Jan 01

2020-2021 Second Quarter Honor Roll

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Holy Family Catholic High School is proud to announce the Second Quarter Honor Roll for 2020-2021. This honor roll recognizes these 357 students for their dedication and commitment to their education. Our faculty and staff celebrate all learners and are grateful for the efforts of all students. More than 77% of our students maintained grade point averages of 3.0 and higher to achieve honor roll designation.

President's List
President’s List
Principal's List
Principal’s List
Honor Roll
Honor Roll

Jan 01

The Inside Scoop on Holy Family Placement Tests

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Inside Scoop on Placement Tests: What to Know & Why to Go

FIRE 25 Families—mark January 9 on your calendar and highlight it in yellow. This is the date for Holy Family Catholic High School Placement Tests for all incoming ninth-grade students. It is your student’s first step to securing a successful academic future at Holy Family.

Parents sometimes have questions about our Placement Tests.

  • Why do students take them?
  • How is the information used?
  • What if my student has a bad testing day?

To help answer these questions, and many more, we are sharing this list of helpful answers. It should give you a complete picture of why Holy Family Placement Testing ensures every student has academic opportunities that uniquely fit his or her needs, interests and strengths.

Q: Is there a difference between an entrance exam and a placement test?

HF: Yes. Typically entrance exam scores are used to determine acceptance into a school. Holy Family does not use entrance exams. Instead, we offer placement tests for incoming freshmen with the goal of placing students in a course level where they can experience success.

Q: Is there only one placement test?

HF: We offer three placement tests:

  • Incoming Freshman Placement Test — Broad scope of topics for all incoming freshmen.
  • Math Placement Test — Required for students interested in courses beyond Algebra I.
  • World Language Placement Test — Required for students interested in taking foreign language beyond the first level course.

Q: What are the dates for this year’s exams?

HF: The placement tests are scheduled for these dates:

  • The High School Placement Test (STS’ High School Placement Test—HSPT®) given to all incoming ninth-grade students is January 9, 2021 beginning at 8 a.m. (please arrive by 7:50 a.m.)
  • Math Placement Test is held in early June beginning at 9 a.m (please arrive by 8:50 a.m.)
  • World Language Placement Tests are scheduled on an individual basis throughout the summer.

Q: What are the test fees?

HF: The Freshman Placement Test is $25. This fee is waived if there is already an Application for Enrollment on file. There are no fees for the Math or World Language Placement Tests.

Q: How is the STSHigh School Placement Test (HSPT®) used?

HF: The test results are utilized in two ways:

  • Provide staff with a clearer academic view of the incoming class. It allows the administration to make staff and curriculum adjustments to suit the needs of the class as a whole.
  • Help identify students who need extra academic support or can benefit from encouragement to broaden their academic horizons.

Q: What subject matters does the High School Placement Test include?

HF: The exam covers a broad scope of topics, including, but not limited to: reading comprehension, vocabulary, literary elements, punctuation, spelling, measurements, area, volume, mean and functions. More information can be found on the STS’ High School Placement Test (HSPT®) website.

Q: But wait! If the Math and World Language Placement Tests are conducted after the February 2021 class registration date, how will we know which math and language classes to register for?

HF: Students should register for the math and world language classes that they intend to take in the coming fall. Once placement test results are in, students can make adjustments to their class schedule if necessary. 

Q: Does every student have to take a Math Placement Test, and is it the only factor used in placing a student in a math class?

HF: Only incoming ninth-grade students who want to register for math classes higher than Algebra I take the Math Placement Test. There are three test options: Geometry, Algebra II or a higher-level math course. Individual circumstances can be reviewed during the process to decide which test is right for a student.

Q: How can my student prepare for the Math Placement Test?

HF: There are math review packets at http://www.hfchs.org/math-placement-faq/  available online, and we host weekend review sessions prior to the placement test.

Q: Who must take a World Language Placement Test?

HF: Only incoming ninth-grade students who want to register for second year or higher Italian, Latin or Spanish courses take the exam for their language of choice.

Q: How can my child prepare for a World Language Placement Test?

HF: Students should review materials from their previous world language classes.

Q: Can a student take a science/engineering placement test?

HF: All ninth-grade students begin their science discovery with biology, and engineering studies begin in our Technology Studies program. Holy Family offers a pre-engineering course to eighth-grade students. Students who successfully complete the course earn a Holy Family semester technology credit, giving them the opportunity to take Engineering II during their freshman year and compete with our robotics team.

Q: If we have a question about where our student has been placed after receiving test results, what do we do?

HF: Let’s talk about it. Our staff welcomes dialogue with parents and students to ensure we are all on the same page. We want all students to be successful—not overwhelmed or unchallenged. If, for example, a student is on the border of testing into a higher-level math class, there is an opportunity to be re-evaluated through a summer course.

Q: If my student is placed in a class and it becomes clear early in the first quarter that it’s not the right fit, can he or she be moved up or down a level?

HF: Flexibility is important when it comes to finding the right fit for students. We encourage families to contact the student’s teacher and counselor to discuss challenges the student is facing. Often one-on-one sessions with the teacher bring the student up to speed. If the family, counselor and teacher determine a move to a less challenging course is necessary, we’ll do our best to accommodate the change with the least amount of disruption to the student’s overall class schedule.

