Category: Uncategorized


All-School Mass wraps up First Week Events


Last Friday the school held their All-School Mass with students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade, parents and other family members attending. Msgr. Mike Foltz, School Superintendent, and Fr. Xavier Ilango,Sacred Heart’s pastor, presided.

During his homily, Msgr Foltz used an Olympics analogy to discuss with students how Olympians trained, saying, “here at Sacred Heart School we train you body, mind, and soul…we are all disciples in training.” Msgr. Foltz asked students to list off subjects they enjoyed learning. When one student touched on religion and faith he noted to them that at their school they are also here to work on their spirit and souls. “We also do actions,” said Foltz, “such as love, respect people, and pray for the poor.“ He invited students to remember that at Sacred Heart positive student actions and living Christian lives speak louder than words. “If we do that day after day, week after week, month after month… what’s the prize we’re working towards? Heaven!”

The school invites parents and parishioners to attend school Masses, Praise & Worship and a variety of other events during the year. Visit the school calendar at for times.


2016-17 Enrollment Report

2016-17 Enrollment Report

SHS FULL COLOR LOGO_OnScreenViewingEnrollment Report

The 2016-17 School Year at Sacred Heart started on Tuesday, September 6th. This is the 105th year SHS has been forming students, mind, body and soul, in the Greater Grand Forks Community. It’s going to be the best year yet!

Overall we have seen a significant trend in growth since 2013, up 25.1% in Kindergarten through 12th grade numbers.

This year we welcome over 45 brand NEW Kindergarten through 12th-grade students, who will be attending classes in the halls for the very first time. As we grow past the 400 Preschool-12th student enrollment mark this year, we continue our focus on keeping our class sizes small and personal. In order to do this, we have continued to add additional sections of grade levels. This year the elementary has two sections of Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade and Sixth Grade, in addition to several sections in the high school, depending on the classes and grade levels.

2016 First Day of School Numbers: enrolled as of 9/6/2016.

413        All students (PK-12)
344        K-12
194        K-6
150        7-12
69  Preschool*

Sacred Heart has opened applications for the 2017-18 school year. To schedule a visit please visit or contact Admissions at 218-773-0877. Tuition and Scholarships are always available.

*Sacred Heart has one opening in the afternoon section of Little Saints (4-5 year olds) for the 2016-17 School Year. If you or someone you know is interested please contact us at 218-793-0021 or at




Remember the Titans Coach Herman Boone to speak to Sacred Heart School Students

boone_herman(300)Sacred Heart School is pleased to announce the that Herman Boone, the head coach whose monumental real life story was captured in the film, Remember the Titans, will be the featured DAY ONE speaker. He will address students, parents, parishioners and alumni at Sacred Heart on September 6th.

In 1971, as the city of Alexandria Virginia was consolidating their schools, Boone was appointed head coach at T.C. Williams High School. Remarkably, Boone was able to solidify a diverse coaching staff and unite a group of players into one of the most powerful football teams in the nation. Boone will share an inspiring message about the importance of treating others with respect and kindness.

Boone will speak to SHS students in grades 5-12 at 1:00pm in the Merth Gymnasium on Tuesday, Sept. 6th. All Sacred Heart parents, parishioners, and alumni are invited to attend the event.

Boone is the second guest speaker brought to Sacred Heart for the school’s DAY ONE activities. Matt Birk, former Minnesota Viking and Super Bowl Champion with the Baltimore Ravens spoke to students to kick off last year’s DAY ONE. The DAY ONE speaker serves to invigorate and excite students about the coming year.

Sacred Heart School is accepting applications for K-12 students and offers a willingness to try to make the school a financial possibility for all families. The school has made the pledge that no family will be denied a Catholic education based on finances. If you are interested in Sacred Heart School for your Preschool, Elementary or High School student, visit or call 218-773-0877.


Sacred Heart baseball players and coaches presented a baseball clinic for the Hospitality House Youth Development (HHYD) in Minneapolis during a recent trip to play schools in the Twin Cities area.

Student Athletes Share Time & Talent

Sacred Heart baseball players and coaches presented a baseball clinic for the Hospitality House Youth Development (HHYD) in Minneapolis during a recent trip to play schools in the Twin Cities area.

