Scholarship Opportunities for Incoming Holy Family Students

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 Executive Director of Admissions. “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. This year, students can apply for nine different scholarships or grants. 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.
  • 100% Eligibility.  Every family enrolling their first student to Holy Family automatically qualifies for a $1,000 grant—the First In Family grant. Just check the box accordingly on the Scholarship Application to receive this multi-year grant.
  • Compounding Interest. 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 these scholarships 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.
  •  Categories. Scholarships are available for academic achievement, leadership, volunteerism, and involvement in extracurricular activities except for athletics. 
  • February 5 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 February 5 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 February 5.

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.

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 outside of school.”
  • 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:

GRANT

First in Family Grant

Award: $1,000

Who Should Apply: Every family enrolling their first student to Holy Family.

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

You’ll want to know:

  • Automatic qualification. Families must select this option on Application for Enrollment.
  • Enrollment applications must be received by February 5. Late applications may be considered if funds are available
  • Annually renews.

QUALIFYING SCHOLARSHIPS

NEW! Ignite the Fire Scholarship

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

Who Should Apply: Students from St. Hubert School who were 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. 

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.

You’ll want to know:

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 who complete separate scholarship application.

You’ll want to know:

  • Scholarship requires a separate 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.
  • No separate application is required for this scholarship.
  • Annually renews if similar standards are met each year.

Apply for Scholarships by February 5 by clicking on the button below

The Secret to Success for Holy Family’s Student Assistance Day

Keeping up with assignments and maintaining test scores doesn’t come without hard work, commitment and plenty of time management. That’s particularly true for students at Holy Family Catholic High School, where students often carry a heavy academic load plus juggle multiple extracurricular activies.

What does it take to make sure students are performing at their absolute best when it comes to academics in this active, stimulating environment?

According to Principal Kathie Brown, it takes a unique program with an equally unique acronym—SAD, which stands for Student Assistance Day.

“The catalyst was the need to help students learn that everyone has times when it appears there is no way he or she can keep up with expectations,” Mrs. Brown says. “Opportunities to prioritize, organize and seek help are life skills that often must be experienced to be internalized.”

Unique Opportunity to Reset

Brown initiated the program over a decade ago, giving students the opportunity to push the reset button and get back on track when the demands of high school life get a little overwhelming.

“By the end of a Student Assistance Day, many students have caught up on their work or advanced their understanding of classroom concepts,” she points out.

Here’s how Holy Family’s Student Assistance Day program works, and why it has been extremely successful in preparing students to be proactive in their success after high school:

  • Once a quarter, SAD is scheduled to coincide with Eastern Carver County Schools’ late starts.
  • One-on-one appointments between students and teachers run from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. All teachers, counselors and learning specialists are available to meet with students.
  • Time can be used to make up work, receive group or individualized help, work on and set priorities for long-term assignments, or take exams missed due to absence.

According to Dean of Academic Support Melissa Livermore, students struggling in a particular class receive SAD appointments with teachers not as a punishment, but as an opportunity to get the individualized help needed, redo work that didn’t meet standards, complete additional assignments to improve understanding and, in return, improve their grades.

Students not required to attend SAD, but who feel the strain of an overwhelming schedule, often make appointments with teachers, as well.

“I have many students who are doing well in class come in to deepen and extend their knowledge. It’s like taking a deep breath,” Livermore says.

Translated: SAD is an opportunity for students to clear their heads of any classroom confusion, relax and focus.

“Learning how to balance academics with outside commitments is valuable,” Livermore says. “However, like in many executive function skills for this age group, it is a skill that many haven’t yet mastered and need guidance with. SAD provides the time for students to work with their teachers without needing to choose between school and an extracurricular activity.”

Extended Reach of SAD

“Over the years, we have found ourselves using SAD as service opportunities wrapped around educational experiences,” Brown says. A few examples:

  • Robotics students often visit local grade schools to engage younger students in engineering lessons.
  • The band director runs a middle school instrumental clinic to encourage young musicians.
  • Groups of students serve breakfast for the homeless at Simpson House in Minneapolis.

