School clubs exist for many reasons. The newest club at St. Mary’s High School, Students for Life, has a unique purpose: to promote life.
The Students for Life club kicked off in October, after Father Bill Carmody accepted the Marian Award. Carmody is the director of the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs’s Respect for Life office and has made the pro-life movement a priority in his life and ministry.
Mary Simmons, parent advisor for the club, said the vision for the club is to promote the sanctity of life from conception until natural death by planning, promoting, and participating in various pro-life activities. And although the club is in its early stages, Simmons said it has been well received by the students.
“Among the close to 50 students who immediately signed up for the club there was great representation from all four classes, freshmen through seniors,” she said. “That bodes well for a robust club that encompasses the entire student body while providing the depth that will be needed to carry on year after year.”
Senior Noah Larkin, vice president of Students for Life, said he joined in hopes of helping the club leave a lasting impact.
“I saw this as a way to help set an example and lead this generation that has such a huge impact on our world today and the direction that our world is moving,” Larkin said. “Respect for all life is not simply a church teaching but it is a moral principle that needs to be shown.”
Although the newly formed club has yet to set goals, Simmons said the Saturday after the club’s inception some students and parents participated in the candlelight prayer vigil with David Bereit, the director of the international “40 Days for Life” organization, outside a local Planned Parenthood facility.
Larkin said he hopes the Students for Life club will do more than just get involved in the pro-life movement.
“I believe SMHS should be setting an example,” he said. “That is exactly what I hope this club will do at St. Mary’s and in the community at large: set an example, just like Paul tells us to do in First Timothy 4:12.”
There are six officers for the club, all seniors. They are Sarah Kraus, Larkin, Anna Pepper, Beth Allen, Erin Geiger, and Jack Clavenna. School Chaplain Father Brian Roeseler is the faculty adviser.
“It’s wonderful to see the next generation of pro-life minded young people who are willing to stand up for life at all stages,” Simmons said.
By Amy G. Partain, Communication Associate
St. Mary's High School
Above, members of the new St. Mary's Students for Life club participated in a candlelight vigil outside a local Planned Parenthood facility in late October.
School choice: the relatively recent concept that families can choose a school that best suits their child. But those words have different meanings for teachers. For 10 St. Mary’s alumni who are teaching in Colorado Springs area Catholic schools, the choice was clear: Catholic education was where they wanted to be.
And these 10 teachers didn’t arrive at that conclusion based on what they’d only heard. Most of them have experienced both public and Catholic education, even if their exposure to public education was through student teaching or substitute teaching. And all said they’ve seen a big difference between Catholic education and public education. Citing everything from expression of faith to parental involvement, the teachers said the atmosphere in Catholic education is different.
St. Mary’s Principal Mike Biondini ’66 found his lifelong passion for education during his sophomore year in college. Then he spent 31 years teaching in public schools before returning to St. Mary’s in 2002.
“St. Mary’s always intrigued me,” he said. “I wanted to come back and give back in some small way for the start the school gave me. But I never thought I’d still be here, and being principal was never on my radar.”
Having spent extensive time in the public schools, Biondini said the sense of community is truly different. During his years as a student, Biondini said he wasn’t a very good student and at times got into trouble. But at St. Mary’s, he said everyone comes together to provide what the students need. That was the case during his time as a student at St. Mary’s, and Biondini feels it’s still true today.
“I wasn’t a straight A student, but I’ve still been productive in life,” Biondini said. “Now I see myself as an advocate for the average Joe. I wasn’t stellar in high school, but I found a place at St. Mary’s and still felt valued.”
The sense of community found in Catholic schools was something that all of the teachers mentioned. It’s a unique atmosphere in which all participants feel they are working toward common goals.
Almost forty years after Biondini graduated from St. Mary’s, Dillon Turpin’s class of 2003, graduated. Having attended Catholic schools for his whole school career, Turpin always thought he wanted to teach at a Catholic school. But spending time substitute teaching in the public schools served to solidify that decision.
“The parents here at St. Mary’s want to see their kids thrive and they want to know what they can do at home to help them do that,” Turpin said. “Parents are just more engaged here.”
For the Burkett family, Catholic education is a family affair. Kaitlyn Burkett ’06 teaches first grade at Pauline Memorial. Her sister Kelsey Burkett Vance ’03 teaches at Divine Redeemer and her father, Mike, ’71 coaches girls’ basketball at St. Mary’s. Kaitlyn Burkett said she’s known her whole life that she wanted to be a teacher but student teaching at a public school solidified her love for Catholic education.
“The sense of community in Catholic schools is so strong,” Burkett said. “To be a part of a community where you are fully supported and know that all of the students are supported and encouraged. It’s very significant.”
Veronica Benish Nuvolini ’84 and Michelle Bowen ’06 also see the community aspect of Catholic schools as a major difference. Nuvolini teaches fifth grade plus third and fourth grade science and social studies at Corpus Christie, while Bowen teaches seventh and eighth grades at Pauline Memorial.
Nuvolini said with smaller class sizes come the chance to not only get to know the students individually but to also know their parents and siblings. She said that family feeling at Catholic schools really makes a difference. Bowen agrees.
“I have 12 students in my class so I have an opportunity to know them and really make an impression,” she said. “As middle schoolers they are developing their character and truly becoming who they are meant to be.”
Bowen knows first-hand what kind of impact at teacher at a Catholic school can have on a student. It’s what she experienced at St. Mary’s during her first two years there.
“I was influenced heavily by Lois Chance, my freshman English and sophomore AP English teacher,” Bowen said. “She gave me the confidence that I could accomplish any goal.”
For Sean Mersman ’05, who now teaches at Divine Redeemer, the teacher who had the most impact was his high school math and physical education teacher, Mr. Luppino. He said that Luppino and his parents helped him always reach for greatness. Mersman believes that is the kind of support every student should have.
“I believe that every person should feel like they are important and could leave an impression on this world; whether it’s a small impression or a big one, because every bit matters,” he said.
Turpin said he knew in high school that he wanted to teach, and that choice was influenced heavily by his high school history teacher, Don Lupton,.
“He made history fun and it made sense to me,” Turpin said. “I became enthralled with history and majored in it in college because I knew I wanted to be a teacher.”
Of course, the faith element of Catholic education is an aspect that is obviously different from public education. And according to the teachers it is a large part of what makes Catholic education unique.
Catholic education was all Rebecca Keith ’99 knew growing up. But it was during the last year in her graduate program at the University of Colorado at Boulder that Keith got hooked on teaching. Before returning to St. Mary’s as a science teacher, Keith spent six years in public schools. That experience gave her a greater appreciation for Catholic education.
“I’m truly grateful to work here,” Keith said. “I know that the phrase “living the dream” is kind of cliché but it’s truly what I’m doing.”
For Keith, Mass is the best part of working at St. Mary’s. While the academics are more rigorous than public school, Keith said the faith component is key to what makes Catholic schools different.
“How do you teach your students to be good citizens without God,” Keith said. “Schools try hard, but to be successful at it God is needed.”
After attending Divine Redeemer and St. Mary’s, Michelle Senger Bowers ’93 never wanted to teach anywhere but a Catholic school.
“Once I attended a school Mass and saw how pumped the students are to be learning about God, I knew I’d never again teach anywhere else,” she said. “When you meet the students that attend Catholic Schools, they are truly different. They are humble, grateful, and loving: true models of Christ, which makes it so much simpler for the teachers as well.”
So the pasts of these teachers—growing up in Catholic education—certainly impacted their futures. Nuvolini credits St. Mary’s with beginning her love of Catholic education.
“St. Mary’s was really the beginning of my dedication to Catholic education as a whole,” Nuvolini said. “Catholic education raises the bar and I believe if you raise the bar higher, kids will meet the bar.”
And while Biondini, who attended public elementary and junior high schools, came to Catholic education later than some, that community continues to impact his life today.
“Since I’ve come back, St. Mary’s has given me more than I’ve given it,” Biondini said. “It’s renewed my Catholic passion. Whatever small token I’ve given to St. Mary’s has been returned 100 fold to me in my personal and spiritual life.”
By Amy G. Partain, Communications Associate
St. Mary's High School
Above, Kaitlyn Burkett, SMHS class of 2006, now teaches at Pauline Memorial Catholic School. She loves the community that comes with Catholic education.