Q: Do any of the test results move students into Advanced Placement (AP) or Honors classes?

HF: Generally the only Honors option offered to ninth-grade students is in mathematics. There are exceptions. PSAT Tests, measuring readiness for college, are taken in ninth and eleventh grades and help identify AP potential.  After ninth grade, teachers will recommend Honors and AP classes to students who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills to be successful in those courses.

Q: Do transfer students have to take any of the placement tests?

HF: Typically, no, they do not. We rely on their incoming transcripts for class placements. 

Q: If my student isn’t able to take the tests on the scheduled dates, are there make-up sessions?

HF: Absolutely! Those with conflicts on the date of the The High School Placement Test should contact Scott Breimhorst at breimhorsts@hfchs.org. Contact the school office at 952-443-4659 to make arrangements for another summer test date for math and world language tests. It is recommended that the math test is taken in early June.

Have a question?

Ask about Placement Tests and we will include the response anonymously for other FIRE 25 families to see. Send your question to breimhorsts@hfchs.org

SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION FOR ENROLLMENT TODAY!

The $25 Freshman Placement Test fee is waived for students with an Application for Enrollment on file.

Apply Today

Jan 01

3 Reasons Holy Family Students Succeed

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If you’re numbers driven, it is unquestionable that Holy Family Catholic High School students succeed. The numbers prove year, after year, after year that they are prepared for college.

What are the indicators? Here are some of the biggies:

  • Average ACT Score (2019): 26.1; Average ACT Score of Top 25% (2019): 32.4; Average ACT Score of Top 10% (2019): 33.7  *2020 ACT has not yet been received.
  • College Attendance (2020): 94% – 4-Year College attendance (2020),;Gap Year (2020) – 4%; Athletic Opportunity (2020) with plans to attend college: 52%)
  • College Completion Rate 6 years out of high school: 84% (National Avg. 53%) Source: National Student Clearinghouse, tracks students for six-years in 98% of all colleges

What the numbers don’t tell is…WHY?

  • WHY do Holy Family students routinely outperform Minnesota students taking the ACT by an average of 5 points over the past 5 years?
  • WHY do Holy Family graduates succeed their first year in college?
  • WHY do Holy Family students graduate from college way above averages from other high schools, according to The National Student Clearinghouse?

“One of the things people always point to is ACT test scores,” says John Dols, Holy Family Catholic High School principal. “Yet test scores are not everything. It’s important to be a thoughtful, reflective, rational thinker, and to take action when you have strengths to be active. You can’t have other people think and do things for you. That is what is important in post-secondary education.”

With that, we set out to put our finger on some of the specifics that answer why Holy Family Catholic High School students succeed in college. We asked five experts, all of whom have worked with Holy Family students and seen them succeed in college and beyond. They are:

  • John Dols, Holy Family Catholic High School Principal
  • Jeanne Weber, Owner, collegeONE, helping students organize and streamline the college application process
  • Melissa Livermore, Assistant Principal for Academic Support
  • Josh Rutz, Holy Family Counselor

Three Reasons Holy Family Students Succeed

Based on independent interviews with each of these experts committed to helping students achieve success beyond Holy Family, there are a number of reasons why they are successful in college, starting with year one. But these three stand out:

1. Students Leave with Exceptional Writing and Communication Skills. Brown admits this can be a challenge in a society driven by digital devices. But that doesn’t change the need to be articulate, she says. When it comes to excelling in college, students with exceptional writing and verbal skills stand out among peers.

John Dols: “Our kids are not afraid to express their ideas. They can speak in public and they know how to write when they leave here. They frequently wind up helping their peers in college.”

Jeanne Weber: “There seems to be an emphasis on writing (at Holy Family) in more than just English class. I see a focus on writing in history and many of the other classes. This makes Holy Family kids stronger communicators than what I see from other schools. Even when they sit down with an adult, they are a little more at ease. They listen and have great communication skills.”

Josh Rutz: “One thing we consistently hear is that the workload, particularly the written papers, helps our students succeed in college. Alumni often say when it comes to knowing how to study, knowing the expectations of how to be good students and writing papers in college, they say they are well prepared. Doesn’t matter what college they attend. It seems every single student is saying they are well prepared.”

2. Opportunities Build Leadership Skills. Small numbers seem to deliver big results at Holy Family. With an average student-teacher ratio of 13:1, students can’t fly under the radar at Holy Family. Plus, they participate in extracurricular activities in extremely high numbers. The result is an expectation that Holy Family students lead.

Melissa Livermore: “Almost 100 percent of our students are involved in something, and many in more than one thing. By the time they leave Holy Family, our students have excellent time management skills because they are so involved.”

Josh Rutz: “(Holy Family) Students are not just focusing on school, but every other aspect in their lives—volunteering, work, sports, clubs, activities, and in faith and religious aspects. If anything, they’re too busy. Sometimes, they overwork themselves because they are such great leaders and want to have an impact on all aspects of life. One example: We bring kids on service trips all over the world. Those experiences change our kids in great ways. That’s why they do so well in college and after.”

