Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Monday, February 8, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

SJB Ravioli Dinner 2016

Home : Parish/School Life : Parish and School News
5/1/2013 1:54:00 PM
Graduates of newest Catholic school first 'all the way through' class
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Eighth grader Elizabeth Friesen helps Jack Trapp and Ali Oliveira sing during Mass.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
Eighth grader Elizabeth Friesen helps Jack Trapp and Ali Oliveira sing during Mass.
Eighth graders pray before lunch.
Eighth graders pray before lunch.
+ view more photos
Eighth grader Alicia Hannigan helps a student return to class after Mass.
Here are the graduates:
Nate Mooers, Max Retzlaff-Barrett, Joey Biever, Bethy Friesen, Joe Engstrom, Ben Wiren, Adam Johnson, Alex Tranquill, Alicia Hannigan, Suzie Geisler, Brooks Peden, Lauren Watson, Mary Smith, Claire Dempsey, Spencer Curzon, Nicole Bardon, Ian Erwert.


Ed Langlois
Of the Catholic Sentinel

SHERWOOD — Students who entered Oregon's newest Catholic school as kindergartners in 2004 are about to graduate. Though not everyone at St. Francis Parish favored the $2 million building project then, this class makes a good case that it was worthwhile.

"We can say of them, 'These kids are a product of St. Francis School,'" says Lori Haugsten, who has taught at St. Francis since it opened and now is the eighth grade homeroom teacher. "They are just a fabulous class."

Of the 17 eighth graders, most will go to Valley Catholic. Two will attend Jesuit and one apiece will go to Central Catholic and Blanchet. Others are bound for Sherwood and Tualatin high schools. Some favor drama and choir, others computers and robots. A handful are athletes. About half are involved in student government. Many do it all. The entire group is community-minded.    

"What amazes me about these eighth graders is their focus on giving back," says Kimberly Fadden, principal of St. Francis.

The class, on its own, decided to don sturdy old clothes and wade into surrounding thickets to retrieve playground balls that have gone astray. Eighth graders also deliver milk to the lunchroom, manage recess equipment and go on weekly visits to a nearby retirement center.  

"This is their school and they feel a great sense of responsibility," Fadden says, explaining that seeing beyond oneself is precisely what she hopes for in graduates.

Many Catholics interpreted the opening of St. Francis School nine years ago as a sign that their church's ministries can abide in tough times. Classes began just months after the Archdiocese of Portland entered bankruptcy. "It has been a source of confidence for all of us,” Catholic schools Superintendent Robert Mizia said at the time.

Parents were excited that their quickly growing suburb had a school that mixed faith and academics — and had small classes. St. Francis opened with 140 students. It now enrolls more than 190, but still has classes much smaller than local public schools.

Ten of the eighth graders have been at St. Francis since it opened. Over the years, the class has had highs and lows. Home life has been a struggle for some. But the students always respected each other and welcomed new classmates warmly. Now, they're ending on a strong note.

They fondly recall the day at Outdoor School when one of them fell into the pond. They laugh hard when they remember how the legs of a lunch table gave way and dishes cascaded onto the floor. The call to mind playing "Star Wars" tag at recess and the semester when the girls begged two of the boys to join an a cappella choir.

The common history binds these students, who say they all at once feel ready to move on and wistful to leave.   

"The class has gotten more funny," says Suzie Geisler, who will attend Blanchet next year. "We've gotten comfortable with each other, like family."

"We've always been the same kind of happy," says Joe Engstrom, who will be a Valley Catholic freshman in the fall. "We all treat each other pretty well." Joe recalls the first day of kindergarten in 2004, when his father dropped him off and he made friends quickly. He also was shown to a square on the carpet where he was to sit during story time. That square is still there.

Joey Biever arrived in fourth grade and felt a relieving sense of welcome. He'd been bullied at his former school in Florida. On top of that, the academics at St. Francis seemed more advanced, which inspired him. Joey also feels spurred on by the education in virtue. "You see someone get a certificate for kindness and you think, 'Maybe I should be more kind," he says.

Faith is the infrastructure of the eighth grade day. At weekly Mass, the elder students sit with kindergartners and teach the ways of respectful worship.

Father Ysrael Bien, administrator of the parish, gave a homily on kindness at a recent school Mass. That affirmed the project in which students focus on one virtue per month. Those who exemplify virtues get called up after Mass to receive congratulations, squirming and smiling.

In religion class, eighth graders are learing about church history, plus family life and relationships. Sixteen of the 17 are Catholic and one is Lutheran. In a bit of religious good humor at a recent class retreat, the lone Protestant made a pretense of trying to convince his Catholic schoomates that he worships a moon deity.  

The eighth graders, whatever their faith, pray before lunch and even before gym class. They just plain participate.  

"Some eighth graders I've taught in the past think they're beyond this class, but not them," says Jennifer Highberger, the P.E. teacher. As Highberger speaks, the eighth graders joyfully run three laps to warm up before playing volleyball.

Starting a new school was more difficult than most adults here imagined. Gathering supplies, forming policy and creating tradition all took time. Some families left in those formative years. But now, the school is nicely established, say teachers and parents, pointing to the class of 2013 as proof.

"They are good students who are serious about their studies," says Vicky Smith, who knows the class in two ways. She is the mother of an eighth grader and also has been the middle school math teacher since St. Francis opened.

"They are very close, and very supportive of each other's endeavors," Smith explains. "They are not perfect. They have had kid issues. But they have grown up together."  

After the hard work and uncertainty when the school opened, it has become what Smith dreamed — stable and thriving.

"It's a wonderful extension of the parish," she says. "It pulled families together and brought a great sense of community." Students not only serve at the altar, but are members of the social action committee and other parish groups.

Kim Mooers, first grade aide and mother of an eighth grader, says she was frightened to start a new school in 2004, but the result has exceeded expectations.

"This group of kids came into a school that was new and they became like siblings," Mooers says. "They drove each other to be better."





Advanced Search










Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved