Sokolis and O’Connor Receive Mary and Joseph 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 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.

Emily Sokolis, 2019 Mary Medal Recipient

Emily Sokolis, 2019 Mary Medal Recipient

Family: Rich, Shauna, and Nick ’16
Extracurricular activities/clubs: Hearts on Fire, Pro-life Club, Fencing for seven years, Latin Club
Parish: St. Joseph Catholic Community, Waconia
Middle School: St. Joseph C-STEM School, Waconia
College: St. Norbert College
Major: Environmental Science and Theology

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

Joseph Medal 2019 Brendan O' Connor
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.

Why Holy Family? Ask the Class of 2022

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

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

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

Recently, we spoke with 10 students from this year’s ninth grade class. They told us exactly what’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.

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Briar C. – You feel safe being here.

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

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

Complete an Application for Enrollment

 

Shadow Day: 5 Reasons to Experience Holy Family Catholic High School

What to expect from a Shadow Day Visit

Life is full of big decisions. At the time, none seems more important than deciding where’s the right place for your student who’s ready to make the leap to high school.  While that decision may be a critical turning point in your student’s success, it doesn’t have to be difficult, frustrating, nerve-racking or exhausting. In fact, that is exactly why Holy Family Catholic High School has made its Shadow Day program a realistic reflection of a day-in-the-life of a Holy Family student. No red carpet. No showering with expensive gifts. No formal tours.

Just a real-life experience of what it’s like being part of “The Family.”

“We are taking the whole idea of learning what a school is about to a very real experience,” says Scott Breimhorst, Holy Family Vice President for Enrollment and School Partnerships. “We want to provide an experience that is as identical to a day at Holy Family as you can possibly get.”

This seeing-is-believing approach allows shadow students to “walk a mile” in another Holy Family student’s shoes. They get to see the daily routines of students just like them, with similar interests, hopes, dreams and goals.

Shadow Day visits begin in mid-September and continue until mid-May. It’s easy to schedule a visit. Just contact Holy Family. Don’t forget to check out what you need to know before you visit.

Before you make that phone call or send us an e-mail, here are the five must-see-to-believe Shadow Day experiences your student will enjoy at Holy Family Catholic High School.

  1. PERSONALIZATION: No Student’s Visit is the Same

Every Holy Family student has unique interests, abilities and personal gifts. (We have more than 60 extracurricular activities to check out.) That’s why each Shadow Day is personally tailored to meet the needs and expectations of each prospective student.

  • What are your interests? When you schedule a shadow visit, our admissions team will ask your student about his or her academic and extracurricular interests. Why? That way we can best match prospective students with a student host.
  • Interested in robotics? Get paired with a student on our world-qualifying robotics team.
  • Nordic ski? Play hockey? Love performing arts? We’ll team you up with a student who will introduce you to others with the same interests. You’ll be able to ask questions and get answers from students just like you.
  • Passionate about singing? Play an instrument? Bring your talents and join in.
  • Can You Request a Shadow Host? Absolutely. If you have a friend or neighbor you want to shadow, just let us know. And if your interests are somewhat different, that’s okay. You’ll still meet students, teachers or coaches who will make your high-school experience memorable.
  • Time Challenged? While we recommend experiencing a full day at Holy Family, we know sometimes busy schedules make it difficult. Partial-day visits can be arranged. And if you want to bring a friend, we’ll make sure both of your interests are addressed.
  1. REAL-LIFE: A True Holy Family Day

It’s important that prospective students get a realistic feel for what their own Holy Family day might be like. That’s why we team 8th grade shadow students with freshmen, in most cases. Transfer students from other high schools are matched with students from their same grade. How do we make our Shadow Day as real as can be?

  • Follow Actual Class Schedules. Shadow students follow their host’s daily schedule, including attending their classes. Shadows experience typical freshman-year classes, including Biology, Sacred Scripture, World History and Geography, World Literature and more! Want to experience band, chorus, or an art class? Let us know!
  • What’s Convocation? Any Holy Family school day isn’t complete without our student-led Convocation. Each day, we hold an all-school gathering that anchors our students and teachers in faith, celebrates our accomplishments, and keeps everyone in the loop about school news and upcoming events.
  • What About Lunch? Read on…that one deserves a shout-out all its own.
  1. MEET & GREET: Students, Teachers and Coaches

With almost 150 shadow students visiting Holy Family Catholic High School each year, our Holy Family students are accustomed to seeing prospective students in the halls, sitting among them in classes, or visiting clubs or athletic teams. “Hey, Shadow!” greetings, followed by high fives are not uncommon. We want to make sure you meet as many students as possible.

  • The Inside Scoop. We’re proud to say that our students really know each other—who plays what sport, who is passionate about particular subjects, who is a member of what club. This allows the student hosts to connect shadow students with other students who have similar interests.
  • Class Action. Our teachers enjoy meeting shadow students and involving them in class activities too. They won’t call you out—but if you want to jump in and participate, it’s all you!
  1. YOU DESERVE A BREAK: Lunch and Fun

There’s a lot to digest over the course of a school day, and shadow students and their hosts welcome a pause in the action. Time and again, we hear how prospective students say that the Holy Family lunch program is a Shadow Day highlight.

  • Lunch On Us! Shadow students can order the special entree of the day, cruise the fresh salad bar, tower their trays with à la carte items and, for dessert, they won’t want to miss out on our very own Carol Gestach’s freshly baked cookies. They. Are. Legendary.
  • Beyond the Classroom. Yup, it’s a real thing, with the acronym BTC. This is a chance for students to unwind after lunch. Students and, yes, sometimes teachers, compete in friendly ping-pong matches, organize pickup basketball games or just enjoy time to catch up with friends. It’s flexible and fun, and meant to be that way. If it is game day, students sometimes use this time as a study hall to get a jump start on homework.
  1. BE HEARD. We Want Your Feedback

Shadow Day doesn’t end once you leave Holy Family Catholic High School. We want to hear from you, both students and parents.

  • We want to know how the day went.
  • Answer your questions.
  • Hear your student’s thoughts.

Are there more areas of interest your student wants to explore? We can arrange that.

Schedule a visit.

Questions? If you or your potential student has additional questions before or after a Shadow Day visit, contact Scott Breimhorst, Vice President for Enrollment, or Katie Miller, Shadow Visit Coordinator, at (952) 443-1955, or e-mail admissions@hfchs.org.