Lourdes seniors commit to college sports

By Charleigh Reinardy - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - Four Lourdes seniors: Colton Clark, Ellie MacKenzie, Rachel Aasby, and Morgan Thiel signed their letters of intent on November 15 in the commons surrounded by friends and family.

Colton Clark has committed to the College of Lake County, about 15 minutes from Gurnee, Illinois, where he plans to major in criminal justice and play baseball.

Clark said he started playing baseball when he was about seven years old. Clark shared that he wasn’t very good the first four to five years he played ball until he was given the opportunity to play highly competitive baseball when he was 13 for the Wisconsin Panthers, a travel baseball team based out of Appleton. Clark said he was able to experience some top notch competition from around the midwest region of the country which helped him take his playing to the next level.

“I play for my grandpa,” Clark said. “He has spent over 400 hours on the road with me, and his dream was to see someone in the family play a sport past high school. He always knew I could do it.”

“Baseball has taught me many things, but the biggest characteristics it has given me is how to overcome and accept failure, how to take chances, and how to be a great teammate,” Clark said.

Ellie MacKenzie has committed to Ripon College, a small college with a community of about 800 students. MacKenzie will be a member of the volleyball team and hopes to study nursing or pre-med.

MacKenzie shared that she started playing volleyball at the age of 10 and began playing competitively at the age of 13.

“My parents have always been my biggest supporters,” MacKenzie shared. “They’re always at every game possible and do everything they can to make me the best that I can be."

I play [volleyball] because it gives me some sort of feeling, that to this day, I still can’t describe. It’s like joy and happiness but better. I love the sport with my whole life and just love being out on the court playing.”

Rachel Aasby has committed to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to continue her volleyball journey and to pursue a career in the medical field. Aasby expressed that she is excited to attend college at Oshkosh because several of her family members have attended UW-O, she felt comfortable while on campus, and being close to her family is very important to her.

Aasby said she was about ten years old when she started to play volleyball. “My dad has been my biggest supporter since day one,” Aasby said. “He came to all my practices, and he has been to all my games and tournaments since I first started playing.”

Aasby shared that volleyball has taught her how to work under pressure and how to work as a team.

“I play because I grew to love the sport, and it’s a stress reliever for me. Once I started club [volleyball] in seventh grade, I knew this would be my thing; it’s basically all I know.”

Morgan Thiel has committed to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she hopes to major in marketing, minor in political science, and has been given the opportunity to play volleyball at a high competitive level while staying close to home.

Thiel expressed her love for the big city of Milwaukee where she is excited to have many opportunities to receive professional internships.

Thiel said she has been playing volleyball since the age of ten.

“My biggest supporter is my mom,” Thiel said. “I play just to have fun and to have something to work toward. Volleyball has taught me that nothing is ever just about you; it is about playing for the person on the court next to you and having a good work ethic.”

Spanish III students dine at the Delta

By James Gross - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - On Oct. 31, high school Spanish teacher Steve Weber accompanied his third block Spanish III students to the Delta Restaurant in Oshkosh.

Weber has offered the Delta trip for his Spanish III students for 18 years, ever since he started teaching at Lourdes. The trip to the Delta is a tradition that students look forward to each year.

In order for the students to attend the field trip, Weber said they have to have a positive lunch account balance. In addition, the students have to write a reason for attending the trip. This year’s students decided their rationale for attending the trip was to practice Spanish writing skills by writing thank you letters in Spanish to the Delta after returning from the field trip.

The Delta Restaurant is a short walk from the school, so it is very convenient for Weber and his students to travel there. There is no need to hire transportation.

“Students brought their own money to pay for their meal, and although the Delta is known for its breakfast menu, none of the students actually ordered breakfast. Hamburgers were a popular choice for the students, and someone even ordered a salad,” Weber said.

Will Pollack, a sophomore in Weber's’ class, ordered a cheeseburger which was one of his favorite things about the trip. He also liked how friendly the service was, and Pollack said the students received 10 percent off their meal.

