Class of 2020 Baccalaureate & Commencement Mass

Watch for a link to the recording of our Class of 2020 Baccalaureate & Commencement Mass coming soon! Until then, enjoy a few of these awesome pre-prepared videos for the Mass.

Full Video Link

Facebook Album

Mr. Jim Walker’s Faculty Address

Senior Class Video Link

Click on the light green button to view a PDF of the printed program for the Baccalaureate & Commencement Mass.

Click Here for a PDF of Printed Program

 

Visit this webpage created by Collin Nawrocki ’21 to honor the Class of 2020.

On Wednesday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m. Holy Family Catholic High School celebrated our class of 2020 graduates through a special socially distanced Baccalaureate & Commencement Mass hosted at our outdoor track. Graduates and their families experienced the once-in-a-lifetime event from the safety of their own vehicles, spaced around the perimeter of the track, alongside their fellow classmates.

Following the preliminary Baccalaureate & Commencement Mass, two separate moving stages on opposite end of the track containing a podium and graduation décor will move from car to car as each student’s name is called. In front of both their household and high school families, they will then get their special moment to temporarily step out of their vehicle, receive their long-awaited diploma and handmade medallion of the Holy Family cross from a tabletop easel, take a commemorative photo, and cross the stage alone – all while experiencing an unforgettable academic milestone in a COVID-safe way.

A quality livestream captured with multiple cameras will be available on the Holy Family website for all graduating seniors’ loved ones and other community members to view, in lieu of the opportunity to attend in-person.

Planned carefully in compliance with guidelines provided to schools by the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education and organized with guidance from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and local officials, the Baccalaureate & Commencement Mass will recognize our graduating seniors while simultaneously ensuring the health and safety of each participant.

 

Online Learning from a Student’s Perspective

We asked current Holy Family junior, Graham, to document his online school experience with a camera and a day-in-the-life journal entry. Graham is making the most of this atypical situation and discovering the benefits of routine, discipline, and looking forward to the fall. Here’s his story.

Online School Journal

Online school is very different compared to being in the classroom, though some things are similar. My morning routine has stayed almost the same: I wake up, eat breakfast, and get ready for the day.

Graham says hello to his teacher and classmates during a Zoom meeting.

A typical day of school for me is the same, schedule-wise. My week varies in terms of Zoom/office 365 meetings, and classwork time. All meetings occur during the duration of the regularly scheduled class time. If we are not meeting, teachers may provide videos, notes, worksheets, or other activities for us to do for class. I prefer to do the class homework during the scheduled class time to keep my day on track.

Finding the best place to study at home helps Graham stay on track with his homework.

I typically do my work in one of two places: the kitchen table or the desk in my room. I find that moving around throughout the day helps to keep my brain fresh. Any homework that I do not finish during class time, I will do around four o’clock, after a healthy break from screens. Following a schedule every day has been a critical part of my successful online learning experience.

Band and Jazz band are the classes that have changed the most. Playing together and communicating musically is something that cannot be recreated in an online setting, though we are still able to make music together. For jazz band we recorded several instrumental parts in Soundtrap, and stitched them together to create a song that will be in the virtual spring coffee house. We also recorded different pieces for band to make a mini concert created by Mrs. Boillat and Mr. Heller. 

Even concert and jazz band continue to rehearse.

Having a goal to work toward keeps me from setting my instrument aside and getting a little rusty. I’m excited our music will be part of virtual performances, but it doesn’t beat being in a band room making music with 32 other musicians.

Graham works on his lacrosse skills in rain, snow, sleet, and sunshine as he prepares to return to the field.

Online school also disrupted my spring sports season, along with every student-athlete nationwide. However, this disruption is not a time to forget about sports; it is time to train and become better for next season. Lacrosse is a team-based sport, but there is plenty of room for individual practice. Since online learning started in March and practices were cancelled, I continue to practice daily despite the weather. I go to Holy Family almost every day to practice in the fields. My practice routine consists of a 1-mile warm-up run, wall ball (throwing the ball against a wall to replicate passing), dodging drills, and shooting drills. It is every athlete’s responsibility to put in the individual work for the benefit of the team’s success.

Besides lacrosse, it has become clear that I miss Holy Family itself. From watching sports to seeing friends, to Mr. Murray’s fist bumps on the way into math class, Holy Family created an environment where students can grow educationally, socially, and spiritually.

Although we are ending the school year online school, Holy Family is finding ways to continue our education as best as possible. Teachers are more than willing to help students whenever they can. I am excited to go back to Holy Family next year and take advantage of the opportunities it offers.

2020 Virtual Art Showcase

At the close of each semester, the Holy Family Catholic High School Visual Arts Department features a showcase of student work in ceramics, painting, drawing, illustration, photography, and videography. This year’s showcase occurred during our period of online learning, but dedicated visual art instructors, Dr. Shelagh Gamble and Mr. Brad Perrin-Smith, remained committed to seeing their students artwork presented for viewing for the Holy Family Community.

Artwork in feature image is ceramic by Reyana S.

A full list of students featured in the Holy Family Visual Arts show is included at the bottom of this post. All artworks included in this showcase are the property of the student artists and Holy Family Catholic High School, and may not be used without permission.

We checked in with Dr. Gamble and Mr. Perrin-Smith to learn more about the virtual showcase.

How did you come up with the idea of a virtual show?

Dr. Gamble: It’s been a popular thing to do at art museums with all the closures, and it just made sense to give it a try. The biggest challenge I had was that students had to learn how to photograph 3-D artwork at their homes, which as Mr. Perrin-Smith knows is an art form in itself.

Mr. Perrin-Smith: The virtual show is really no different for the photography students, as we always have this type of presentation showing in the Bus Lobby on a big screen during the event. This year, we just decided to add the non-photo students work the same way.

Why is it important to continue with the showcase?

Mr. Perrin-Smith: I believe it is good to continue for two reasons: the goal of showing keeps the student on track and working; the result of showing/exhibiting, is a critical component of art-making. It allows the artist’s voice to be heard and just as important, allows the artist to hear the audiences’ voice, praise, dislike, or ambivalence, from which the artist learns how to clarify their voice/expression.

Dr. Gamble: I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Perrin Smith’s comments. In addition, our students have been working hard on their artwork all semester, and some over longer periods of time.  I wanted to make sure everyone, especially our seniors had a chance to share their work with the community.


Are your students still creating art even though they are learning from home? If so, what type of assignments have they had?

Mr. Perrin-Smith: Photo students always create outside of class, so it is not so different. Things would have been the same EXCEPT shelter-in-place and social distancing effected the opportunities and also became some of the topics.

Dr. Gamble: Absolutely!  The painting and drawing students are completing assignments fairly similar to what we would do in the classroom. The clay students, however, are doing some completely different things since they don’t have access to clay. They have worked on recycled sculptures, Origami, museum tours and re-makes and even tried to make their own clay!  It has been a pretty wild experiment.


What has inspired you when working with your students online?

Mr. Perrin-Smith: Willingness to try different things and maintain some semblance of normal class routines.

Dr. Gamble: The students continue to create artwork in so many creative ways, despite the challenges they are facing. Many of them are working in materials they have never tried before and they have really embraced the process.

What have you missed most about teaching during online learning?

Mr. Perrin-Smith: Group critiques, though it should be as easily done in on-line meetings, the students seem less willing to engage in the same way using technology.

Dr. Gamble: I miss the energy and collaboration that happens when students are creating in the same space. The little conversations and informal feedback that happens as the work is being made is invaluable to the final results. Art can be such a collaborative process and not having the interactions can force us into closed circles of creating.