Sacred Heart baseball players and coaches presented a baseball clinic for the Hospitality House Youth Development (HHYD) in Minneapolis during a recent trip to play schools in the Twin Cities area.

When Sacred Heart School announced in the fall that “service” was part of the theme for students this year, Varsity Baseball Coach Paul Bethke knew he wanted to come up with a way to bring that message home to his athletes.

Bethke and his coaches know their mission here as a coach at Sacred Heart is much more than just teaching athletes to throw, hit and run bases. He reminds his athletes in practice, at games, and while traveling that all they do as representatives of the Sacred Heart community is done with the idea of being good Christian role models. Bethke feels that instilling that attitude in his athletes “may help them to respond to more important every day situations in a similar way.”

Sacred Heart baseball players made a trip to Minneapolis late last month for two games. After arriving in town, they made a special early stop at the Hospitality House Youth Development facility in Minneapolis where they gave a baseball clinic for the inner-city youth that participate in the HHYD programs.

Sacred Heart baseball offered a baseball clinic to the youth at the Hospitality House Youth Development facility in Minneapolis last month.

Sacred Heart baseball offered a baseball clinic to the youth at the Hospitality House Youth Development facility in Minneapolis last month.

“Just minutes after arriving, I knew in my mind that no matter if we ended up playing a single baseball game or not, this trip was going to be well worth it,” said Bethke. Almost immediately Sacred Heart athletes and their families were interacting with the kids, playing on the playground, baking cookies, filling planters, and getting involved with what the kids were doing.

Officially the athletes were visiting the HHYD facility to offer a mini baseball clinic. Each athlete was partnered with a child as they went through the stations. “It was great to see the team sharing their knowledge of baseball in such a caring, thoughtful way,” said Bethke. “I can assure you, our kids got as much, or more, out of the time that we spent there that afternoon.”

Matt Ogaard, a senior, enjoyed the time spent doing service. “I thought it was a great experience to combine service with our sports program.”

Sacred Heart athletes joined their opponents from Legacy Christian Academy in prayer following the game.

Sacred Heart athletes joined their opponents from Legacy Christian Academy in prayer following the game.

The next day the Eagles focused on the business ahead and prepped for the first of their two games that day. First up was Legacy Christian Academy in Andover, Minnesota. “Just playing someone different can have huge benefits to the program,” said Bethke. “It helps measure where you are at against teams in different parts of the state.” The team beat Legacy Christian 6-4. Noah Chine had 2 hits and Devin Evavold pick up the win on the mound.

Later in the afternoon the Eagles also beat St. Agnes in St. Paul 10-9 in eight innings. Riley Wavra, Ryan Holte and Nolan Hallaway each had 2 hits and Ryan Holte was the winning pitcher.
Coach Bethke hopes that the trip can possibly become an annual tradition for the baseball athletes as they continue to develop relationships with other teams. Despite the short notice for the trip this year donors stepped up to help find a way to send their athletes down. “We are so grateful to those who made it possible,” said Bethke.

“It was so encouraging and moving to see the Legacy Christian Academy athletes welcome our athletes to stand side-by-side with them and share a prayer after our game.”viewpictures

Jodi Vanderheiden named new K-12 Principal for Sacred Heart School

Jodi Vanderheiden named new K-12 Principal for Sacred Heart School

Jodi Vanderheiden has been hired as the new K-12 Principal for Sacred Heart School. She will replace the current K-12 Principal, Dave Andrys, who announced in December 2015 he would be retiring from Sacred Heart School at the end of this current school year.

VanderheidenSacred Heart parents, friends, alumni, parishioners, faculty and staff would like to thank Dave Andrys for his 37 years of service to our school.

