Category: Featured Stories

Super Bowl Champion and former Viking, Matt Birk, to speak to Sacred Heart School Students

Super Bowl Champion and former Viking, Matt Birk, to speak to Sacred Heart School Students


Sacred Heart School is pleased to announce the implementation of their DAY-ONE Program. DAY-ONE serves to invigorate and excite students about the coming year and to encourage them to be open to everything a Catholic education and Sacred Heart School has to offer.

2008 Minnesota Vikings vs Indianapolis ColtsThis year’s DAY-ONE Speaker will be Matt Birk. Birk, a former Minnesota Viking, Super Bowl Champion with the Baltimore Ravens and current Director of Player Development for the National Football League will be speaking to Sacred Heart students in grades 5-12. He will deliver an upbeat and motivational message to kick off the school year. Birk is a graduate of a Catholic High School, Cretin Durham Hall in the Twin Cities, and will be delivering a message to help our students understand the gifts that are being given to them here at Sacred Heart School.

Birk will speak to SHS students in grades 5-12 at 2pm in the Merth Gymnasium on Tuesday, Sept. 8th. All Sacred Heart parents,  grandparents, and Sacred Heart parishioners are invited to attend the event.

In addition to the guest speaker, on the first day of school high school students will gather to highlight yearly goals and expectations for themselves as students and meet their Faith Families. Faith Families allow students to work with their peers in other grades as they complete scripture sharing, discussing gospel readings, prayer.




Doze Represents SHS at Model United Nations Assembly in Winnipeg

MUNA_groupValerie Doze, a Sacred Heart sophomore, was selected by the East Grand Forks Rotary Club and represented Sacred Heart as part of an East Grand Forks delegation. Doze, along with her East Grand Forks Senior High partner, Danah Albaaj, was part of the team representing Bolivia in Winnipeg at the Model United Nations (M.U.N.A.) assembly.
The two-day learning simulation allowed the students, along with their counselors, Willem Schrage and Jen MacLeod, to take on global citizenship as they simulated the United Nations General Assembly.

Muna_DozeDoze and Albaaj prepared statements using Bolivia’s position on issues such as the situation in Syria and Iran, Moving Towards a Nuclear Free World, the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa, and a New Economic Order. Doze’s team, Bolivia, was the mover on a resolution that spoke about changing international economic policy. They had to give speeches, participate in lively debates and practice the same general decorum of delegates as close as possible to approximate the UN General Assembly.

Next year there will be two Sacred Heart spots available to juniors and seniors. Those SHS students interested in participating should contact Jen MacLeod at the school.


“The Hobbit” comes to life in eighth grade English


One of Mr. Pete Lund’s english students and her key which opened the door for Thorin & Company.

Sacred Heart students in Pete Lund’s eighth grade English class are being introduced to Catholic author, JRR Tolkien, and the book, The Hobbit. The book, known for its many Catholic themes, has been a fun addition to classroom studies. Students are evaluated on their reading using a variety of methods, but the first one was a project of the students’ own choice. English instructor, Pete Lund, says that “I am always impressed with the students’ imagination and creativity.” They could pick a character, scene or place and create an artifact using materials they wish to tell about it.

Ashley Combs, one of the students, created a video game based on The Hobbit. Combs said she had fun creating the game and learning how to complete it. “I made it with a developer program called Adobe Flash.” In her game Bilbo goes on his journey and the player advances by answering questions and collecting artifacts.


Combs walked students through the game she created using the class SmartBoard.

Imari Crayton, a student, said that Mr. Lund is a neat teacher. “He doesn’t just have us read out of a book — he kind of puts his own “way” into everything.” Students are currently creating a second project, using clay, to reproduce a character from the story. Lund added, “anything hands on seems to enhance and give more value to the subject studied. It’s a great time to let artistry shine and imagination reign!”


Engaging the World through Sciences


High School Biology students test a variety of samples under the tutelage of Ardell Knudsvig, director of U of M Crookston’s Project for Applied Sciences.

Sacred Heart is unique in that our Catholic identity is strengthened by the ability for the school to teach faith not only in the formal religion classes, but also by the school’s integration of Catholic teaching into other parts of the curriculum. Mr. Mike Marek, a longtime SHS high school science instructor said this fits nicely into what he teaches in his science classroom. “Science is the process of slowly uncovering the creation story that God has designed. As humans unfold the story I hope to bring a deep appreciation for life and the creation of nature while bringing a sense of responsibility to the students. They are the future caretakers and stewards of the creation.”

