Jan 01

Class of 2021 Mass and Graduation

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A Celebration to Remember

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commencement

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

Joey Richelsen shares his salutatorian address.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 01

What Defines a Hometown?

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

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

An Interview with Tanner Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quinn: Anything you’d like to add?

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

Other media with Tanner Anderson

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

Kare-11 Breaking the News

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

Jan 01

Alumni Spotlight: Mark Engstrom

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Alumni Spotlight: Mark Engstrom’s Circle of Life | Holy Family

Mark Engstrom: He was in Holy Family’s first freshman class, graduating in 2004 with unbridled curiosity and ambition. He’s since lived in six cities, traveled the world and has landed back in Minnesota, with an incredible amount of wisdom and advice for Holy Family students and grads.

“The biggest thing Holy Family taught—achieve goals with integrity. It’s something that has served me my entire career.” —Mark Engstrom, 2004 Holy Family graduate

Alumni Profile: Mark Engstrom

Graduated: 2004

Elementary/Middle School: International School of Minnesota; John Ireland, Hopkins

Universities Attended: Purdue University (undergrad); Cornell University (MBA)

Degrees: Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Engineering (2008); MBA (2014)

Holy Family Activities:

  • Math League
  • Student Council
  • Golf

HF: You mentioned in our Passages article that your first assignment after graduating from Purdue (2008) was in Idaho. What was that experience like?

Mark: I was there for four years. At first, it was temporary. I moved from Minnesota to Idaho to work on Cargill’s biogas projects. Basically, we were taking cow manure and turning it into electricity. We’d collect the manure in a big tank about the size of a football field and 20 feet deep, heat it and collect the methane gas, which was run through a genset.  A genset is essentially a locomotive engine with a generator attached to it. When the economy tanked, Cargill scaled back businesses and cut back workforce on that project from 40 to 7. I stayed on and built out operations and optimized the portfolio. It was a great way to cut my teeth on operations and get to tinker and satisfy my curiosity.

HF: How do you think you’ve changed since graduating from Holy Family?

Mark: It’s been 14 years, I lived in six different states, had many jobs and interacted with many types of people who have contributed to the diversity of my life experience. It’s taken me out of my comfort zone and has helped me develop a greater sense of empathy. I now have a better understanding of all the different struggles people and businesses have. This has helped me both personally and professionally. It’s improved my ability to listen and to make people feel heard.

HF: What kind of specific skills did you learn at Holy Family that helped contribute to your success?

Mark: Holy Family wasn’t only focused on the academics. It included a Catholic-based curriculum that taught many core values, including stewardship and building a high EQ (Emotional Quotient). As you make your way through life, you realize the true value of EQ. It develops empathy for others and allows you to hear what others are trying to communicate. Ultimately, empathy helps you to target actions for maximum impact.

HF: Which Holy Family teachers had the greatest impact on what you are accomplishing today?

 That’s a hard question. So many are dedicated and willing to help students outside the classroom. It sets Holy Family apart. All of my teachers there were willing to do that and enjoyed doing that. If I had to name a few, I’d say:

  • Gary Kannel (Math) and Jim Walker (Chemistry). They helped build the technical foundation to be successful in engineering and translate that knowledge to finance.
  • Jorge and Jena Oconitrillo (Spanish). They helped me take my Spanish to the next level, learning the stuff outside of the textbook. I was able to talk about current events and hold conversations all in Spanish. That had a huge impact and made traveling to other countries much easier and relatable.
  • Case Unverzagt (English). U taught me how to write and made me appreciate clean and effective communication.
  • Doug Bosh (Theology). He taught me a simple lesson: Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you make a mistake, course-correct and move past it, which is a useful skill.

It’s great to see so many of them still teaching at Holy Family.

HF: How has Holy Family helped you be successful in pursuing your dreams?

Mark: I haven’t felt that any doors have been closed in front of me, which is all you can hope for. That was one of the struggles coming out of Holy Family. There are so many doors open that it can be hard to choose a path. Many students may think they are making a definitive choice each deliberate step along the way. I’ve learned there are lots of different paths to success. Take a risk and do something you’re passionate about.

Finally, don’t forget to leverage the deep network of Holy Family alumni and parents.  We are more than willing to help get you in front of the right people so that you realize your dreams.

Click on the image below to read more about alumni in STEM careers.

Oct 21

Alumni Event: MNUFC vs LA

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The response to our Twins game ticket offer was so incredible, we decided to host another event! This time the offer is for special group ticket pricing to the Minnesota United’s last match in TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, October 21, 2018, at 4:00 p.m vs. Los Angeles Galaxy.  As an HF alum, you may purchase a ticket for yourself and one companion to the final Minnesota United home match of the season for only $20. There are 50 tickets available.  Contact Matt Thuli at thulim@hfchs.org for more information.

Join us for a pre-game gathering beginning at 2:00 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings near the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. Click here for directions to the restaurant. We hope you will join us, even if you are not going to the game!