wanting to give away the gender of the new “Pat Riot,” “are going to shut the house down for sure. They are really qualified and I’m super excited for them to take the reins and make it their own.”But…Katin is also a bit sad. He is going to miss being a mascot, specifically “Pat Riot.” He thought about being a mascot at the college level, but decided that getting settled first as a freshman made more sense.“You never know what will happen in the future, but for now, I’m going to take a break from it, and that’s a little hard because I love it so much,” Katin said. “It’s cool to know someone else will be carrying on that legacy at Stevenson. But…this is a tough one.“It’s sad to give it up, and I’m not sure I’m ready to, just because of how much fun I’ve had, and how beneficial it has been and how it’s impacted me as a person. I thank Stevenson so much for that.”“It’s definitely been a part of me.”And it might be a part of Katin on Graduation Day. He’s trying to figure out a way to bring “Pat Riot” with him to the ceremony in some small way. So Seniors…keep your eyes peeled.“Not being ‘Pat Riot’ anymore…it’s definitely like leaving a part of me behind,” Katin said. “I’ve had so many great experiences with it, so many great memories. There’s just no way I can compare it to anything else. It’s been my favorite part of Stevenson. I’ve literally loved every second of it.”

Pops Concert Delivered Film And Broadway FUN!

All of the curricular orchestra classes ~ the Patriot, Symphonic, Concert and Stevenson Orchestra ~ sounded off last night at the Orchestra Pops Concert, which featured light-hearted and fun favorite numbers from classic films and Broadway.

The concert also included a special guest appearance from select members of the Stevenson Honor Band Program.

For a full gallery of photos from the event, please click here.

Photos: Brian O’Mahoney.

Spring Guitar Concert To Feature Music From Various Genres

It will be a medley of variety at TODAY’s Spring Guitar Concert as the Guitar Classes host their final concert of the year.

The concert, which features Guitar 1, Guitar 2 and Patriot Guitar Ensemble, is slated for a 7 p.m. start in the West Auditorium.

Guitar 1 will be playing music ranging from classical to pop, including a piece of original music written by Private Lesson Teacher Dr. Julie Goldberg, and ending with an arrangement of “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay.

Guitar 2 will be performing a very cool array of music with interesting grooves, feels and very catchy melodies; ending their performance with the famous “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Patriot Guitar Ensemble will start its set with three Brazilian Dances, then move on to a beautiful and light-hearted piece called “Lotus Eaters,” and the finally close out the concert with an arrangement of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.”

This is not a ticket event and it can also be viewed via Vimeo.

Advanced Acting Students Wrap Up 2022-23 Theatre Season TONIGHT!

Stevenson’s Advanced Acting students will be featured in the Patriot Theatre Company’s final performance of the 2022-23 season by presenting scenes, monologues and directing projects from throughout the semester.

The Advanced Acting Showcase, slated for a 7 p.m. start TONIGHT in the Black Box Theatre, includes selections from the following plays: “Proof” by David Auburn, “John Proctor Is The Villain” by Kimberly Belflower and “Angels In America” by Tony Kosher.

The following students will perform in the showcase: Aditee Sakhare, Alex Day, Ava Gordon, Emerson Mendoza, Bri Michuda, Ellen King, Emma Fritz, Hailey Rockoff, Jojo Chan, Milo Jablonski, Kendall Cobb, Key Kanemori, Kyle Cummins, Leah Carbone, Lily Mace, Maëlys Cadot, Matthew Post, Maxwell Ajazi, Norah Osborne, Rachel Zarkowsky, Rylee Sahl, Sam Greenstein, Saryu Ravuri, Shrenik Balaji and Sydney Duerst.

Films Made By Your Peers…Check Out The SNN Film Fest TOMORROW!

Does Stevenson have any budding Steven Spielbergs?

Find out TOMORROW at the SNN Film Fest…it’s the perfect way to close out a fun day of Spring Fling. See screenings of student-made films and support the Stevenson artist community! The SNN Film Fest is slated for a 7 p.m. start in the West Auditorium. Tickets will be on sale outside of the Sportscenter during tomorrow’s PM Assembly and at the door of the West Auditorium before the event. All proceeds will go to the World Food Program.

For more information, contact

Fashion Focus: SPIRIT!!
Plan Your Wardrobe For “Spring Fling Spirit Week!”

Team Jerseys Or Stevenson Spirit Day Or….

Peer Helpers is partnering with community organization “Paws For Patrick” to “turn our school green” in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month! Check out the Peer Helpers Instagram page for more information on Mental Health Awareness and be sure to wear Green TOMORROW in support of Mental Health Awareness! If you received a goodie bag at one of the entrances coming into school on Monday, don’t forget to tie your green ribbon somewhere in the community in honor of this important initiative!


