Holy Family Catholic High School will hold its Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 22, 2022, in the HFCHS Slattery Athletics and Convocation Center. Holy Family School Chaplain Father Nels Gjengdahl will celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass at 10:00 A.M., immediately followed by our commencement ceremony led by Principal John Dols.
Seating for guests is unlimited and unreserved. For guests unable to make the celebration, the entire event will be shared via livestream. Click the button below.
Holy Family 2022 Lasallian Educator of the Year Luke Olley grew up in a family of educators. His late grandmother was an elementary school teacher. His father, Christopher Olley taught social studies and is currently the headmaster at Chesterton Academy. Luke teaches English and his sister, teaches math.
Luke joined the Holy Family teaching staff in 2019 after completing his bachelor of arts in English education at St. John’s University. He is currently completing a Master of Arts in Education from St. Catherine’s University. In addition, Luke served as a volunteer teacher in Bogota, Colombia as a member of the Benedictine Volunteer Corps.
Luke met his fiance Maddie when they were both English majors in college. Following their wedding this summer, they will be relocating to Syracuse, NY, where Maddie will complete a doctorate in English.
We caught up with Luke to learn more about his Holy Family experience and the teaching philosophy that inspired our students and teachers to select him as the 2022 St. John Baptist de La Salle Educator of the Year.
What brought you to Holy Family?
I am a lifelong student of Catholic education, and I was really drawn to the idea of teaching at a Catholic school. The opportunity to share my love of reading and my Catholic faith was a huge plus in my career choice. I also was born in the area and had several college classmates that loved their time as students at Holy Family.
How do you approach teaching English?
I would say my approach to teaching English is to find a way for students to engage with complex topics and ideas beyond reading and writing mechanics. The written word is a wonderful medium, but it is a vehicle for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. I try and facilitate discussion and critical thinking more than just grammar or vocabulary.
What do you enjoy most about Holy Family?
The best part about being a teacher at Holy Family is the genuine joy that the faculty and students have for being here. I work with incredible educators who share my passion for our subject matters and the belief in teaching the whole student. And it always brightens my day when students stop by to chat. I don’t know if this is replicable at other schools.
St. John Baptist de LaSalle listed 12 Virtues of a Lasallian Educator in his book, ” The Conduct of the Christian Schools.” Are any of these particularly meaningful to you as an educator?
I am drawn to the virtues of patience and gentleness. As a teacher, it is hard to forget that you are only 44 minutes out of a student’s 24 hours. They may be coming in with sadness, happiness, or a chip on their shoulder that you have done nothing to cause, yet it will be your responsibility to engage with them. Similarly, students will not want to come in and ask for help if they think that their teacher is judgmental or irritated with them. I accredit my ability to form and maintain relationships with my students to these two virtues.
What will you miss about Holy Family Catholic High School?
I will miss the daily interactions with my fellow staff members that keep me sane. I also will genuinely feel sad about being robbed of the ability to see my students grow into adults. I have taught the class of 2024 for two years now–I would have liked to see them develop into seniors and leaders and see how they will embark into the world.
Girls Soccer Tops Fairmont to Move to the MSHSL State Semifinal Game
A formidable wall of defense supported by stingy goalkeeping and an aggressive offensive play lifted Holy Family over a strong Fairmont team, 4-1. Miss Soccer finalist Maeve Kelly netted a hat trick, leading Holy Family Catholic girls soccer to U.S. Bank Stadium in its first state victory. Goalkeeper Olivia Paidosh and the Fire defensive wall allowed only one goal.
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.
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.
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 coffeehouse. We also recorded different pieces for band to make a mini concert created by Mrs. Boillat and Mr. Heller.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 Catholic Church, desire to live like Jesus in their love and service to others, and strive to grow spiritually and intellectually.
The Class of 2019 Mary and Joseph Medal recipients are Emily Sokolis and Brendan O’Connor. Following the commencement, Emily and Brendan shared their thoughts on their faith journey throughout high school.
Talk about your involvement in the church (volunteer work, lector/cantor/Eucharistic minister, etc): I volunteer in my church by being a cantor once a month, sometimes more and by being a Confirmation Catechist to the ninth-grade girls who are preparing for their second year of confirmation courses through the parish.
How has your faith developed during your years at HFCHS?
During my freshman and sophomore years, my faith life was almost nonexistent. Like many teenagers, I was not into my faith or the church at all until I attended a mission trip to Haiti through HF that turned my whole life around. By my senior year, I was fully committed to my faith journey and growing outside of my comfort zone to build a relationship with the Lord.
Who has influenced you and your faith? How? The person who has had the biggest impact and influence on my faith is Holy Family theology teacher Mr. Bosch. He helped me turn a passion for service for others into a servitude for God. Mr. Bosch was always there to answer all the questions I had along the way and gave me amazing advice or prayers to foster growth.
What role does your faith play in your life? Everything. I believe having faith at the center of your life is a truly authentic way of living. I try to center every choice I make around my faith, and through that, God has opened and closed many doors, all to help me have a better life.
