Geurs receives Schulz Family Scholarship

Commencement ceremonies are wonderful opportunities to share good news with our community. Each year as we acknowledge individuals for academic success and senior awards, we also celebrate the our families’ returns on investment as we announce the college scholarships dollars offered and accepted. Principal Kathie Brown used these words to announce this year’s totals:

All of our students have great plans for their lives. It is wonderful when colleges and universities acknowledge potential and are able to offer scholarships to help young people meet their goals. I am going to give you two numbers: one is the amount of scholarship money this class of 110 has been offered; the second is the amount these students have chosen to accept. Both numbers are important as they signify confidence in the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of our students and reflect the value of your investment in a Holy Family education.The HFCHS Class of 2019 earned $14,243,184 in college scholarships and accepted approximately $3,824,350.

This year Holy Family is proud to have its first recipient of the $20,000 Richard M. Schulz Family Foundation College Scholarship, Julia Geurs. Julia is an honor student, multi-sport athlete, captain of the state consolation champions HF Girls Basketball, a campus minister, and well-known for her kindness to others, especially the underclassmen who were part of her sports programs. We caught up with Julie to learn more about the scholarship and her high school experience.

HF: How did you hear about the scholarship?
I heard about the scholarship through an announcement that Mr. Rutz made during an Leadership Institute meeting.

HF: Was it a difficult process?
The process was super easy and went smoothly. The application was very straightforward and well explained. Mr. Rutz really helped me along the process by helping me with downloading transcripts, reading my short answer in the application, etc.

HF: What activities were you involved in during high school?

Julia: During high school I was involved in tennis and basketball for all four years. I also was a part of Honors Society. I played softball for one year, and I was apart of equality club senior year.

HF: What classes did you particularly enjoy?
I had a great experience with all of my classes at HF, and they were more enjoyable because of all the understanding teachers. Specifically, I really enjoyed Chemistry, Catholic Social Teaching, Morality, and Clay.

HF: Do you have a major in mind for college? If so, why did you choose it?
Julia: In college, I plan on studying something in the medical field. Right now I am thinking either becoming a nurse or a physicians assistant! I’ve chosen this path because I really want to help others and impact their lives for the better.

HF: Where are you attending college and why did you choose that college?
Julia:  I’m very excited to be attending University of St. Thomas. I chose St. Thomas because it is an excellent school, and I know it will be a great fit for me.

HF: What factors contributed to your academic success?
I was academically successful because of all the support and help I had from different teachers throughout the years at HF. I also attribute it to being organized and determined to do well. I put a lot of work into my school work and studied hard.

HF: Anything else you’d like to share as it pertains to your four years at Holy Family?
Julia: I am so incredibly grateful for my four years at HF because I grew to become a better person through the people I met and the experience I had. I also always felt very welcomed and supported by the staff. It is a great community, and I am extremely happy I made the choice to attend Holy Family.

Holy Family’s summer enrollment season is underway. Parents are discovering what Holy Family has to offer their children. Visit our website or give our admissions team a call at 952-443-1955 to learn more about our school and our Family.

Kathie Brown Announces Retirement at End of 2019-20

Dear Holy Family Families and Friends,

The 2019-2020 school year will be infused with both subtle and enthusiastic celebrations of Holy Family Catholic High School’s 20th anniversary. The years have flowed quickly and confidently one into another, filled with stories of growth and accomplishment.

It is with joy that I announce my retirement at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Because we remind ourselves several times a day we are all in the holy presence of God, every one of us is developing the understanding there is more to our individual callings than we are presently living. Consequently, I am looking forward to another year of Holy Family experiences, replete with initiatives to accomplish, teachers to encourage, families to serve, and the gift of daily gratitude for the lives that have touched mine.

I remember moving from Wisconsin to Minnesota in July 1999. I was a city person; my introduction to the school was walking the farmland on which this beautiful building was to be erected. Immediately, I knew starting a Catholic high school wasn’t just a rare opportunity. It was a pristine sketchbook available to many creative and loving minds, hearts, and hands who were excited about transforming lives!

The sketchbook is pretty full now but there are plenty of pages for future artists. Holy Family has developed in many ways in these first nineteen years and it is easy to take for granted how our faculty, coaches, and staff have gone above and beyond to create an environment that is safe, relational, and grounded in Gospel values. I cherish the many traditions that are firmly entrenched in our culture:  Thanksgiving dinner served by teachers and staff, visits from St. Nicholas, Coffee House, and Convocation. These and other special aspects of this sacred space have come from people who realize trusting and caring relationships build strong communities. An effective school is, at its core, a community.

I have great confidence in the processes mentioned below by President Brennan and Board Chair Tom Furlong to seek the next principal of Holy Family Catholic High School. I know great care will be taken to fill this role. In the meantime, prepare to celebrate our 20th anniversary with me. If ever there is an occasion that calls for a party (or several!), this is it!


Living Jesus in our hearts,

Kathie Brown, Principal

A Message from the President and Board Chair

Dear Holy Family Families and Friends,

It is hard to imagine our high school with a different principal. Kathie Brown has been the one and only person to hold this office since Holy Family’s inception 20 years ago. We are indebted to Mrs. Brown for her pioneer spirit and the life of selfless service she has led in the name of Catholic education. In so many ways, we simply would not be here today if it were not for Kathie Brown and her relentless pursuit to see Holy Family succeed and thrive. Much like the way she has viewed every student who has walked through our front doors, Kathie Brown saw the limitless potential of 72 acres of Minnesota farmland and cultivated a once lofty dream into the beautiful reality that is Holy Family Catholic High School today – a place, a home, a family where both students and Savior are known, loved and served. Please join us in our gratitude for the legacy we are honored to inherit and the gift of one final year with someone so instrumental in our trajectory as a school and the beacon of hope we aspire to be. Thank you, Kathie Brown!

As you can imagine, the search for a new principal – one whose sense of vocation is both formed by the Catholic faith and inspired by an understanding of mission — is no small undertaking. Once more we are grateful for the timing of Mrs. Brown’s announcement and the year-long runway it provides to conduct a thorough search for the ideal candidate. It is a task that school leadership views as both a great responsibility and a tremendous privilege knowing full well the impact this position has on school culture, student learning outcomes and day-to-day operational effectiveness.

As such, the Office of School President and the Holy Family Board of Directors will collaboratively engage in a search process for this position with a goal of having new leadership in place for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. To ensure fidelity to our responsibility of providing the very best for Holy Family, a national search will be conducted aimed at sourcing high quality, effective and talented candidates from both near and far.

In the meantime, we again ask that you join us throughout the upcoming year in our gratitude for Mrs. Brown’s faithful service to Holy Family and humbly request the support of your prayers as we navigate the journey of transition that lies before us.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever,

Michael Brennan, President                                       Tom Furlong, Board Chair

Carlton and Phillips named Ambassadors of Christ

Holy Family Catholic High School proudly announces Chris Carlton as a 2019 Ambassador of Christ Award co-recipient. Chris is the son of Mary and the late Roy Carlton of Chanhassen. He attended middle school at St. Hubert  Catholic School in Chanhassen. This award is chosen by votes from classmates, faculty, and staff and awarded to a senior who consistently act in a dignified manner, and, by doing so, influence others to strive for goodness and holiness. This year the voting was tied and Chris was the co-recipient with Allie Phillips.