List of students submitting work in the Spring Visual Arts Showcase

Here are my students:

Aiden O.
Abbey H.
Anika O.
Betsy R.
Danielle S.
Evelyn M.
Gaby C.
Lucy T.
Grace M.
Indira S.
Jared L.
Jake C.
Katie J.
Lauren M.
Lauren P.
Lucy H.
Luke J.
Luke O.
Maddi D.
Megan S.
Natalie L.
Nicole R.
Olivia G.
Olivia P.
Owen L.
Reagan C.
Rebecca E.
Reyana S.
Shannon F.
Sydney A.
Thomas A.M.
Zoe G.

Photography:

Anton B.
Emma B.
Dayrin J.
Luke S.
Luke K.
Kori L.
Jackson R.
Jordyn S.
Collin N.

 

John Dols Named Holy Family’s Second Principal

President Brennan Announces Holy Family’s Next Principal

Earlier today, President Brennan announced the professional advancement of assistant principal John Dols as the next principal of Holy Family Catholic High School. Effective immediately, Mr. Dols will begin to work alongside current principal Kathie Brown to ensure a smooth transition as the necessary planning timelines of the upcoming school year approach.

President Brennan shared the following message with the community:

As you are aware, at the end of the current school year, Mrs. Kathie Brown will be retiring from Holy Family after 20 years of dedicated service to our school – a legacy for which we will remain forever grateful. What began as a search process aimed at finding a replacement for a single position would evolve, in the space of the last nine months, into a far more comprehensive, organization-wide process. This expanded approach called upon Holy Family to look inward and evaluate existing roles, functions, and their respective alignment in an effort to determine the optimal structure for effective school operations. The result positions Holy Family to build upon current levels of institutional momentum to support the attainment of our strategic goals aimed at driving growth through excellence.

With that said, as Holy Family Catholic High School’s president, and with the support of the Holy Family Board of Directors, I am excited to announce the appointment of Mr. John Dols as the next principal of our beloved school. Currently serving in the role of assistant principal, Mr. Dols is a licensed school administrator with 23 years of Catholic education experience. He grew up in Catholic education attending Minneapolis’ Ascension Catholic School for grades K-8 and DeLasalle High School for grades 9-12. Mr. Dols holds a Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies from St. Norbert College, a Master of Education from St. Mary’s University, and his principal licensure from the University of St. Thomas. He is a graduate of the Brother John Johnston Institute of Contemporary Lasallian Practice. He began his career as a theology teacher, first at Xavier High School in Appleton, WI, and then at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights before joining Holy Family as a campus minister and assistant principal in 2006.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working and serving alongside John Dols for the last three years.  With unwavering conviction, I can state that our school community is blessed and fortunate to have such extraordinary talent within our walls. Mr. Dols’ leadership will set forth a course for the future of Holy Family that seeks continuous innovation and reinvention, and remains authentic and true to the mission-centered aspects of our school’s culture – faith and family.

Effective immediately, Mr. Dols will work closely with Mrs. Brown to ensure a smooth transition as the necessary planning timelines of the upcoming school year approach.

As Mr. Dols shares in his message below, we are blessed to have such incredible and experienced educators within our current staff who lead with deep faith and passion for the mission of Holy Family. We look forward to enhancing each student’s educational experience with an unrelenting commitment to developing young adults with ever-deepening faith and Christian leadership skills — caring for them in mind, body, and soul— forming scholars and saints.

Live Jesus in our hearts…Forever!

Michael Brennan


A Message from Principal-Elect John Dols

Principal-Elect John Dols shared his gratitude and excitement as well as two additional position announcements.

Fifteen years ago, I drove to the Southwest suburbs to interview for a job I was not sure I wanted in an area that was utterly unfamiliar to me. One of the things that I remember vividly from that interview was a statement made by Kathie Brown. She said, “Holy Family does not have an entrance exam; we have a placement test. All kids are welcome here. All kids belong.” It was this statement, among others, that convinced me to take the job. It is the way this reality plays out daily that has made me fall in love with the school, the students, and the faculty and staff, and families.