Students who need even more assistance don’t need to wait for SAD to regroup. Sometimes staying ahead of the game is half the battle. The NOW program, which stands for No Outstanding Work, is for students needing weekly check-ins to keep up.

  • Students missing assignments during the week stay after school on Wednesdays for a NOW appointment, giving them a chance to catch up and stay on track.
  • Teachers make these appointments, and parents are kept in the loop.
  • To accommodate NOW, extracurricular activities don’t begin until 3:15 p.m. on Wednesdays.

“I find pure joy in the fact these days have organically evolved to serve in many deep ways,” Brown says. “This is education at its finest—when everyone is learning.”

Mark Your Calendars

2018-2019 SAD dates

  • Thursday, October 4
  • Thursday, December 13
  • Thursday, February 14
  • Thursday, May 2

Click HERE to read about Holy Family’s game plan for student success.

 

 

Alumni Spotlight: Mark Engstrom

Alumni Spotlight: Mark Engstrom’s Circle of Life | Holy Family

Mark Engstrom: He was in Holy Family’s first freshman class, graduating in 2004 with unbridled curiosity and ambition. He’s since lived in six cities, traveled the world and has landed back in Minnesota, with an incredible amount of wisdom and advice for Holy Family students and grads.

“The biggest thing Holy Family taught—achieve goals with integrity. It’s something that has served me my entire career.” —Mark Engstrom, 2004 Holy Family graduate

Alumni Profile: Mark Engstrom

Graduated: 2004

Elementary/Middle School: International School of Minnesota; John Ireland, Hopkins

Universities Attended: Purdue University (undergrad); Cornell University (MBA)

Degrees: Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Engineering (2008); MBA (2014)

Holy Family Activities:

  • Math League
  • Student Council
  • Golf

HF: You mentioned in our Passages article that your first assignment after graduating from Purdue (2008) was in Idaho. What was that experience like?

Mark: I was there for four years. At first, it was temporary. I moved from Minnesota to Idaho to work on Cargill’s biogas projects. Basically, we were taking cow manure and turning it into electricity. We’d collect the manure in a big tank about the size of a football field and 20 feet deep, heat it and collect the methane gas, which was run through a genset.  A genset is essentially a locomotive engine with a generator attached to it. When the economy tanked, Cargill scaled back businesses and cut back workforce on that project from 40 to 7. I stayed on and built out operations and optimized the portfolio. It was a great way to cut my teeth on operations and get to tinker and satisfy my curiosity.

HF: How do you think you’ve changed since graduating from Holy Family?

Mark: It’s been 14 years, I lived in six different states, had many jobs and interacted with many types of people who have contributed to the diversity of my life experience. It’s taken me out of my comfort zone and has helped me develop a greater sense of empathy. I now have a better understanding of all the different struggles people and businesses have. This has helped me both personally and professionally. It’s improved my ability to listen and to make people feel heard.

HF: What kind of specific skills did you learn at Holy Family that helped contribute to your success?

Mark: Holy Family wasn’t only focused on the academics. It included a Catholic-based curriculum that taught many core values, including stewardship and building a high EQ (Emotional Quotient). As you make your way through life, you realize the true value of EQ. It develops empathy for others and allows you to hear what others are trying to communicate. Ultimately, empathy helps you to target actions for maximum impact.

HF: Which Holy Family teachers had the greatest impact on what you are accomplishing today?

 That’s a hard question. So many are dedicated and willing to help students outside the classroom. It sets Holy Family apart. All of my teachers there were willing to do that and enjoyed doing that. If I had to name a few, I’d say:

  • Gary Kannel (Math) and Jim Walker (Chemistry). They helped build the technical foundation to be successful in engineering and translate that knowledge to finance.
  • Jorge and Jena Oconitrillo (Spanish). They helped me take my Spanish to the next level, learning the stuff outside of the textbook. I was able to talk about current events and hold conversations all in Spanish. That had a huge impact and made traveling to other countries much easier and relatable.
  • Case Unverzagt (English). U taught me how to write and made me appreciate clean and effective communication.
  • Doug Bosh (Theology). He taught me a simple lesson: Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you make a mistake, course-correct and move past it, which is a useful skill.

