Meet our 2022 National Merit Students

Holy Family Catholic High School is proud to announce the 2022 National Merit Scholarship program recognizes two of our seniors, Makenzie Pavelka and Alexander Beer, as National Merit Commended Students. Out of 1.5 million entrants, roughly 34,000 earn Commended Students recognition. Congratulations to Makenzie and Alexander on their well-earned recognition! To learn more about the National Merit Scholarship program, click here.

At Holy Family, our National Merit Commended Students are more than scholars. They are active participants in school activities and generous volunteers in the broader community.

Makenzie Pavelka

2022 National Merit Commended Student Makenzie Pavelka

Name: Makenzie Pavelka

I will miss being in a learning environment where I feel supported by each and every teacher and having a school counselor who is so willing to answer any questions and chat with me at a moment’s notice.

Middle School: Shakopee Area Catholic School

Activities you are involved in at HF:

  • Girls Soccer
  • Nordic Skiing
  • Latin Club
  • Math League – State Champions 2021


Volunteer Experience
:

  • Feed My Starving Children
  • Vacation Bible School at the Parish of Saints Joachim and Anne
  • Coaching recreational soccer and assist at soccer camps at Shakopee Soccer Association

If you know your college and major and are ready to share, please include: I am not sure yet on what college I am going to attend, but I plan on studying Exercise Science or Kinesiology.

HF: Only 34,000 of all students who took the PSAT will be recognized as Commended Students. Congratulations. How did you prepare for the PSAT?
Makenzie
: I prepared by getting a good night’s sleep, eating a good breakfast, and showing up early so that I was calm and ready to go.

HF: You are also an AP student. Rigorous academic course loads can be stressful; how do you deal with that stress, and what advice do you have for students who are going through similar situations?
Makenzie: I deal with stress by talking to people I trust, like my close friends, family, and Mrs. McCoy. I also combat stress by using my planner to help manage my homework load and stay on top of studying. My advice for students going through the same situation is to remember that studying is important but so is sleep! I try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, especially before tests in AP classes (or standardized tests!) And also to use a planner to stay organized!

HF: What makes you most proud about being a National Merit commended student?
Makenzie:
I am most proud that the effort I put into academics daily was able to be displayed and recognized.

HF: What will you miss the most after you graduate from HF?
Makenzie:
I will miss being in a learning environment where I feel supported by each and every teacher and having a school counselor who is so willing to answer any questions and chat with me at a moment’s notice.

 


Alexander Beer

2022 National Merit Commended Student Alex Beer

Name: Alex Beer

Middle School: St. Hubert Catholic School

Activities you are involved in at HF:

  • Football
  • Nordic Skiing
  • Lacrosse – (Captain 2022)
  • Campus Ministry
  • Leadership Team of Transfer Student Ambassadors

Volunteer Experience:

  • Metro Area Youth Pheasants Forever Mentor
  • Member of Student Ambassador Program
  • Fire Family Visit Tour Guide

If you know your college and major and are ready to share, please include:

Interested in pursuing a Biochemistry Degree on the pre-med track.

Questions:

HF: Only 34,000 of all students who took the PSAT will be recognized as Commended Students. Congratulations. How did you prepare for the PSAT?

Alex: After taking the PSAT sophomore year at Eden Prairie and receiving a decent score, I realized that I was close to the benchmark for earning acknowledgment. With a little hard work and determination to study over the next year, I stood a real chance of achieving recognition. So, as the procrastinator in me dictates, I walked in to take the PSAT a year later cold turkey.

HF: You are also an AP student. Rigorous academic course loads can be stressful; how do you deal with that stress, and what advice do you have for students who are going through similar situations?

Alex: Three AP classes on top of three sports last year made me arrive at the mantra I now live by to manage stress – “It always gets done.” In three-plus years of high school, no matter how seemingly impossible the test or unbearable the workload, it always works itself out. The work will not do itself and there have been plenty of nights of staying up to 1:00 am after practice to finish schoolwork.  But, with hard work, a little sleep deprivation, and lots of coffee, anything is possible. The key is starting and prioritizing what matters most to you. There are sacrifices that have to be made but ask yourself what you truly value and pursue it relentlessly.

HF: What makes you most proud about being a National Merit commended student?