One might not think that a former professional football player and high school students would have much in common. But when Mike McCoy, who played in the NFL for 11 years, spoke to St. Mary’s High School students on Tuesday, Oct. 29, he showed that they are similar.
Tom Harder, chair of the math department at St. Mary’s, said McCoy focused on how choices determine so much about our lives, regardless of what stage we are at in life.
“Mike’s major points to the kids were to live life gratefully; to remember the 3 Ds, which are ‘Decisions Determine your Destiny’; and that we’re not born winners or losers but rather choosers,” Harder said.
Michael Simmons, a sophomore at SMHS, said that McCoy talked about his NFL career, how it shaped his life, and about his struggles in the league. His talk also touched on how to avoid pressures and how to keep your focus on your goals.
“Mr. McCoy said that no matter what we pursue in life, it is important to give it everything that we possibly can,” Simmons said.
Harder said McCoy also challenged the students to read one chapter from the book of Proverbs each day.
McCoy attended the University of Notre Dame, where he was named the Catholic College Player of the Year. He was the No. 1 draft choice of the Green Bay Packers, and the second player drafted overall. He spent seven years with the Packers before playing for two years with the Oakland Raiders and two years with the New York Giants.
McCoy said while he was brought up in a religious family, his faith wasn’t really his own until he started playing professional football.
“When I got to the Packers, I met a teammate who helped me see that difference between religion and a personal relationship with Jesus,” McCoy said. “When I went back to church I found it meaningful and exciting.”
Simmons said that it was an inspiration to him to have McCoy relate his story to the life of a high school student.
“Him relating what he did to what we do now in high school even though he was a pro football player was definitely an inspiration to keep pushing and moving forward in everyday life.”
Above, Mike McCoy, fourth from left, spoke to St. Mary's High School students on Tuesday about life, decisions, and destiny.
Athletics are about more than winning and losing. That was the message the members of the 2013 St. Mary’s High School Athletic Hall of Fame class had for those gathered to celebrate the inductees on Friday, Oct. 25.
The third class of nine former athletes, coaches, and athletic directors spanning 60 years of Pirate athletics joined the 20 athletes who have already been inducted. The SMHS Athletic Hall of Fame honors those who have made outstanding contributions to St. Mary’s athletics either through participation or support and ensures that the history and traditions of the school are celebrated.
This year’s class of inductees certainly accomplishes the balance that former athletic director Ed Latimer said the committee strives for. They try to balance out the inductees to include athletes from a variety of sports, coaches, and supporters of Pirate athletics.
Inducted this year were: the late Father Michael Kavanagh, Jack Holvey, Richard Jewett, Anthonry DuCros, Jeanette Kelly White, David Grenardo, Ryan Taylor, Kathryn Runyan Hanshew, and Christopher Heilman.
Kavanagh was a supporter of Pirate athletics and served as athletic director from 1942 to 1955 when the school had only three sports. SMHS Principal Mike Biondini accepted the award on behalf of Kavanagh. “He is really responsible for our current athletic department, as the school’s first AD,” Biondini said.
Holvey, a 1950 St. Mary’s graduate, was inducted for football from 1947-1949, but was unable to attend the ceremony. Holvey set records for all-purpose yards, rushing yards, touchdowns, rushing touchdowns, and receiving yards. He also set a record for the longest kickoff return with a return of 96 yards. Latimer said Holvey was an excellent football player whose resume is worthy of inclusion in the hall of fame.
Jewett, a 1963 graduate, was inducted for both football and basketball from 1960-1963. Jewett was named to several all-city and all-state leagues in both sports. He was also voted the best all-around athlete and set Pirate records for 1321 yards rushing in a season and 6.1 yards per carry. Jewett said when came to St. Mary’s from Texas he was the only African American athlete at the school, which took some getting used to.
“Sports at St. Mary’s taught me discipline, and gave me the ability to enjoy good people,” he said.
DuCros, a 1972 graduate, was inducted for his outstanding basketball career from 1970-1972. He was all-state honorable mention, the Will Rogers League Scoring Champion with 23.85 points per game, and still holds the school record for points per game. DuCros went on to have a 36-year career in the Jefferson County public schools and he carried what he learned at St. Mary’s with him.
“My high school sports career gave me the ability to bounce back from trials,” DuCros said. “And my time at St. Mary’s instilled in me a rigor, an investment in learning, that I didn’t get any other place.”
