Scholarships for Incoming Students

Middle School Matters! Let’s talk scholarships.

Let’s talk SCHOLARSHIPS, and the huge opportunity they provide families with students attending Holy Family Catholic High School.

Each year Holy Family awards a number of scholarships and grants to incoming students. These awards ease tuition costs, while also rewarding students for their past success and future potential.

“We’ve put our money where our mouth is with this program,” says Scott Breimhorst, Vice President for Enrollment and School Partnerships. “We have dedicated significant financial resources to these scholarships to ensure a broad application of funds is possible.”

For those who like hard numbers, consider these facts:

  • 9X. Holy Family scholarship and grant offerings are trending up with many added during the last three school years. Students may apply for more than one scholarship in the areas they feel most appropriate. Most are awarded to multiple students each year.
  • 3 Categories. 1) Merit Scholarships are earned by students that have already achieved and excelled in middle school, and show potential for future success. 2) Qualifying Scholarships are for students meeting specific criteria, such as coming from one particular middle school.  3) Grants are awarded to families meeting qualifying criteria.
  • Stackable and Renewable. Many scholarships and grants are awarded to multiple students each year. Also, most scholarships are renewable annually for four years, and students can apply for up two different merit scholarships.
  • Lots of Zeros. Annual awards range from $500-$3,000. Multiply by four years, and they grow to several thousands of dollars in tuition savings!

“It is absolutely in every incoming ninth grader’s best interest to apply,” Breimhorst adds. “With the variety of areas covered in our merit scholarship program, we have the ability to reach many families. Why not give it a shot?”

Before breaking down each scholarship opportunity available to incoming students, here are some essential yet critical things to know:

  • Holy Family Enrollment. Before applying for scholarships or grants, students complete the Application for Enrollment.  Incoming ninth-grade students must also take the High School Placement Test given in January.
  • Categories. Scholarships are available for academic achievement, leadership, volunteerism, and involvement in extracurricular activities except for athletics. 
  • January 23 is the priority deadline for applications. Don’t wait until last minute. Several scholarships require an essay or plan. These take thought and polishing. Students meeting the January 23 deadline receive first consideration.  Applications received after that date may be eligible if funds are still available.
  • Financial Assistance Applications. For most scholarships and grants, the TADS application for financial assistance is not required. But some do require this application. If so, be sure to complete it by January 23.
  • We have streamlined the application process and students need only submit a single application essay, even if they are applying for multiple scholarships.

Now that the official stuff is out of the way, here’s a look at all Holy Family scholarship and grant opportunities. Any way you add it up, these are a win for Holy Family students and families.

MERIT SCHOLARSHIP

Students intending to apply for Holy Family Merit Scholarships must complete the Holy Family Placement Test.

President’s Award for Academic Achievement

Award: $500-$1,500 per year

Who Should Apply: Students with proven academic success in middle school or other high schools.

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

You’ll want to know:

Fine Arts Scholarship

Award: $500-$1,500 per year

Who Should Apply: Students who have participated and excelled in art, music or theater, and plan to make it a significant part of their Holy Family experience.

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

You’ll want to know:

  • Scholarship requires a Merit Scholarship Application
  • Criteria for selection include a student’s past involvement and experience in arts programs, accomplishments in arts programs, and a written statement of “passion for the arts.”
  • Annually renews if a student continues to participate in Holy Family fine arts programs. 

Founders’ Scholarship for Leaders

Award: $500-$1,500 per year

Who Should Apply: Students whose leadership has positively impacted the lives of fellow students, their community, and the world.

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

You’ll want to know:

St. John Baptist De La Salle Award

Award: $500-$1,500 per year

Who Should Apply: Students dedicated to service and have made an impact on their school, local community, or church.

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

You’ll want to know:

GRANTS

Catholic Parish and School Staff Discount

Holy Family Catholic High School is excited to provide a 30% tuition discount program for children of Catholic parish and Pre-K-8 school full-time staff members. Part-time staff members are a pro-rated discount based on their FTE.