It’s great to see so many of them still teaching at Holy Family.

HF: How has Holy Family helped you be successful in pursuing your dreams?

Mark: I haven’t felt that any doors have been closed in front of me, which is all you can hope for. That was one of the struggles coming out of Holy Family. There are so many doors open that it can be hard to choose a path. Many students may think they are making a definitive choice each deliberate step along the way. I’ve learned there are lots of different paths to success. Take a risk and do something you’re passionate about.

Finally, don’t forget to leverage the deep network of Holy Family alumni and parents.  We are more than willing to help get you in front of the right people so that you realize your dreams.

Click on the image below to read more about alumni in STEM careers.

The Inside Scoop on Holy Family Placement Tests

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

FIRE 23 Families—mark January 19 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’re 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 19, 2018 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 2018 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 952-443-1955. 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 23 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

Making Christmas Giving a Family Affair

HF Students Make Christmas Giving a Family Affair

Gather around for a Christmas story that keeps on giving. But first, picture this scene…

It’s early Christmas morning 1980-something. A fresh snowfall blankets the ground outside. Inside, Christmas-tree lights splash a warm glow over carefully wrapped packages. Nearby, a young Johnny Dols fidgets, patiently waiting for his chance to open a gift.

Little did he know on this Christmas Day he was about to experience an overwhelming joy that continues to live in his heart today.

“I remember those Christmas mornings and the gifts I’d get,” says John Dols, now Holy Family’s Assistant Principal and Campus Minister. “None was more special than the year I got a Storm Shadow G.I. Joe. It was like the gift of the year–and I got it! I knew it meant something. My Mom had to do something extra special to get one of those for me.”

School Rallies Around Families

That childhood memory drives Dols’ commitment to bringing Christmas magic to Twin Cities’ kids whose families are in need. Since joining Holy Family Catholic High School 12 years ago, Dols has ignited the Sponsor-A-Family Program, which has delivered Christmas joy to more than 150-plus families.

Students hold out their hands during a prayer of blessing over the gifts during Convocation in early December. The gifts are then prepared for delivery to families.

“It helps many of our students realize some families may not have a Christmas like those you see on TV,” he says. “When you can’t provide for your family, it’s very personal and emotional. What helps is that we not only give the gifts, but also include wrapping paper, tape, and other materials so parents can wrap the gifts for their family. It gives them the chance to make it their Christmas celebration.”

Dols is quick to point out this Holy Family tradition isn’t a one-person effort. (He’s good, but he admits he isn’t Santa Claus.) It takes just about every student, teacher, and administrator to make it happen. The goal is to make sure every family’s “wish list” is filled and complete.

Classrooms adopt individual families. Large families are divided among multiple classes. One eight-member family presented this list:

  • Two baby dolls
  • A remote-control car
  • A stuffed unicorn
  • Winter jackets and boots
  • Hoodies, jeans, and tennis shoes
  • A small kitchen appliance and cookware
  • And multiple sets of bedding

Each sponsored family also receives a sizable gift card to the grocery store of their choice to help with a holiday meal.

Student-Led Tradition

Science teacher Ian Parzyck’s B-period chemistry class traditionally takes the Sponsor-A-Family tradition seriously. Parzyck turns the program over to students to get the job done. And every year, his class delivers big time.

Students in Mr. Parzyck’s Honors Chemistry class prepare gifts for their sponsored family.

Leading efforts for his class this year were 10th graders Alex P., Sydney L., and Elle B. (See photo above.) Together, they collected cash donations from classmates, and then handled the shopping duties. Alex was out on the busiest shopping weekend of the year to stretch their dollars. She consulted with Sydney and Elle via Snapchat and texts for individual gift ideas, selections and picks until their family’s wish list was complete.

“There are a lot of families that go through Christmas and don’t have the joy of receiving gifts that most Holy Family students do,” Sydney says. “Everyone in our class seems to realize that and were eager to contribute.”