Jeanne Weber: “When I look at Holy Family kids, the biggest advantage they have is the ability to participate. They have great social interactions, which comes from being in a small school, expecting students to take leadership roles and help out others. Participation helps them with leadership skills. They understand the nature of college, and that they’re going there to learn stuff. They’re just a little more well rounded and make good decisions while in college. They are substantially prepared to take that on.”

3. Holy Family Students Advocate for Themselves and Others. Often overlooked, this skill possibly should be at the top of this list. It shows confidence, drive, leadership and independent learning at a very high level.

Jeanne Weber: “Holy Family students are very confident. They’re not boastful, but they are confident. If they see something that needs to be done, they do it. And they know when they need help. At Holy Family, there is an expectation that you are going to do well. Whatever that well is for you. And that’s a reflection of college.”

Josh Rutz: “Holy Family students are not afraid to ask questions. They become great self-advocates and advocates for others. We push and see growth in that from 9th to 12th grade. No matter where they are at, they are willing to ask for help or help each other out when in need. It provides that feeling of never being alone.”

John Dols: “Holy Family students believe in goals. They know it takes practice and time. They know that, ‘Just because I want, doesn’t mean I can have.’ They keep going after it. Especially during this unusual year, they have proven to be both persistent and flexible, but still eager to pursue their education.”

Holy Family students become critical thinkers.

While those three reasons are the consensus favorites, there are many more reasons Holy Family students succeed in college. Here are a few additional thoughts from our experts on why Holy Family Catholic High School students are ready for a successful college experience, starting with day one.

  • Holy Family Students Think About Thinking. It is almost a lost skill in the digital age, says Dols. “They reflect about what they do and why they do it. They have great thoughts and are not afraid to express ideas.”

Livermore agrees: “We want to make sure students are geared toward learning and understanding. Not just for a grade or to check a box. We want them to learn and understand, and think about thinking.”

  • Students Experience Challenging Course Rigor. “We have high standards and hold all students to them,” Livermore adds. “This gives them confidence to take reasonable risks, such as trying new classes that they wouldn’t have before. It doesn’t scare them off, because they know how to do it, and that they can do it.”
  • Life Skills Are Taught at Holy Family. “Students leave here knowing what they need for a successful future,” Dols says. “They’re able to collaborate with peers; work with professors and faculty; and develop a sense of service and true caring for others. These all translate into aspects they’ll use in their lives and the working world.”
  • “Family Network” = Success. “The family atmosphere here pushes kids at a different level,” Rutz says. “When they have hard times and fall, they know where to turn. They come back here, turn to their families and turn to their experiences here at Holy Family that helped them grow. They have the confidence to tackle life. And life is not always easy.”
  • A Sense of Sacrifice and Direction. “I do think Holy Family kids, because their family is paying for high school, have a sense that people are sacrificing to send them there,” Weber adds. “And, maybe because of that, they have a better sense of what direction they want to head in. They can confidently take that step into college.”

Attend our a Fire Family Visit or schedule a tour with a member of our admissions team.

Schedule a visit

 

 

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Jan 01

Amy Dean Named Head Coach

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Holy Family hires Amy Dean to lead the Fire Girls and Boys Tennis 

Holy Family names Amy Dean to lead tennis program.

Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, MN, is thrilled to announce the hiring of Amy Dean as the school’s head girls and boys tennis coach.

Dean assumes the Holy Family Tennis programs’ leadership responsibilities immediately, building on her five years of successful experience as an assistant coach in our programs. During her tenure at Holy Family, Dean helped coach the Fire Girls team to state appearances in 2016 (Consolation Champions) and 2017 (State Runner-Up), along with numerous individual state appearances. Dean also earned 2018 State Assistant Coach of the Year honors for Boys Tennis from the Minnesota State Tennis Coaches Association.

A highly-decorated player, Dean played four years of Division 1 tennis at the University of Cincinnati (OH). She ended her college career as a co-captain, ranked #5 all-time in career doubles wins, and #9 all-time in career wins for the Bearcat Women’s Tennis team. Before her time at Cincinnati, Dean was a four-year state qualifying player at Illinois’ Naperville High School. She continues to play competitively and teach tennis lessons in the area.

Holy Family Activities Director Nick Tibesar is overjoyed to announce Ms. Dean as the Fire Tennis programs’ new head coach. “Coach Dean’s experience both coaching and playing tennis at an extremely high level have been an asset to our programs for the past five seasons, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see her step up to lead our programs into the future! Her steadfast commitment to our student-athletes, along with our school community and its mission, is commendable, and we look forward to the future growth our students will experience under her leadership.”

Additional information about Amy Dean:

Education: University of Cincinnati – Cincinnati, OH – Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Accounting

 

 

Contact Information:

Nick Tibesar, HFCHS Activities Director – tibesarn@hfchs.org

Amy Dean, HFCHS Head Girls and Boys Tennis Coach – amykdean@hotmail.com

Jan 01

Scholarships for Incoming Students

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Middle School Matters! Let’s talk scholarships.

Let’s talk SCHOLARSHIPS, and the huge opportunity they provide families with students attending Holy Family Catholic High School.

Each year Holy Family awards a number of scholarships and grants to incoming students. These awards ease tuition costs, while also rewarding students for their past success and future potential.

“We’ve put our money where our mouth is with this program,” says Scott Breimhorst, Vice President for Enrollment and School Partnerships. “We have dedicated significant financial resources to these scholarships to ensure a broad application of funds is possible.”