Award:  30% of Tuition

Who Should Apply: Staff Members of Catholic Parishes and Schools

Who’s Eligible: Staff Members of Catholic Parishes and Schools

You’ll want to know:

  • Check the box on the scholarship application.
  • Also eligible for other scholarship or tuition assistance awards

QUALIFYING SCHOLARSHIPS

Ignite the Fire Scholarship

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

Who Should Apply: Students who are active in programs and activities, plus have maintained a 3.5 GPA while attending middle school.

Who’s Eligible: Incoming 9th-grade students attending Holy Family with at least one recipient having attended St. Hubert School.

You’ll want to know:

  • Scholarship requires a separate application.
  • Students must articulate a plan for remaining active in Holy Family extracurricular activities.
  • Annually renews if a student maintains a 3.25 GPA at Holy Family. 
  • Must demonstrate financial need via TADS application

Click HERE if you are a St. Hubert family or meet the criteria with an application on file and would like to apply for the Ignite the Fire Scholarship.

Flaherty Family Foundation

Award: Determined on a case-by-case basis

Who Should Apply: Highly motivated students with high potential and significant economic needs determined by TADS; positive contributor to the community.

Who’s Eligible: Students with a 3.5 middle school GPA meeting needs determined by TADS from a household with an annual income below $70,000.

You’ll want to know:

  • Families must complete a TADS application. Those meeting criteria are invited to complete the foundation’s application.
  • Annually renews by foundation if similar standards are met each year.

Hildebrandt Family Scholarship

Award: $1,500-$3,000 per year

Who Should Apply: Incoming 9th-grade students attending public middle schools.

Who’s Eligible: Students attending public middle schools 

You’ll want to know:

  • Apply using the universal scholarship application.
  • Annually renews for students maintaining good academic standing.

Click HERE if you are an incoming student from a public school and would like to apply for the Hildebrandt Family Scholarship.

Radick Family Scholarship

Award: Up to $2,000 per year

Who Should Apply: Former Guardian Angels Catholic School and St. John the Baptist School families in Jordan who apply to HFCHS and demonstrate financial need (via TADS application) are eligible for this scholarship annually through the Radick Family Scholarship, in addition to tuition assistance that may be awarded by Holy Family. The Radick Family seeks to support Catholic education for all families through this scholarship.

Who’s Eligible: Former Guardian Angels Catholic School and St. John the Baptist School families

You’ll want to know:

  • Families must complete a TADS application
  • Applicants may also qualify for additional tuition assistance.
  • A separate application is not required. 
  • Annually renews if similar standards are met each year.

Greg Osterdyk Memorial Scholarship

Who Should Apply: Families who are bearing the burden of having lost a parent.

Who’s Eligible: Fire26 families who have lost a parent.

You’ll want to know:

  • Applicants may also qualify for additional tuition assistance.
  • A separate application is not required. 
  • Annually renews if similar standards are met each year.

Angie Quinn Memorial Scholarship 

Who Should Apply:

Angie was the mother of two Holy Family students, an educator, a coach, advocate, and supporter of youth extracurricular activities. She was also a strong believer in the positive life-long impact and benefit of a Catholic education and of belonging to this special school family. Her family, friends and the community honor her legacy through these scholarships.

The Angie Quinn Memorial Scholarship Fund supports access for students who will thrive as members of the HF community. To qualify, the applicant must demonstrate financial need as determined through TADS and possess high academic potential – minimum GPA 3.25 (middle school & HFCHS). Scholarships are renewable annually, and students must remain in good standing academically (3.25 GPA) and in moral character.

Applicants must submit a scholarship essay, and will be rated based upon the following characteristics:

  • Positive personal values and character
  • Active contributor to the community, now and in the future
  • Plans for positive engagement in extracurricular activities at Holy Family Catholic High School

As an educator with experience working with students of diverse economic and ethnic backgrounds, growth in diversity at Holy Family was important to Angie. Students of diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply

Who’s Eligible: Fire26 families 

You’ll want to know:

  • Applicants may also qualify for additional tuition assistance.
  • A separate application is not required. 
  • Annually renews if similar standards are met each year.

Apply by January 23 by clicking on the button below

The Inside Scoop on Holy Family Placement Tests

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

FIRE 26 Families—mark January 8 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 a 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 8, 2022 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 2022 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 High School Placement Test should contact Scott Breimhorst at breimhorsts@hfchs.org. 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 26 families to see. Send your question to breimhorsts@hfchs.org

SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION FOR ENROLLMENT TODAY!

Apply Today

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…)

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 (2019): 26.1; Average ACT Score of Top 25% (2019): 32.4; Average ACT Score of Top 10% (2019): 33.7  *2020 ACT has not yet been received.
  • College Attendance (2020): 94% – 4-Year College attendance (2020),;Gap Year (2020) – 4%; Athletic Opportunity (2020) with plans to attend college: 52%)
  • 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 John Dols, 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:

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

John Dols: “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 frequently 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.”

John Dols: “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. Especially during this unusual year, they have proven to be both persistent and flexible, but still eager to pursue their education.”

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 Dols. “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,” Dols 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 a Fire Family Visit or schedule a tour with a member of our admissions team.

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Barth Receives Community Star Award

Holy Family junior Jack Barth is one of nine recipients of the 2020 Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Upper Midwest Community Star Award. This award, introduced for the 2020 RMHC Gala, recognizes young people who are dedicated to the organization’s cause. These recipients have gone above and beyond to embody the Ronald McDonald House values of respect for every individual, excellence in all you do, and compassion for those in need. 

Jack first became involved with the Ronald McDonald House in eighth grade. He immediately saw the value of helping his community members. When asked why he chose this charity he said, “I felt an instant connection to this organization because my uncle and his family needed to use a home like this when he was sick with cancer. It was so good for his family to be able to be together during [such a] hard time.”

Jack is a member of Holy Family’s Honor Society which promotes and celebrates volunteering with non-profit organizations beyond campus borders. His membership with the honor society inspired Jack to invest a significant number of hours at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis. There he cooked for guests, worked in the yard, and assisted with food drives. When he’s not volunteering, Jack plays on the Holy Family hockey team.

Membership in Holy Family’s honor society is not Jack’s only motivation to volunteer. For Jack, the real reward is “knowing that the work I do actually makes a difference in the lives of people living there… Volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House has made me a kinder, more empathic, and compassionate person. I hope to remain involved with the organization throughout my life.”

Click HERE to learn more about Holy Family’s Honor Society.

The Rarest of Opportunities

You can do more with the grace of God than you think.- St. John Baptist de La Salle

In July 1999, Kathie Brown and her husband Dennis packed their belongings and relocated their family to the west side of the Twin Cities, an area more populated by cornfields than houses. Kathie was embarking on what turned out to be both an entrepreneurial venture and a vocational call – the creation of a new Catholic high school, the first to be built in Minnesota in over thirty years.

Twenty-one years later, Kathie views the decision to leave Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha, Wisconsin as a significant close-your-eyes-and-leap of faith experience. “Sometimes a question challenges us to say ‘Yes’ to change, to embrace the unknown. Reflection is valuable, but we will never have all the information we would like to make a perfect decision. Leaving CMHS, friends, and extended family was difficult, but working with a passionate group of people to grow a school created a new sense of what it means to be family,” Kathie believes. This responsiveness to the needs of young people is a legacy offered to each class of Holy Family students.

By the time Kathie reported for her first day of work in an office of then Klein Bank in Chanhassen, the architectural plans were drawn. The ceremonial shovels had been stuck in the soil of the farm that would support Holy Family Catholic High School. What was left? Everything.