Alex adds, “This service project is fun because you know you are directly providing for a particular family. They are directly impacted by what you’re doing for them.”

Holy Family’s Sponsor A Family project culminates at an all-school convocation in early December. The gifts are carefully marked and identified for distribution to each family, blessed, and loaded onto and a large box truck sent from Sponsor A Family MN.

“Other schools do different types of programs, like Toys for Tots and giving trees, but this one fits Holy Family,” Dols explains. “We’re all about the family, so why not pick a service program that makes a difference for entire families.


While the sponsor-a-program supports families outside of our community, Holy Family Catholic High School recognizes there is need within our school for families to receive financial assistance in order to provide Catholic education for their children. Please consider supporting tuition assistance with a gift to the Holy Family Annual Fund.

Click here to read our Advent Annual Fund Appeal Letter.  If you would like to make a gift to The Holy Family Annual Fund, you may download and print the form on the letter, click on the link in the postscript of the letter, or make an online donation by clicking the button below.

Make a Gift to the Holy Family Annual Fund

Why Holy Family? Ask the Class of 2022

We hear your questions. They’re good questions that go something like this:

  • What can new students at Holy Family Catholic High School expect?
  • Why is it the best high school for my kid?
  • Is the buzz about Holy Family accurate? Or “fake news?”

To help out, we asked questions from the most credible, honest and believable sources­—the students who most recently transitioned from middle school to Holy Family. We call them Fire ’22.

Recently, we spoke with 10 students from this year’s ninth grade class. They told us exactly what on their minds after their first few months at Holy Family. Before we get into the good stuff, here’s a snapshot of the Fire ’22 students who shared their thoughts:

Nick C., Chanhassen, St. Hubert Catholic School

Libby K., Bloomington, Calvin Christian School

Luke G., Minnetrista, Our Lady of the Lake School

Ryley C., Shakopee, Shakopee East Junior High

Cassie B., Chanhassen, Minnetonka Middle School West

Briar C., Victoria, Chaska Middle School East

Maeve K., Victoria, Guardian Angels Catholic School

Sebastian G., Prior Lake, Belle Plaine Junior High

Matt S., Chanhassen, Guardian Angels Catholic School

Jack B., Minnetonka, Minnetonka Middle School West

Now to those questions…

Why did you choose Holy Family?

Libby K. – I originally came here for sports. I’m a  hockey player.  Once I was here, I found out it is a really good community. It’s small enough that there is a sense of team, but big enough that you can meet lots of different people.

Ryley C. – I knew Shakopee (high school) would be too big of a school for me to enjoy. When I was at my Confirmation class, I saw Holy Family students serving food. From there, I got the idea to tour and shadow and decided this was the school for me.

Maeve K. – The small class sizes really work for me.

Sebastian G. – My mom wanted me to get in touch with God. It’s been good.

Complete your application for enrollment by December 1 and the application fee is waived.

How has the transition been from middle school to Holy Family?

Luke G. – So far it is going well. The classes are much different than middle school—the amount of homework and the time in class taking notes.

Ryley C. – Grades matter now. I didn’t act like they didn’t matter before, but now you’re in classes with upperclassmen. One thing I found out is, I like school here more than I used to and I’m excited to go every day.

Cassie B. – Since I went to a huge middle school, it was easy coming to a much smaller school. But I had to adjust to the fact we have more work, but it’s manageable. They give you study halls.

What is the biggest surprise or myth about Holy Family?

Nick C. – Biggest changes I see…lunch is really good and you have classes with students from other grades.

Libby K. – I kind of like uniforms because there is enough variation to express yourself, but there’s still unity.

Cassie B. – I have some friends who aren’t Catholic. Everyone is very accepting, and that makes it possible for everyone to come here and enjoy it.

Maeve K. – The upperclassmen are really inclusive and talk to freshmen. If I need help, the teachers are always there to give me a hand.

Jack B. – The biggest myth—people who go to Catholic schools aren’t fun. It’s really fun here.

What advice do you have for middle school students looking at Holy Family vs. other area schools?

Shadow Visits can be scheduled through our admissions office via email at admissions@hfchs.org or by phone at 952.443.1955

Nick C. – Holy Family is a smaller school. That means if you want to play sports, you can just about play any position you want.

Luke G. – I’d say just talk with everyone and be yourself. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Cassie B. – I would say try it out. Come for a Shadow Day. I thought I was going to Minnetonka and that if I came here, I wouldn’t have friends. I totally changed my mind on my Shadow Day. I met a lot of friends. All you have to do is get involved.

Maeve K. – Be open to anything and do your research because Holy Family is a great place to be. And because it is Catholic means we can say “God” and “Merry Christmas.” That’s a unique opportunity.

Matt S. – Get involved in a fall sport. You meet a lot of people that way.

Jack B. – Just shadow and give it a shot. If you like it, cool. If not, you get to miss a day of school.

What is your favorite thing about being part of the HF “family”?

Nick C. – My favorite thing is the atmosphere. It wraps the Catholic faith into school life with our daily convocations.

Ryley C. – The community and the academics are really good.

Briar C. – You feel safe being here.

Matt S. – I’ve gotten to know a lot of people really fast because it’s a small community where you can actually know everyone.

Applications completed before December 1 will have have the application fee waived.

Complete an Application for Enrollment

 

Investments Impact Every Holy Family Student

STEAM Funding Impacts Every Holy Family Student

Generous donors attending the 2017 Holy Family Spirit of Fire fundraiser showed passionate support for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). Just how enthusiastic? More than $100,000 was committed through a special one-evening “Fund-a-Need” campaign targeted to preparing all students for the wave of upcoming career opportunities.

Besides a groundswell of support for the cause, this wasn’t just any Fund-a-Need project, says Holy Family President Michael Brennan. This one was special and has become visible throughout Holy Family classrooms and activities.

“The beauty of this Fund-a-Need is that it impacts every student coming through the building,” Brennan says. “It didn’t single out a specific department or grade level to serve as the beneficiary; rather, it touches multiple dimensions for our educational programing and created a real sense of equity experienced by staff and students alike.”

The first addition from the STEAM Fund-a-Need was the purchase of a large-format 3D printer in the Technology Lab last fall. By the end of this school year, all capital equipment being added through the STEAM Fund-a-Need campaign will be purchased and in place to benefit Holy Family students.

“This Fund-a-Need gave us an opportunity to bring different departments together and ask what was needed outside of the conservative budgets we typically work with,” Brennan says. “It was a chance to ask, ‘What do we need to take things to the next level?’ ”

Here is a list of significant investments made from the infusion of STEAM funding, and how each impacts students at Holy Family:

SCIENCE

Investments:

  • 20 Wolfe Beta Elite Monocular Microscopes – Complete January 2019
  • New flume hood in Chemistry Lab – Ready for 2019-20 school year

Benefits to Holy Family Students:

  • Students entering biological fields in college will be better prepared for laboratory work, having experience with higher level scope mechanics and design.
  • New microscope features, such as better resolution, create a superior lab experience. Students will be able to see better, identify and understand cellular structures and processes.
  • The new microscopes are low maintenance and are expected to last 15 to 20 years.
  • The new flume hood, a glass-enclosed exhaust fan that pushes air and toxic gases out of the building, provides additional space for AP Chemistry students to safely perform a broader range of lab activities.

Science Department Insights

“The science department had previously set aside budget to purchase a small number of these microscopes,” says biology teacher Josh Dwyer. “Funds from the Fund-a-Need helped us reach a 1:1 ratio of students to microscopes for all biological labs, including Biology, Anatomy & Physiology and AP Biology. Essentially this purchase will impact every single student that comes through Holy Family.”

TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING

Investments:

  • Large 3D Printer – December 2017
  • CNC (Computer Numeric Control) Milling Machine– September 2018
  • Multiple-Materials 3D Printer – September 2018

Benefits to Holy Family Students:

  • Students in both engineering graphics and robotics have more hands-on learning opportunities by creating more custom parts and prototypes for testing.
  • CNC machine introduces students to the highly sought skill of machine programming, adding a vocational option in the skilled trades.
  • Architecture students can create scale models using the large-format 3D printer.
  • The Multiple-Materials 3D Printer has a 4-head extruder, providing additional flexibility in creating new parts for competitive robots designed and built by the Holy Family Robotics team.