Alex: Being a National Merit commended student places me into a cohort of some of the best and brightest students in America. It will hopefully present opportunities that will allow me to truly offer the world the best I have. I am also hopeful it will make college hurt the wallet slightly less.

HF: What will you miss the most after you graduate from HF?

Alex: I transferred to Holy Family as a junior after attending Eden Prairie High School for two years.  In that short period of time, I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have a circle of friends, teachers and staff that I trust to have my back.  The camaraderie, loyalty and absolute trust that we all want the best for one another make this a place I look forward to coming to every day.  That is what I will miss the most.

 


Interested in learning more about Holy Family?

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

Register for a Fire Family Visit

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

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

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

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

Endless Opportunities

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

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

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

QUICK FACTS:

95% of Holy Family students participate in extracurricular activities

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

60+ Holy Family extracurricular activities are offered each school year

(more…)

Looking Ahead | HFCHS 2021-22 Learning Model

Dear Holy Family Community,

We hope this letter finds you filled with the joy of the Lord! As the calendar turns to August we look forward to a new school year with excitement and zeal as we embrace the things that make Holy Family Catholic High School so very special.  

We realize that many of you are anxious about our COVID protocols for the upcoming school year. Minnesota has made positive strides in combating this global pandemic.  We also know that things continue to constantly change. With the vast majority of our students eligible for vaccinations we can turn our focus to providing as near normal a school experience as possible.  Know and trust that, just as we did last year, we will continue to closely monitor and appropriately respond to the ever-changing status of the pandemic and face each challenge with our “if we can, we will” attitude. Please visit our 2021-22 COVID-19 Protocol Page HERE for more detailed information. We appreciate your continued vigilance in this matter as we usher in a fresh start to a new school year. Thank you!

We trust that you received our summer mailer which includes much of the basic information needed for a successful start of the school year. If you should have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be sure to get you the answers you need. And while we have your attention, we also want to thank you for your patience as we continue to implement and integrate our new student information system (SIS), Blackbaud®. While no major software system transition is without its hiccups, on the whole, the project has gone very smoothly. We are excited to continue to reveal what a powerful and robust SIS we now have and the many ways it will serve our parents, students, staff, and even our alumni!

With our eyes set on the future, there are so many things we are looking forward to this year – most notably, being able to see the faces of our students, their families, and our colleagues! It has been far too long since our hearts have been warmed and our cups have been filled by the joyful smiles found so abundantly among our incredible Holy Family community. The deep sense of connection and family is truly unique to our school and perhaps a quality and experience missed more than anything last year. 

With this in mind we simply cannot wait to rekindle the fire of family that resides amongst us all. We have several in-person gatherings planned for this fall, so please watch your email for specific invites to these special events aimed at celebrating our students and our community. One occasion that we would like to draw special attention to is our annual Spirit of Fire fundraising gala being held on Saturday, September 18th at the Winery at Sovereign Estate in Waconia. Parents and friends, be sure to mark your calendars, reserve your tickets, and come join the festivities in support of Holy Family. It will be an evening of reunion and celebration for the record books! 

As our building starts to get busier with the return of students and staff, we ask that you hold us all in your prayers and join us in giving thanks for the blessing that is our Holy Family community. Please enjoy the last few weeks of summer and we’ll see each of you very soon.

Until then…Live Jesus in our Hearts – Forever!

Go Fire!

 

Mike Brennan, President

John Dols, Principal

HF SUMMER YOUTH CAMPS 2021

BEAT SUMMER BOREDOM WITH HF SUMMER CAMPS!

Summer offers us an opportunity for a change of pace, a chance to explore new things and spend time with friends – both old and new. We are excited to host the following in-person camps on our campus once again, starting as soon as June 21! 

Wherever your childrens’ adventures take them this summer, we invite them and their friends to spend some time with us at Holy Family!

NICK TIBESAR
Holy Family Catholic High School
Activities Director

CLICK CAMP REGISTRATION

 

Squisito Italian Cooking and Language

Cook the most scrumptious recipes of Italy while learning essentials of the Italian language. The students will hear the history and phrases that go with each recipe and come home with Italian on their lips. Fees include the cost of all supplies. Taught by: Holy Family Italian Instructor, Jacob Dueck. Contact Mr. Dueck at dueckj@hfchs.org with questions.