White, a 1981 graduate, was inducted for her volleyball career between 1977-1980. White, who was unable to attend the ceremony, sent remarks that were read by Hanshew, her high school coach. In those comments, White said her success came with the help of her teammates and coaches. “I accept this honor with mixed feelings, as I really was not that much of a stand out when you take into consideration the talented women with whom I played,” White said. “We, as a group, were so much better than our individual parts.” White made first team 3A All-State Team in both 1979 and 1980, and received several other first team, including the first team Pikes Peak League and first team Gazette-Telegraph All-Area.
Grenardo, a 1995 graduate, was inducted for football from 1991-1994. He still holds the school record for kickoff return touchdowns with seven and the most field goals in a career with 10. Grenardo made the 2A Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post First Team in 1993 and 1994 and was named the 1994 Rocky Mountain News 2A Player of the Year. He was also named to the All-Southeastern Conference two years in a row (1992-1993) and named the 1995 Rotary Champion Overall Male Athlete of the Year and the Rotary Champions Football Athlete of the Year. An injury in the semifinal game limited his contributions in the championship game but that, and his football career as a whole, taught him many things.
“That championship game is an experience I’ll never forget,” Grenardo said. “When you face adversity and suffering, embrace it. God is preparing you for something even bigger so you can succeed in something amazing that’s coming, even if you can’t see it yet.”
Taylor, class of 1997, was inducted for football and track from 1993-1997. In 1997 he was the 3A state 800M relay champion and he made first team all-state in track. In 1996 he made the first team all-state in football, was named to the All-Colorado State Team in football, was twice named the Rocky Mountain News Player of the Week, and was the 3A State Long Jump Champion. Taylor said sometimes people asked him why he chose to go to a small school. “This was the right place for me,” Taylor said. “For me the academics and the religious pieces were what I felt would need in my life. I’m happy to be part of something much bigger than four years of high school.”
Hanshew is currently in her 35th year with St. Mary’s, but was inducted for her years as volleyball coach and athletic director between the years of 1977 and 1999. “When she took on the athletic director position in 1990 she was one of the first female ADs in Colorado Springs,” Latimer said. Hanshew said she has been blessed to be part of the St. Mary’s community. “What a wonderful ride it has been,” she said.
2004 graduate Heilman is the first Pirate wrestler to be inducted. Heilman was 2004 3A State Champion (103 pounds) and was named to the Denver Post First 3A-Team All-State. He was also a two time Tri-Peak Champion in both 2003-2004. But Latimer said what is unique about Heilman is the sacrifice he made for his fellow wrestling teammates. “As a senior Chris decided to go down to a lower weight class to give other teammates a chance to compete,” Latimer said. “It’s hard to do that and keep your weight down. That makes him unique.” Heilman, now an assistant wrestling coach at the college level, said he appreciates his time at St. Mary’s. “My time at St. Mary’s shaped me forever,” he said. “I have a huge appreciation for all of you.”
Alumni, coaches, administrators, and friends of Pirate athletics are eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame. Athletes must be five years removed from graduation to be nominated. For more information or to submit a nominee for the 2014 class, visitwww.smhscs.org/pages/St_Marys_HS/About_St__Mary_s/Athletics/Athleti....
Below, the 2013 SMHS Athletic Hall of Fame class poses with their plaques after the induction ceremony on Friday, Oct. 25.
Experiencing living history in school is usually reserved for special projects or field trip days. But St. Mary’s High School history teacher Anna Sanzo has found a great way to make history real for her students on a regular basis.
This year Sanzo is incorporating the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute program into her classes, thanks to a grant from the Good Sisters Trust. The program is used in conjunction with her curriculum text but Sanzo said it is interactive and works with all learning styles, incorporating things like music and math into history.
“It encourages students to be active learners,” Sanzo said. “They develop more critical thinking skills that help them be lifelong learners.”
For example, Sanzo said some of the activities put the kids in the place of historical figures. The students make decisions as the figure, and must have examples to support their decisions, and then see how those decisions would have affected history. But the best thing about the TCI curriculum, Sanzo said, is that it gets the whole class involved.
“Traditionally if we were studying a debate two students would get to actively participate in that event while the rest listened,” she said. “With this program they all respond and often they get really excited about it. I love seeing all of the students totally engaged in what they’re learning.”