 Technology Department Insights

“Holy Family technology and engineering students now have access to equipment that meets or exceeds other area high schools,” says technology instructor Nick Livermore. “The Multiple-Material 3D printer was on backorder because of high demand from schools and makers. And once we received the CNC machine, we had to wait for new electric to be installed. Everything should be running by Christmas–the improvements we’ll see in the tech lab are worth the wait–and just in time for the heavy robotics building season.”

ARTS

Investments:

  • Digital Kiln – June 2018
  • Kawai GL30 – October 2018

Benefits to Holy Family Students:

  • The new Digital Kiln provides more consistent heat regulation, resulting in better results and outcomes.
  • Up to 75 clay pieces can be fired at once in the new kiln, nearly doubling the volume of the previous kiln. The volume increase is credited to consistent heat throughout the entire kiln.
  • The new kiln, which heats up to 2,200°F, offers improved safety with upgraded ventilation as part of the installation and purchase.
  • The new piano is a high-quality addition to the music program, replacing a used piano that was in place since the school opened nearly 20 years ago.
  • The student body, alumni and parents will experience the new piano at the upcoming Fall Coffee House (Nov. 1) and Spirit of Fire fund-raiser (Nov. 10).

 Art/Music Department Insights

“If you don’t have a functioning kiln, you don’t have a clay program,” says art teacher Shelagh Gamble. “This was a necessary investment. The old kiln was starting to cost more to fix than it was to replace it. We use 4,000 pounds of clay a year with 100 kids taking classes. It is a great investment!”

“I’m looking forward to the Coffee House when the piano makes its debut,” says Brennan. “It’s not every day you buy a new piano. We had one of our teachers ‘test drive’ different models and came back with a No. 1 choice. That’s what we’ll be hearing.”

MATHEMATICS

Investments:

  • Faculty Training, Minnesota Council of Teachers of Math, Spring Conference, Duluth – May 2018

Benefits to Holy Family Students:

  • Faculty learned enhanced methods of introducing technology into classroom teaching methods.
  • Training focused on developing “thinkers” and “problem solvers” through math concepts.
  • Faculty was introduced to new standards to better prepare students for college mathematics and success in their chosen fields.

Math Department Insights

“This wasn’t just about shiny objects,” says Brennan. “It was energizing and inspiring seeing the Math Department seeking professional development and craving to better themselves as teachers. It supports the model of lifelong learning and seeking to always become the best version of ourselves.”

What’s On Tap?

According to Brennan, the investments made from the STEAM Fund-a-Need has infused excitement throughout Holy Family, for both students and faculty. His goal is to carry on that spirit not only this school year, but also many more to come.

“Something like this builds optimism. It becomes contagious when you see contributions being spent to support the cause as they were intended,” Brennan said. “We’ll be planning a new Fund-a-Need campaign for this year’s Spirit of Fire. We’re hoping for the same enthusiastic response. Hopefully, last year’s STEAM Fund-a-Need affirms these gifts are being well stewarded.”

Click HERE to read more about last year’s Spirit of Fire and Strom Engineering’s support of Holy Family’s investment in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

3 Reasons Holy Family Students Succeed

If you’re numbers driven, it is unquestionable that Holy Family Catholic High School students 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 (2018): 25.5; Average ACT Score of Top 25% (2018): 31.5; Average ACT Score of Top 10% (2018): 32.61
  • College Attendance (2018): 94% (2-Year College attendance (2017) 1%, Athletic Opportunity (2018) with plans to attend college: 5%)
  • 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 Kathie Brown, 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:

  • Kathie Brown, Holy Family Catholic High School Principal
  • Jeanne Weber, Owner, collegeONE, helping students organize and streamline the college application process
  • Melissa Livermore, Holy Family Dean 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.

Kathie Brown: “If you can’t communicate well, your ideas will die with you. 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 are going to 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.”

