Student leaders answer questions about academics, grace and values taught in schools

One student leader from each diocesan Catholic high school was asked to respond to a series of three questions. The following students responded: Logan Capesius is a student at Bishop Garrigan High School in Algona, Jake Heidenreich is a student at St. Edmond High School in Fort Dodge, Jadie Knobbe is a student at Kuemper High School in Carroll, Alec Langel is a student at Gehlen Catholic High School in Le Mars, Katie Lenhart is a student at St. Mary’s High School in Storm Lake, Catherine Russell is a student at St. Mary’s High School in Remsen, Mary Volz is a student at Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City.

How have the strong academics in your school prepared you for the future?

Capesius: At Bishop Garrigan, the standards are very high for academics. From my own personal experience at the high school, I have noticed how hard the teachers push every student to be the best versions of themselves day in and day out. Not only does this promote good grades, but it also promotes a good work ethic. If there is anything that can build character and point toward success in our world, it’s a good work ethic. This is precisely why Bishop Garrigan’s academic system has led me to a greater and brighter future.

Heidenreich: The education I have received at St. Edmond has been extremely beneficial. Our teachers challenge students in order to prepare them for life outside of high school. I am very thankful for the education I have received.

Knobbe: The strong academics that occur at Kuemper Catholic have greatly prepared me for the rigorous coursework I will experience in college. The tougher grading scale that Kuemper has, an A being 96%, challenges students to strive for high excellence.

Langel: Going to a Catholic school has allowed me to excel both academically and spiritually by giving me a more individualized learning environment.

Lenhart: The strong academics instituted in my school have prepared me for the future in my academic career and also my life in general. It has been instilled in me to try my hardest and put in a lot of effort in order to succeed, which will be good qualities to have as I move on from high school.

Russell: The teachers push us to our full potential and have made me realize what I am capable of. If my teachers hadn’t made me work hard to get good grades, I wouldn’t be so determined to succeed in college.

Volz: Heelan’s challenging academics have helped influence my decision for a school next year.  I am positive that the competitive environment that I have had the honor to learn in will be the foundation of my future success.

What have Catholic schools taught you about God’s grace?

Capesius: With the amount of God’s grace we receive every day, we try to use all that grace to the best of our ability at Bishop Garrigan. The Bible says: When much is given, much is expected in return. For us, that means that we have to try to accomplish God’s mission with every possible resource we have. One way the Bishop Garrigan family attempts to do that is with the money we have raised to buy goats for Haiti. We strive to do our part in God’s plan by using the grace we are given to benefit the ones who aren’t as fortunate as we are.

Heidenreich: Going to a Catholic school has given me a privilege most students don’t receive. Every day, we are reminded and taught of the everlasting love God grants us. We are taught that no matter the obstacles and challenges life throws our way, God’s grace will always be available.

Knobbe: Catholic schools have taught me about God’s grace being everywhere in each one of us. God’s grace is willingly given to each one of us by God when he gave his only Son to die on the cross for us to have eternal life. God’s grace is something given not earned.

Langel: My school has taught me that God’s grace will help me in all aspects in my life if I allow it to do so.

Lenhart: Going to a Catholic school has taught me that God’s grace is all around us. In class, in the community, in the relationships you make within those places, and realizing God’s grace is all around me allows me to really appreciate it more than if I did not go to a Catholic school.

Russell: Catholic schools have taught me that God’s grace is extended to everyone, but we are so fortunate to be able to share that grace with each other every day. I’ve learned that a personal relationship with God is so important, and that’s a better lesson than any textbook could teach me.

Volz: Heelan has done an excellent job with helping me open my eyes to God’s abilities and plan for my future. I have seen his works through others, and I am thankful for the personal relationship I have been able to build with him.

 What values have you learned at Catholic schools that you believe will positively impact your future?

Capesius: The last way our Catholic school has led me to a better future is the knowledge that I will always be able to fall back on my faith. Everyone goes through tough times in their life. We can use those difficult experiences to impact ourselves in either a positive or negative way. I know that when I lean on God during the tough times in my life, I become a stronger and better person because of it. Since he has given me the grace to attend a Catholic school, I am able to better understand that I will always be able to rely on him, especially when life becomes difficult. There are so many reasons why I am glad to be a part of Bishop Garrigan. Perhaps the most important reason is that I am able to continue on my journey of faith every day in a Catholic school.

Heidenreich: One of the values I have learned during my time at St. Edmond is that all life deserves respect. I also learned that in order to achieve true happiness in our lives, we must fulfill our duties as servants of Christ.

Knobbe: Values that I have learned at Kuemper Catholic include finding God in everyone and to never judge a book by its cover. These values will positively impact my future for when I am making new friends at college and finding a new sense of belonging. I have learned to look towards God in difficult moments and to always remember where you came from.

Langel: The values I learned about character and service at Gehlen will help me to become a leader in the future throughout whatever I aspire to do.

Lenhart: The values I have been fortunate enough to learn throughout my time here at St. Mary’s are ones that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Values such as living my faith, treating everyone as equal, and doing service to help others are all values that have flourished within me while going to a Catholic school, and things that will not only have a positive impact on me in the future, but also have a positive impact on others.

Russell: The most important value I am going to be taking away from St. Mary’s is the value of serving others. We are always taught to put others before ourselves. I am also going to walk away from St. Mary’s knowing the sanctity of all life, and how it is up to the young generation to keep that sanctity known to people in the future.

Volz: A Catholic education has enabled me to value my faith and appreciation for others.  It has also taught me to be thankful for the talents God has given me and use them to my full potential.


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