Chris graduated Suma Cum Laude with honors from Holy Family Catholic High School on Wednesday, May 22. He leaves high school with a very full resume of involvement in school activities. He played tennis for four years and was a varsity captain his senior year. He served on the school’s student council for four years, finishing his term as an executive board member and the public relations external officer. He is a four year member of the Honor Society, Health Club, Eco-Freako Club, Lasallian Youth Club, the Knowledge Bowl Team, and Youth in Government, where he was invited to represent the State of Minnesota’s Delegation at the National Judicial Competition. As an underclassman, he also dipped his toes in football, lacrosse, and the Equality Club.  Outside of school he has volunteered with Feed My Starving Children, Furnishare at Love Inc., the American Red Cross, The Langdon, and Summerwood Senior Living Community.

Chris Carlton
Chris walks up to receive his award.

Next fall, Chris will attend the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities where he plans to major in finance and physics. We caught up to Chris after graduation to learn more about his faith journey.

What role does your faith play in your life?

My faith leads my action. I have been absorbing Catholic values my whole life, thanks to my wonderful mother, and I keep them close to my heart so I may affect others positively. Additionally, my faith serves as a valuable foundation to lean on when I struggle.

How has your faith developed/changed in your years at HFCHS?

My faith has blossomed during my high school years, in part, due to my excellent teachers at Holy Family. Theology, Social Studies, and English classes at Holy Family have proven invaluable due to the free exchange of ideas which have strengthened my faith.

Who has influenced you and your faith?  How?

My mother has been my primary faith teacher throughout my life, with great support from my uncle C.J. Schoenwetter and aunt Robin Schoenwetter. By taking me to mass, teaching wisdom from the Bible, and emailing me on contemporary Catholic issues, my family builds my faith life. I could not discuss my faith, however, without my theology teachers Mr. Bosch, Mrs. Bosch, and Mr. Schlepp, all of whom have been instrumental in my faith formation.

What do you find most rewarding about your faith?

The results of manifesting the Catholic faith in the world: mostly, smiles.

 What are your feelings about receiving the Ambassador of Christ Award?

I feel very blessed to have so many people in my life to model my actions after. Even though I have grown up without my father, I have found many role models in the St. Hubert and Holy Family community, many of whom are reading this right now. Parents, teachers, coaches, and friends: thank you!

 Favorite HFCHS memory:

There are too many to choose from, but I’ll try to narrow it down: Haiti, tennis, football, knowledge bowl, each and every learning moment with my teachers, lunch table discussions, convocation, and the time I have cherished with Holy Family’s Class of 2019.

 How did you make the most of your years at HFCHS?

As an underclassman, I did my best to give everything a shot. Then, I focused on what I was passionate about. Open-mindedness has gifted me new joys, new beliefs, and new experiences which I otherwise would not have had the pleasure of knowing.

 Other comments:

Best of luck to all of my friends graduating this year and thank you to the parents, teachers, faculty, and staff who have supported us along the way! Go Fire!

2019 Senior Athletes of the Year

Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria recognized its 2019 Senior Athletes of the Year, Leigh Steiner and Sawyer Schugel, at its annual Recognition Ceremony.  The Senior Athlete of the Year Award recognizes a senior male and female athlete who exemplify leadership, character, and excellence; on the field of play, in the classroom, and in their communities. Before presenting the award, activities director Nick Tibesar stated: “The Class of 2019 is a tremendously talented and highly impressive group of individuals. The selection of just two seniors for the Athlete of the Year was incredibly challenging, and a testament to the depth of talent we are blessed to have at HF. This class leaves behind a huge legacy of leadership, and for that we are extremely grateful.”

Leigh Steiner holding her plaque
Leigh Steiner will play D1 lacrosse for Marquette University.

Both students have impressive athletic resumes, excelling in multiple sports, as well as in the classroom. 2019 HFCHS Senior Female Athlete of the Year Leigh Steiner (Eden Prairie resident) is three-year honor society member, academic cord recipient for seven semesters with a 3.5 GPA or higher, a member of the President’s Honor Roll, and an Academic All-State recipient.  She holds nine athletic letters for basketball and lacrosse and is a three-time MVP and two-time team captain.  Steiner contributed as a member of a conference championship basketball team, two section champions, and the 2019 MSHSL Class A Consolation Championship Team. She was a 2019 Ms. Basketball finalist and a member of the 2019 MSHSL All-Tournament team!  Steiner is also a highly decorated lacrosse player, who has accepted an athletic scholarship to play D1 Lacrosse at Marquette University next fall.

Sawyer Schugel
Sawyer is also the winner of the MSHSL Triple A Award for arts, academics, and athletics.

Holy Family’s 2019 Male Athlete of the Year is soccer and hockey player Sawyer Schugel. Schugel (Victoria resident) is a seven-time letter winner, two-sport captain, and two-time MVP winner.  He was a member of four conference championship teams and two section championship teams, serving as an integral leader on the Holy Family Boys Soccer team that made its first state appearance in school history this past fall! As a junior, Schugel initiated the Holy Family Fishing Club, a competitive fishing club that competes in local competitions over the summer months, and qualified for the state tournament at Lake Pokegama in 2018. In addition to his athletic prowess, Schugel is also a talented musician and member of the percussion section of the school band. In recognition of his wide-ranging talents, Sawyer was awarded the MSHSL Triple A Award for Excellence in Arts, Academics, and Athletics. Schugel is also a recipient of a music scholarship to St. John’s University, where he will continue his music and soccer careers next fall.

To see additional recipients of academic awards, click on the link to our Recognition Day story: 2019 Recognition Day

Holy Family Students Love the Great Outdoors

Behind the Scenes: Holy Family Students Love the Great Outdoors

If you think the closest today’s kids get to the great outdoors is through Fortnite, Apex Legends, or other games exploring a virtual world, think again. Students at Holy Family Catholic High School, as well as schools across the state and nation, are itching to participate in the two fastest-growing, real-world outdoor sports—clay target and fishing.

In just 10 years, nearly 12,000 high school students across Minnesota, both boys and girls, have participated in clay target, otherwise known as trap. And fishing? One of the newest high school club sports seems to be following a similar trajectory. Only 56 kids participated on organized high school fishing teams in 2015. That number grew to 600 in 2017, giving you an idea of its skyrocketing growth.

Both outdoor sports were added to the Holy Family extracurricular list because individual students saw an opportunity to do something they love, while encouraging other students to give it a try.

Coach Maus with clay team members in the background
Coach Patrick Maus has been with the team since it started.

In 2012, Holy Family graduate Joe Yetzer, then in 11th grade, approached social studies teacher Patrick Maus in the hallway with the idea of starting a trap team. Four years later, Sawyer Schugel took the lead in getting students, teachers, and parents on board to launch the fishing team.

“These activities seem like a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively,” says Holy Family Activities Director Nick Tibesar. “There are plenty of other sports and pressure year-round. These outdoor sports open students up to competing in something they’ve done for a long time or just want to try in a non-intimidating way.”

So far, Holy Family students have given the outdoor activities a huge thumbs-up. This spring trap team will field its largest team with 37 athletes, and 10 are girls, the fastest-growing segment in the sport. Fishing started with a group of 10 anglers last summer and is anticipating more students joining this summer.

“There are a few activities that are co-educational, like cross-country, track and field and fencing,” Tibesar says. “These outdoor sports are the same. Whether it is sighting in on clay targets or pulling a bass from the water, both are activities where girls and boys compete together.”