Kathie Brown: “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. I love the persistence and perseverance. When catapulted in new places, they are still OK. They know these are the things I need to do and these are the people I need to find to succeed.”

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 Brown. “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,” Brown 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 Fall Open House and find out what’s waiting at Holy Family for your child.  Open house details and registration available HERE.

Behind the Scenes: Football

Holy Family Football Starts New Chapter

If you want to know the direction Holy Family Catholic High School’s football program is heading under new head Coach Tim Triplett, you don’t need a crystal ball. You need to look in the rearview mirror and talk to people the Fire coach has inspired.

Players like Nick Olson, one of Triplett’s early recruits out of Minnesota to the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where Triplett was a positions coach from 2010 to 2014.

“…He teaches life lessons by using the game of football as the medium.”

“When he came through and we talked, it wasn’t about covering the bullet points like a lot of other coaches,” Olson recalls. “He was asking what was I looking for and who was I as a person rather than trying to sell me to USD. He wanted to see if I was a fit there. He’s a genuine person and tries to get to know you.”

And, once he knows you, Olson says, he makes sure his passion for football and living life right rubs off on everyone he comes in contact with. Olson, now a tight ends coach at the University of St. Thomas, recalls it took just one small, seemingly insignificant moment to jump-start his deep passion for college football.

“One of my first practices at USD, I made a play—a pretty good play,” Olson recalls. “He (Triplett) yelled out in front of everyone, ‘Would you look at that—Nick Olson, the pride of Richfield, Minnesota High School!’

“That was a big moment for a true college freshman 5 hours away from home in a fairly large Division I football program,” Olson says. “I didn’t expect or even know he was watching.”

The lasting impact Triplett has on players like Olson has become his legacy wherever he has coached. He’s invested in people and does everything he can to make little moments life changing. Now, he’ll share those shining moments with Holy Family Catholic High School student athletes.

“Tim is one of those guys who coaches football for the right reasons,” says Jim Kilian, head coach of St. Olaf football in Northfield, who was the offensive coordinator at the University of St. Thomas while Triplett coached various specialized positions from 2015 to 2018.

“Tim doesn’t do it for the notoriety or name recognition, but for the opportunity to give back and give others the same opportunities he had through football. He teaches life lessons by using the game of football as the medium.”

HF Football Starts Off the Field

“What I told guys in early team meetings is that there is culture and legacy here at Holy Family. We’re not going to change it but add to it,” he explains.

Coach Triplett, relaxed in a random chair scattered among many empty ones in the Holy Family team meeting room on a quiet July morning, shared his vision on Holy Family football—where it’s been and where he sees it going. The conversation surprisingly begins far removed from X’s and O’s.

“What I told guys in early team meetings is that there is culture and legacy here at Holy Family. We’re not going to change it but add to it,” he explains.

“We should be honored to be a part of it and will continue to grow it and enhance what we can so we positively influence those around us. We’re going to be measured by how we add value to other people’s lives by being a football player here.”

What does that mean? According to Triplett, Holy Family players:

  • Hold doors for others
  • Look people in the eye when they shake hands
  • Hustle across the street when there’s a walk signal
  • And always play hard, play together and play fast

Simple things like these send a message not only about his program, but also about the entire school.

“That, by extension, is the Holy Family way,” Coach Triplett says. “That’s what drew me here. We’re all on the same page.”

So far, the players have heard his message loud and clear, says senior Dominic Philliips.

“He’s super energetic and always available if you have any questions,” Phillips says. “And, he emphasizes the importance of a Catholic education and how important it is for us to give Holy Family a good rep.”

Coach Triplett, who likes to randomly toss in movie references to make a point, shared this thought: “I think they form a symbiotic circle, it is all encompassing of one,” he chuckles, noting his clever Star Wars reference. “Once we get culture right, a lot of things start going your way.”

Field Report: High Energy, Heavy D

Triplett introduced “Trip Football” to the team on the Holy Family practice field last June. It was the first organized team activity (OTA), one of 11 team activities coaches can conduct before the mandated two-week “blackout” (no contact with team).