Mia Maslowski was another sophomore who attended the trip and said she liked the atmosphere inside the restaurant which she described as warm and friendly.

The favorite part of the field trip for Weber was socializing with the students out of the classroom settings.

Hopefully, this tradition is kept for years to come so more of Weber’s Spanish students can enjoy the Delta Restaurant experience.

Students experience ROTC training

By Ellie MacKenzie - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI- On Sept. 27, physical education teacher Stacy Smith and athletic director Kevin Wopat brought in ROTC personnel to run gym classes for both the high school and the middle school.

Smith said her Lourdes Academy students had never experienced a class like this before. Smith, however, said this was her sixth year offering her students this challenging experience as she formerly taught in the Neenah School District.

Working on upper body strength, coordination, speed and agility, and mental toughness, students were challenged to push through obstacles that they struggled with athletically.

From stretching to running to many new exercises, the students in the classes were always kept busy. One of the toughest challenges at the end of the obstacle was an army crawl where students were in a line holding a high plank, and, one-by-one, they had to crawl underneath the students holding up the planks.

According to Smith, “95 percent of the students said that they wanted the ROTC personnel to come back in again next year.”

Because of the students excitement, Smith said she is also trying to bring the ROTC personnel back into Lourdes with their obstacle course training later this year. The obstacle course for the next class is blown up and contains slides and ropes, among other challenging obstacles, Smith said.

“It’s definitely a challenge for students, but it is also very beneficial. Knowing the importance of exercising can help students in all aspects of life,” Smith said.

According to sophomore Jillian Bauman, “It made us push ourselves to the max and made us understand what the ROTC students go through.”

Not only did the students get a totally challenging workout, Smith said that following the training in the gym classes, a number of students sparked interest in joining the ROTC.

Junior English students and fifth graders become pen pals

By Maria Foss - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - Junior English students and fifth graders have been writing letters to one another to develop writing skills and to build relationships.

Each English student from the junior class has been paired up with a specific fifth grader with whom they have been exchanging letters during the semester. Periodically, the juniors and fifth graders meet to exchange a letter and to talk with each other.

Students decorate the handwritten letters which contain fun facts and questions about their lives and what they enjoy.

Fifth grade teacher Maddie Van Vreede decided to continue last year’s tradition of pen pals because she said that it is a great way to keep the school united all the way from the high school students to the middle school students.

“Coming into a new building can be kind of scary, so recognizing a big kid is pretty cool for them,” Van Vreede said. "I hope that the older students see how much of a role model that they can play in the younger students’ lives,” Van Vreede said.

High school English teacher Jennifer Pollack explained that for the juniors, writing to their pen pals is a great opportunity to learn how to be a role model for younger students. She also said that since writing letters is less prevalent in today’s world, writing to the young pen pals is a way to bring back the forgotten art of letter writing.

“There is something special about receiving a handwritten note and knowing that the writer took the time to put his or her thoughts down on paper. People don’t take the time to write letters anymore,” Pollack said.

The students seem to be enjoying the writing experience. “I love having a pen pal because it allows the high schoolers to connect with the younger kids, and we seem less intimidating to the younger students when they make their way upstairs,” junior Sophia Nielsen said.

“The fifth graders get excited about writing to their pen pals,” Van Vreede said. “ They obviously want to seem smart, so they work hard to edit the letter and to use their writing skills so that they can come across as intelligent in fifth grade,” Van Vreede said.

The juniors and fifth graders plan to have several fun-filled gatherings this semester including a show-and-tell, a Christmas party, and possibly a board game contest in the commons.

Female students are thankful for being female

By Ellie MacKenzie - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Oshkosh, WI- Lourdes Academy female high school students and teachers have the opportunity to attend a monthly group called Thank God We’re Female.

Thank God We’re Female, or TGWF, is student led by juniors Rebecca Geffers and Joely Hurkman. According to business teacher and co-facilitator of TGWF Kelly Carter, the female group is a mash between the two exclusive male clubs League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Tuesdays with Mary. Female students and teachers gather on the first Monday of each month to empower each other and to create a comfortable place to go at school, Carter said. TGWF was introduced to females at Lourdes last year, but has really taken off this year.