What do you find most rewarding about your faith? The sense of overall peace and love in my life. No matter how bad I screw up or how stressed I get, I always have an understanding of the love and peace that the Lord showers upon me and each person every day. Also, knowing that earth is not our home and that an even more beautiful place is waiting for all of us in paradise is amazing.
How did you make the most of your years at HFCHS? I made the most of my four years by being involved in all the opportunities that HFCHS had provided me. Opportunities such as clubs that foster spiritual and service growth, international history and exchange trips, and mission trips. Also, by being apart of campus ministry and taking as many classes that can fit into one day (maybe some independent classes on the side) I was able to take full advantage of my academic career.
Brendan O’Connor, 2019 Joseph Medal Recipient
Family: Kathy, and Dan,Molly ’22, and Quinn (Freshman at UST Extracurricular activities/clubs: Football, Basketball, Environment Club, Honor Society Parish: St. Hubert Catholic Community, Chanhassen Middle School: St. Hubert Catholic School, Chanhassen College:University of Iowa Major: Online Marketing/Communications/Journalism
What does it mean to you to lead in a Christian way? To me, this means leading in a respectable way. A Christian leader does not act for the benefit of themselves but, rather, for the benefit of others. You must understand that the decisions you make while leading in a Christian way might not be the most popular or well-liked, but they are the ones that you must stand firm in.
How has your faith developed/changed in your years at HFCHS?
My faith has absolutely strengthened in my years at Holy Family. First, Holy Family has educated me on many aspects of the Church that I did not understand prior to taking the class. My knowledge on the background and foundation of the Church is so much stronger now, which in turn has strengthened my own individual faith. My faith as a community has grown as well. I have become more aware of the idea that faith is not solely individualistic, but rather personal and communal. I learned that faith has a lot to do with the community as well when I realized that my faith was growing stronger because of those around me. The individuals around me that helped strengthen this faith were teammates on sports teams, and peers in class.
Who has influenced you and your faith? How?
My grandparents have influenced me and my faith by being strong role models. They not only attended mass regularly, but they also participated in mass through their singing and responses. They were also great examples in how to respect the sacraments and to always participate in them when possible. However, their greatest influence on my faith came not when they were full of life, but rather near death.
In my Grandpa’s last moments of life he wanted to be doing one thing, praying surrounded by family. He showed me that even in a time where he was in great discomfort, and I’m sure very scared, he could turn to his faith to comfort him because he had such a strong foundation. This exposed me to the power that one’s faith can have. After my Grandparents passed, I learned about how active they were in the church. At the funerals of my grandparents people would come up to me and tell me the impact my Grandparents had on him or her because of their volunteer work in the Church. I realized how many lives they touched because of their strong faith. This is what motivated me to strive for a faith like theirs: one in which I can lean on, and one in which I can affect others.
What do you find most rewarding about your faith? My faith has rewarded me with the two “C’s”: calm and comfort. No matter the situation, I find these because of the strong foundation of faith I have to lean on.Even if I am outside my comfort zone, scared or nervous, I find comfort in my faith. I never feel entirely alone.
How did you make the most of your years at HFCHS?
I listened and observed those around me. We can learn so much from simply being in the presence of some individuals at Holy Family. So, how did I make the most of my four years? I just used my resources well. As a student, I kept my eyes and ears open as I acted like a sponge, always ready to soak in new information. I then developed relationships with these people, so that I was more comfortable with them, and I could learn even more. Thank you to all those around me that made it easy to make the most of my four years at Holy Family.
Any other thoughts you’d like to share in regard to the medal or your years at Holy Family? I don’t know who to thank for this award, but thank you to everyone who made high school four years to remember, and helped me become the individual I am proud to be today (with the understanding that I can always grow and improve)! The faculty and staff at Holy Family are unparalleled and will always hold a special place in my heart.
Holy Family hires Kristin Sankovitz to lead the Fire Girls Golf Program
We are pleased to announce the hiring of Kristin Sankovitz as the school’s new head girls golf coach.
Kristin Sankovitz grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the daughter of a PGA golf professional. She played high school varsity golf and participated in local, state and national tournaments before attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois on a golf scholarship.
Coach Sankovitz graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School and practiced law for eight years before starting a family with her husband, James. They have two sons and live in Chaska, Minnesota. She was an active member of Pax Christi Catholic Community, St. Hubert Catholic Community, and currently serves as a greeter and catechist at St. Victoria Parish Family. Kristin enjoys playing and teaching golf and is a four-time Bearpath women’s club champion.
For the past two seasons, she assisted in coaching the back to back State Champion Holy Family Boys Golf team and also teaches junior golf at the Hanneman Golf Academy during the summer.
Holy Family Activities Director Nick Tibesar thrilled to welcome Sankovitz as the new head coach of Holy Family’s Girls Golf program. “Coach Sankovitz brings our program a lifetime of experience playing and teaching golf at a high-level, and more importantly, a commitment to supporting and developing the young women in our program. Her proven success as a Big Ten athlete, a practicing attorney, and an assistant coach for our two boys state champion teams is impressive, and her record of service and connections in the community are invaluable assets as she begins her tenure as our new head girls golf coach!”
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’s 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.
How has the transition been from middle school to the Fire community?
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?
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.