 $ 125  Italian Cooking Session 1 / Grades: 5-8    Enrollment Limit: 12
 June 21-24 Times: 10:00 AM – noon

Theater Camp

Join us for a 4-day in-person theatre camp! Students will learn how to develop their acting skills through games, workshops, and devising which will culminate in a final performance created entirely by the participants on the final day. A great way to dip your toe into the world of theatre and build confidence while having fun! The camp is run by Guthrie Theater veteran and Holy Family Director of Theater Anna Crace. Contact Ms. Crace with any questions at cracea@hfchs.org.

 $ 200  Theater Camp | Grades 5-9
 June 21-24, M-Th, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, (bring your own lunch)

Girls Basketball Camp for Grades 4-8

Improve basketball fundamentals (shooting, passing and ball-handling) and team skills (defensive/offensive and rebounding drills). This camp is led by Holy Family head girls basketball coach Brandon Antl. Contact Coach Antl at brandonantlx@gmail.com with questions.

 $ 120  Girls Basketball for Grades 4-8
 Dates: July 19-22 from 8:30 AM-9:45 AM.

Volleyball

Camps are designed to improve the individual skills and knowledge of each camper.  Camp sessions will be taught by Holy Family Head Coach Tony Bongaarts, along with his staff and players, in a fast-paced and fun environment! Hone your skills and develop your passion. Contact Coach Bongaarts at holyfamilyvolleyball@gmail.com with questions.

 $ 120  Volleyball Session 1 / Grades 3-8
 Dates: June 28 – July 1 (M-Th evenings) Times: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
 $ 120  Volleyball Session 2 / Grades 3-8
 Dates: July 26-29 (M-Th evenings) Times: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

New Software Systems

Holy Family is converting to three new software systems in time for the start of the 2021-2022 school year!

It is widely known that at Holy Family Catholic High School, we are always on the path of improvement and in steady pursuit of excellence in all we do. 

Delivering a top-tier, faith-based, academic curriculum and high-quality extracurricular opportunities are core to our mission. To continue doing so in the best way possible, we are excited to announce that Holy Family will transition to three new software systems (Google Suite, Schoology Power School, and Blackbaud Information System) with truly seamless data flow from enrollment management into the learning management and student information systems over the summer. In addition, we are rebuilding our website to a mobile-first design that will integrate with these systems. 

A transition of this importance and magnitude takes thorough investigation and careful consideration. Holy Family partnered with SourceWell Technology to explore several options in determining the best solutions for our school. All departments provided input and evaluated options during the decision-making process. 

 New learning management system 

Over the years, Holy Family has expanded its software capabilities as needs arose. Despite being customized for our school’s purposes, our current software programs can, at times, be challenging to navigate and incompatible with one another. New technology upgrades will connect all platforms and users within our community – including students, teachers, parents, administrators, donors, and alumni – to improve continuity in delivering learning content, streamline communications, and allow teachers and administrators to serve students better. 

These software upgrades will also help our admissions team support new families as they complete the necessary steps for enrollment. Our fundraising team will have reliable contact information for supporters eager to support our school, and our alumni directory will have more accessibility for alumni to network with each other. 

A refreshed look 

Before investing in a new website design, it is prudent to review and refresh brand elements to reflect who Holy Family is today. The scope of this work includes an expanded color palette where appropriate, updated font choices, refreshed logo elements, and the implementation of consistent style guidelines across our school’s brand. All of these improvements will help Holy Family put its best foot forward as we work to grow our school and expand our mission to more families through a more robust and integrated website. 

These changes will help Holy Family Catholic High School conduct business more wisely, complete tasks with improved consistency and efficiency, and better connect our community through more integrated capabilities.  

Ultimately, these upgrades will give Holy Family administration and educators greater capacity to focus on what truly matters: Providing our students the best educational experience they so richly deserve. 

Class of 2021 Mass and Graduation

A Celebration to Remember

On Sunday morning, May 16, 2021, the 95 graduates of Holy Family Catholic High School’s Class of 2021 crossed the stage to receive their high school diplomas and to complete high school journeys experienced during historical global times. During a school year experienced in-person, on-campus with adjustments for pandemic protocols, their extraordinary leadership leaves a legacy of positivity, resilience, and perseverance.

While the nine months leading up to the commencement ceremony may be unique to this group of graduates, their four-year experience is defined by their presence in academic studies, athletic pursuits, and artistic endeavors.  So, noteworthy, in fact, that as a whole, the Class of 2021 were offered $11,990,090 in college scholarships and accepted offers totaling $3,725,240 million.

The day began with a Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by Holy Family chaplain Father Nels Gjengdahl for the graduates, their guests, faculty, and administration in the school’s Slattery Activities and Convocation Center.  Members of the Class of 2021 processed to the stage with school administrators and Father Gjengdahl to the concert band’s rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance.” (Elgar 1901) Holy Family combined chorales provided music ministry for the service.

Following the first and second readings read by Whitney Nelson and Emma Boockmeier, Father Gjengdahl shared the Gospel reading for the Feast Ascension of the Lord. He reminded the graduates to live in the Lord and as examples of their faith in their new communities.

Collin Nawrocki recited the description written by the seniors in campus ministry of the Class of 2021 Baccalaureate Symbols as representatives from the class presented them during the offertory. The Class of 2021 selected the following items to represent their four-year journey:

Ninth Grade: Mittens – snowball fights on the front yard
Tenth Grade: Sweatshirt –
Eleventh Grade: Laptop
Twelfth Grade: Mask and College Hat

Following Communion, President Mike Brennan awarded the Ambassador of Christ Award to co-recipients Olivia Hesse and Collin Nawrocki. The Ambassador of Christ Award is given to the senior who leads others with a strong code of ethics consistent with the teachings of Christ. Recipients are nominated by their classmates, and nominations are then voted on by faculty and staff.

Commencement

Following a final blessing for the graduates, student ushers reset the stage, and the Commencement portion of the ceremony began with a welcome from Principal John Dols. Principal Dols then introduced the Class of 2021 salutatorian Joseph “Joey” Richelsen for his salutatory address.

Joey Richelsen shares his salutatorian address.

Joey’s address took his audience through a tour of the building and a trip down memory lane, concluding with a point toward the future. He said, “ Holy Family’s culture and values were never meant to stay in the physical building. As stewards, my classmates, it is now our job to bring that same culture to the next stages of our lives. Spread it across the college campus, spread it across the new communities you assimilate in. And I promise you, the world will become a better place.”

Next, the selected faculty speaker Dr. Jim Tisel was invited to the podium to share his words of wisdom. Dr. Tisel will retire at the end of the school year, but he delivered his address in a lab report in proper science teacher form. In his conclusion, he said, “I do not wish to pose as an expert on religion – but I think we have learned that when we have worked, learned, played and prayed together, we have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. I want to thank you, students, for being in groups with me where we have felt this presence – and for the fact that your lives and actions show this every step of the way.”

Lauren Taylor delivers the Class of 2021 Valedictorian Address
Lauren Taylor delivers the Class of 2021 Valedictorian Address.

Valedictorian Lauren Taylor followed Dr. Tisel at the podium. Using her signature positivity, Lauren said, “…there is a whole world outside that awaits us, unknowing of who we have been for the last eighteen years: as I said before, it’s both exciting and terrifying at the same time, but we must trust in the plan that God has for us and know that we are never alone.” Lauren will pursue a finance degree at the University of Notre Dame.

During the graduation ceremony, Katherine Wise and Joseph Richelsen were announced as recipients of the Joseph and Mary Medals. The Mary and Joseph Medals are awarded to a senior girl and boy who exemplify the identity and values of Holy Family Catholic High School. These individuals demonstrate a strong, mature faith in Christ while actively participating in the life of the Church. They are knowledgeable of the teachings and traditions of the Church, desire to live like Jesus in their love and service to others and strive to grow spiritually and intellectually.

All three leadership and faith awards (Ambassador of Christ, Mary and Joseph Medals) are selected via nomination by classmates and vote of the school’s faculty and staff. The recipients exemplify a strong, mature faith in Christ and ethics consistent with the teachings of the Gospels.