A Community Effort

The reality is it took the efforts of many to get both fishing and clay target off the ground. While Schugel led with passion, organizing from a student-participation standpoint, it was the help of many parents that got the fishing team in the water.

Picture of HF's first fishing team
Holy Family’s Fishing Team competed in its first season in the summer of 2018.

“So many people helped to get it going” credits team coach Jim O’Donnell, parent of sophomore angler Aidan. “There was good cross-class interaction, from seniors to incoming students still in seventh and eighth grades. And the parents divided and conquered to help out.”

Jon Blood, parent of 9th grade angler Nick, helped get the team going in year one by taking care of the administrative details, navigating registration and outfitting the team with jerseys and sponsors. Becky Lund, parent of 10th grade angler Owen, helped in coordinating team communication and O’Donnell volunteered to fill the coach role.

The biggest obstacle, however, is finding volunteers willing to captain and provide a boat for the fishing teams. Some two-person teams have access to boats and someone over 18 to shuttle the anglers to fishing hot spots. Others, like Schugel, have been resourceful.

“I have a neighbor with a really nice boat,” he says. “You sometimes just have to find people willing to volunteer their time, and even a boat if you need it.”

Likewise, the clay target team wouldn’t exist today without parents, teachers and volunteers. Coach Maus, who remembers shooting trap recreationally as a kid, has led the team since 2012. Yetzer’s dad, Steve, helped form the team and has volunteered as an assistant coach from day one. With the need for one coach for every 10 shooters, Holy Family counselor Josh Rutz joined in 2014. Assistant coach John Kunze oversees range safety and more parents take on volunteer roles, including scoring at the shooting stations.

Watertown Gun Club Manager Gary Kubasch and Assistant Manager Gene Lack also deserve a bit of credit. They opened their range to Holy Family and other metro high schools, including Chaska/Chanhassen, Watertown, Waconia and Mayer Lutheran, providing a place for students to compete.

“One of the biggest draws to the sport is that you don’t have to be the big, tall guy or the strongest person to make the team,” Kubasch says.

That resonates with team members like senior Ava Kunze, who joined the Holy Family clay target team when she was in eighth grade.

“It’s nice that anyone can do this,” she says. “It’s more of a mind game than a physical type of sport. It attracts more diversity than you get in typical high school sports, and we have a number of girls that have joined since I started.”

Taking Your Best Shot

The first spring season, Maus coached 10 students. Some were introduced to the sport through hunting or shooting with family. For others, it was their first time shooting a shotgun.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids who are interested but haven’t had a chance to shoot,” Maus says. “There’s only one thing kids need to compete—they must complete Minnesota’s Firearms Safety Certification.”

“Probably 50 percent of the kids have never done it before, but if they express interest and if they have their Minnesota Firearms Safety Certificate, they can come give it a try,” Rutz adds. “Some have to wait until they complete the safety class, but they can get in the following season (spring or fall).”

Safety is the number-one priority for the clay target team. There is a huge amount of pride across the state that it is the only sport that has never had an injury. To keep it that way, here is a sample of the rules all high school clay target athletes must follow:

  • Shotguns are never allowed at school. Students go home to get their equipment before heading to the gun club.
  • Team members are only allowed to handle their own shotgun.
  • All shotguns must be made safe during travel and when being handled. That means actions are open and visible to the safety ranger.
  • All guns stay in cars, safely stored and secure until all team members arrive, including those coming from middle schools.
  • When handling shotguns, team members must have two hands on the gun at all times and muzzles must be pointed in a safe direction.
  • No one is allowed on the range without eye or ear protection.

“Our fourth coach is the range safety officer to make sure everything is safe,” Maus says, standing behind the shooters, who line up in groups on five, equally spaced behind each “trap.”

The trap is where the action is. A single clay target is launched into the air when the shooter commands, “Pull.” Seconds later, “POP!” If the target breaks, it’s recorded as a hit. If the target flies straight and is unscathed, it’s a miss. The next shooter steadies, “Pull!” Again, followed by “POP!” The rhythm goes on and on until all shooters have completed their rounds.

Ava Kunze shooting with Will Swanson watching.
Seniors Will Swanson and Ava Kunze have been with the team since middle school.

Team members must provide their own shotgun. It could be theirs, or one borrowed from a family or friend. A one-time, $200 fee paid by each team member covers all shotgun shells and clay targets.

The team meets five consecutive Tuesdays in spring after school. It’s a virtual competition. Each shooter gets 50 clay targets, 25 in each round. Hits and misses are recorded by a scorekeeper and entered into the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League database the next morning.

“We meet only one day a week, so many of our shooters can do another sport while also competing in trap,” Maus says. The team also competes in a fall league.

Will Swanson, a senior, has been competing for Holy Family since seventh grade and has qualified for the state tournament each year since 2014.

“It just keeps getting tougher and tougher,” Swanson says. “Throughout the league, only 100 kids qualify for the state tournament based on the spring season. With more than 11,000 kids competing, it gets more difficult and they all keep getting better and better.”

Maus says there is a special satisfaction in watching kids grow with the sport, and seeing many Holy Family shooters go from beginner to state qualifier.

“They start out by averaging single digits and they improve pretty quickly,” Maus says. “Last spring, Will made state with an average of 23.8 targets per round. That’s only 12 missed targets out of 250.

“It’s even more fun to see our past middle school kids, like Will and Ava, now running the show and helping younger kids in the sport.”

Community of Anglers 

Like clay target, fishing is a sport in which anyone, any size, can excel. And for Schugel, who helped the Holy Family soccer team to the state tournament this year and also competes in hockey, fishing offers a different type of competitive satisfaction.

“It’s not like a sport where you need a team,” he explains. “You need a great partner. You fish against everyone else in the tournament, including kids from your school. The highest combined weight from a five-bass limit determines the winner.”

Schugel adds that fishing offers a different pace from other sports, and because it takes place over the summer months, it allows time to enjoy something refreshingly different.

“It’s pretty calm,” he says. “You’re on the water, tossing lures. And when you get a fish, there is an adrenalin rush that comes with it. It’s something everyone can do, even if you don’t have a lot of experience.”

To get involved, students need their own equipment, a partner, and one boat and volunteer captain per team (two anglers). To help offset costs, the team secures sponsors and receives discounts on fishing equipment.

And the rules?

  • Anglers fish in three conference tournaments against 40-50 teams from other schools.
  • Five fish limit per team, maximum weight, 12-inch minimum.
  • Boat captains can discuss strategy and provide advice, but cannot handle or assist in netting fish.
  • Anglers qualify for the state tournament based on a point system, awarded on team finishes.

According to O’Donnell, the greatest reward during the first season was seeing Holy Family anglers support each other. The result—every angler improved tournament-to-tournament, with three Holy Family teams qualifying for the two-day state tournament in Grand Rapids on Pokegama Lake.

Fishing offers a differently paced competition.

“Like clay target, there is a camaraderie on the fishing team,” O’Donnell says. “There is a team component, competition and a social piece that make the overall experience rewarding.”

“The kids are very digitally connected,” he says. “Between competition, they learn new techniques online, give each other tips, and post pictures on what’s working.” A group of anglers also volunteered at the Minnesota Bass Adult state tournament and the Classic Bass Championship.  Their reward for doing so was insights from fishing pros and two anglers earned a wildcard spot for the state tournament.

