A note from Kathleen Balko, CSF Religion Coordinator:
Please continue to teach about the virtues we talked about in our Magis Houses on Monday.
These long winter days cause us to get tired and “snappish” with each other.
Let's remind ourselves to try to be more patient, kind, honest, and grateful.
Inspire each other to be filled with hope and joy during this beautiful season!
Ask one another to practice self-control, respect and perseverance.
And finally, take the time to notice when we see others practicing these virtues.
In Our Thoughts
J.B. Carnahan, long-time radio personality, grandfather of alumnus Derrin Resa ‘06, and HIPOW volunteer, passed away in November.
Ben Otis ‘07 and wife Olivia welcomed son Cameron in October 2018.
Sayrah Mitchel ‘07 and husband Davin welcomed daughter Amelia in November 2018.
Amanda (Welton) and Carl Thomas (both ICS alum) welcomed baby boy Klaus on September 9.
Michelle (Harr) VanBruggen ‘08 and husband welcomed baby boy Caiden in October.
John Butcher ‘05 and his wife Heather DiLuzio welcomed baby Katherine “Katie” Elizabeth. The family resides in New Mexico.
Weddings & Engagements
Jackson Wallace ‘15 is engaged to Kaelee Knoell.
Katie Ganley ‘08 said “I do” to Collin Reuter. The couple resides in Fairbanks.
Congratulations to alumni PACE teachers Amanda Heath and Sam Cartan on their marriage in July. The couple lives in Portland.
Monica Clark ‘11 married Matthew Kelly in August. The couple resides in Seattle.
Christin Davis ‘10 married Austin Hinzman in July. The wedding took place in Gig Harbor.
Will Burcell ‘12 married Annette Byers from Tampa, Florida in October.
Talia Lundgren ‘12 and Kevin Steffens tied the knot in August.
Image courtesy of Alaska 529
Dreading the thought of more toys this holiday season? Families can invest in 529 savings plans and use the savings for K-12 tuition or college tuition and expenses. CSF tuition is an eligible expenditure.
How does a 529 plan work?
529 plans allow investors to save for education tax-free. The principal is post-tax (meaning your contributions are taxed before they are invested), but all interest and accrued earnings are tax-free if used for eligible expenditures. Friends and family members can contribute to 529 plans. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving.
To find out more about the Alaska 529 plan, visit UACollegeSavings.com or call 1-866-277-1005.
We encounter Christ
We become Scholars
We are Family
For many, the first sentence of the above motto might be the most distinguishing aspect of our school. While I hope to have made a compelling argument for our students becoming scholars, certainly Christ as the reason for these schools is more unique to us than most other schools in our community. However, I would argue the last sentence is just as unique and distinguishing as the first.
I found myself last week thinking of the “We are Family” aspect of our school and looking for ways to convey what this actually means and how this is a facet of our school that not only makes this a special place, but separates us from other schools. In doing so, I was flooded with memories that brought both smiles and tears to my eyes, on a consistent basis.
I know how I feel about the concept of Monroe and Family, but I struggled to come up with one specific thought or moment. I sought out the opinions of others to help in this process. I wanted to ask some of the students who have graduated and moved on into the world what they thought of Monroe as Family.
I thought calling some of my past basketball players would be a good place to start. Every person I communicated with shared something special. Here is what they had to say (Note: Some of the quotes have been edited to fit the space. If you would like to submit a testimonial, email email@example.com):
“When I think about Monroe as a Family, it reminds me of the time after a basketball practice when you told us about how most people make their lifelong fiends in college, but at Monroe the friendships you build are going to last a lifetime. After five years away fom Monroe, I know that this is true. I have not only great memories to look back on but also a huge network of people that I truly consider to be Family. Not just classmates and teammates, but teachers, staff and the families of people associated with Monroe. Going to school in Washington, I can’t fly home for Thanksgiving dinner. The Gambardella Family has opened their home to me for Thanksgiving the past four years. Things like that don’t typically happen at other schools. Going to Monroe built relationships with people that genuinely care about me and want to see me succeed. What more could I ask for from Family? “ — Conor O’Kelley
“When I think of Monroe, I think of how welcoming everyone was to me and how as years went on, the connection and relationships between me and my fellow classmates grew. Today, we are all so close. I also think of my Senior Buddy and how I thought of him as another little brother.” — Isaac Garcia
“I remember when I was a Freshman and the bus route was not an option for me. I walked to school, from the south side of Fairbanks, from August to mid-September until Scooter saw me walking one day and said he would pick me up every morning...keep in mind, I wasn’t exceptionally close with Scooter yet. Scooter picked me up every day for the rest of the school year. I told him, ‘Thank you so much bro, would you like some gas money?’ and he said, ‘We’re Family here at Monroe, glad you came.’” — Ryan Brantley
“I remember my senior year playing basketball. I had a classmate, Ola Carnahan, who never played basketball, but always took the time to wish us luck before every home and away game. I remember my dad sitting on the bench coaching - which was an upgrade from his usual position in the crowd. I remember my teammates who are still my friends to this day. Looking back, I see how I was a part of something much bigger than a school. I was a part of a community that supported me unconditionally. For the rest of my life, this is my Family.”