Geffers took notice of the impact of the male ministry group at Lourdes, Tuesdays with Mary, and felt it would be beneficial to create a similar group for females.

“I think that when it comes to women, we can grow in our faith together and become better women of Christ,” Geffers said.

According to middle and high school religion teacher and co-facilitator of TGWF Abigail Mikesell, “It’s important for women at our school to have a place to feel supported and offer a place where they can talk about topics specific to females.”

During meetings, students discuss what they want to see happen around the school and how they will attempt to make those changes. “Whatever is happening in students’ minds or in their lives is a good thing to bring to the table,” Mikesell said.

Senior Alexis Rolph said, “There are a lot of different ages in the group, so it’s fun to talk with people in different classes other than mine.”

TGWF has had a surprising turnout at the meetings, but current members encourage even more female students to attend.

The next meeting will be held on Jan. 7 where the group is hoping to discuss creating a feminine hygiene campaign.

Little Free Library installed at Knight’s Field

By Maria Foss - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - If you love free books or love sharing books, you will enjoy the new Little Free Library that has recently been installed at Lourdes!

Little Free Libraries are a global phenomenon. The small, outside libraries number more than 75,000 around the world and are located in 85 countries from Pakistan to Iceland. Now, a new Little Free Library at Lourdes Academy will join the movement to share books, bring people together, and create communities of readers.

The Lourdes Little Free Library was installed earlier this fall. It was officially declared open during a ceremony on Nov. 7 and is located near Knight’s Field.

“The idea of purchasing and installing a Little Free Library at Lourdes evolved last year when a few of the girls in the Literary Club asked if we could raise money for one,” English teacher and Literary Club adviser Jennifer Pollack said. “I thought the girls had a great idea, so we raised the money for the library through two jeans days.”

Pollack said that she hopes visitors, students, and their families who come to games at Lourdes will take advantage of the Little Free Library by either taking a free book or adding a book to the collection. Book donations for all reading levels are welcome, Pollack said.

Junior Literary Club member Joely Hurkman said that she is excited that the Little Free Library has been installed. She explained that this new library will be advantageous particularly to young students who love reading.

On Nov. 15, members of the Literary Club held a grand opening for the Little Free Library. Staff and students gathered near Knight’s Field to put their first books into the library and to celebrate joining the worldwide movement of Little Free Libraries. Junior Literary Club member Annie Schraa declared the official opening of the Little Free Library at Knight’s Field at the end of the ceremony. Afterward, a brief reception was held in Pollack’s room.

The Lourdes Literary Club is a high school club which meets once a month in Pollack’s classroom. The members of the club read a book chosen at a previous meeting. Then, they meet to discuss the book and pick a new book to read the following month.

Pollack said the purpose of the club is to keep reading “alive” within the high school students. Encouraging students to find value and fun in reading books, Literary Club promotes the joy of reading and the importance of literacy.

According to Pollack, the Literary Club tries to promote literacy in the community every year through some sort of event or activity. In the past, the Literary Club members have traveled to Lourdes Academy Elementary School to read books to the young students there. A few years ago, the Literary Club received a grant allowing them to buy books and supplies for the Winnebago County Literacy Council’s adult learners and for their mother and preschool group. This year, the members are happy to promote a love of reading through the installation and opening of the Little Free Library at Knight’s Field.

Remember to visit the Little Free Library often, and take a book or add a book!

Students explore careers through Scholars Day

By Maria Foss - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - On Nov. 19, Lourdes Academy high school students and staff participated in Scholars Day, a day to help students discover careers that they might be interested in pursuing.

“In past years, Scholars Day was an option,” principal David Mikesell said. “We would set the field trip up on an in-service day so that students could spend their afternoon at a career session if they chose to do so.”

Now that Lourdes Academy does not have in-service days in the schedule, Scholars Day is no longer available in the same way that it used to be.