Our mission is to take care of students wherever they are academically, spiritually, and emotionally, and help them grow. This mission lives and breathes in our faculty, staff, and administration— in the way we teach, the way we interact with students and families, and the policies and procedures that drive us. I am proud to be a part of this mission.

As I look toward next year and the years to follow, the innovations such as May Term, Canvas, and our International Student Program excite me. We can innovate while staying true to who we are, a Catholic school that strives to serve all!

I am pleased to announce the professional advancement of two distinguished Holy Family colleagues and the following first steps in further aligning our structure with our school’s mission and core values of scholarship, leadership, integrity, and faith. Current Dean for Academic Support, Melissa Livermore, will be promoted to the role of Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs – a newly developed position with an acute focus aimed at advancing the academic dimension of our school’s mission through faculty and student support, professional development, curriculum oversight, and technology integration. Current Director of Individual Giving and Alumni Relations, Matt Thuli, will serve as the Assistant Principal for Student Life – a position that supports our students as they navigate the ever-increasing complexity of life beyond the classroom setting.  (Please see their bios below.)

I love Holy Family. I am honored and blessed to be able to serve as the second principal in the school’s history.

Abundantly blessed,

John Dols


Melissa Livermore
Current Dean of Academic Support, Melissa Livermore, takes on an expanded role in her new position as Assistant Principal of Academic Affairs. Melissa received her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Secondary Mathematics Education from Willian Penn University and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction as well as  Ed. S- Education Specialist from the University of St. Thomas. She holds a K-12 principal licensure from the State of Minnesota and is currently working toward the completion of a Doctorate of Educational Leadership and Learning from the University of St. Thomas. She completed the Lasallian Social Justice Institute, a formation program based on the Gospel. Mrs. Livermore joined Holy Family in 2001 as a math instructor, and has spent the last eight years overseeing academic support, guidance, and teacher development.

 

 

 


Matt Thuli
Current Director of Alumni Relations Matt Thuli has accepted the position of Assistant Principal for Student Life and Alumni Relations. Matt has a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Winona State University and principal licensure from the University of St. Thomas. When Holy Family opened its doors in 2000, Mr. Thuli was our first physical education instructor, basketball coach, and activities director. For ten years, he performed the role of both activities director and dean of students, before accepting his current position on the advancement team four years ago. Mr. Thuli has successfully grown our alumni relations program and led three consecutive years of growth of the annual fund. However, his heart remains that of an educator and school administrator, and he looks forward to returning to serving students and families on a personal and daily basis.

Course Registration is Open

The course registrations for summer school and the 2020-2021 school year for current students is now open! The 2020-2021 Course Description Book is located on our website (www.hfchs.org) under Academics. Go to Curriculum and click on the book.  There you will find information about each class we offer.

Summer 2020 Summer School
Click HERE to register for summer courses and summer camps. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for summer course options.

2020-2021 Course Registration
To use the registration system, parents need to access their mySchool accounts and click on Begin Registration.  The program identifies prerequisites, totals credits as you make choices, and lists remaining requirements for graduation.  It will highlight a course for which a student is not prepared.  Students who have transferred to Holy Family may need the help of a counselor to navigate the differences between former requirements and those of Holy Family.  After making selections, click Preview.  If choices are correct, click Submit.

Other than simple drops, class changes requested after June 4, 2020 will require a $20.00 fee as every alteration impacts the design of the master schedule.  If a class change is impossible to accomplish, the fee will be refunded.

As a reminder, a fee is no longer required at the time of class selections. Each student’s course registration fee will be billed and processed through TADS on March 15, 2020 based on current payment type (i.e., automatic bank withdrawal or card payment). If you need to adjust this payment date, please reach out to Jodi Smith in our business office at 952-856-1413 or smithj@hfchs.org to make arrangements.

Please note: Tuition agreements are not yet available and are not necessary to select courses for the summer or 2020-2021 school year. Families will receive notice of their agreement’s readiness via an email from TADS in the coming weeks. Families applying for tuition assistance will receive award letters from the business office when their awards are determined. Tuition agreements will follow.