Sanzo first heard about the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute while she taught middle school in California. Her district used it for middle school but at the time there wasn’t a curriculum for high school. Once she heard that a high school program had been added, she knew it was something she wanted to use at St. Mary’s.
With limited funds at private schools, Sanzo said she is very thankful for the Good Sisters Trust grant, which funded purchasing the curriculum. The Good Sisters Trust was endowed with money that remained when Sisters Valerie Usinger and Ann Monica Pierce, who both taught at St. Mary’s, closed the St. Vincent De Paul Society of Colorado. The trust, which is managed by the St. Mary’s Catholic Education Foundation, was established to benefit both SMHS teachers and students.
Sanzo said the TCI curriculum is definitely benefiting St. Mary’s students by enriching their study of history. She said history provides a link from the past to current situations, which is necessary for those who will be the nation’s future leaders.
“This program pushes them to be vocal and leads them to be who we want them to be,” Sanzo said. “They will be citizens of the world. As such they need to take everything they’ve learned in school into the world and make a difference.”
For more information or to learn about how you can support the Good Sisters Trust, contact SMHS Vice President for Development Matt Walter at 719-635-7540, ext. 38 or email@example.com.
By Amy G. Partain, Communications Associate
St. Mary’s High School
The biggest successes are usually accomplished by having a plan. This fall St. Mary’s High School President John Kraus unveiled a three-year strategic plan that will increase the school’s well-established success.
The purpose of the strategic plan, according to Kraus, is to provide the vision, strategies, and goals that will guide improvements to the school during the next three years. Kraus decided to go with a three-year strategic plan—instead of the usual five- or 10-year plan—because it forces work to begin on the plan right away.
“With a three-year timeline we have to work on it right now,” he said. “These are critical issues for the school that we cannot afford to postpone.”
The Strategic Plan addresses five critical issues facing the school. They are: reinforcing the Catholic identity; building on academic excellence; achieving financial stability; developing student life; and improving infrastructure.
To reinforce Catholic identity, St. Mary’s will work to strengthen the relationships it has with the parishes in the Diocese of Colorado Springs, increase the services of the SMHS chaplain, and implement some changes to the school’s community service requirement. Work on this issue started in August when SMHS chaplain Father Brian Roeseler began keeping part-time hours on campus.
While St. Mary’s is already known for its academic excellence, the plan calls for academic innovations, especially in technology. As part of the plan, online classes will be offered and a wireless infrastructure will be put in place. Work will also be done to retain and empower high-quality faculty members.
The third area to be addressed by the plan is financial stability. Stability involves increasing enrollment and increasing giving. The enrollment piece will be addressed using relationships with parishes, marketing plans, and retention. Enrollment, retention, and development plans are being created to guide the progress.
“We want to offer our education to more students and are looking to increase our enrollment by 20 percent in three years,” Kraus said. “We feel like we offer the education that our community needs to have in its future leaders.”
One group that Kraus would like to energize in support of the school is alumni, which will include conducting alumni gatherings outside of the Colorado Springs area as well as introducing alumni to the current student body.
“We want to bring more alumni back to campus,” Kraus said. “We want them to be excited about their continued association with St. Mary’s.”
The issue of improving student life includes increasing education on integrity issues, such as cheating, bullying, and the use of alcohol and drugs. Another goal is to optimize student retreats and include some summer faith-development opportunities.
The fifth issue addresses the school’s facilities, especially in relation to the science classrooms and labs since right now St. Mary’s students are “outperforming” the school’s facilities. Kraus said that much of the science wing equipment was moved from the old campus downtown decades ago.
“We have lots of dreams for the school but our main facility dream is a floor to ceiling renovation of the science rooms,” he said. “Over the years we’ve made some upgrade in materials through grants and donations, but a total makeover is needed to advance our facility to the next level.
While Kraus initiated the plan, the planning process has been a collaborative work between Kraus and the school’s board of directors with input from the greater St. Mary’s community. Kraus said subcommittees are now working on ways to advance the plan, and this month talks with the diocese and parishes begin.
Twice a year Kraus will give a progress report to the board, and the plan can be modified, if necessary. The process for creating the strategic plan takes about one school years, so work on the next strategic plan will begin in 2015.