For Schugel, the reward isn’t having the chance to participate in a sport he obsesses about. In fact, as a senior, he cannot compete this summer once he graduates from Holy Family in May.

“I want to see our team do well this summer, and leave Holy Family with a stable group of kids who love to fish and will continue the program,” he says.

Judging by the overwhelming interest in high school outdoor sports, both fishing and clay trap have good shots at growth for many years to come.

Chaplain Appointed to Holy Family

Archbishop Hebda appoints chaplain to Holy Family

Holy Family Catholic High School is excited to announce Archbishop Hebda’s appointment of Fr. Nels Gjengdahl as Holy Family Catholic High School’s full-time chaplain beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. Fr. Gjengdahl is the current pastor of Nativity of Mary Catholic Church in Bloomington, MN, and has previously served as the school chaplain at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights. This appointment comes in response to a formal request submitted  by Holy Family in March 2018.

Fr. Nels Gjengdahl
Fr. Nels Gjengdahl

Fr. Gjengdahl grew up in North St. Paul, MN, graduating from North St. Paul High School in 1999.  He then attended North Dakota State University to study engineering.  While he has been a lifelong Catholic, it was at college where his faith came alive. After two years of studying engineering, Fr. Gjengdahl entered Cardinal Muench Seminary in Fargo, ND, and graduated with a degree in Philosophy in May of 2003. In the fall, he entered the St. Paul Seminary at the University of St. Thomas. He was ordained a priest in 2007 and was appointed parochial vicar at St. Odilia in Shoreview, MN.

Following St. Odilia, Fr. Gjengdahl was assigned as parochial vicar of St. John Neumann in Eagan as well as part-time chaplain at Saint Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights.  After one year, his chaplain assignment became full-time. This change allowed him to be both a full-time teacher and a sacramental minister for the school.  He taught several subjects including morality, sacraments, Church history, world religions and Catholic social teaching and even coached ultimate frisbee. After a seven-year term as school chaplain, he was assigned as pastor to Nativity of Mary Catholic Church in Bloomington, MN in 2017.

Beginning July 1, Fr. Gjengdahl will transition from his position at Nativity of Mary Catholic Church to providing the Holy Family community with full-time sacramental leadership and spiritual guidance. He will teach within theology department, support ongoing campus ministry efforts, and enhance formation opportunities for our students and their families.

When announcing the move to his congregation, Fr. Gjengdahl shared these thoughts, “I am very grateful to Archbishop Hebda and to Holy Family Catholic High School for this opportunity. I have enjoyed serving as a high school chaplain in the past and look forward to returning to this ministry.  It is a rare opportunity to engage high school students in our Catholic faith on a daily basis, and it is a precious gift that I take seriously. I am excited to share Jesus Christ with the community at Holy Family through the sacraments, and in the entire life of the school.”

When asked what the addition of a full-time chaplain to the Holy Family staff means for the school, President Brennan responded, “As a school, we are blessed to have wonderful relationships with our local priests and are incredibly grateful for their time and leadership over the past 20 years.”  He added, “However, the addition of Fr. Nels to our community, our theology department, and campus ministry programs creates opportunities for daily sacraments and allows us to more deeply live out our Catholic mission. I am grateful for the wisdom, open hearts, and leadership of Archbishop Hebda and Bishop Cozzens in providing a shepherd for our school with an extensive background in secondary Catholic education.”

2019 Academic Recognition Ceremony

Efforts in the Classroom Honored

Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria held its annual Academic Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, April 25, 2019.  More than 350 students were recognized for academic honors and department awards. Principal Kathie Brown opened the ceremony with the Holy Family prayer and the following message, “The Holy Catholic High School mission statement has two parts: 1. We provide opportunities to grow spiritually, morally, intellectually and physically within a community of faith, and 2. we encourage our students to achieve personal excellence, to use their talents to lead, to serve God, one another and the larger community. The development of the whole person is integral to this school. Finding ways to appreciate our students so they know their efforts matter is challenging. Recognition is valuable. Recognition is magnified when it is combined with appreciation. This is why our being together as a school community matters. Thank you for being here to witness the many ways our students grow in faith, integrity, leadership, and scholarship.”

Watch a complete video of the ceremony at this LINK.

GPA Honors

Fifty-seven students received their cream cord for seven straight semesters with a 3.5 GPA or higher.

Mary Margaret Anderson
Margaret Berg
Brielle Bornhorst
Claire Bradley
Eve Breimhorst
Andrew Bresnan
Brandon Bueltel
Christopher Carlton
Connor Chalmers
Nikolai Charchenko
Grace Conroy
Matthew Deavan
Isabella Dervin
Colin Dosedel
John Enck
Jack Fink
Anna Galioto
Julia Geurs
Sarah Gonsalves
Salomé Greene
Mitchell Hausback
Shannon Hickey
Carly Hilgers
Jacob Konz
Ava Kunze
Thomas Lisko
Calista Lorenz
Claire Melander
Jolee Mesler
Anna Mohling
Grace Murphy
Zyler Niece
Haley Notermann
Brendan O’Connor
Julia Olson
Riley Palattao
Ashley Pass
Quinn Pausche
Taylor Pelzel
Megan Perry
Anita Phillips
Daniel Reddan
Madeline Ricke
Daniel Schneider
Erin Schneider
Emily Sokolis
Reid Stark
Leigh Steiner
Katelyn Stohlmeyer
Anna Taylor
Matthew Thurk
Anna Vakulskas
John Vogel
Andrew Waltz
Evelyn Willenbring
Jacob Zay

Thirty-nine students received their academic pin for five straight semesters with 3.5 GPA or higher.

Jaden Anderson
Ashley Anseth
Adam Beer
Ryan Burke
Jake Caron
Cecily Cronin
Kalie Dahl
Grace Elander
Annabelle Elsner
Abbey Fink
Ellie Frank
Shannon Furlong
Ella Haley
Kevin Haran
Morgan Hausback
Kathryn Jans
Allison Jansen
Brenna Jones
Benjamin Karst
Celia Kreykes
Lucas Lembke
Carson Liebeg
Jared Lorusso
Nicholas Lynch
Samuel McNulty
McKenna Mechtel
Allison O’Brien
Kaili Palattao
Max Pinamonti
Luke Puklich
Margaret Rothstein
Kelly Ryan
Abigail Smith
Jakob Teeter
Nathan Tinucci
David Torborg
Lucy Treat
Holly Trombley
Annie Wilson

Fifty-seven students received their academic letter for three straight semesters with 3.5 GPA or higher.

