Praying for Oshkosh West community

By Grace Syson - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

On Dec. 5, the students and staff of Lourdes Academy held a prayer service during Knight Time for all those affected by the recent incident at Oshkosh West and the Oshkosh community.

According to the Oshkosh Northwestern, “ Tuesday morning, [Dec. 5] an Oshkosh West High School student stabbed a school resource officer, and the officer shot the student once, according to police. Both suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, and the school was locked down and evacuated. Classes on Wednesday were canceled across the Oshkosh Area School District."

According to Lourdes principal Dave Mikesell, the idea for a prayer service for the West community was first brought up by Calculus teacher Ronald Vandenhouten. The rest of the staff agreed that a prayer service was necessary, and they discussed ideas during a staff meeting and through emails, Mikesell said.

On the day of the prayer service, all Lourdes students and staff gathered in the Castle. Members of Tuesdays with Mary, a Lourdes men's faith group, and members of Refuge, a Lourdes women's faith group, led the school in reciting the readings of the day and a Rosary. Mikesell said, “It’s been a couple of years since the entire school has done a rosary dedicated together.”

Families outside of the Lourdes school system were also invited to the service; many families who could not attend sent prayers. In addition, students and staff of Oshkosh West sent cards thanking Lourdes for providing shelter to the panicked West students and staff when they fled their school during the frightening situation.

Junior, Brock Pecore was one of the students who read prayers during the service. “It was a sensitive topic for everyone, so being able to read some of the prayers was a special thing,” Pecore said.

It was a moving sight to see all who are a part of Lourdes come together to pray for friends, family, and the community.

Thank you letters sent by students and staff of Oshkosh West High School.

Deaf priest inspires religious students

By James Gross - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

High school religion teacher Aaron Hietpas welcomed Father Christopher Klusman, a deaf priest, into his religion classes to teach the students about the deaf community in the Catholic faith.

Hietpas said he met Fr. Klusman when he was in the seminary and Fr. Klusman was his professor. Hietpas said that he had an advantage over the other students in Fr. Klusman’s class. “I already knew how to sign before I met Chris. While teaching, Chris would have to voice the whole class (meaning that he had to speak) because nobody other than myself could understand sign language.”

Hietpas said, “After class, Fr. Klusman and I would talk, and we became really good friends.” Heitpas and Fr. Klusman kept in touch after the class, so Heitpas asked Fr. Klusman if he would come in and talk to his students.

“I wanted to bring in an extra perspective and an extra point of view of the Church and show the Church’s universality. Chris’ message was that there is a whole different culture in the deaf community with its own events, history, and culture," Hietpas said.

Fr. Klusman explained how to bring Christ into different cultures and to see where Christ is in the cultures, Hietpas said.

Junior Riley Studinski, a student in Hietpas’ class, said, “I found it cool how he [Fr. Klusman] was such a happy person and how he was proud of being deaf. He was super happy while teaching us sign language and telling us of the deaf community.”

Junior Will Pollack, another student who heard Fr. Klusman speak, said, “I hadn’t ever seen or talked to a deaf person before, and he was very nice and friendly which made the experience great.”

For some students, it was their first experience with a deaf person; however, being deaf has always been a part of Fr. Klusman's life. “Fr. Klusman was born deaf, and he grew up as the only deaf person in his family. His family learned sign language to communicate with him, but he also lip reads very well. It is very difficult for the deaf to lip read and to voice, but Fr. Klusman can do both,” Hietpas said.

According to Hieptas, Fr. Klusman works part-time at a high school in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee where he’s a priest. He is also the director of The Deaf Apostolate.

If you are interested in learning more about Fr. Klusman, you can view two videos from EWTN, a Catholic news broadcasting station. The videos are called “Hearing God” and “Hearing God Still.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pvBKEGabe4 - "Hearing God"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJCSLV7Swbs - "Hearing God: Still"

Fr. Christopher Klusman teaching the alphabet in sign language to Aaron Hietpas' class.

Lourdes Academy’s nutritional tragedy

By Regan Kraus - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

On Jan. 6, Lourdes Academy students and faculty said their goodbyes to several of their young friends.

The lettuce plants grown with the Fork Farms system in science teacher Carrie O’Connor’s lab were found dead at the scene and with no criminal evidence. Almost 250 lettuce plants died, and over 15 were injured. Sadly, all 15 injured patients passed away within the hour.

O’Connor was originally a suspect as she was the first person at the crime scene. She was later found innocent, and the crime was not believed to be a mass homicide. “I could not believe what I walked into on Monday morning. It was horrific,” O’Connor said.

The plants died of natural causes, but senior Keely Mains is unsure that O’Connor is truly in the clear. “I do not know if I feel safe at Lourdes with a murder suspect in the building. I heard that she [O’Connor] has a criminal record. She allegedly choke-slammed a student when he turned his homework in late,” Keely said.

Luckily, not all of the plants were found dead. There were six survivors, which O’Connor was kind enough to take in.

The Fork Farm hydroponic system is a gardening method which sections plants into individual compartments. A tank of water is connected to the bottom of the system and the water flows to each of the plants. Bright lights also help the plants grow into healthy crops.

Fortunately, the lettuce legacy will continue on. O’Connor is finishing the paperwork to adopt a new batch of baby seeds. Hopefully, these young ones will not remember the tragedy of their parents.

The aquaponic system is set up.

The lettuce plants enjoy a nice drink.

The lettuce plants sprout and prepare to be put in the Fork Farms system.

Coach Ruedinger returns to Lourdes basketball

By Raechel Russo - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Coach Dennis Ruedinger returned to coaching the Lourdes boys basketball program this season after leaving the head coaching position after the 2014-2015 season.

Ruedinger said, “Some family friends contacted me and told me the position was open.” Originally, Ruedinger applied for the assistant coach position but was offered the head coach job.

Ruedinger describes this year’s team as an “interesting dynamic. We have a competitive and naturally quiet group of young men,” he said.

The varsity team consists of mostly juniors and underclassmen but senior captain Caden Chier said, “He [Ruedinger] always tries to bring out the best player in all of us.” Chier has never played for Ruedinger before but describes him as a “very intense and competitive coach.”

Ruedinger has a passion for basketball. Ruedinger has been coaching basketball for 17 years including coaching as an assistant at the University Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Ruedinger said he has grown up on the basketball court. He played basketball at Neenah High School and continued his basketball career at the University Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

The Knights may have a new coach, but they have the same goal: returning to the Kohl Center.

Coach Dennis Ruedinger returns to coach the Knights.

Gavin Meyers: Student Representative

By Annie Schraa - Knight Writers

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Senior Gavin Meyers represents Lourdes Academy students at the 2019-2020 school board meetings as a student representative.

Meyers said he sits in on the monthly school board meetings with Junior Rudy Kuklinski and speaks on behalf of the student body to discuss the positive and negative aspects of student life at Lourdes. Meyers said he also updates the board members on the impacts of previous school changes along with the benefits and disadvantages they have on the students.

Not only does Meyers update the members on these changes, but he also informs them of changes he would like to see implemented within the school. Some of the issues Meyers said he has been a part of include dress code, student events, standardized testing, and parking lot changes.

Meyers said he feels that a school board is a necessary aspect for a school to improve its curriculum, student life, and other school hosted events. He also feels that student representatives are a vital part of a school board as the representatives bring in first-hand examples and personal opinions about the improvement of student life.

Gavin Meyers as a student representative on the school board.