Vanderheiden, who will assume Principal duties on July 1st, 2016, brings 22 years of experience in education to Sacred Heart School. She earned her educational leadership degree through the University of Minnesota Mankato in July of 2015, her BA degree in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota Mankato, and her Master’s Degree in Education from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Vanderheiden began her career at St. Bartholomew’s Catholic School in Wayzata, followed by six years at Wayzata Public Schools, and has been with the St Michael-Albertville Public School District for the past 13 years. Vanderheiden served as the Staff Development Coordinator and Chairperson, coordinated Professional Learning Communities (P.L.Cs), developed and implemented a mentorship program for 8th graders, supervised Targeted Services for after school programming, Youth Matters, MCA Prep, summer school, and Math Academy. She was selected as the 2006 LEEA Teacher of the Year.
Jodi Vanderheiden and her husband, Robert, have three children. She is an active member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in St. Michael, MN where she serves in various ministry roles.

A full story will be in our next issue of the Sacred Heart Development News.

Why Catholic Schools? – a Student’s Perspective

Why Catholic Schools? – a Student’s Perspective


The following was written as part of the high school journalism class and was also published in the school newspaper, Echoes.

Why Catholic Schools?

by Haley Boushee, a Sacred Heart 11th grader

DSC_0003Going to a Catholic school is a very special thing and not something everyone can do. There are many perks involved in attending a Catholic school, such as growing in your faith with Christ, forming a strong bond with your school and community, and lastly an excellent education. It’s a very unique thing being able to pray and express your faith freely and however you want.

There are many reasons why parents choose to send their children to a Catholic school. Parents have the obligation to make sure their child is raised in the faith and sending them to a Catholic school fulfills that duty. It also gives the students an opportunity to learn how important the Catholic faith is and to grow closer to God.

Catholic schools are different compared to public schools because you can openly talk about God and your faith whenever you want. It feels like one big family and everyone knows each other which is also very nice. Sacred Heart School President, Mr. Adolphson said, “Catholic schools generally have a family atmosphere which is really attractive, and in most instances, students have more opportunities to be involved in extracurricular activities, service opportunities, and travel at a Catholic school.”


Catholic school students also score significantly above the national averages on standardized testing. Small class sizes contribute to students from a Catholic school having higher testing scores. Also, teachers take the time to make sure their students are succeeding in their studies. Students also have a religion class and the advantage of going to Mass weekly, allowing them to explore their faith even more than they could in a public school.

DSC_0192Senior, John MacLeod, said he wanted to come to Sacred Heart because, “I really wanted to finish high school at a Catholic school.” He also said, “The big difference between Sacred Heart and my former school is definitely the faith. Here conversations about life and how the world affects us are encouraged.” Freedom of thinking was sort of suppressed at his old public school. “Also we can praise Jesus all the time at Sacred Heart!”

Many of the students at Sacred Heart like attending a Catholic school for many different reasons. Sophomore, Abby Anderson said, “I like attending Sacred Heart because I’ve gone here since preschool so it’s like a second home.” Eighth grader, Ben Goetz said, “I like being at Sacred Heart because I get to grow in my relationship with God. I feel very blessed to have great teachers who have helped me throughout my journey. At Sacred Heart, I can put my faith into practice everyday.”

Some interesting facts about Catholic schools are:

There are 6,568 Catholic schools in America.

The total Catholic school student enrollment for the current academic year is 1.9 million.

99% of students who attend a Catholic high school graduate. Of those students, 86% attend a four year college.

Catholic schools provide over 20.5 billion dollars a year in savings for the nation.


Classroom Feature: Debbie Heitman, 9-12 Language Arts

Classroom Feature: Debbie Heitman, 9-12 Language Arts


Mrs. Debbie Heitman begins her classes with a writing prompt, often asking students fun or philosophical questions. It is a great warm up before beginning class and, as one senior phrased it, “the prompt writing makes class interesting and fun.”

Each month we’re featuring a different class or grade here at Sacred Heart School.

Mrs. Debbie Heitman grew up in Wisconsin and Illinois where she attended public elementary school and then Catholic middle and high school. She moved to Grand Forks to attend the University of North Dakota where she earned her Bachelors in English as an Education Major along with her English as a Second Language Certification. Just for fun she also majored in Philosophy. After graduation she began teaching at Sacred Heart School where she just recently celebrated her 16th year here.