Allison Agerland
Elle Bernaski
Sam Bradley
Jack Buchholz
Benjamin Charpentier
Bennett Creager
Delaney Devins
Melissa Dwyer
Marie Fahey
Ewan Farrell
Jordan Flink
Etienne Foudray
Joseph Freitas
Andrew Frommelt
Antonio Gaeta
Casey Gess
Olivia Hesse
Ashley Heuer
Nicholas Huson
Alexander Janey
Cassidy Jones
Jacob Kirsch
Haley Klahsen
Dylan Krumpholz
Jakob Lenzmeier
Charles Lindberg
Jaden Lorenz
Gavin Lund
Taylor Millard
Haley Nahlovsky
Aidan O’Donnell
Katherine Olsen
Anthony Olson
Jillian Oncay
Sophie Paul
Alexandria Pellicci
Jordan Pelzel
Isaac Pitner
Caden Pottebaum
Brendan Quinn
Benjamin Reddan
Joseph Richelsen
Caitlin Rock
Luke Roelofs
Reyana Schaffer
Zeke Schneider
Bishop Schugel
Austin Schumacher
Jeremy Schumacher
Daniel Schwieters
Brendan Sieve
Gregory Stoffel
Lauren Taylor
Jacob Warmka
Stephen Webster
Katherine Wise
William Zay

Ninety-two students received their academic certificate for one semester with 3.5 GPA or higher

Julia Anderson
Katherine Anseth
Jack Barth
Thomas Baskfield
Christopher Bauer
Cassie Beddor
Addison Behler
Nicholas Blood
Hanna Bush
Jacob Cameron
Briar Charchenko
Ryley Covington
Edward Diminnie
Derry Donnelly
Isaac Fassil
Charles Ficek
Benjamin Fink
Lucas Frana
Tyler Franck
Elisabeth Gangwer
Luke Geadelmann
Firuza Graham
Elizabeth Guggemos
Aidan Greene
Thomas Guyer
Claire Haley
Grant Hayes
Sophia Heles
Nicholas Hendler
Lucy Hertel
Lauren Hickey
Katherine Johnson
Elizabeth Kamp
Maeve Kelly
Mackenzie King
Nicholas Kroening
Ella Kunze
Natalie Larson
Spencer Lewin
Marcus Lund
Owen Lund
Sophia Mackey
Elizabeth Marschall
Brynn Martin
Graham Miller
Tyler Miller
Madeline Morgan
Daniel Ngô
Molly O’Connor
Sydney Osterdyk
Derek Pass
Sydney Paulsen
Hailey Pavelka
Mackenzie Pavelka
My-Linh Pavelka
Lauren Perry
Pearl Phillips
Garrett Pinoniemi
Logan Radick
Logan Rasmusen
Nicholas Reichert
Samuel Riegert
Ellen Ries
Olivia Sadowski
Kalli Sampson
Matthew Santini
Jack Schafer
Joseph Schmidt
Lucas Schoenecker
Sawyer Schugel
Alex Schrupp
Emma Schuele
Allison Schumacher
Michael Spinner
Cole Spoden
Blake Stedronsky
Luke Terris
Laura Theis
Tanner Theis
Seth Thompson
Rachel Thurk
Ryan Thurk
Joseph Tinucci
Elise Torborg
Andrea Urzua
Jordan Van Eyll
Grace Vogel
Cela Watkins
Nellie Wicka
Paige Wicka
Matthew Wideman
Benjamin Wilson

Eighty students received their academic card for one semester a 3.0-3.446 GPA.

Spencer Adelmann
Patrick Barrett
Megan Beach
Brooke Beno
Sebastian Bojorquez-Rojas
Daniel Borbonio
Jacob Bornhoft
Nicole Bowlin
Ryan Bowlin
Nicholas Charpentier
Matthew Chromy
Regan Cizek
Austin Clifford
Ethan Conti
Alexa Cuadros
Joseph Dahlin
Eli Devins
Chelsea Diahn
Patrick Dowling
Ethan Drake
Dylan Ehlers
Juliana Escalante
Trey Fechko
David Frahm
Jack Garry
Parker Gnos
Humberto Gomez
Mario Gomez
Dylan Halliwill
Aaron Hesse
Joseph Heuer
Bailey Huber
Tatum Hussey
Keyrie Jimenez-Flores
Rory Johnson
Lucas Jorgenson
Tollef Kohrman
Nicholas Kotval
Evelyn Lacy
Grant Limke
Sydney Linn
Ethan Livermore
Sadie Long
Zachary Lorusso
Sophia Markstrom
Grace McGlynn
Mackenzie McMillan
Evelyn Miller
Alex Molina
Ruby Moya
Patrick Mulheran
Thomas Mulheran
Blake Muschewske
Colin Nawrocki
Luke O’Brien
Aidan Olson
Daniel Parker
Jacob Parker
Drew Pearson
Dominic Phillips
Mitchell Prosser
Mark Rahn
Noel Rahn
Mark Roane
Abigail Roper
Dylan Schenk
Jordyn Schenk
Sean Silva
Noah Seck
Ella Stapelton
Nicholas Strand
Jacob Taylor
Emmett Thuli
Josue Vivanco
Molly Weber
Josie Wicka
Marcus Wieneke
Cole Wilson
Emily Zhou

Department Awards

The following students received department awards:

Activities Director Nick Tibesar announced prefaced this year’s senior athlete awards with the message: “Since 2002 – HF has recognized the athletic accomplishments of ONE senior MALE and ONE senior FEMALE each year. These individuals were nominated for their excellence on the playing field, in the classroom, along with their character and leadership. We were fortunate to have a deep pool of talented young men and women, who all matched and exceeded these parameters. This year’s senior class has contributed to conference, section, and state championships — along with countless individual honors!”

Senior Athletes of the Year Leigh Steiner and Sawyer Schugel

Excellence in English: Chris Carlton, Annie Wilson, Mimi Anderson, Connor Chalmers

Spirit of English: Katherine Olsen and Allie Philips

Fine Arts

Recognizes individual students who given us the privilege to experience their creative abilities and talents.

Visual Arts: Shelagh Gamble, Instructor

Senior Spotlight
AudreyBrooks and Austin Schumacher

Junior Spotlight
Madeline Doshan and Tollef Kohrman

Sophomore Spotlight
Grace McGlynn and Reyanna Schaffer

Freshman Spotlight
Elizabeth Guggemos and Joseph Dahlin


Rising Star: Kalli Sampson

Photographic Eye Award: Collin Nawrocki

Vocal Music: Annelise Brown, Director of Vocal

Letter: Eve Breimhorst, Kalie Dahl,  Allie Phillips, and Emily Sokolis

Instrumental Music: Mrs. Laura Boillat, Director of Bands

Letter: Andrew Bresnan, Sawyer Schugel, Carson Liebeg, Sam Pellicci, Spencer Adelmann, Daniel Borbonio, Joseph Freitas, David Frahm, Collin Nawrocki, Bishop Schugel, Graham Miller, Molly Weber, Katherine Wise


Math League Letters: Captains Collin Dosedel, Jacob Konz, and Carly Hilgers
Grace Conroy, Derry Donnelly, Jospeh Freitas, Anna Galioto, Mitchell Hausbach, Kathryn Jans, Callista Lorenz, Jeremy Schumacher, Leigh Steiner, Abby Smith, Greg Stoffel, Lauren Taylor, Andrew Waltz, Acknowledgement Abby Saylor, Ashley Pass, and Haley Notermann

AMC High Score – Joseph Freitas and Riley Palattao


Presidential Volunteer Service Award Bronze (100-174 cumulative hours): Kalie Dahl and Abby Saylor
Presidential Volunteer Service Award Gold (over 250 cumulative hours): Collin Dosedel, Collin Nawrocki, Riley Palattao, Megan Roth, and  Emily Sokolis


This award given by the science department is meant to encourage, recognize, and honor those students who have taken the initiative to explore science beyond the minimum requirements of a Holy Family Student.Claire Bradley, Connor Chalmers, Ben Charpenteier, Colin Dosedel, Sarah Gonsalves, Mitchell Hausback, Jacob Konz, Thomas Lisko, Calista Lorenz, Elizabeth Marschall, Julia Olson, Riley Palattao, Abby Saylor, Andrew Waltz