Dreams are often filled with goals that might seem unattainable. For many being a published author is one of those “maybe someday” dreams. But for Charlotte Meert being a published author is a dream she attained only a few months after graduating from high school.
Meert, a 2013 St. Mary’s High School graduate, published her first novel, The Cause, during the summer before starting her freshman year of college. She began writing the story while in high school after wondering what would happen if spies came to the United States posing as high school exchange students. From there the characters sprang to life for her.
“The plot follows a team of young Russian spies who pretend to be exchange students in the US in order to fulfill a mysterious mission,” Meert said. “Of course, everything disintegrates rather quickly and their world and their beliefs are challenged as never before.”
The rough draft took about seven months to write. Meert credits her high school English teacher, Mrs. Bills, with pushing her in her writing and encouraging her along the way. For many writers the writing is the easy part, while getting accepted by publisher is the hard part. But for Meert the next step came easily. One day she was bored and looking around the Internet when she decided to submit the manuscript to a random publisher.
“I submitted my manuscript online and waited, never thinking that they would take me,” she said. “I was ecstatic when they said they wanted me! I have to admit, being published feels rather wonderful! It was always my dream, and to have that come true so quickly was a truly amazing experience. It’s rather scary at the same time, since I’m always nervous about people not liking my work, but it’s part of the thrill too.”
Once she had a publisher, the editing began. It included three months of editing with a professional and another six months of editing and formatting the book with the publisher. The book was published in the late summer under the name C.M. Meert, and now Meert waits to see how the book will be received and that it sells.
“I just really want to give people a book they will love,” Meert said. “It’s a bit presumptuous, I know, but I want my characters to be known and loved because through them, I feel known and loved too.”
In August, Meert enrolled at Carroll College in Montana, majoring in psychology. While that might seem a strange major for a published author, Meert said her psychology classes help her write realistic characters, especially villains. While college life is busy, Meert is working on a new book; a new story line that she’s really enjoying.
Her advice to budding writers is to have passion about your ideas because that passion comes through in the words used.
“If you love what you’re writing, if you’re so head over heels for your characters that you think about them constantly, and every moment away from your writing is torture, then I guarantee that no matter what you write, it will be wonderful,” she said. “If you don’t like what you’re writing, no one else will either. If you’re bored, readers will be too. You really, really have to love it. And if you love it, you can be published, simple as that.”
By Amy G. Partain, Communications Associate
St. Mary's High School
Above, Charlotte Meert, center, held a few book signing events in the Springs for her book The Cause before she started college in August.
Golf has been described as a good walk spoiled. But the golfers who participated in the 2013 St. Mary’s High School Golf Classic would argue that point. This year’s event, held at the Country Club of Colorado, brought together alumni, parents of students past and present, school faculty and staff, and other supporters to enjoy a fun filled day.
Tournament chair Penny Heiniger said the event continues to grow and that this year there were more golfers, more sponsors, and more money raised.
“This year we had 112 golfers, including many new participants and lots of returning ones,” she said. “We also had lots of new tee sponsors this year to add to the many that returned as sponsors.”
Three of those returning golfers came away as the overall winning team. The team consisted of three 1984 St. Mary’s graduates—John McGrath, Mark Benson, and Tim Clune—and a friend, Mike Strum, who did not attend SMHS.
“Every time we have played we have had great time,” Clune said. “This year was a lot of fun and the course was in great shape. The tournament seems to get better every year.”
For McGrath, the Golf Classic is something he started participating in while in high school.
“I’ve probably played in over a dozen; my first one in 1981,” McGrath said. “Each of us on the golf team worked the tournament each year during high school, usually filling in for open spots on teams that needed a player.”
McGrath was the 1983 state golf champion and said that 30 years after winning that title it was great to win the Golf Classic.
“It’s great to win every once in awhile,” he said. “But this tournament is about fun golf and teamwork with friends and helping out the school.”
Benson said their foursome has been close to winning before, and even lost out in a tiebreaker a couple of years ago.
Both McGrath and Benson said the tournament has been consistently good over the years they’ve participated and this year was no different. Both liked the venue, and were happy to see the tournament back at the Country Club of Colorado.