Begin 2020-2021 Course Registratoin

Holy Family Dance Team Heads to State!

Holy Family Catholic High School Dance Heads to State in both Jazz and Kick!

Following very strong performances throughout the competitive dance regular season, Holy Family Dance Jazz and Kick teams brought their best to the Section 2A competition on Saturday, February 8. And it paid off! Fire Jazz won the Section Championship, and Fire Kick finished in third place, earning them a trip to the MSHSL State Class A Dance Tournament on Friday, 2/14, (Jazz) and Saturday, 2/15, (Kick)! Congratulations to the dancers, coaches, and parents!

Fire Dance Team Jazz performance schedule can be found HERE. We recommend arriving early as they often run ahead of schedule.

Fire Dance Team Kick performance schedule can be found HERE. We recommend arriving early as they often run ahead of schedule.

We are excited for the continuation of a strong dance program legacy:

Jazz/Funk State Champions:

2004, 2006

Additional State Appearances:

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2020

We hope you will join us in cheering on both teams at the Target Center. If you are unable to make it to Target Center, the competition will be streamed on https://www.prepspotlight.tv/MSHSL.

Holy Family Catholic High School Dance Team Interview from Holy Family Catholic High School on Vimeo.

Jack Kelly joins Advancement Team

President Michael Brennan is excited to announce the hiring of Jack Kelly in the role of Executive Director of Major Gifts and Donor Relations within Holy Family’s Department of Advancement. Jack began his career in development at Holy Family well over a decade ago. For the last eight years, he served as an executive consultant and vice president for Mission Advancement Partners (MAP), an independent consulting firm specializing in fund development for nonprofits.

There, his work focused on leading development teams and guiding their efforts in raising immediate operational funding as well as creating development plans targeted at sustaining long-term growth. In his time with MAP, Jack demonstrated a keen and committed passion for working with nonprofit organizations. He provided strategic oversight and expertise in the area of capital campaigns, operational fundraising, and internal advancement program development – in all, helping his clients raise over $200 million.

While Jack brings a wealth of industry experience and wisdom, he returns to the many robust Holy Family relationships, which he continued to nurture over the years. His diverse skill sets, coupled with his unique relational connections with so many of our school’s constituent base, will allow him to hit the ground running in his new position. As his title indicates, Jack’s role will focus on donor cultivation and stewardship as well as major gift solicitation aimed at supporting our campaign efforts, debt service, and special projects.

When describing his feelings about the recent hire, Mr. Brennan shared, “I am enthusiastic about this positive development in our school’s institutional advancement trajectory and filled with hope as Jack joins our team. I hope our community will join me in congratulating and welcoming him (back) to Holy Family!”

Mr. Kelly officially began his work with Holy Family on December 16. You may reach him by email at: kellyj@hfchs.org or by phone: 952-856-1418.

The Inside Scoop on Holy Family Placement Tests

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

FIRE 24 Families—mark January 11 on your calendar and highlight it in yellow. This is the date for Holy Family Catholic High School Placement Tests for all incoming ninth-grade students. It is your student’s first step to securing a successful academic future at Holy Family.

Parents sometimes have questions about our Placement Tests.

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

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

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

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

Q: Is there only one placement test?

HF: We offer three placement tests:

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

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

HF: The placement tests are scheduled for these dates:

  • The High School Placement Test (STS’ High School Placement Test—HSPT®) given to all incoming ninth-grade students is January 11, 2020 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 2020 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 24 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

What Defines a Hometown?

On November 15, Tanner Anderson ’05 saw a long-time dream come to fruition, when his production company’s first feature film, The Turkey Bowl, was released nationwide. It’s the story of a 30-something urbanite pulled back to his rural hometown by his high school buddies on Thanksgiving to finish The Turkey Bowl – an epic football game against their crosstown rivals.