Science Club “Primary Investigator”  AwardThis was the first year for science club at Holy Family Catholic High School.  Three students demonstrated creativity, initiative, enthusiasm for science, and consistent attendance throughout the year as they established the science club.  Since the term “ primary investigator”  refers to a scientist who creates a research plan and leads the study, the “primary investigator”  award is given toAndrew Bresnan, David Frahm, Tommy Lisko

Social Studies:

Mr. Maus
AP Government: Lauren Taylor and Gavin Lund
World History :Emma Schuele and Edward Diminnie

Mrs. Halvorson
American Government – Julia Olson Haley Nahlovsky
American History – Adam Beer Jaden Anderson
Economics and Personal Finance- Leigh Steiner and Danny Schweiters
American Legal Studies-John Vogel

Mrs. Pottebaum
Mock Trial: Derry Donnelly, Pearl Phillips, (captain) Kelly Ryan, Thomas Lisko, Emily Zhou, Colin Dosedel, Maggie Berg, Logan Rasmussen, (captain) Shannon Hickey, Luke Terris, Ellen Reis, Chelsea Diohan, Madeline Ricke, Luke Geadelman, Holly Trembley, Jeremy Schumacher, Graham Miller, Allison Agerland, Anna Taylor, Sarah Gonsalves, Lauren Taylor, Salome Greene

Model Assembly Letter: Natalie Larson, Katie Anseth, Zach Bornhoft, Rory Johnson, Luke Terris, Ava Kunze
AP US History: Mitchell Prosser, Lauren Hickey
AP Human Geography: Ava Kunze
AP Government: Sawyer SchugelPsychology: Carly Hilgers
American Spirit Award and Flag: Kelly Ryan


9th Grade: Ruby Moya and Hailey Pavelka

10th Grade: Marie Fahey, Cassie Jones and Graham Miller

11th Grade: Nick Hendler, Abby Smith, Luke Terris, Holly Trembley

12th Grade: Christopher Carlton, Allie Phillips, Kelly Ryan, Abby Saylor, Emily Sokolis

World Language:

AP Italian: Anna Galioto
Latin: John Vogel
Spanish: Claire Bradley
Spanish: AP Spanish- Eve Breimhorst; Shannon Hickey

Watch a video of the ceremony HERE

Holy Family Honor Society

Holy Family Honor Society held their banquet on Sunday, April 14. Alumna Shruti Iyer ’10 was the guest speaker and Emily Sokolis ’19 was the selected student speaker.

Thirty-five students were inducted into the Honor Society.
Allison Agerland, Jaden Anderson, Samuel Bradley, Andrew Bresnan, Melissa Dwyer, Ewan Farrell, Etienne Foudray, Andrew Frommelt, Olivia Hesse, Nicholas Huson, Cassidy Jones, Benjamin Karst, Jacob Kirsch, Haley Klahsen, Jakob Lenzmeier, Charles Lindberg, Gavin Lund, Samuel McNulty, Haley Nahlovsky, Aidan O’Donnell, Brendan Quinn, Benjamin Reddan, Joseph Richelsen, Margaret Rothstein, Abby Saylor, Reyana Schaffer, Bishop Schugel, Jeremy Schumacher, Brendan Sieve, Gregory Stoffel, Lauren Taylor, Jakob Teeter, Jacob Warmka, Katherine Wise, and William Zay

Twenty-six students were honored for one-year membership.
Ashley Anseth, Ryan Burke, Kalie Dahl, Grace Elander, Annabelle Elsner, Abbey Fink, Shannon Furlong, Julia Geurs, Ella Haley, Morgan Hausback, Kathryn Jans, Allison Jansen, Brenna Jones, Celia Kreykes, Lucas Lembke, Carson Liebeg, Nicholas Lynch, McKenna Mechtel, Kaili Palattao, Madeline Ricke, Erin Schneider, Abigail Smith, Nathan Tinucci, Lucy Treat, John Vogel, and Andrew Waltz
Thirty-six were honored for two year membership.Mary Margaret Anderson, Margaret Berg, Brielle Bornhorst, Claire Bradley, Brandon Bueltel, Christopher Carlton, Nikolai Charchenko, Matthew Deavan, Colin Dosedel, John Enck, Anna Galioto, Sarah Gonsalves, Salomé Greene, Mitchell Hausback, Shannon Hickey, Carly Hilgers, Jacob Konz, Ava Kunze, Claire Melander, Anna Mohling, Grace Murphy, Haley Notermann, Brendan O’Connor, Riley Palattao, Ashley Pass, Megan Perry, Anita Phillips, Daniel Reddan, Emily Sokolis, Reid Stark, Leigh Steiner, Katelyn Stohlmeyer, Anna Taylor, Anna Vakulskas, Evelyn Willenbring, Jacob Zay

Learn more about Honor Society Requirements at this LINK

Relic Visits Holy Family

Holy Family Catholic High School Receives Saint Relic

In recognition of the 300th anniversary of the April 7 Good Friday passing of St. John Baptist de La Salle, a relic of the saint is traveling for display and veneration throughout the Christian Brothers Midwest District. St. John Baptist de La Salle is a patron saint of teachers and all those who work in education. 

The reliquary will be on display through Friday, April 26.

Holy Family Catholic High School is the first high school in Minnesota to receive the transfer of the relic for display.  Holy Family President Mike Brennan, Principal Kathie Brown, Lasallian animator Doug Bosch, and Brendan O’Connor received the relic from Brother Dennis Galvin before the start of the Founder’s Week MassIt will remain on display from the April 23 Mass through Friday, April 26, before transferring to Totino-Grace High School in Fridley. 

According to Catholic teachings, relics of saints may be displayed for veneration but are not worshipped. Rather, they are understood to be holy objects associated with saints who now live in God’s presence. 

The Holy Family community is welcome to view or venerate the relic during school hours (7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.) The relic will be displayed a cabinet in the school foyer and in the school chapel for the Friday, April 26, Day of Giving 24-hour Prayer Vigil.

Click HERE to watch the transfer ceremony.

Dr. McInerny comments on relics and their veneration:

Holy Family theology instructor, Dr. Brendan McInerny, prepared the following information on relics and the Catholic Church:

The veneration of relics appears to coincide with the broader veneration of the saints. Already in the first ‘post-apostolic’ (after the deaths of the apostles) generation of Christians, we find accounts of Christians collecting the relics of the martyrs. There appears to be some scriptural support for this in miracles occurring by touching the garments of, e.g., Peter or Jesus, and the reverence being given to the remains of prophets and patriarchs within the book of Genesis (all the more striking since the authors of Genesis did not appear to have a belief in the idea of the resurrection of the dead). Between roughly 200 and 1500, relics were a constant, universal, and central feature of Christianity. Only where Protestant Christianity became dominant do we see a disappearance of relics. As those who have been in historically Catholic or Orthodox countries (France, Italy, Spain, Greece) might attest, relics are still very much in existence and sometimes very much on display. Just yesterday, it was widely reported that a relic of the Crown of Thorns was saved from the fire at Notre-Dame. Up to the 1960s, virtually all Catholic churches had a relic in the altar. They are still around us, though we often don’t notice or know what to do with them.