President Paul Stauffacher asked Kathie Brown to be the first principal of Holy Family Catholic High School. When she arrived, the construction of the building was underway, but the curricula and the faculty who would teach it were not yet established.

Busing, food service, furniture, equipment, and supplies had to be acquired. These are essential components of a school that are so easy to take for granted in an established institution. Of great importance, however, was developing a vision for the curriculum and finding the educators who were knowledgeable, flexible, and creative to achieve that vision.

Kathie began by using her experience with a combined English and history course at her former school and imbuing it with theology. Integrated Studies (IS) was born. Seeking a theology teacher who could envision an interwoven approach to learning and deepen understanding of the Catholic faith, she found Doug Bosch, someone capable and willing to explore ways ninth grade students might see education as more than earning grades. Today, elements of this integration are found in the junior-level courses of American Literature, American History, and Catholic Social Teaching.

Eleven other teachers filled the available positions by the time the building was ready for limited occupancy. Four remain: Doug Bosch, Gary Kannel, Matt Thuli, and Jim Walker. Kathie credits the tireless efforts of these first twelve educators for setting a high standard of collegiality and innovation not only for each other but for the next teachers to join the professional community as the school grew.

The first students established many of the traditions we still celebrate today.

Kathie also recognized the importance of providing traditions and rituals for the first 147 students who walked through the doors in the fall of 2000. She established a weekly Convocation to pray, communicate information, and reinforce values. The classes of 2003 and 2004 established many other meaningful traditions. They suggested the Thanksgiving dinner and an honor society to acknowledge academic effort. These young people took ownership of their new school and led Holy Family quickly and decisively to a culture of excellence. Kathie recalls, “All they needed was someone to listen to their ideas and permission to use their energy to make them happen. I was in awe of their insights and eagerness to make Holy Family their school. They helped form me into the school leader they required.”

One of the most significant historical developments in the growth of Holy Family came in 2005 with the formal approval to join the Lasallian international network of schools. Former president Frank Miley initiated the discernment process and Kathie immediately identified with the Christian Brothers’ pedagogy that sees students as the center of the educational process. She loves the imagery of faculty and staff walking alongside youth as they teach minds, touch hearts, and transform lives – their own included.

In 2018, the Lasallian Region of North America recognized and honored Kathie Brown as a Distinguished Lasallian Educator from the Midwest District for 2018.

An essential aspect of our Lasallian charism is to “Live Jesus in our hearts . . . forever.” It is witnessed frequently in the way people say “Yes” to what will help students thrive. They are not concerned whether a task is in a job description. Over the last twenty years, faculty and staff have volunteered to moderate clubs, plan events, and suggest better ways to do things – and then do them. Kathie hopes the culture of doing “whatever it takes” is so well-established that such generosity continues to grow. She has tried to lead the way by serving whenever her skills are compatible. She remembers everyone in her family cleaning the school’s windows and bathrooms the weekend before Holy Family opened in fall 2000. Recognizing every job is an essential one, she has served as Holy Family’s first counselor, a substitute teacher, ticket-taker, concession stand coordinator, and, for eight years, as both president and principal.

These experiences explain why what comes next is not a question Kathie can answer. She could not have predicted what would be necessary to end this school year with as little loss of learning and relationships as possible. As the challenges increased, what became important was supporting students and teachers in their efforts to adjust and stay healthy in every way. Again, she had help. Teachers ensured the students were well-taught. The staff and parents supported the teachers. Family takes care of family.

All is well these days as Kathie packs up the many memories two decades can collect. And because all is well, she is not concerned about making plans for the immediate future. The question that needs her next “Yes” will come when it comes.

Additional Resources:

The Kathleen Brown Opportunity Scholarship Fund was established to honor Kathie’s legacy and commitment to our school. More information about her scholarship can be found at: http://www.hfchs.org/giving-opportunities/brown-scholarship/

Kathie shared Holy Family’s story during the 2020 Founders Week. Visit this Vimeo Showcase to view her videos: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7299211

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.

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.

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.