For those who like hard numbers, consider these facts:

  • 9X. Holy Family scholarship and grant offerings are trending up with many added during the last three school years. Students may apply for more than one scholarship in the areas they feel most appropriate. Most are awarded to multiple students each year.
  • 3 Categories. 1) Merit Scholarships are earned by students that have already achieved and excelled in middle school, and show potential for future success. 2) Qualifying Scholarships are for students meeting specific criteria, such as coming from one particular middle school.  3) Grants are awarded to families meeting qualifying criteria.
  • Stackable and Renewable. Many scholarships and grants are awarded to multiple students each year. Also, most scholarships are renewable annually for four years, and students can apply for up two different merit scholarships.
  • Lots of Zeros. Annual awards range from $500-$3,000. Multiply by four years, and they grow to several thousands of dollars in tuition savings!

“It is absolutely in every incoming ninth grader’s best interest to apply,” Breimhorst adds. “With the variety of areas covered in our merit scholarship program, we have the ability to reach many families. Why not give it a shot?”

Before breaking down each scholarship opportunity available to incoming students, here are some essential yet critical things to know:

  • Holy Family Enrollment. Before applying for scholarships or grants, students complete the Application for Enrollment.  Incoming ninth grade students must also take the High School Placement Test given in January.
  • Categories. Scholarships are available for academic achievement, leadership, volunteerism, and involvement in extracurricular activities except for athletics. 
  • January 24 is the priority deadline for applications. Don’t wait until last minute. Several scholarships require an essay or plan. These take thought and polishing. Students meeting the January 24 deadline receive first consideration.  Applications received after that date may be eligible if funds are still available.
  • Financial Assistance Applications. For most scholarships and grants, the TADS application for financial assistance is not required. But some do require this application. If so, be sure to complete by January 24.

Now that the official stuff is out of the way, here’s a look at all Holy Family scholarship and grant opportunities. Any way you add it up, these are a win for Holy Family students and families.

MERIT SCHOLARSHIP

President’s Award for Academic Achievement

Award: $500-$1,500 per year

Who Should Apply: Students with proven academic success in middle school or other high schools.

Who’s Eligible: Incoming 9th-grade students and transfer students

You’ll want to know:

Fine Arts Scholarship

Award: $500-$1,500 per year

Who Should Apply: Students who have participated and excelled in art, music or theater, and plan to make it a significant part of their Holy Family experience.

Who’s Eligible: Incoming 9th-grade students and transfer students

You’ll want to know:

  • Scholarship requires a Merit Scholarship Application
  • Criteria for selection include a student’s past involvement and experience in arts programs, accomplishments in arts programs, and a written statement of “passion for the arts.”
  • Annually renews if a student continues to participate in Holy Family fine arts programs. 

Founders’ Scholarship for Leaders

Award: $500-$1,500 per year

Who Should Apply: Students whose leadership has positively impacted the lives of fellow students, their community, and the world.

Who’s Eligible: Incoming 9th-grade students and transfer students

You’ll want to know:

St. John Baptist De La Salle Award

Award: $500-$1,500 per year

Who Should Apply: Students dedicated to service and have made an impact on their school, local community, or church.

Who’s Eligible: Incoming 9th-grade students and transfer students

You’ll want to know:

GRANTS

Catholic Parish and School Staff Discount

Holy Family Catholic High School is excited to provide a 30% tuition discount program for children of Catholic parish and Pre-K-8 school full-time staff members. Part-time staff members are a pro-rated discount based on their FTE.

Award:  30% of Tuition

Who Should Apply: Staff Members of Catholic Parishes and Schools

Who’s Eligible: Staff Members of Catholic Parishes and Schools

You’ll want to know:

  • Check the box on the scholarship application.
  • Also eligible for other scholarship or tuition assistance awards

QUALIFYING SCHOLARSHIPS

Ignite the Fire Scholarship

Award: $1,000-$2,500 per year

Who Should Apply: Students from St. Hubert School who are active in SHS programs and activities, plus maintained a 3.5 GPA while attending middle school.

Who’s Eligible: St. Hubert School incoming 9th-grade students attending Holy Family.

You’ll want to know:

  • Scholarship requires a separate application.
  • Students must articulate a plan for remaining active in Holy Family extracurricular activities.
  • Annually renews if a student maintains a 3.25 GPA at Holy Family. 
  • Must demonstrate financial need via TADS application

Click HERE if you are a St. Hubert family with an application on file and would like to apply for the Ignite the Fire Scholarship.

Flaherty Family Foundation

Award: Determined on a case-by-case basis

Who Should Apply: Highly motivated students with high potential and significant economic needs determined by TADS; positive contributor to the community.

Who’s Eligible: Students with a 3.5 middle school GPA meeting needs determined by TADS from a household with an annual income below $70,000.

You’ll want to know:

  • Families must complete a TADS application. Those meeting criteria are invited to complete the foundation’s application.
  • Annually renews by foundation if similar standards are met each year.

Hildebrandt Family Scholarship

Award: $1,500-$3,000 per year

Who Should Apply: Incoming 9th-grade students attending public middle schools.