PPA Treat Day: Lunch!
To help celebrate Spring Fling and the end of the year the Patriot Parent Association has icy cold treats for everyone! Pick up a bomb pop popsicle in the Glass Commons or the Wood Commons during fourth, fifth and sixth periods.
Assembly: 2:42 p.m., Stadium
Teacher Pie-In-The-Face, Raffle Giveaway Prizes, T-Shirt Slingshot Into The Crowd, Crowd Beachballs
Spring Fling: Immediately Following
Pep Assembly, Fields

Mechanical Shark, Kona Ice Truck, Spikeball Nets (play any free time), Free Burgers, Hot Dogs, Assorted Chips, Other Inflatables

Pick Up Your Yearbook TODAY And TOMORROW

Yearbooks were first made available for pick-up yesterday and pick-up will continue TODAY and TOMORROW during ALL LUNCH PERIODS in front of the College And Career Center and the Performing Arts Center.

Students must have their ID to pick up. If you haven’t purchased a yearbook yet, they can be purchased at the Patriot School Store on Monday until they sell out.

Upcoming Sports Events

TODAY ~ Boys Track And Field Sectional: Stevenson heads to Grayslake North TODAY to participate in the IHSA Sectional. Field events begin at 4:30 p.m. and track events begin at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $7 on GoFan.

TODAY THROUGH SATURDAY ~ Girls Track And Field State Finals: Adeline Gobble and Nenge Fon-Ndikum head to the IHSA State Finals THIS WEEKEND at Eastern Illinois. Tickets can be purchased here.

STEVENSON STUDENTS: Stevenson is hosting both the Girls and the Boys IHSA Water Polo State Finals!! Free tickets are available to the State Water Polo Quarterfinals for the FIRST 50 Stevenson students who present their ID at the gate of the Stevenson Pool. Thank you to the Sports Boosters for this contribution. 

TODAY ~ Girls State Water Polo: Stevenson will take on Sandburg in the state quarterfinals at Stevenson at 7 p.m. TODAY. Tickets can be purchased via GoFan.

TOMORROW ~ Boys State Water Polo: Stevenson will take on Naperville North in the state quarterfinals at Stevenson at 8:15 p.m. TOMORROW. Tickets can be purchased via GoFan.

TOMORROW AND SATURDAY ~ Boys Tennis IHSA Sectional: The Patriots will be hosting the IHSA Sectional this weekend: TOMORROW (11 a.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m.) at Vernon Hills Athletic Complex. There is no fee to attend. 

MAY 22 ~ Spring Sports Awards: Mark your calendars, Spring Sports Awards Night will be here before you know it! Dress to impress for the event, which is at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 22 in the Sportscenter.

Sports Results

Boys Volleyball: The Patriots (26-9, 7-0) won the North Suburban Conference Championship for the second year in a row, defeating Libertyville in a hotly-contested match, 25-22, 27-25. Libero Onon Bayasakh had a total of 8 digs. Setters David Wang and Logan Kim combined for 66 attempts with 33 assists and 1 dig. Ramsey Engel led the way for the Patriots in digs with 9 while rolling up 4 kills. Sam Nuudel added 7 kills with 1 block assist. Both Tony Hwang and Jason DeZutter contributed 5 kills apiece. Middle Yugank Arora added 3 kills. Next up is the IHSA Regional Semifinals at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Grayslake Central High School. Tickets can be purchased at GoFan: Grayslake Central Regional Tournament.

Boys Track and Field:
 The Patriots headed to Grayslake Central for the Class 3A Sectional Finals with Marcus CaselberryEthan Aghakhan and Randy Clay qualifying for the IHSA State Finals next weekend. Caselberry will participate in the 110 meter hurdles (14.80, PR) and the 300 meter hurdles (39.42, PR). Aghakhan qualified in the shot put (16.31 meters, PR) and the discus 48.22 meters, PR). Clay qualified in the high jump (1.90 meters). The State Finals begin tomorrow and Saturday at 11:15 a.m. Tickets can be purchased on GoFan: IHSA State Finals.

Girls Soccer: 
Stevenson (13-5-1, 5-1-1) traveled to Palatine to take on the host Pirates in the first round of IHSA Regionals and won, 1-0. The only goal scored came from Arria Chavez. The Patriots move on to the Regional Finals at 6 p.m. Friday at Palatine High School against Glenbrook North. Tickets can be purchased on GoFan: Palatine Regional Tournament.

Sports Reminders

NOW ~ NEW…RETURN OF ATHLETIC UNIFORMS/GEAR: If you were provided a uniform or equipment through Stevenson Athletics for your Spring Sport, this gear MUST be returned to the Equipment Room (Room 1000), from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the day following the conclusion of your season. Failure to do so will result in a fine and a hold on your registration for the following school year or your ability to receive your diploma.

NOW THROUGH MAY 24 ~ NEW…PE LOCKERS: All Physical Welfare lockers must be cleaned out by the end of the last regular school day, MAY 24.  Any items left in lockers will be donated to local charities.

Mark your calendars for these events and see the Stevenson Calendar for details on these and future programs.

May 18-19: Spring Fling Spirit Week
May 18: Spring Guitar Concert
May 19:PPA Treat Day
May 19:SNN Film Festival
May 19:PM Assembly
May 19: Spring Fling 2023
May 19-20:Bass Fishing State Finals
May 22:Spring Sports Awards
May 24-26:Final Experience

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