1. Why did you choose SFHS for your child(ren)?
Dan Holleman (Dean of Students):
After my first year working at SFHS, my wife and I knew that Ryan would receive the best education possible if he attended SFHS. The teachers really do make a difference, and it was evident early on that they all put the students first. SFHS teachers treat all students as if they are their own children.
Kate Kolasinski '95 Doane (Performing & Visual Arts)
: I wanted my daughter to experience being part of this community, experience the personalized education we offer here, grow in her spirituality, and give her a challenge to rise up to.
Jeff Gerdeman '87 (Director of Technology): We chose SFHS for a variety of reasons, most importantly because St. Francis is a well-rounded institution with excellent academics, sports, performing arts, etc. There is a place for everybody. In addition, I take great comfort in the fact that SFHS is a place "where everybody knows your name." Teachers and classmates know - and care - about each other.
Lisa Ston (Mathematics):
The teachers and students build great relationships, which help the students flourish academically and beyond their years at SFHS. St. Francis provides an excellent education and an abundance of extracurricular opportunities, therefore each child can find something to get involved in. The community atmosphere at St Francis is so prevalent.
Peg Kopec (Physical Education):
Working at St. Francis gave me a bird's eye view at all of the wonderful opportunities provided to SF students. I saw the heart of the faculty and community and wanted that environment for my children.
2. Explain how your child thrived at SFHS. (i.e. amount of activities, pursued passion, etc.)
Chris Konchel (Business Office, Theater):
All 3 of my kids pursued a college degree based on a teacher or experience here at SFHS.
Patty Dahle (Science):
My sons thrived both academically and athletically. Matthew was involved in several activities, but his shining moment was running in the state competition for Track in the 4x4 Relay. He is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin Madison studying Statistics, Economics and Math. Michael was also involved in several extracurricular activities and also had shining moments. He ran in the state Cross Country competition and started the Video Game Club at SFHS. He is currently a sophomore at Central Michigan University where he is studying Computer Science.
Beth Erazmus '89 Wiborg (International Student Program):
Each of our children have thrived in so many ways. My oldest is now passionate about learning. The SFHS teachers were always available to help, and she became an advocate for her own education. My middle daughter has a goal to go into medicine, but she is enjoying participating in her business classes and participating in the stock market competition. My freshman is experiencing all things new (new teachers, new curriculum, new friends, new expectations), and the teachers are gently and compassionately helping him along his way.
Debbie Quirk (Advancement):
The size of SFHS lets a student be involved in more than one activity at a time, allowing them opportunity to explore, experience, and pursue their interests. Our four children participated in everything-from plays and musicals to sports, pastoral ministry, NHS, and math team.
3. How is/did SFHS prepare your child for college and beyond?
Mary McCarthy (Mathematics):
Our daughters were totally prepared for college. They had good study and time management skills. They also knew exactly how to ask for help, use the resources available at college, and advocate for themselves.
Kate Michel '92 Kowalski (Social Studies, English):
Without question, my daughter is being academically prepared for college, but she also is getting the part that is really important to me, which is learning acceptance of others, empathy for everyone, and appreciation for her blessings.
Mike Harper (Social Studies):
Both kids' college choices were/are everything they wanted. St. Francis' academic rigor really motivated my kids to work tremendously hard academically. Drew was accepted to every school he applied to and chose Syracuse as an architecture major. It is the 3rd ranked architecture program in the country. He made the dean's list in his recently completed freshman year. Margaret is in the application process currently and we are confident her choices will be many, thanks to her experience at St. Francis.
Katie Lembas (Mathematics):
Lily is currently a sophomore at Notre Dame and thriving beyond my expectations. She was able to go straight into Calc 3 after receiving a 5 on her AP Calc BC test. (Thank you, Math Department Teachers). She is very involved there as she was here and is pursuing a major in Civil Engineering (Thank you, Science Department Teachers). She also is in the Marching Band (Thank you, Performing & Visual Arts Teachers). She is using her degree in a service oriented way (Thank you, all of Religion & Pastoral Ministry) and was accepted as part of the Kellogg International Scholars and ND SEED programs. There, she will be doing research and writing grant proposals (Thank you, English English Department Teachers) to support her service in building a bridge in Bolivia next summer. Thank you, St. Francis, for providing all of the above mentors and knowledge allowing Lily to succeed in college and in life overall! I am thrilled for my younger children to have such mentors and a quality education.
4. In your opinion, what is the best thing about SFHS?
Tom Malouf (Religion)
: Community culture that is fostered by every department and the solid leadership.
Mari Myers (World Languages):
The commitment teaching the student as a whole, academically, spiritually, and personally.
St. Francis has so many gifts to choose from: faith, academics, athletics, and activities. The quality that truly unites all of these into the St. Francis experience is our great community. It is almost visual. We are encouraged daily to follow in the footsteps of Saint Francis and Saint Clare. Whether it is faculty, students, alumni, or parents, this caring community is truly inspiring.
John Schuller (Religion):
The primary reason I've sent my kids to St. Francis is to experience the wonder and joy of a Catholic education that fully integrates mind, body and, most importantly, Spirit. It is my hope and fervent prayer that my kids carry these St. Francis memories with them for the rest of their lives.
Joe Duffy (Business & Technology):
The best thing was and continues to be the dedicated faculty and staff that make SFHS what it is!
Mike Harper (Social Studies):
5. Any take-home insights about choosing SFHS for your children?
: Strong academics, amazing teachers, small size that allows opportunity to be very involved, retreats and service, the list goes on and on.
Jeff Gerdeman '87:
My oldest recently graduated from the University of Michigan, and I truly believe SFHS and its wonderful teachers prepared him for such a fine university. Meanwhile, my son John has done so well that he went from 1 honors class as an incoming freshman to 5 honors classes to start his sophomore year.
The best thing about SFHS truly are the teachers, coaches, and staff. Their teaching goes above and beyond the content in the classroom. They help to develop the whole person starting from day one. Whether it's going to a game, watching a play, completing service projects together and the many other extra things our faculty do, students are given the opportunity to shine no matter what their interests are. This is what separates us from other high schools, and I could not be more grateful for what they have done for my son.
Kate Michel '92 Kowalski:
It was the best gift I could give my children-to come here.