Who’s Eligible: Students attending public middle schools 

You’ll want to know:

  • Apply using the universal scholarship application.
  • Annually renews for students maintaining good academic standing.

Click HERE if you are an incoming student from a public school and would like to apply for the Hildebrandt Family Scholarship.

Radick Family Scholarship

Award: Up to $2,000 per year

Who Should Apply: Guardian Angels Catholic School and Parish families with financial need determined by TADS application.

Who’s Eligible: Guardian Angels Catholic School and Parish families.

You’ll want to know:

  • Families must complete a TADS application
  • Applicants may also qualify for additional tuition assistance.
  • A separate application is not required. 
  • Annually renews if similar standards are met each year.

Greg Osterdyk Memorial Scholarship

Who Should Apply: Families who are bearing the burden of having lost a parent.

Who’s Eligible: Fire25 families who have lost a parent.

You’ll want to know:

  • Applicants may also qualify for additional tuition assistance.
  • A separate application is not required. 
  • Annually renews if similar standards are met each year.

Angie Quinn Memorial Scholarship 

Who Should Apply:

Angie was the mother of two Holy Family students, an educator, a coach, advocate, and supporter of youth extracurricular activities. She was also a strong believer in the positive life-long impact and benefit of a Catholic education and of belonging to this special school family. Her family, friends and the community honor her legacy through these scholarships.

The Angie Quinn Memorial Scholarship Fund supports access for students who will thrive as members of the HF community. To qualify, the applicant must demonstrate financial need as determined through TADS and possess high academic potential – minimum GPA 3.25 (middle school & HFCHS). Scholarships are renewable annually, and students must remain in good standing academically (3.25 GPA) and in moral character.

Applicants must submit a scholarship essay, and will be rated based upon the following characteristics:

  • Positive personal values and character
  • Active contributor to the community, now and in the future
  • Plans for positive engagement in extracurricular activities at Holy Family Catholic High School

As an educator with experience working with students of diverse economic and ethnic backgrounds, growth in diversity at Holy Family was important to Angie. Students of diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply

Who’s Eligible: Fire25 families 

You’ll want to know:

  • Applicants may also qualify for additional tuition assistance.
  • A separate application is not required. 
  • Annually renews if similar standards are met each year.

Apply by January 24 by clicking on the button below

Jan 01

Meet our 2021 National Merit Students

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Holy Family Catholic High School is proud to announce the 2021 National Merit Scholarship program recognizes three of our seniors. Seniors Lauren Taylor and Gregory Stoffel are 2021 National Merit Semifinalists, and senior Joseph Freitas is a National Merit Commended Student. Out of 1.5 million entrants, roughly 34,000 earn Commended Students recognition, and about 16,000 earn Semifinalists recognition. The majority of semifinalists will advance to National Merit Finalists in February, an honor granted to just 1%  of the 1.5 million students who enter the competition by taking the PSAT test in their junior year.

UPDATE: Lauren and Greg were announced as National Merit Finalist in February 2021.

To learn more about the National Merit Scholarship program, click here.

We wanted to know more about how they prepared for the PSAT/NMSQT and what factors, both in school and outside of it, contributed to them achieving this level of academic success.

Lauren Taylor

2021 National Merit Semifinalist Lauren Taylor

HFCHS Activities: Mock Trial, Tennis, Math League, Student Council, Honor Society, Fire Ambassadors

How did you prepare for the PSAT?

I went through the practice test that Holy Family gave us in small parts to familiarize myself with the test. Other than that, I got a good sleep and ate a healthy breakfast on the morning of the test.

What types of Holy Family courses assisted in the preparation process?

I feel that all of the classes I have taken helped prepare me for the test by creating good study habits and test-taking skills. I am so grateful to every teacher that I have had, and I hope that I have made them proud. Specifically, my English and Math courses strengthened my knowledge in these areas for the test.

Rigorous academic course loads can be very stressful; how do you deal with that stress, and what advice do you have for students  going through similar situations?

With my “Type A” personality, I find it helpful to keep a planner with everything that I have to get done. I also watch Netflix while I do my homework, which seems like it would be distracting, but it helps me focus better and stay relaxed. My advice for other students is to be proactive and try to get all of your work done as soon as it is assigned. Also, do not be afraid to ask your teachers when you need help; I spent part of my birthday last year in the cafeteria getting help from Mr. Walker on AP Chem.

What makes you most proud about being a National Merit finalist?

After pushing myself for the past few years, it feels great to have my hard work recognized. I am proud to be grouped with other students that share my same passion for learning.

What will you miss the most after you graduate from Holy Family?

After I graduate from HF, I will miss the people and the community the most. I know that everyone inside the building has my back, and it truly feels like a family. I can only hope that I find something even remotely similar to that in college and for the rest of my life.


Gregory Stoffel

How did you prepare for the PSAT?

I took a practice test to help understand the general format. The main part that prepared me was studying for the ACT because these two tests are very similar.

Rigorous academic course loads can be very stressful; how do you deal with that stress, and what advice do you have for students going through similar situations?

I deal with stress by looking at the bigger picture, and I learn what is really important. Stress often comes when I have a lot going on at the start of a new season, so I try to take it one step at a time. Making to-do lists help relieve stress, and talking with friends helps as well.

What makes you most proud about being a National Merit finalist?