She says, “I get excited about watching students get invested in a project, when they roll up their sleeves and really dig into learning; then, they proudly share their results. The Freshman demonstrational speeches, the Sophomores authoring and illustrating children’s books, the Juniors reciting the Gettysburg address or singing Native American poetry, and Seniors holding mock interviews, producing Beowulf films, and standing before the school community in the senior debate all give students opportunities to shine, invest in what they are learning, and work collaboratively, creatively and actively.

I have remained dedicated to teaching at Sacred Heart because the most important aspect in my life is my faith in Jesus Christ, and my call to encourage students in their growing faith. Each subject area that we study involves a talent or gift God has given us. Literature across the ages allows us to look at the human pursuit of truth, meaning and worth.”

What her students say,
“Your class is unique because you challenge the students and care about their academic success in a way that seems more involved and meaningful.” – SHS senior.

“English is a language made up of many different components that are not always the easiest to understand. Mrs. Heitman breaks down each component so that when we leave the classroom, we feel like we accomplished something that day.” – SHS junior.

“Mrs. Heitman’s class is unique because she makes her lessons understandable for everyone, and will make sure everyone understands.” – SHS sophomore.

“We do a variety of different activities throughout the year, for example public speaking.”  - SHS freshman.


Mission as a Measurement of Success at Sacred Heart School


Various high school students in grades 7-12 gather as a “Faith Family.” Faith Families are comprised of students in a variety of grades, 7-12, who meet once a week to discuss a faith based topic as a small group.

How does the mission of Sacred Heart School drive success for the school and students?

Emphasis on Faith & Character
What makes Sacred Heart School a great choice for families is that the school’s mission goes well beyond academics. The Catholic school experience is meant to be transformative and make a difference in the life of every student.

Teachers at Sacred Heart understand that their mission here is not just a job, but a calling. Faculty and Staff emphasize a God-centered life and strive to serve as role models who share their faith, their talents, and their time. Students are continually encouraged to live the school’s philosophy to become “citizens who are responsive to the needs of society.”

This can be done through participation in classroom activities, sports and organizations, volunteerism, community involvement, opportunities for worship, and the encouragement of each child to foster and develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer. The results of students being surrounded in a culture of respect, discipline, character and generosity have an enduring impact and point the way to personal success rooted in moral character.

Superior Academics with Results
In reality, academic excellence at Sacred Heart is largely a result of a faith-filled culture that respects each child and supports and encourages the use of their God-given talent. “Catholic education is about developing the individual into what God has created us to be,” said Joanne Wilson, Sacred Heart’s Dean of Academics.

Fr. Ilango, Sacred Heart’s parish pastor, speaks during Mr. Roger Pieper’s junior Ecclesiology class.

Fr. Ilango, Sacred Heart’s parish pastor, speaks during Mr. Roger Pieper’s junior Ecclesiology class.

Tracking and understanding individual student growth is especially important to Wilson, who sits down with parents and students starting in 6th grade to create a personalized profile of a student’s interests, skills, needs and goals. Personalized Education Plans, or PEPs, are then shared with teachers if parents desire and can assist teachers in tailoring the educational experience to help maximize learning.

“Academically it allows the student to identify who they are,” said Wilson, “and discover their interests.” Ultimately the goal of an education at Sacred Heart is to empower a lifelong learner while fostering potential. Wilson says that the school hopes to “challenge students to continually learn and not settle.”

She then meets every other year with student and parents to continue to track that student’s growth and development as they learn, grow and prepare for life beyond high school.

There are still general criteria and best practices for Sacred Heart School and its students to meet. Sacred Heart School is recognized by the Minnesota State Accreditation Association (MNSAA).

A Caring Community
Families choose Sacred Heart because it fits in as an extension of their families. Values that are taught at home can be witnessed and lived at school. A student at Sacred Heart is accepted, respected and never lost in the crowd.

Sacred Heart School is unique in housing child care, preschool, and kindergarten through twelfth grade on one campus, making the school, in conjunction with the parish, feel much more like a family environment.

Sacred Heart Students Work Together in Education

Sacred Heart Students Work Together in Education

Sacred Heart juniors work on an activity in one of the science labs with visiting elementary  students.

Sacred Heart juniors work on an activity in one of the science labs with visiting Kindergarten Students.