The ceremony continued with the announcement of scholarships and the presentation of diplomas to the graduates of the Class of 2021:

Spencer Charles Adelmann
Allison Elle Agerland* Summa Cum Laude
Nicole Margaret Allen
Megan Christine Beach
Elle Michaela Bernaski* Cum Laude
Sebastian Bojorquez Rojas
Emma Grace Boockmeier
Daniel Borbonio
Zachary Francis Bornhoft
Samuel Lawrence Bradley * Cum Laude
Emiliano Baldemar Corona
Alexa Josephine Cuadros
Eli James Devins
Patrick Finnegan Dowling
Marie Rose Fahey Magna Cum Laude
Ewan David Farrell Cum Laude Jordan
Marie Flink Summa Cum Laude
Etienne Gerald Foudray* Summa Cum Laude
David John Frahm
Joseph Henry Freitas Summa Cum Laude
Antonio Gaeta Summa Cum Laude
Aidan Richard Greene
Thomas Michael Guyer * Cum Laude
Caroline Mary Hess * Magna Cum Laude
Olivia Sharon Hesse * Cum Laude
Ashley Margaret Heuer Magna Cum Laude
Joseph Russell Heuer
Nicholas Ashton Huson * Magna Cum Laude
Alexandra Elaine Ihrke
Alexander James Janey * Magna Cum Laude
Keyrie Sashell Jimenez Flores
Cassidy Margarete Jones Magna Cum Laude
Carver Douglas Kasper
McKenna Marie King
Jacob Anthony Kirsch * Summa Cum Laude
Haley Rose Klahsen * Magna Cum Laude
Dylan Matthew Krumpholz Summa Cum Laude
Jakob Dane Lenzmeier * Summa Cum Laude
Spencer Paul Lewin Magna Cum Laude
Grant Fredrick Limke
Charles Michael Lindberg Summa Cum Laude
Ethan Fredrick Lindholm
Sydney Marie Linn
Jaden Trey Lorenz
Gavin Patrick Lund  Summa Cum Laude
Marcus Daniel Lund Cum Laude
Owen Everett Lund
Grace Kemple McGlynn
Jacob Patrick McPartland
Graham Harrison
Payne Miller Cum Laude
Patrick Mccauley Mulheran
Haley Anne Nahlovsky  Summa Cum Laude
Collin Scott Nawrocki
Whitney Mae Nelson
Bruno Joseph Neyra
Aidan James O’Donnell Magna Cum Laude
Anthony Aaron Olson Cum LaudeJonathan Robert Olson
Jillian Rae Oncay Summa Cum Laude
Bridget Irene Orr
Jacob Thomas Parker
Sophie Elizabeth Paul Magna Cum Laude
Jordan Marie Pelzel Summa Cum Laude
Tyler James Pettibone
Isaac Douglas Pitner Summa Cum Laude
Brendan Michael Quinn Summa Cum Laude
Noel Paul Rahn
Julia Ann Red Wing Magna Cum Laude
Benjamin Gerard Reddan Summa Cum Laude
Joseph Raymond Richelsen Summa Cum Laude
Patrick Alan Ricke
Luke Michael Roelofs Magna Cum Laude
Abigail Olivia Roper
Bennett White Roseth
Reyana Nicole Schaffe Magna Cum Laude
Jordyn AnneMarie Schenk
Arden Alva Lee Schlegel
Zeke Ruslan Schneider Cum Laude
Bishop William Schugel Magna Cum Laude
Jeremy Thomas Schumacher Summa Cum Laude
Noah Merrill Seck
Brendan Michael Sieve Magna Cum Laude
Indira Sin
Gregory James Stoffel Summa Cum Laude
Nicholas Richard StrandLauren Suzanne Taylor Summa Cum Laude
Tanner Joseph Theis
Noelle Tara Trombley
Jordan Jeffrey Van Eyll
Jalen Brooks Ward
Jacob Michael Warmka Summa Cum Laude
Molly Eileen Weber
Stephen Anthony Webster Magna Cum Laude
Katherine Marie Wise Magna Cum Laude
William Gerald Zay Summa Cum Laude

 The Class of 2021 graduates will attend 45 universities across the country and bring our total number of graduates to 2,060 since the school’s opening in the fall of 2000.

Meet our 2021 National Merit Students

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

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

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

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

Lauren Taylor

2021 National Merit Semifinalist Lauren Taylor

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

How did you prepare for the PSAT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Gregory Stoffel

2021 National Merit Finalist Greg Stoffel

How did you prepare for the PSAT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Joseph Freitas

2021 National Merit Commended Student Joseph Freitas

HFCHS Activities: Band, Math League, Track and Field

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Interested in learning more about Holy Family?