This past year Sacred Heart School was very excited to add a new Biotechnology component to the school’s already strong Biology curriculum. “The Biotechnology field is just exploding and has the potential to change life on earth,” said Marek. “This has big implications. Humans now have the ability to manipulate DNA to work better in existing organisms.”


Students measure out samples while they construct their reservoirs for Mr. Mike Marek’s Environmental Science course.

At Sacred Heart, science students are trained to adapt quickly using new insights. They make their own discoveries and come to comprehend what decisions scientists use to understand and make good choices in order to take care of the creation. Marek says, “what I hope to hammer home to them is that the world is changing rapidly and humans, with their knowledge about nature through science, multiply the pace of new discoveries exponentially.”

science_equipmentSacred Heart’s Science Department offers courses in Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Environmental Science. In addition to traditional science courses Sacred Heart is also pleased to offer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses for students in grades 9-12. Students in grades 6-12 also have the opportunity to further advance their engineering and coding skills through the school’s VEX Robotics Club.

In an effort to continue the learning beyond the classroom, Marek’s biology students were visited last week by Ardell Knudsvig. Knudsvig, a long time Crookston High School science teacher is the Director of Student Outreach Projects for Applied Science and Technology at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

Gel electrophoresis is one of the techniques scientists use to look at samples to determine their genetic or anatomical properties. Instead of DNA samples, Knudsvig brought with him a selection of chemical samples, five were “knowns” — items that that were identified and named. Knudsvig included three “unknowns” in their samples tray. Knudsvig told students that “you have to have knowns and unknowns because we don’t always have a computer to tell us if we have a positive match. That’s your job as scientists.”


Students use micropipetters to measure out their chemical samples into electrophoresis gels.

After a general explanation Knudsvig let the students return to their lab workstations to begin using a micropipetter to drop measured samples into each of the cell wells of their electrophoresis gel.

When the gel was plugged in Knudsvig explained that the material would start to separate as the electricity pulled the atoms apart based on their positive and negative charges. Some students had good samples, but to one group Knudsvig commented, “This one’s kind of sneaky. It should be pulling apart as there should be more color in this one.”
On top of the experiences in biology class, students do have the opportunity to apply for work at UND’s Molecular boot camp for two weeks this summer. During the two-week laboratory-based time they will learn to identify possible agricultural pests or other animals using DNA sequencing. Interested students can see Mr. Marek.


Theosis speaker talks about the Bible with students

theosisSacred Heart students already have daily prayer time, but the new “Theosis” program launched in the school this year offers high school students a special opportunity to hear from a rotation of guest speakers on a variety of topics pertaining to faith, family, and life.

Jake Unterseher, a former UND Focus Minister, spoke to Sacred Heart students about the humor he finds when reading the bible.

“Some of the stories crack me up!” He then told the traditional story of how Jesus healed a paralytic man by leaning over him and saying that ‘his sins were forgiven.’ The people watching this were shocked – and said to Jesus that only God can forgive sins. “So that’s one way to read the story – but then you have to remember the part from the beginning. This is the one where they literally shove a paralytic guy through a roof. Imagine if you were traveling and stopped by a friend’s home and all of a sudden these guys rip open your friend’s roof and shove a guy through! Think about that!” The students laughed as Unterseher mimicked the scene. “My favorite part is the last line of the passage where the people said, ‘we have never seen anything like this before’… No kidding!”

Unterseher continued to break down the steps he uses when reading a bible passage saying he likes to think about what exactly he is reading; a story, rule book, or letter. “When I read this way it helps me understand what is going and what I am reading. A letter to the Romans is going to be different than a story of a miracle as both are dealing with different things.” He then considers the context the stories were written in all those years ago. “Paul didn’t write a letter to the Christians in Grand Forks in 2015. He wrote those letters 2,000 years ago. Things were a lot different then so some of those crazy rules that seem ridiculous now made sense in context.”

The third step to Unterseher’s bible reading method is to remember the purpose of the story. “We have to remember none of this matters if it is not for Christ in the end.” To make his point, Unterseher used the story of Abraham and Isaac. “If you don’t read it and think about Christ coming in after it seems totally crazy!” Abraham, who was old and didn’t have any children was told by God to in the story of Genesis to go outside and look up in the sky to number his descendants. “We miss the part of this story where this happens at 9:00 AM in the morning. When you walk outside at 9:00 AM how many stars do you see?” A student responded, “One.”

Later, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. “So when you read this you’re thinking, that sounds terrible! What kind of God would say that he was going to have a father kill his only son?” Unterseher used the full story of Abraham to explain how, in reality, God was setting up something that would occur 1000 years later. Unterseher said to students, “there’s so much good stuff in the Abraham and Isaac story. The story of Abraham and Isaac, when compared to Jewish and Christian traditions reveals a much more amazing message.”