“When Scholars Day was an option, it was always the same: 20 to 30 students taking advantage of the opportunity. By opening up the day to the whole school, we were able to expand who this opportunity was exposed to and give everyone a chance to see the different careers that they could possibly be interested in,” Mikesell said.

As in past years, Scholars Day offered many field trips students could attend including business, engineering, medical, and sports career sessions. A survey was administered to each high school student and staff member the previous week asking them to choose their top three choices from a list of 12 different sessions.

According to Mikesell, about 90% of the students and staff got their first choice as far as which career session they wished to attend or chaperone for the day.

One to two teachers chaperoned each group of students in a particular career session. Buses and cars were used to transport each group to the locations in which they would learn about a specific career type.

Many hands were involved in coordinating Scholars Day. Director of Institutional Advancement Karen Boehm was the contact coordinator and a helpful hand in organizing the day. Mikesell organized the bussing and transportation for students and managed the student forms and surveys. Another important coordinator, alumnus Mark Cordett, made many of the phone calls to businesses and career exploration locations.

Mikesell said that he hopes that Scholars Day was a chance for students to open their eyes to the world of careers and discover whether or not they are interested in a particular job field.

“Often, kids get through several years of college before they realize that they don’t want to pursue a certain career anymore. Something like this [Scholars Day] may either encourage students to pursue a specific career or learn that that career isn’t meant for them before they go to college,” Mikesell said.

The high school students seemed to enjoy the day and had plenty of positive feedback. Many students said that Scholars Day opened their eyes to careers and helped their interest in a specific job. According to other students, Scholars Day helped them to learn that the careers that they exploded are not meant for them.

“I enjoyed Scholars Day,” Junior May Dunn said. “I went on the medical scholars trip and learned all about the technology, which has become very advanced, that surgeons use in the operating room. It was really interesting to be able to go into an operating rooms and learn all about what doctors and nurses do.”

Senior Max Lippert, who attended the business scholars trip, also enjoyed Scholars Day. “I learned that good businesses hire people before finding out all of an employee’s talents.They hire employees and then decide how they can best use an individual’s talents to benefit the company, which I think is pretty interesting.”

Young men bond with God through Tuesdays with Mary

By Noah Ralofsky - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

OSHKOSH, WI - Lourdes high school male students, fathers, and staff grow closer to God and each other through weekly Tuesday’s with Mary meetings.

For the fifth year, Lourdes Academy has offered its male students Tuesday’s with Mary, a men’s ministry group, organized and started by 2016 Lourdes graduates: Christian Pecore, Jesse Boehm, Olivier Ndorimana, Ryan McBride, and Lucas Weber. Leading these former students was Boehm’s father Jim. These young men wanted to start a men’s ministry to grow closer to God and their fellow classmates.

Every Tuesday, high school boys and male faculty interested in attending Tuesday’s With Mary meet in math teacher Don Dineen’s room for lunch to discuss various issues pertaining to the Catholic Church. On occasion, Fr. Matthew and Fr. Tom from St. Raphael’s Catholic Church in Oshkosh attend to contribute to the discussions.

The meetings are started with a group prayer and then a student selected the week previous runs the discussion. The student talks about a topic of his choice and leads the open discussion afterward. All students and adults are encouraged to engage in conversation at any time to share their ideas. When the discussion is concluded, the meeting ends in prayer.

Dineen said, “As the year progresses, I can see the students becoming more comfortable expressing their ideas when they lead the discussions and when they contribute to another student’s discussion.”

Junior Keely Mains has been attending meetings since his sophomore year. Mains believes that both his faith and the friendships of the boys who meet at Tuesday’s with Mary becomes stronger.

“My relationship with God has strengthened ever since I started to attend the meetings,” Mains said. Even though Mains is not Catholic, he still enjoys attending Tuesday’s with Mary to talk about God, and he thinks it is interesting to learn about the Catholic teachings.

Sophomore Michael Tushar started attending meetings this year. He is Catholic, and wants to attend the meetings in order to know God on a more personal level. He too thinks the relationships with the boys who go strengthen through God.