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

Register for a Fire Family Visit

Westrum Hired to Lead Boys Hockey

Holy Family hires Erik Westrum to lead the Fire Boys Hockey Program 

 

Victoria, MN, May 14, 2021 - 1:00 PM 

  

Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, MN, is thrilled to announce the hiring of Erik Westrum as the school’s new head boys hockey coach.   Westrum most recently served as the head coach at Southwest Christian – Richfield, a program he helped start in 2017, and where he was named Section 2A coach of the year in 2020.  Westrum also currently serves as a Minnesota Hockey High-Performance coach and evaluator and is the Director of Business and Operations at Breakaway Academy, a private school for boys and girls in grades 1-8 with campuses in Eden Prairie, Chaska, and Woodbury. 

 

The son of professional hockey player Pat Westrum, Erik’s playing career began at Apple Valley High School, where he posted a hat trick in the 5-4, five-overtime win over Duluth East to clinch the 1996 state championship.  Westrum was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 1998 NHL Draft but remained at the University of Minnesota. He played for four seasons and earned his bachelor’s degree and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management. 

 

Westrum retired in 2012 after an 11-year professional playing career, which featured stints with the Phoenix Coyotes, Minnesota Wild, and Toronto Maple Leafs.  He also had an accomplished career in the AHL, earning his way into the AHL All-Star Game in 2005-2006 (Co-Leading Scorer and Co-MVP) and 2006-2007.  He was a 2004 Men’s National Team member, where his game-winning shootout goal clinched a bronze medal for Team USA.  Westrum finished his career in the Swiss League, where he earned MVP honors in 2007-2008.  In addition to his exploits on the ice, Westrum was also named AHL Community Service Man of the Year for three consecutive seasons, in 2001-02, 2002-03, and 2003-04. 

 

Holy Family Activities Director Nick Tibesar is thrilled to add such a strong leader and person of integrity to serve as the Fire Boys Hockey program director.  Tibesar said, “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Erik and his family into the Holy Family community.  His experience playing and teaching the game at an extremely high level brings tremendous value to our hockey program, making him an ideal fit to lead our program into the future.  However, what really sets him apart is his commitment to developing young men and helping them grow in character and faith.  Those traits will be truly invaluable to the program, school, and community moving forward.” 

  

Westrum officially begins his work at Holy Family on June 7 with the summer conditioning and training programs.  

  

Additional information about Erik Westrum: 

Education: 

University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management – BA in Business Management 

University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management – MBA in Business Management 

  

Contact Information: 

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

Erik Westrum, Head Boys Hockey Coach – westrume@hfchs.org  

Football Coach Hired

Holy Family Catholic hires Ian Parzyck to lead Fire football program. 

 Victoria, MN, May 12, 2021  

Holy Family Catholic High School is pleased to announce Ian Parzyck as the school’s new head football coach. 

 Now in his 19th year at Holy Family, Coach Parzyck is a long-time Friday-night staple in Victoria, having served as an assistant coach on Fire football teams that appeared in seven section championships, and made four trips to state in 2008, 2010 (2nd Place), 2011, and 2012 (2nd Place). He helped establish Holy Family’s football program in 2002 and has coached every football player that ever suited up for the FIRE.  

 In addition to his role as the school’s strength and conditioning coordinator, he is the current head coach of Holy Family’s track and field program—a program with perennial state meet competitors. He was an assistant coach with the boys basketball program for ten years when the team won a state championship in 2007. 

 Parzyck fell in love with football at his first camp when he was ten years old. Since then, he has never left the game, playing on the offensive and defensive lines for Colfax High School, Colfax, WI, and center for the University of Wisconsin- River Falls.  

 During his college football career, Parzyck played under WFCA Hall of Fame coach John O’Grady (now at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater’s current head coach Kevin Bullis, and Tom Journell, current head coach for Carleton College. His connections run through two of the best D3 conferences in the U.S., and relationships with scouts and coaches who reach out from D1 and D2 schools each season. 

 Parzyck is also a valued member of the Holy Family teaching faculty, where he has been teaching Biology since 2002.  This spring, he combined his passion for teaching and sports to develop two May Term courses —”Women and Minorities in Sports” and “Fundamentals of Athletic Coaching.”  

 Holy Family Activities Director Nick Tibesar looks forward to continued momentum for Holy Family Catholic football. He says, “Coach Parzyck’s determination and passion for Fire Football are truly unmatched. His commitment to the growth and development of Holy Family students, both academically and athletically, has been an asset to our school for 19 years. We are looking forward to seeing his passion and leadership transition into his new role as our head football coach.” 

 Parzyck is excited to officially begin his work as our head coach on June 7 with summer conditioning programs and Holy Family’s summer football camp. He states, “I am proud, humbled, and ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work! My goal as a coach is to help our student-athletes develop into adults with strong character, integrity, and faith.  Athletics is one of the tools we use to support that development. I hope to use the connections with 19 years of alumni football players to catapult Fire Football into an exciting new future.” 

 

Additional information about Ian Parzyck: 

Education: 

University of Wisconsin River Falls – BS in Broad Field Science Education 

School – BS in Biology (Secondary Ed.) 

School – MA in Education Leadership 

 Family: Married to Carrie Parzyck, two children, Anders (who he coaches in youth football) and Brekkan 

2021 Academic Honors

As is our tradition during Founders Week, we celebrate the academic accomplishments of our students through our Academic Honors Day. Covid-19 has changed many things, but what has not changed is the excellence we see out of our students every day.

Today, we are excited to share a virtual Academic Honors Day ceremony celebrating academic recognition for all grade levels. Congratulations to the students recognized through our academic honors ceremonies.

As we reflected on these students and their accomplishments, the important role you as parents play also stood out to me. Parents first instill the values of faith, education, and community. Thank you for choosing our school and walking this journey with our faculty and staff.

Please click on the links below to share our community’s pride as today we present our virtual Academic Honors Day.

Live Jesus in our Hearts,

Principal John Dols and Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs Melissa Livermore

Senior Honor Society and Academic Awards

2021 Senior Awards Program PDF

Academic Honors Day for All Grades

Our Class of 2021 scholars are inspirational examples for all students to follow as they grow in integrity, faith, leadership, and scholarship.  Honor Society and All-Student Academic Honors were presented virtually this year.

2021 Academic Honors Day Program PDF

2021 Honor Society Members

New Members Inducted
(3-4 semesters of requirements fulfilled)

Julia Anderson

Katherine Anseth

Jack Bauer

Sophia Boockmeier

Elijah Bresnan

Eleanor Bush

Hanna Bush

Caroline Cronin

Christopher Deavan

Edward Diminnie

Josephine Elsner

Rebecca Ernst

Kaellan Foudray

BenjaminGallus

Olivia  Guyer

Sophia Hall

Dayrin Jimenez

Alison Kunkel

Kori Lenzmeier

Mary Lizak

Ava Mettler

Emma Murphy

Collin Nawrocki

Jillian Oncay

My-Linh Pavelka

Makenzie Pavelka

Julia Red Wing

Michael Richelsen

Bennett  Russo

Kellen Sieve

Janielle Stanoch

Melanie Stewart-Hester

Isabel Van Eyll

Madeleine Wiitala

Lorelei Wilson

Elizabeth Witcombe

 

Laurel Members

(5-6 semesters of requirements fulfilled)

Jack Barth

Elle Bernaski

Ryley Covington

Thomas Guyer

Claire Haley

Alexander Janey

Ella Kunze

Sophia Mackey

Molly O’Connor

Derek Pass

Hailey Pavelka

Isaac Pitner

Ellen Ries

Matthew Santini

Emma Schuele

Allison Schumacher

Joseph Tinucci

Cela Watkins

 

Gold Members

(7 semesters of requirements fulfilled)

Allison Agerland

Samuel Bradley

Etienne Foudray

Caroline Hess

Olivia Hesse

Nicholas Huson

Jacob Kirsch

Haley Klahsen

Jakob Lenzmeier

Charles Lindberg

Gavin Lund

Haley Nahlovsky

Aidan O’Donnell

Brendan Quinn

Benjamin Reddan

Joseph Richelsen

Reyana Schaffer

Bishop Schugel

Jeremy Schumacher

Brendan Sieve

Gregory Stoffel

Lauren Taylor

Jacob Warmka

Katherine Wise

William Zay