The part that makes me the most proud is that only 1% qualify after taking this test. I am one of very few, and it is an honor to be a part of it.

What will you miss the most after you graduate from Holy Family?

After high school, the part I will miss the most is the friendships that I have made here. I know that I will always remember the lessons I learned here; I will miss Mr. Dwyer’s lectures in A.P. Biology, Mr. Kannel’s cookies, and so much more.


Joseph Freitas

2021 National Merit Commended Student Joseph Freitas

HFCHS Activities: Band, Math League, Track and Field

What types of Holy Family courses assisted in the preparation process?

Throughout my school career, English classes have taught me standard conventions of grammar to use on the PSAT, reading comprehension skills, and math classes, especially pre-calculus, which helped develop quantitative reasoning skills necessary for the math portions.

Rigorous academic course loads can be very stressful; how do you deal with that stress, and what advice do you have for students going through similar situations?

The main way I deal with the stress of a heavy course load is simply doing all homework as soon as possible so that the workload does not build up over time. Also, I make sure to study for every test and try my best on every assignment. My advice would be not to procrastinate and to do something rejuvenating after a long day of work, such as a bike ride or

What makes you most proud about being a National Merit finalist?

The most satisfying thing about being a National Merit commended student is that achieving this distinction in Minnesota requires you to be in the top one percent of test-takers in the nation and, therefore, at the very top of the academic world. I am most proud of this exclusivity and the fact that only one out of a hundred people can achieve this distinction.

What will you miss the most after you graduate from Holy Family?

I will miss this school’s small, communal feel due to it only having about 500 students.


Interested in learning more about Holy Family?

Please join us for a Fire Family Visit. Fire Family Visits are socially-distanced, small group, on-campus information sessions with personalized tours led by our student ambassadors. Click on the link below to find the time and date that works best for your family and then reserve your seats! See you soon.

Register for a Fire Family Visit

Jan 01

60-Plus Holy Family Extracurricular Activities

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We’ve all been there. We invest in all kinds of activities for our kids to pursue. It’s part of the growing process: developing the whole person, not just academically, but physically, socially and emotionally.

Then, as high school nears, that little voice sounds the alarm in the back of a parent’s head. Is my daughter or son good enough to make the team? Can they continue with music? Get a part in the play? Compete with other students? Is high school the end of the line?

“It’s interesting comparing Holy Family to other large schools in the area,” says Activities Director Nick Tibesar. “We have kids staying with programs longer than what I saw in public schools. So often, in other schools, kids come in playing ball with friends during their summers and evenings, sometimes for years, and all of a sudden they end up as a high school freshman and sophomore not on a team anymore.”

Not at Holy Family Catholic High School. Here, students get an opportunity to participate in the sports and many other activities they are most passionate about. Plus, they often discover a wide variety of other sports, academic teams, clubs and activities they never considered.

“We encourage kids to try new things and stretch limits,” Nick says. “We want them to be involved in multiple things to fight some of the outside pressure to specialize in just one of them.”

Smaller School Size, Big Opportunities

With a student body of 460 kids, Holy Family provides unlimited opportunities to explore new things. Students often participate in more than one activity, not just during the school year, but also during a single season.

“When looking at sports, there are students who were on the trap and lacrosse teams, or tennis, track and baseball,” Nick says. “But more common is a kid who participates in both a sport and one of our academic competitions.

“We had a player on our basketball team who also was on our varsity Math League team. As a coach, I recall a half dozen times he had to go to Math League. No one acted like that was strange or gave him a hard time. We said, ‘How did Math League go? And cool you’re doing so well.’

“It’s fun to be in a culture where someone is not ostracized for picking academics over athletics.”

Endless Opportunities

With over 60 extracurriculars to choose from, your Holy Family student is destined to pursue his or her talents, while trying new activities outside of the classroom.

“There are a lot of people who chose Holy Family for the right reasons—faith-based environment, college prep, joining a community where their student is known and cared for,” Nick adds. “All of those things extend to our classroom, lunchroom and after-school activities.

“We consider extracurricular activities the last class of the day. And, they provide the same values as everything else at Holy Family.”

QUICK FACTS:

95% of Holy Family students participate in extracurricular activities

92% of Holy Family students participate in multiple extracurricular activities in a school year

60+ Holy Family extracurricular activities are offered each school year

(more…)

Jan 01

The Rarest of Opportunities

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You can do more with the grace of God than you think.- St. John Baptist de La Salle

In July 1999, Kathie Brown and her husband Dennis packed their belongings and relocated their family to the west side of the Twin Cities, an area more populated by cornfields than houses. Kathie was embarking on what turned out to be both an entrepreneurial venture and a vocational call – the creation of a new Catholic high school, the first to be built in Minnesota in over thirty years.

Twenty-one years later, Kathie views the decision to leave Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha, Wisconsin as a significant close-your-eyes-and-leap of faith experience. “Sometimes a question challenges us to say ‘Yes’ to change, to embrace the unknown. Reflection is valuable, but we will never have all the information we would like to make a perfect decision. Leaving CMHS, friends, and extended family was difficult, but working with a passionate group of people to grow a school created a new sense of what it means to be family,” Kathie believes. This responsiveness to the needs of young people is a legacy offered to each class of Holy Family students.

By the time Kathie reported for her first day of work in an office of then Klein Bank in Chanhassen, the architectural plans were drawn. The ceremonial shovels had been stuck in the soil of the farm that would support Holy Family Catholic High School. What was left? Everything.

President Paul Stauffacher asked Kathie Brown to be the first principal of Holy Family Catholic High School. When she arrived, the construction of the building was underway, but the curricula and the faculty who would teach it were not yet established.

Busing, food service, furniture, equipment, and supplies had to be acquired. These are essential components of a school that are so easy to take for granted in an established institution. Of great importance, however, was developing a vision for the curriculum and finding the educators who were knowledgeable, flexible, and creative to achieve that vision.

Kathie began by using her experience with a combined English and history course at her former school and imbuing it with theology. Integrated Studies (IS) was born. Seeking a theology teacher who could envision an interwoven approach to learning and deepen understanding of the Catholic faith, she found Doug Bosch, someone capable and willing to explore ways ninth grade students might see education as more than earning grades. Today, elements of this integration are found in the junior-level courses of American Literature, American History, and Catholic Social Teaching.

Eleven other teachers filled the available positions by the time the building was ready for limited occupancy. Four remain: Doug Bosch, Gary Kannel, Matt Thuli, and Jim Walker. Kathie credits the tireless efforts of these first twelve educators for setting a high standard of collegiality and innovation not only for each other but for the next teachers to join the professional community as the school grew.

The first students established many of the traditions we still celebrate today.

Kathie also recognized the importance of providing traditions and rituals for the first 147 students who walked through the doors in the fall of 2000. She established a weekly Convocation to pray, communicate information, and reinforce values. The classes of 2003 and 2004 established many other meaningful traditions. They suggested the Thanksgiving dinner and an honor society to acknowledge academic effort. These young people took ownership of their new school and led Holy Family quickly and decisively to a culture of excellence. Kathie recalls, “All they needed was someone to listen to their ideas and permission to use their energy to make them happen. I was in awe of their insights and eagerness to make Holy Family their school. They helped form me into the school leader they required.”

One of the most significant historical developments in the growth of Holy Family came in 2005 with the formal approval to join the Lasallian international network of schools. Former president Frank Miley initiated the discernment process and Kathie immediately identified with the Christian Brothers’ pedagogy that sees students as the center of the educational process. She loves the imagery of faculty and staff walking alongside youth as they teach minds, touch hearts, and transform lives – their own included.

In 2018, the Lasallian Region of North America recognized and honored Kathie Brown as a Distinguished Lasallian Educator from the Midwest District for 2018.

An essential aspect of our Lasallian charism is to “Live Jesus in our hearts . . . forever.” It is witnessed frequently in the way people say “Yes” to what will help students thrive. They are not concerned whether a task is in a job description. Over the last twenty years, faculty and staff have volunteered to moderate clubs, plan events, and suggest better ways to do things – and then do them. Kathie hopes the culture of doing “whatever it takes” is so well-established that such generosity continues to grow. She has tried to lead the way by serving whenever her skills are compatible. She remembers everyone in her family cleaning the school’s windows and bathrooms the weekend before Holy Family opened in fall 2000. Recognizing every job is an essential one, she has served as Holy Family’s first counselor, a substitute teacher, ticket-taker, concession stand coordinator, and, for eight years, as both president and principal.

These experiences explain why what comes next is not a question Kathie can answer. She could not have predicted what would be necessary to end this school year with as little loss of learning and relationships as possible. As the challenges increased, what became important was supporting students and teachers in their efforts to adjust and stay healthy in every way. Again, she had help. Teachers ensured the students were well-taught. The staff and parents supported the teachers. Family takes care of family.

All is well these days as Kathie packs up the many memories two decades can collect. And because all is well, she is not concerned about making plans for the immediate future. The question that needs her next “Yes” will come when it comes.

Additional Resources:

The Kathleen Brown Opportunity Scholarship Fund was established to honor Kathie’s legacy and commitment to our school. More information about her scholarship can be found at: http://www.hfchs.org/giving-opportunities/brown-scholarship/

Kathie shared Holy Family’s story during the 2020 Founders Week. Visit this Vimeo Showcase to view her videos: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7299211

Jan 01

A Renewed Commitment from Holy Family

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En Español

The times are turbulent. The unrest is real. Our state, our nation, and our world are in pain. From the unconscionable death of George Floyd to the movement that his and so many others’ tragic fates have inspired, there exists a deep and essential need for healing and reform of both hearts and systems to address the plight of racism and the legacy of injustice in our society. Such an ideology and the oppressive actions it inspires, categorically opposes our fundamental belief as Catholic Christians and members of the Holy Family Catholic High School community that all humanity is made in the infinitely beautiful image and likeness of God.

Holy Family has been intensely engaged over the last weeks in meaningful dialogue to develop a message that communicates our response and reinforces our commitment to partnering with parents in the education of their children. While to some our timing may seem delayed, know that such comes from a place of intentional prudence and a desire to first both listen and understand, then to respond.