The place where this story happens is Mt. Moriah. Unterseher adds, that “Mt. Moriah gets a new name later on – Golgotha.” The Sacred Heart students were quick to respond that they knew what happened at Golgotha. “That’s the place where Jesus was crucified. That place is also called The Place of the Skull.” Unterseher asked if The Place of the Skull was just a creepy name or if they thought it meant anything else. “The skull they are talking about is Adam’s burial place. So in ancient Jewish tradition that is the ancient burial place of Adam.” In Christian tradition, the tomb Jesus was buried in is only a short distance away from the site of the crucifixion. Jesus was buried in the same location. “So the story all comes together. Abraham and Isaac, Jesus, and Adam.”

When Abraham is asked by his son, Isaac, what they are planning to sacrifice, Abraham responded with “God will provide.” God did provide Abraham with a son. And God had asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son. At the last minute they spot a ram with its head stuck in a thicket of thorns. Unterseher adds that “the thicket where the ram had its head stuck is the exact same kind of thorn that the crown of thorns was made out of when Jesus was crucified.” Excitedly Unterseher says, “Check that out! Not only is God’s only son being sacrificed on the same hill where Isaac was going to be sacrificed on but they found the right lamb of God with its head stuck in a crown of Thorns – which in the New Testament is Jesus. Bam. Jesus, crown of thorns, on the hill with the tomb of Adam, which becomes Jesus’ tomb where he rises from the dead.”

Unterseher concluded by mentioning that he notices interesting things all the time when he reads the bible. “I want to encourage you to do this when you read the bible. You can skip some the boring stuff — you don’t have to mumble through cover to cover. Does the bible still sound mind-numbingly boring? Maybe. But are you willing to try to read some things that might seem exciting?”


Fine Art takes center stage at SHS

During the school’s annual Interim/Beyond the Classroom program Sacred Heart students explored additional experiential learning opportunities and career exploration. For ten of Lacey Basgier’s Mural Painting students the week allowed them to work on a large scale mural that represented the identity of Sacred Heart School.


High School Mural painting students work on their mural on the first day of Interim week. The final piece will hang in the school.

“Interim was, without a doubt, the most impressed I have been with a group of students,” said Lacey Basgier, Sacred Heart’s High School Art Instructor. The group learned about the entire process of taking a sketch and turning it into a large acrylic painting. Basgier was impressed with how the students exceeded expectations. “I spent every day blown away by what they were doing.” The students drove the entire project, says Basgier, agreeing and sketching out the design on day one and beginning the painting process by Tuesday. “It just all fell into place perfectly.”


The Mural Painting Interim course is just one of the additional components that fit nicely into Sacred Heart’s curriculum opportunities. The Visual Arts program at Sacred Heart School develops a young artist’s technical abilities through a variety of traditional and contemporary media. Under the guidance of high school instructor Lacey Basgier and elementary instructor Mary Kulas, Sacred Heart students are learning the technical foundation necessary to clarify their ideas as they cultivate their artistic abilities.

The high school curriculum offers a wide variety of possibilities during the year. Painting, drawing, art history, charcoal, and ceramics are just a few of the topics covered. “I try to do a variety of things so hopefully the kids that aren’t drawn to a particular medium can be drawn into something.”

Elementary students begin taking art classes in first grade with classes continuing until 6th. High school students have the opportunity to take classes in 8th grade, with additional courses offered as electives each year. There is also the option to double up on art electives and take an additional elective called VA Advanced. Basgier adds, “As it’s all self-directed, with VA Advanced we do encourage students to try a new medium or direction not yet tried.”

Mural group Photo

Basgier’s students and their mural. The students created the mural to represent the identity of the school.

The school’s large windowed high school art department features two kilns which are utilized each year when students complete ceramics projects. Elementary students create a new ceramic nativity figurine each year in art, creating baby Jesus, the animals, an angel, Mary and Joseph. In high school a ceramics assignment is completed in each course. Basgier, who has a background in ceramics, says “I really enjoy working through problems of how to work with the clay with the students.”

Three times a year the high school art department joins with the Concert Band, Concert Choir, and Select Choir for a Fine Arts Night. Following the concert the Visual Art Department’s art show opens on the second floor of the school. The exhibit features an assortment of student artwork. “I like displaying all the student’s work. It is rewarding for them and for me as a teacher to see it up as a collective unit.” The public is welcome to visit Sacred Heart on a Fine Arts night. The next one will be held on May 13th  beginning at 7:00 p.m.