What are we to make of all of this?

First, we can understand relics as a special instance of what is commonly referred to as “the sacramental imagination” or “sacramental worldview.” “The sacramental imagination” refers to the Catholics belief that God’s grace or presence works through tangible, physical things. Encompassing the seven ‘chief” sacraments (baptism, chrismation/confirmation, Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony) as well as the innumerable ‘lesser’ “sacramentals” (the altar, incense, candles, images/icons, song, funerals, etc), the sacramental imagination in fact stretches to embrace all of creation. Everything can potentially be an avenue of God’s presence and grace because God is creator of everything, and called all of it good. Furthermore, God “assumed” this tangible, physical, created order “directly” (though mysteriously) in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The Word became flesh and through his flesh Jesus is connected to the whole web of relationships that make up the material universe.

One crucial purpose of this sacramental economy of grace is to transform men and women in holiness. God does not simply work through created things as passive instruments. God also works together with free human beings, who, in ordinary and extraordinary ways, become witnesses of God’s love. These men and women imitators of Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit, or simple “saints,” then become vessels of grace themselves – sometimes this grace is shown in miracles during a saint’s life, sometimes not.

Second, just as the immaterial and material are bound up together in the sacramental imagination, so too does Catholic theology maintain that the body and soul of human beings are distinct but not truly separate. This lack of separation is what undergirds the practices of fasting and abstinence. What happens in the body affects the soul. Therefore, from a Catholic point of view, a ‘complete’ human being is an embodied soul or an ensouled body and even after death the two realities remain, somehow linked. In our lives we might see something of this in the care with which we treat the bodies of the dead or the way in which we treasure mementos or heirlooms. Somehow, we intuitively sense that a corpse is still our loved on in some manner or that a treasured object is still theirs. From a theological viewpoint, this common intuition reflects the truth of what is referred to as the resurrection of the dead or the resurrection of the body. Being body/souls, we are incomplete in death and await a re-union of body and soul. Just as Christ rises bodily from the dead, so too will we. What exactly that resurrection body is or how it might relate to the assemblage of molecules that make up our bodies on this side of death and which pass into other bodies as a result of decomposition remains a mystery, but Catholics hold the conviction that the body, fully united with the spirit, will have a share in paradise.

In the instances of especially holy men and women – those beatified and canonized – we can imagine the ‘link’ between body and soul in this life and after death as somehow ‘stronger’ than that of most of us. To put it in a spatial metaphor: because the saint is ‘closer’ to Christ, he or she is ‘closer’ to the state of paradise in which there is no discontinuity between body and soul. As a result, the saint is thought to be both present and (potentially) active in and through his or her relics. Or perhaps it would be better to say that through the relic, the believer is made present to the saint. It is for that reason that people went to such lengths to go on pilgrimage to Paris, Canterbury, Rome, Constantinople, and Jerusalem: to be in the company of saints in the presence of God.



Behind the Scenes: Coffee House

Coffee House: Holy Family’s Unique Stage Delivers Unforgettable Performances

Prince unleashed his one-of-a-kind talent in 1981 to a sold-out show at Sam’s, now known as First Avenue, in Minneapolis. That single performance revealed the unlimited boundaries of Prince’s musical gifts. For him, it was a place of comfort where he could be himself.

Holy Family Catholic High School also has a stage that has been the launchpad for unforgettable performances. It’s called “Coffee House” and gives students a comfortable venue to reveal their inner talents, on their terms.

“Kids are different after a Coffee House performance,” says vocals teacher Annelise Brown, who co-organizes the event with instrumental teacher Laura Boillat. “It’s a chance for students to finally show themselves for the rest of us to see. They have a chance to be genuine—it is something that is unique to our school.”

Can’t-Miss Event

Held twice each year (fall and spring) in the school’s Performance Center, Coffee House is a hot ticket. Yes, it’s free to everyone, but for a seat on the comfy couches that encircle the stage, students show up 45 minutes early. It has become the can’t-miss event at Holy Family. The packed house provides energy, fueling performers to step into the spotlight, confront their stage fear and show their true personality.

Held twice each year (fall and spring) in the school’s Performance Center, Coffee House is a hot ticket. Yes, it’s free to everyone, but for a seat on the comfy couches that encircle the stage, students show up 45 minutes early.

“Unless you go, you can’t understand Coffee House,” Boillat adds. “It’s really special. It’s an experience. Other schools may have talent shows, but this is way more than that. This isn’t karaoke. And we literally have coffee!”

“Kids get to express themselves in a nonjudgmental area,” adds Brown. “Even if they have mistakes, those are the performances that get thunderous applause and encouragement. It helps get kids through it. It’s where we see the best of our kids.”

A renewed year-end event—Alumni Coffee House—has been added on Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m. The Alumni Coffee House features Holy Family teachers, alumni and 2019 grads, who get to leave on a drop-the-mic moment.

“It’s such a rewarding, ongoing tradition,” Brown says. “It wouldn’t happen if no one showed up or signed up. Now, we’re adding more because Coffee House is so loved. There is nothing else like it out there.”

Celebrating Individual Moments

This past fall, junior Jackie Uhas performed at her first Coffee House. She brought her backup band, friends she met several years ago at the former Minnetonka Music in Excelsior.

Uhas’ gutsy performance of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” brought the crowd to its feet. So did the vocals of sophomore Marie Fahey, who sang  “She Used to be Mine” from the Waitress, with junior Logan Radick providing piano accompaniment. Senior Shannon Hickey, a regular at Coffee House, breezed her performance solo. Each performance left one impression. Wow!

“I think Coffee House is all about fun,” says junior Carson Liebeg, who plays drums and guitar for several performers. He and sophomore bass player Anthony Olson back up several students who need musicians to deliver their best performances.

“We may play for 60 or 70 percent of the acts,” Liebeg estimates. “The way I look at it, if I wanted to do a song and someone wouldn’t help me, I wouldn’t like that. So I try to play for as many people as I can.”

That’s the coming together and support that makes Coffee House unique.

“There isn’t a winner or loser. Coffee House is just for fun,” says senior Eve Breimhorst. “Sure it’s hard work. But the payoff is you get to do this cool performance for whoever wants to come. And most of the school is there.”

Liebeg describes it this way: “It’s like game day for arts. It’s a chance to show off your talents like others do on the field or court.

“I think more people should come out and do magic, card tricks or maybe a standup act. If you have an idea, talk to Ms. Brown or Ms. Boillat. It would be great to see even more creative freedom.”

Rooted in the Music Department

Between individual student performances, Holy Family’s Jazz Band and Voices of Fire make regular Coffee House appearances. It’s their chance to take the stage and share some favorites in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Jazz Band performs between individual performances.
Between individual student performances, Holy Family’s Jazz Band and Voices of Fire make regular Coffee House appearances. It’s their chance to take the stage and share some favorites in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Without Voices of Fire experience, Breimhorst admits she may have never found the courage to take the stage to perform at Coffee House.

“I definitely was shy and didn’t want to do solos or participate in Voices,” Eve admits. “Then I tried out (for Voices of Fire) and had my first solo. I loved it and wanted to keep performing!

“I like Coffee House because I get to pick my own songs and music that reflects who I am. I think it is interesting to see and hear music other people pick and how it reflects their personalities.”

Brown has her own experiences that have shaped what Coffee House is today. A 2004 graduate from Holy Family, Brown remembers the early years, before there was a Performance Center with proper acoustics.