“The field was full this year, and it was great to see the tourney back at Gates, where we held it for so many years,” McGrath said. “This was our home course during high school and it brought back many memories.”
Heiniger too was pleased with the venue and was thankful the weather cooperated.
“That morning it was colder but the weather worked with us and by tee time it cleared up and was beautiful,” Heiniger said.
In addition to new sponsors and new faces on the course, a new award debuted this year as well. It’s the Best Bowling Score award—given to the foursome with the highest score. Winners of the award received one-hour swing evaluations for each member of the foursome.
After the tournament the golfers gathered for dinner, awards, and a silent action. This was Heiniger’s first as chair of tournament and she’s pleased with how the tournament went.
While final numbers on funds raised aren’t yet in, Heiniger said based on other numbers being up—the number of participants, tee sponsors, and participation in other programs, for example—she knows the final net amount raised will exeeed $25,000.
But Heiniger isn’t going to sit back and be satisfied with this year’s success. She’s already thinking about ways to make next year’s event even better. One way she’s doing that is to start planning earlier, which means the first meeting to plan next year event is happening soon.
Benson and McGrath said they would encourage other alumni and those connected with the school to participate.
“Regardless of your golf ability, you should come out and just have fun,” Benson said. “It’s a great way to support the school and see the quality of individuals that graduate from St. Mary’s.”
McGrath said that one of his favorite parts of the tournament is getting to see his old classmates, although one highlight from this year’s tournament was the 80-foot putt he make on hole 5 for an eagle.
“Call up old classmates and get an alumni team going,” he said. “It’s fun, the course is great, the food is great, and the school benefits. ’84 will be looking to repeat, so bring you’re A-game.”
Money raised from the golf tournament goes to help fund the school’s Tuition Assistance Program, which enables students to attend St. Mary’s who couldn’t otherwise financially afford to do so.
By Amy G. Partain, Communications Associate
St. Mary's High School
Above, the foursome that took the overall award at the Golf Classic included three alumni from the class of 1984. Classmates John McGrath, Mark Benson, and Tim Clune, along with friend, Mike Strum, were excited about their win.
In a society where people are looking to be noticed, Father Bill Carmody is an anomaly. His goal: to be like a used penny that is always there but often goes unnoticed. So when he learned that he was to receive the 2013 Marian Award given by St. Mary’s High School, he was kind of embarrassed.
“I’m not big on awards,” he said. “My goal is to be taken for granted. Instead of having whatever work I do shine the light on me, I want it to shine the light on Christ.”
But Tom Resman, the SMHS board member who nominated Carmody, feels he is certainly deserving of the honor. Resman said Father Bill’s work with youth and in protection of the unborn are two areas where his unselfish service shines.
“Over the years, Father Bill has counseled and supported many young women who were in desperate situations due to unplanned pregnancies and helped them bring their children into this world,” Resman said. “He also loves working with young adults and teenagers and has served as spiritual director on many weekend retreats.”
Carmody, pastor at St. Dominic Catholic Church in Security, said his work with the prolife movement began after he unenthusiastically became involved in another activist movement. While he’s always been prolife, Carmody said it he had not been outspoken about it until he had an enlightening moment.
“There were plans to build a shopping center in our neighborhood and my uncle didn’t want it. I didn’t really care about it,” he said. “So he was protesting against the shopping center, and since I wanted to be with my uncle, I was taking my turn during the protest. It was then that I realized that I was protesting about something I didn’t care about, while I’d never protested against an abortion clinic.”
That day things changed for Carmody, and he became outspoken about his prolife views.
Carmody’s work with youth started before he entered the priesthood during his tenure as a high school teacher. During his teaching career, Carmody said he saw that he had a gift for working with kids and decided that wasn’t something that he should let go after joining the priesthood.
Resman said he can testify to the fact that Carmody’s good work with youth predates his call to the priesthood.
“I knew Father Bill even before he was ordained as a priest,” Resman said. “Ever since I’ve known him, he has worked tirelessly with the youth in our community and encouraged them to live moral lives according to the teachings of Christ.”
Today encouraging chastity is a focus of his work with the youth. Carmody said that while he’ll always be prolife, he would love to work himself out of the job of protesting abortion.
“I’m radical in the true since of the word,” Carmody said. “Radical means root and I want to get to the root of the problem. Abortion is a symptom of the problem; not living a chaste life is the root. If everyone lived chaste lives, abortion would go way from lack of business.”
St. Mary’s President John Kraus said the Marian Award is given in honor of Mary, the patroness of the school to whom the school consecrates all it does.
“Mary’s total gift of herself to serve God is the model of service to the church that this award celebrates,” he said. “And Father Bill has lived this model of service especially as he leads his parish and leads the diocesan pro-life office.”
In true Carmody style, the priest plans to use receiving the Marian Award to encourage others to get involved in the prolife movement.
“Without the right to life, no other rights matter,” Carmody said. “The basic right to life is fundamental.”
One way he’ll encourage others to be involved is to help lead the new Prolife Club at St. Mary’s. Kraus said while many in the St. Mary’s community are already involved in the prolife movement, involvement is something the school wants to encourage.
“Our kids learn about the church’s prolife stance in theology class and I know they’ll be excited to put that into action.”
The club will kick off on Oct. 22, immediately after Father Carmody receives the Marian Award.
While others recognize the impact that Father Carmody has had on the community, he doesn’t focus on it.
“I think when I get to heaven, I’ll fully know the impact I had on the world,” he said. “Until then, I’ll try to stay under the radar.”
By Amy G.Partain, Communications Associate
St. Mary’s High School
Past Marian Award Winners
Leo Smentowski, SMHS class of 1954, 2001
Father Rawley Myers, 2002
Andrew Middlemist, 2003
Leonard L. Buresh, 2004
Betty Elliott Faricy, SMHS class of 1970, 2005
John D. McCord, 2006
Bambi Venetucci, 2007
Don Mersman, SMHS class of 1971, 2008
Thomas S. Kelly, 2009
Bishop Richard C. Hanifen, 2010
Chuck Murphy ’54, 2011
Leroy Hoelting, 2012
Teaching is not a glamorous profession or something one does to get rich. No, teaching is more like a calling; it’s a desire to impact lives in a way few other professions can. The impact that Tom Harder, chair of the math department at St. Mary’s High School, has made on his students led to him be a recipient of a 2013 Boettcher Teacher Recognition Awards.
Harder was nominated for the award by his former student, Ben Cloud, a 2013 graduate of St. Mary’s High School and recipient of a 2013 Boettcher Foundation Scholarship. Cloud said he took careful consideration when deciding which teacher to nominate for the award.
“I looked at all of the teachers who had made a difference in not just my education, but also my formation as a young man,” Cloud said. “I also thought about how other students felt about each teacher, because I believe that the award should go to someone who makes a different in many lives, not just mine.”
Cloud said Harder was the one who stood out because he feels that Harder is more than a teacher. Cloud said Harder was his basketball coach for two years, in addition to being his math teacher. And while Cloud learned many lessons from Harder during those two years on the court, he said he chose Harder because of his teaching ability. Cloud said Harder is able to present any level of math in an understandable way that keeps students engaged.
“There is a special knack to being a teacher, and Mr. Harder has it,” Cloud said. “Mr. Harder brings passion to academics; he makes students excited to learn new lessons and challenge themselves, and he is there to support them along the way, and maybe even feed them with a little bit of his world-class cooking.”
But Cloud said that Harder’s impact goes beyond the class room. Harder urges students to hold themselves to the highest standards no matter what they are doing.
“Mr. Harder taught me mathematics, no doubt, but he also taught me responsibility. I learned from him that often the hard choice and the right choice were one in the same,” Cloud said. “With that came the lesson that no matter how trying a situation may seem, we are never alone. Mr. Harder is a man of true character, and serves as a role model for all his students.”
Harder said this is the first time he’s been recognized by the Boettcher Foundation. He and the other teachers were recognized at an awards ceremony this summer at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Each teacher received a plaque and a $1,000 grant to be used on educational programs that will benefit their students.
“I am fortunate to teach at St. Mary’s, which is a community where we have so many talented students” Harder said. “I plan to use the money to purchase STEM technology hardware for math classrooms.”
By Amy G. Partain, Communications Associate
St. Mary's High School
Above, SMHS teacher Tom Harder and 2013 graduate Ben Cloud enjoy the Boettcher Teacher Recognition Awards ceremony at the Denver Botanic Gardens this past summer.