Recently, senior Quinn Jenkins, a bit of a movie buff himself, caught up with Tanner to learn more about his journey from Holy Family student-athlete to Hollywood movie producer and actor.

An Interview with Tanner Anderson

Quinn: Hollywood is a long way from Victoria, MN. What sparked your interest in acting and movie production? And how did you end up in Hollywood?

Tanner: I’ve always had a creative side, but I recall a moment when I felt the spark. It was January 22, 2008, and my roommates were watching the news. Heath Ledger had just passed away, and they were showing the first trailer to The Dark Knight, and I was mesmerized by the idea that I could escape and be someone entirely different from myself like Heath had done with The Joker. That even though he had tragically passed away, this character would live on forever. That night, I called my dad and told him I was going to be an actor. To his credit, without hesitation, he said, “I think that’s a great idea. Finish your commitment to Hamline first.” That gave me a lot of confidence, knowing I had his support, so I started taking acting classes at the Guthrie Theater.

The following summer, I took a six-week film course while studying abroad in Australia. I loved it. For the first time, I wasn’t Tanner, the basketball player; I was Tanner, the actor, and felt totally alive. During my senior year at Hamline, I auditioned for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles and got accepted. I finished its two-year program and continued for a third year in their highly competitive theater group. I remember one of my acting coaches telling me that I had talent, but wouldn’t work until I was 35 because my size and deep voice, didn’t fit my boyish features.  I had to allow myself to age before having a career. She was right. Long story short, I was 27 years old, working five nights a week at a restaurant and taking acting classes on my days off. I couldn’t even get an agent, so I wasn’t auditioning. It’s a fork in the road moment for me. I was going to wake up and be 40 still working at a restaurant, changing careers and moving back to Minnesota, or I was going to figure out a way to make it happen on my own. So, I decided I’d have to produce my way into the industry, do every facet of the business, creating my stuff from start to finish. All so I could act. I read book after book about starting your own production company, made a business plan, found investors, and Make It Take It Productions was born.

Quinn: How did your company get involved with this movie?

Tanner: We found some magic with a short film, Graffiti, we did. I viewed that film as a business card to show people in the industry what we were capable of creating. I wrote, produced, and acted in it alongside Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actor John Heard. A pretty well-known writer/director Greg Coolidge saw the film and was impressed, so he sent me the script for The Turkey Bowl. That’s how it all started.

Quinn: Does any part of this movie resonate with your personal story?

Tanner: The movie is about the love of your hometown and rediscovering what made it special to you as a kid. For me, when I think of home, I think of Holy Family, not Eden Prairie or Hamline. Holy Family was a central force in my life. If it weren’t for Holy Family, there is no way I’d be doing what I’m doing. It laid the foundation for who I am as a man. It taught me how to find my footing in a new place, where I didn’t know anyone. The academics pushed me to put in hard work, and playing for the basketball team showed what it takes to be a leader — just the culture of the place instilled in me the importance of treating others with respect and dignity.

Quinn: Anything you’d like to add?

Tanner: You know, I ended up at Holy Family in only its third year of existence because the big public school system was not a good fit for me. My mom encouraged me to be a part of building something, instead of taking the more comfortable path at an established private school. It was the best decision of my life. I’m very proud of those first graduating classes and what we built for the future students attending Holy Family. The school gave me opportunities to build confidence and tools to succeed, and for that, I’m forever indebted and grateful.

Other media with Tanner Anderson

Theology teacher Doug Bosch interviewed Tanner Anderson in front of a live audience during Convocation for Holy Family’s podcast, Inside 8101. Tanner shared a deep appreciation for Holy Family and his teachers. Listen HERE or click on the video button to watch the episode.

Kare-11 Breaking the News

Current Holy Family basketball coach Matt Thuli was Tanner’s coach from 2001-2005. Kare-11 featured the difference Coach Thuli made, and continues to make, in Tanner’s life. Click on the video below to watch the segment.

3 Reasons Holy Family Students Succeed

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

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

  • Average ACT Score (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.

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