“I was in the first Voices of Fire that started Coffee House,” she recalls. “We held it in the ‘cafertorium’ and it was very jazz-focused. We learned music has to be fun. So we stopped being fancy. Now, it’s a chance to enjoy, sit on couches with your friends and have fun.”

Your Chance to Be a Star

About a month before each scheduled Coffee House, Boillat and Brown post a sign-up sheet and conduct auditions. Students perform a small sample of their act. You’ll be slotted into the program if your performance is ready for prime time. The rest is up to you. Practice and polish come on your own time.

One week before Coffee House, students can take to the stage, perform a sound check and discuss lighting with the student-led stage crew. Before you know it, it’s GO TIME!

Each Coffee House starts at 6 p.m. That way, most students can attend after sports practices or other after-school events and still get home early enough to finish homework.

“We pack the house every time. Kids will stop in after basketball games and other activities,” Brown says. “That’s the way it should be. It’s put on for everyone to enjoy. It’s our gift to you.”

Boillat adds this final thought: “It takes personal strength to get up in front of peers and perform. High school is not the easiest time to express yourself. We love how loving and caring other students are here to let you do that.”

Join us for our next coffee house on Friday, April 26, at 6 p.m. in the Performance Center.


The Lasting Power of Holy Family’s Campus Ministry

Behind the Scenes: The Lasting Power of Holy Family’s Campus Ministry

The squishy black couches were the same. The motivational posters stuck to the white cinder-block walls were the same, as was the whiteboard covered with colorful scrawls. Mrs. Bosch was there, of course, with her trusty clipboard and pencil, the only tools she needs to command her cohort of teenage campus ministers.

But as soon as I entered the room, my eyes were drawn to the back wall. A few inches above some orange flames framing the word “FIRE” was a signature—my own, from 2014, the year I graduated from Holy Family. My black Sharpie autograph was surrounded by my classmates’ black Sharpie autographs, which were surrounded by those of our predecessors and successors. Almost a decade of campus ministers are represented on that wall.

I walked over to one of the squishy black couches and handed my sister a coffee. Anna is a senior at Holy Family now, and I am a nice older sister. Also I needed some caffeine in my veins to stay awake for a B Period class.

I perched near another squishy black couch and opened my little reporting notebook. I’m working as a journalist nowadays, which I’m guessing is the reason my alma mater asked me to write about its Campus Ministry program.

In some ways, it is hard to describe what exactly Campus Ministry is. The program is something so special, so unique to Holy Family. But I will try my best.

Shaping the Spiritual Foundation

The goal of Campus Ministry, as Assistant Principal John Dols describes it, is to train Holy Family students to minister to other students.

The school first offered Campus Ministry as a class in 2007, an option for students’ senior-year theology requirement. That inaugural group of campus ministers took charge of planning and leading daily convocations, class retreats and community service projects—work previously handled, for the most part, by faculty.

In the years since, Campus Ministry transformed into an institution at Holy Family, a privilege for those in their final year at the school. Seniors who choose to sign up for the class are tasked with providing opportunities for the school community to grow in faith, service and community.

Campus Ministry is responsible for the Lenten spiritual programming including the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“It certainly is the vehicle where we have students who shape the spiritual formation of Holy Family,” Campus Ministry instructor Lynnae Bosch said. She and Dols have provided guidance to campus ministers over the years, but the bulk of the decisions are made by students.

“As a school, we have said we are so proud of our kids and we are so confident that we have, for three years, trained them so that we’re comfortable with them going out, giving messages, teaching kids,” Dols said.

Campus ministers are in charge of some of the school’s biggest events, like the highly anticipated Thanksgiving and Christmas Convos debuted each year before holiday breaks. They’re also in charge of the small behind-the-scenes details—the type of work, Bosch said, that can be overlooked.

The 17- and 18-year-old campus ministers coordinate all-school Masses, and they design reconciliation services during Advent and Lent. They organize spiritual retreats at local elementary schools, just as they do for their Holy Family peers—students have an all-class retreat each of their four years at the school.

Campus Ministry students prepared rocks for the 6th grade retreat at St. Hubert Catholic School in Chanhassen.

The campus ministers are the ones who set up the giant projection screen for assemblies and run to Costco to pick up enough snacks to feed more than 100 hungry high-school students. Each day, they stand before the entire school community and lead them in prayer.

“For the younger students, to see someone your age do that every day, I think there’s power in that,” Bosch said.

The Cornerstone of Community

The bell rang, announcing an end to B Period, and I join the herds of students parading to the gym—a walk down memory lane.

As some 500 students clamber to their spots on the bleachers, I watch the group of campus ministers leading the day’s convocation. They scramble to check in on all the last-minute details, exchanging whispers and a few nods, before one grabs the mic and says the magic words.

“Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God.”

I’ve never tried it, but I wonder if you said those words someplace—a bar, perhaps, or a crowded restaurant—full of Holy Family alumni, would a hush fall over the room? Would we remember the days we spent in those bleachers, when those words were uttered and all the chatter—the gossip, the gabbing, the giggles—ceased?

The convocation on the day of my visit was Holy Family Feud, a knockoff of the popular game show created by surveys campus ministers collected. On the gym floor, senior Ryan Bowlin quizzed competing students and faculty on the preferences of Holy Family students — their favorite uniform tops, their favorite sporting events, their favorite cafeteria foods.

It was clever. It was funny. The team of teachers crushed the team of students, though, to be fair, they had years of institutional knowledge on their side.

Then we prayed. A campus minister grabbed the microphone and thanked God for creating our family with a purpose. “We know that you have plans for us individually and for our family as a whole,” she prayed. “Help us to have an appreciation for each other’s personalities, gifts and even our weaknesses.”

We clasped hands and said the Our Father. We turned to the American flag and said the Pledge of Allegiance. After announcements, the chatter resumed as students and teachers began to make their way to the next class. I stayed for a moment at the top of the bleachers.

It was impressive, I thought, that a group of 17- and 18-year-olds had been in charge of everything that just happened. A straggling group of campus ministers was still taking down the giant projection screen.

Leaving her signature on the wall, just like the alumni before her did.

In preparation for my visit, Mrs. Bosch asked the current campus ministers to write down what they learned from the class and why they valued it. Many said it gave them great public

speaking experience or helped them practice organizational skills while planning large events. Some spoke of creativity, of cooperation, of faith, of leadership.

I thought back to my own time as a campus minister. Certainly, I learned those skills—skills that would prove to help me immensely in future leadership roles I took on in my college dorm and campus newspaper. But like I said, it’s hard to articulate exactly why I think Campus Ministry is so valuable to the Holy Family community. Because it does so much more.

“It is a cornerstone of Holy Family culture,” one student wrote.

“I personally think,” another wrote, “it’s the center of the community aspect that makes HF so great.”

I went back to the Campus Ministry classroom to grab my bag and looked at the back wall, the wall my sister and her classmates will sign before they head off to college. This year’s campus ministers will soon pass on the torch to the next group. And the Holy Family tradition of faith, service and community will live on.


Katie Galioto (’14) graduated from the University of Notre Dame in May 2018. Since then, she has reported for the Star Tribune and the Chicago Tribune as an intern on both papers’ metro desks. She currently works as a breaking news intern for POLITICO in Washington, D.C. You can follow her work on twitter @katiegalioto.