— Maija Hajdukovich
“For me, the Family that is Monroe, went beyond just my peers, but extended to
my teachers and coaches. Having Mass together as a school was special, not only
for me, but for my teammates and friends around me. Monroe taught me that it
isn’t about me.”
— Jalon McCullough
All of the above thoughts are special and help support what I already know; Monroe is not simply a school, but a Family. In the end, when I think of Monroe as Family, I think how blessed I am to be a part of this Family. I think of how lucky I am and how grateful I am. Perhaps, when all is said and done, this is what I think of most…and I smile.
Excerpt from the Full Curl by Frank Ostanik, CSF Athletic Director. You can follow Coach O on Twitter @thefullcurl. He’s up to 411 followers.
Thank you to everyone who played a role
This year’s 50th Annual HIPOW Auction & Dinner in support of the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks was an incredible success. Tickets to Saturday night’s dinner sold out three weeks in advance. New volunteer committee leads stepped up to coordinate the Saturday dinner and did a fabulous job–Lori Packee (AM Prep), Dawn Martin (PM Prep & Plating) and Jacinda Rojas (Dishwashing). We welcomed a new chef, Doug Campbell with Midnight Sun Catering, who worked alongside our volunteers to serve 600 meals.
HIPOW co-chairs, the Sundborg Sisters–Kim Brandenburg, Jacyn DeBaun, and Cat Sundborg–and Roger & Andrea McGill brought unparalleled energy to the event. Roger and Craig Compeau put together a special HIPOW 50 song. Thanks to Emily Peterson-Wood, you can listen to the song on YouTube (search “HIPOW 50.”)
Nancy Cook Hanson was recognized for her service to the schools with a check presentation for the Nancy Cook Hanson Tuition Assistance Fund for the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks.
Kendall and Gene’s both donated vehicles to the event. This was the 50th vehicle Gene’s has donated to HIPOW. We are grateful.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Thank you to everyone who donated items, attended the event, volunteered, and/or bid in the auction. As Thanksgiving approaches, we have much to be thankful for. THANK YOU!
Jason Hodges, Class of 1989, gave the following speech at the Spring Matching Fund-raiser in May. It has been edited to fit the space.
Nancy has been a large part of my life since 1985. She handed me my high school diploma. She gave me the job that started my adult working career. She mentored me and signed my pay checks for six years, and she danced in a Flash Mob before officiating my wedding ceremony. Other than my parents and my husband, Nancy has been the biggest influence in my life. I’ve learned so many lessons from Nancy. I want to share three of those with you:
Lesson Number One: Keep it fun.
Anyone who knows Nancy knows that she takes things seriously. Running a nonprofit, running a school is serious business. There’s never enough money, time or people to do it all. Nancy would tell me how she came in at 5 AM to get work done. Despite those sleepless nights, those worries, and concerns, Nancy wanted the work and this place to be fun. There were ice breakers at staff and faculty gatherings.
There was the scavenger hunt during the construction of this building where the faculty and staff had to find objects and places across the new construction in order to gain access to the Christmas Party that year.
She was always trying to find fun things to do at HIPOW to make the event more engaging and more memorable.
Lesson #2: It’s about the little things.
When I worked with Nancy, she was a walking phone book. Nancy was like Siri before Siri was Siri. You could ask her for a phone number and she would know it. She would brag that if she dialed a wrong number, she could pretend like she meant to dial it because she would often know the person she accidentally dialed.
While serving as development director, I wrote A LOT. Newsletters, solicitations letters, brochure copy, and recruitment materials were all given a final edit by Nancy. Jo Schlotfeldt was a crack editor, and even with her eagle eye, invariably something would escape and Nancy would find it on the final pass. Nancy was often more knowledgable about people’s details, including their ZIP Codes, than the expensive database we purchased. She could hold the budget of the schools in her head and still manage to know what year each member of the Stepoviches, Jackoviches, Ringstads, Kellys and Vacuras graduated from Monroe.
On my 16th birthday, which was nearly 32 years ago, right outside the Monroe Principal’s office was a bulletin board. On the morning of my 16th birthday, pinned to the board was a card with my name on it. It was a birthday card from Nancy. I don’t remember the exact words that she had written, but it was something along the lines of “watch out people of Fairbanks, Jason has his driver’s license now!”
It was a small gesture that, almost 32 years later, has more meaning to me now than it did to that 16-year old boy who received it.
Lesson # 3: We’re all human.