Without the revelation that there is the image of the divine found in all, we will be left with a void in our understanding of one another and doomed to repeat the sins of the past.  “Since something of the glory of God shines on the face of every person, the dignity of every person before God is the basis of the dignity of man before other men. Moreover, this is the ultimate foundation of the radical equality and brotherhood among all people, regardless of their race…” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church #144)

It is our further belief that as an educational community built upon a bedrock of faith we are called to uphold in both word and action the principles and values inherent in the mission of our school and that of the Catholic Church — and serve, genuinely and authentically, as the face, hands and feet of Jesus Christ. The call of the Gospel is not merely to “avoid evil” but it also calls us to “do good.” There is the expectation of action. We must respond to that command. It is not a suggestion. We must ask how we can love our neighbor, ensure the dignity of others is upheld, and that justice for all is exercised…and then respond with our answers.

Holy Family’s response to that call is evidenced by the lived reality that is manifested in a school culture guided by faith and animated by action. We take this seriously. We empower our students to be agents of change. We equip our students with Catholic Lasallian values and inspire in them a passion to address the injustices that face our world. We foster opportunities for actively seeking justice and equality for the marginalized and suffering. We create safe spaces to engage in meaningful dialogue that supports authentic listening and understanding.

As an institution of learning, while we believe the primacy of educational responsibility resides with the family, Holy Family not only accepts, but welcomes and embraces the incredible responsibility of setting the table each and every day, serving our students a comprehensive educational and spiritually formative experience that cultivates both their hearts and minds with the aim of bringing hope and goodness to the world in which we live.

Education is perhaps the most powerful force we can enlist in countering ignorance and destructive ideologies. The questions are then: What have we done with such a gift? What must we do moving forward?

As we work to reopen our doors for the fall of 2020, we will remain steadfast in carrying out the good and holy work already in progress relative to the Lasallian ideals of social justice and support of the marginalized. We will continue our ongoing pursuit of professional development aimed at deepening our understanding of the impact of unrecognized biases. We will likewise enter into an assessment and evaluation of what we teach and how it is taught…both implicitly and explicitly. And of equal importance, reveal what is not taught. This will require extensive, and possibly uncomfortable conversations, in an effort to inform change where and when it is needed. And the voices of all must be present.

The world that awaits us in September will not be the same as it was just six months ago. That said, among many things, it will be imperative to explore new ways to open dialogue and talk about race and racism with our students. To that end we believe that perhaps the most important gift that Holy Family can bring to this conversation is Jesus Christ. As a Catholic school, we know the illumination that Jesus can bring to any situation, especially those in times of darkness.  We pledge to renew our commitment to our Catholic Lasallian values and to all of our students – those of yesterday, today and tomorrow to ensure their hearts are prepared with the goodness that will help them transform the world that will receive them.

Let us pray for healing. Let us pray for hope. Let us pray for peace.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph…Pray for us.

St. John Baptiste De La Salle…Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.

So that in all things…God may be glorified.

 

Resources:

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

Archbishop Harry J. Flynn’s In God’s Image: Pastoral Letter on Racism: https://www.archspm.org/in-gods-image-pastoral-letter-on-racism/

USCCB’s Pastoral Letter on Racism: “Open Wide our Hearts”: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/upload/open-wide-our-hearts.pdf

USCCB Educational Resources: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/educational-resources-on-racism.cfm

USCCB Responding to the Sin of Racism: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/cultural-diversity/african-american/resources/upload/Responding-to-the-Sin-of-Racism-USCCB-Resource.pdf

USCCB Statements and Letters: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/statements-letters-against-racism.cfm

USCCB Prayer to Address the Sin of Racism: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/prayer-to-address-the-sin-of-racism.cfm

Jan 01

2020-21 Plan to Return to Campus

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Holy Family Plan

Last September, we gathered as a community at the Ignite the Fire All Family Mass to pray and celebrate as we ushered in Holy Family’s 20th school year. Not one of us could have imagined that implications of a global pandemic would force the final three months of school behind a computer screen as we transitioned to an online learning platform.

Much like the virus, this transition was indeed novel for a time; however, it soon revealed our inherent and fundamental need for community and a deep desire to learn in communion with one another – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

A virtual environment cannot fully support these elements. It falls short in contributing as effectively to the cultivation of a complete educational experience as when students and teachers gather in the physical classroom.

With this said, the leadership of Holy Family assumes a posture of complete conviction that we will reopen our doors and resume an on-site and in-person educational experience this fall. 

Our campus is wonderfully well-suited to the health and safety measures that may be needed:

  • Our class sizes mean we can achieve social distancing while still teaching and learning in person.
  • Our 72-acre campus, 176,000 square feet school building, and wide hallways and stairwells provide ample space as needed.
  • Our front entry security doors and check-in policies allow us to closely monitor those who come and go to and from our building.

I invite you to watch the video linked above with details describing our process and approach as we spend the coming weeks and months outlining Holy Family’s plan for a return to campus in the fall. While next year may not look exactly the way it has in the past, we remain 100% committed to pushing the limits of our creativity to engineer both an innovative and safe environment.

With each step forward, we ask for your patience and compliance as we create a safe environment for our summer activities. The protocols and behaviors of the summer, in turn, will help inform Holy Family plans for the fall. You can expect updates as appropriate over the coming months, including in, but not limited to, our back-to-school packet in mid-summer.

We look forward to seeing everyone in the fall.

Live Jesus in our Hearts,

Michael Brennan
President