Mrs. Deb Hammond, one of Sacred Heart’s Kindergarten teachers, and her students have enjoyed their classroom collaboration with the sixth graders this year.

At the beginning of the year each young Kindergartener is paired with a sixth grade student. As “Mass Buddies,” they sit together during weekly school Masses or sing together at Praise & Worship in the church. Hammond enjoys watching the bond form. “My heart smiles when I sit back and watch the relationship between the two grades—WOW!”

Sacred Heart 6th graders work with their kindergarten buddies on an activity. The 6th graders each created their own books centered on the creation story, & then worked through their lesson with their young friends.

Sacred Heart 6th graders work with their kindergarten buddies on an activity. The 6th graders each created their own books centered on the creation story, & then worked through their lesson with their young friends.

This year sixth graders have also worked with their Kindergarten buddies for other activities. Students in Ms. Dawn Ziegelman’s 6th grade class recently developed their own lesson plan centered on a book, and together they read the story and worked through the activity. Hammond says, “When we do these activities, my students are tickled pink! They love going upstairs for activities!”

The interaction between grades is not something solely reserved for Kindergarteners and 6th graders, however.

This year collaboration has also extended into the high school. Miss Sarina Bauer, a high school Environmental Science instructor, had her students create presentations, lessons and displays for the younger elementary students.
The 11th and 12th grade science students enjoyed sharing their class millipedes, roaches, and blue tongued skink with the bright eyed and excited elementary students. “Teaching here has been a lot of fun,” said Bauer. “What I’ve seen here at Sacred Heart and what I strive to do is build relationships with each student.”

By encouraging this kind of relationship, students are learning to present information in an understandable, entertaining, or engaging way.

Hammond taught many of the sixth grade students, and even many of our junior and senior students once upon a time when she was the preschool teacher. “The children have developed such a good connection with their buddies,” says Hammond, “and the older ones are such wonderful role models.”

The high school students have enjoyed their roles as mentors. “Working with the younger classes was really fun,” said Joe Johnson, a junior. “Teaching others really helped me understand what I had learned and it’s always fun interacting with the younger students.”

In the conversation among teachers, the plan is for the collaboration between the grades to continue. “I have seen the sixth graders blossom into confident, compassionate students,” says Hammond.

High School students plan today for their Future

High School students plan today for their Future

Students in last year's Career Development class talk with a visiting speaker about career options and job specifics. The semester long course will be offered again in the spring semester for juniors and seniors.

Students in last year’s Career Development class talk with a visiting speaker about career options and job specifics. The semester long course will be offered again in the spring semester for juniors and seniors.

Thinking about careers can be fun — but it is also important, particularly to students who are in their junior or senior year. Ultimately the goal at Sacred Heart School is to prepare students to be responsible and ready young adults who are socially aware, world-savvy, community-minded and equipped for life.

The Career Development course, taught by school counselor, Patrick Hart, is an elective designed to introduce junior and senior students to the world of career exploration and decision making. In this class, students explore their interests, skills, and needs to develop career goals. Students will gather information about careers and educational options in order to fulfill their career aspirations.

Their teacher, Patrick Hart, said that he was interested in teaching the class for a few reasons, “It is difficult to give ALL the class guidance required in high school. My thought process was that if I offered a semester course on Career Development, the students who wanted the course could take it as an elective.”

So far the students have been appreciative of the opportunity. Annika Thompson, a junior, is looking forward to taking the class next semester. “I know I want to be a paramedic and this class helps with careers.”

The course, now in its third year, has several objectives, which are individualized for each student: explore career options, identify self-values and personality type, identify interests and skills, gather information about colleges and grad schools, consider career decisions, select a major, and complete job searches.

With this in mind the students also complete sections on how to present yourself, writing a resume and cover letter, how to collect references, how to complete a job search and interview, and job advancement. A large area of focus within the course is on setting and reaching goals and how to develop a career network.

Once students have defined an area of interest, Hart helps connect them with individuals already working in that field. Hart has brought geologists, healthcare workers, designers, writers, police and others into his classroom as guest speakers.

Hart says that the course has a lot of flexibility. “Students should take the class to find out what they want to be, learn about what it takes to do that particular career, and learn if that career option is a good fit for them.“