“It’s definitely high tempo. There’s no lollygagging,” says senior Ryan Bowlin. “Coach emphasizes if you do the little things right and go at 110% percent, you’ll get into a good tempo that will show in the games.” (Find a schedule of games HERE.)

Phillips adds, “There’s never a dull moment. We’re always in ‘attack mode,’ always keeping the defense on its toes.”

Phillips adds, “There’s never a dull moment. We’re always in ‘attack mode,’ always keeping the defense on its toes.”

That type of high-spirited practice is by design. “The transition from a practice to a game is going to be seamless,” Triplett says. “Our practices are going to be chaotic, stuff going on all the time just like a game.”

While it may feel frenzied to the players, Triplett’s plan is well thought out. “He’s very intentional with everything he does, even if it is a little different,” Olson says. “There is always a rhyme and a reason to what he does. That is what is unique compared to other coaches.”

Triplett did share his concrete plan to getting his Holy Family football program off on the right foot, and it starts with these early priorities:

  1. Organizing practice and meetings. “We’re setting expectations of what we’re doing on a daily basis and finding that groove that the kids will respond to.”
  2. Getting to know each other. “This is a completely different team than last year, with new players, coaches in new positions and a different style. It will force us to focus on the process, not the outcome.”
  3. Defining personnel. “We’re going to move dudes around. Where they think they’re playing now may not be indicative of where they’re playing in August.”
  4. Setting realistic goals. “Our goals should be to get better every day and improve. They will come in the form of what we do on a daily basis.”

Players have also seen an increased focus on conditioning, the need to understand a more complex college-style playbook (including five-receiver sets) and the expectation of knowing what all positions on the field are doing during any given play.

“There definitely is more focus on the playbook, which is because we have a new coach and he really knows his stuff and wants us to be just as knowledgeable,” senior Sam Riegert says.

All those high expectations deliberately deliver against what Coach Triplett wants people to notice when Holy Family takes the field for its first game on August 30.

“When you watch a ‘Trip Team,’ you’re going to face speed, physicality and lots of running, in no particular order,” Triplett says. “And, I’d have to say it starts with D. We have to be a team that will play fast, physical and together. Offensively, we’ll find a way to move the ball. We have the athletes here to do that.”

Setting the Tone for the Future

While Triplett is careful not to promise lofty goals for his first season (“If you set a goal, be careful how you word it,” he says), the players themselves have high expectations.

“We were 10-0 our freshman year and are a class that is close and loves football,” Phillips says. “Coach gives us achievable expectations and wants to help us achieve our goals.”

“Everyone has a mindset that they want to make it to state,” Riegert adds. “We have a talented senior class and plan to improve step by step, game by game.”

Coach Triplett, on the other hand, has a more simple approach to what he wants the players to experience this season.

“We work too hard not to have a lot of fun.”

“I’m looking for enthusiasm. We work too hard not to have a lot of fun. I tell my players, ‘Don’t forget to have fun. There will be longer days and frustrating plays, but always find the pieces where you have fun.’ ”

That approach is likely where Triplett will make the greatest impression his first season at Holy Family. His passion and energy will be noticeable at practice, on the sidelines and in the huddle. He’s looking to the seniors to grasp that energy and share it with players coming up. If they do, it will pay off for years to come.

“The numbers are certainly important,” Triplett says. “We’re going to need to grow numbers in certain positions. Hopefully, we start to grow our own numbers by examples we set, games we win and how we carry ourselves on and off the field.”

Olson was a part of that same vision 8 years ago at USD. He credits Coach Triplett for setting him up for football success that has lasted to this day.

“He shows you what being passionate about life and everything about it is about,” Olson shares. “He’s always the guy who is happy and excited about every day. It can rub off on you.”

Coach Triplett’s 12 Nuggets of Wisdom

60-Plus Holy Family Extracurricular Activities

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 400 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:

92% of Holy Family students participate in extracurricular activities

90% of Holy Family students participate in multiple extracurricular activities in a school year

60+ Holy Family extracurricular activities are offered each school year

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