When Nancy retired for the first time in 2003, it was very emotional for many of us. We had a final staff meeting where she asked us, “how many people work at the schools?” At the time it was about 60-70 people. She asked us “how many mistakes does a person make in a day.” I think as a group we agreed that 10 mistakes wasn’t out of the question. I’m pretty sure my younger self was throwing off that average back then. She said “that’s about 600 mistakes that will be made on a daily basis.” And that doesn’t even count the ones the kids will be making. As she was leaving, she was telling us: we’re not perfect, and we need to be good to one another. We needed to recognize each of us is prone to messing it up in ways big and small, without any ill intention, AND we need to be able to treat each other with love, compassion, acceptance, and understanding. We need to remember we’re all human.
And Nancy knows this better than anyone because Nancy is also so very human. She sometimes loses her patience. She drives too fast to the lake, which has elicited speeding tickets in the past. She sometimes curses in ways that would make a truck driver say, “hey now, Nancy, you gotta check yourself.”
There are so many people, so many students who have been the recipients of her love, compassion, and understanding. Kids who got themselves into trouble and had no where else to turn, people like myself who were struggling with identity who needed acceptance.
Families who were on the edge and couldn’t afford to be here. Nancy helped, intervened, and championed those who needed it most.
Many of these stories will go untold and remain in the hearts of those who benefitted. When she shared compassion with those who most needed, even at times when some might not have approved, guess what? The world didn’t come to an end. And those who needed that love, understanding, and acceptance received and incredible gift.
I left the CSF family in 2005 after nearly 12 years of service. I found another organization and cause—the performing arts—that I was equally passionate about. For the last 14 years, I’ve had the honor of bringing musicians, singers, and performers of all stripes from across the world to Alaska. My favorite part of my job is at the end of a show, after the last song has been sung, after the last note has been played, and as the performers take their bow, the audience rises to its feet, clapping and expressing their gratitude and appreciation for a job well done.
Nancy has performed her roles—teacher, principal, director—with virtuosity and skill. She has served the students, parents, teachers, these schools, and the entire community. It is only fitting that we rise to our feet and express our gratitude and appreciation for a job well done.
In Our Thoughts
Barb McCaleb, long-time CSF teacher and mother of eight Monroe Alumni–Frances, Lori, Patrick, Janet, Lin, Christine, Murphy, and Tracy–passed away in June.
Christina (Winfree) ‘04 and Gary Woodward welcomed baby Harper Kathleen in April.
Aimee (Laurencelle) Iverson ‘07 and husband Paul welcomed Kinsley Grace in May.
John Jones ’11 and wife Victoria welcomed baby Scarlett. The family lives in Seattle. Monroe teacher Megan Jones ‘09 is an aunt!
Grainne (Brosnan) Bonestroo ‘04 and husband Robert (who teaches at Monroe) welcomed baby boy Ryker in June.
Ben and Megan (Anderson) Koch ‘02 greeted little Lottie in July.
Weddings & Engagements
Suzette Brosky ‘81 and Bill Bidwell said their vows.
Elise Tamai ‘05 wed Luke Bonnewell.
Krystal Audie (ICS) married Brook Ala. The couple resides in Kenai.
Hilary Kjera ‘11 married Graham Hood.
Connor Kelliher ‘07 and Kristin Fleming tied the knot. The couple lives in San Francisco.
Gloria Compeau ‘78, B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Katie Andrews ‘93, Master in Social Work from West Virginia University.
Sierra Minder ‘10, Law Degree from Gonzaga University.
Mariah Minder ‘10, M.D. from the University of Washington.
Cassandra Ringstad ‘11, Master in Education from Point Loma Nazarene U.
Claire Hughes ‘13, B.A. in Biological Sciences from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Nick Fleming ‘14, U.S. Air Force Academy graduate.
Mary Barnard ‘14, B.A. in Psychology from University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Michael Neville ‘14, B.A. in Business Administration from Eastern Washington University.
Tyler Wells ‘14, B.A. in Business Administration with a Minor in Sport Management from Concordia University.
Ciara Newman ‘15, B.A. from Baldwin Wallace University. Ciara is headed to Penn State for her master’s degree.
Abigail Swallow ‘15, University of Idaho, Elementary Education.
Kayla Rauenhorst ‘15, nursing degree from University of Portland.
Andrew Walter ‘15, B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from St. Martin’s University. Andrew has more big news: he and Katie McCurry (ICS alum) wed in June.
Olivia Hrinko ‘15, B.A. in Interior Design with a Minor in Architecture from the University of Idaho.
Andi Clark ‘15, B.A. in Business Administration from Gonzaga University.
JT Minder ‘15, B.S. in Engineering Management /Civil Engineering from Gonzaga University.
Rachel Adams ‘15, B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Physics from the University of Dayton. She will go on to a PhD program in Electronic Materials through Ohio State University.