Holy Ghost leads students back to Lourdes

By Regan Kraus - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Hundreds of students gathered together. Friends and peers walked side by side, yet no one spoke a single word. It wasn’t fear or sadness that prevented the students from speaking but respect and awe for Jesus Christ. As He guided each one of his children through the empty streets and back to Lourdes Academy, the only sound that could be heard was gentle wind and soft footsteps. The phrase “do not be afraid” lingered in the minds of many people, and Jesus’ comforting hand rested atop every shoulder.

The Eucharist procession is an annual event at Lourdes Academy. Every year prior to the procession, students and faculty from the entire system gather at Sacred Heart Church to receive guidance from God and to pray for the upcoming school year.

This year’s mass and homily, presided by Fr. Matthew Rappl, encouraged everyone to “lift each other up in prayer,” but the main focus was on the command “do not be afraid.” Rappl explained that it is pertinent to be open to new experiences; he also advocated letting God into our hearts as He “pours in something new every day: a little of his glory, presence, and love.”

Once the mass concluded, the middle and high school students and staff processed from the church back to Lourdes Academy in powerful silence. Although the mass was Catholic, it is important to realize that this procession is not an exclusively Catholic practice; anyone is welcome to come to the procession.

Theology teacher Aaron Hietpas said, “Other religions may have their own processions, but many of them have a different focus.”

When asked about why the Eucharistic procession is important, junior Jack Reinardy said, “Every child should be in the presence of God.” Reinardy’s thoughts are profound; the procession clearly gives every person equal opportunity to open his or her heart to God without judgment.

Senior Sophie Jensen, one of the readers during the mass, said, “It’s great to be a part of the mass so I can participate within my school and community.”

The creator of the Eucharistic procession, former Lourdes theology teacher Rick Duncan, said that the most important part of the event is talking with and being honest with Christ after the mass. Duncan said that people should “be like little children because faith is stronger when we are young.” The youthful spirit of children inspires and touches Duncan’s heart because he said that children are not fearful to share their faith with others.

All in all, the Eucharistic procession was an important spiritual way to begin the school year. Every student seemed to agree that starting the year off with the Eucharistic procession offered powerful motivation for a positive year.

Students and faculty attend mass at Sacred Heart Church prior the the Eucharistic procession.

Younger students serve at mass.

Students carry the canopy and monstrance as they process from church back to Lourdes Academy.

Nick Walters: new campus minister

By James Gross - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Nick Walters has joined the Lourdes faculty as this year’s campus minister and middle school religion teacher to help spread the faith.

Walters said he accepted the position because he wanted to work for Lourdes full time. Walters has been connected to Lourdes in the past by athletics. He was an umpire in 2015 and wanted to be an umpire for some of the Lourdes baseball games. However, Lourdes head football coach Kevin Wopat already had all of the games with umpires. Wopat, however, over time had Walters involved in other things and eventually asked him to help coach for Lourdes football. Ever since, Walters has been helping coach the Lourdes football team. Last year, Walters also served as a substitute teacher at Lourdes. He then decided he wanted to work more closely with all the students and decided to accept the position of campus minister and middle school religion teacher.

Walters said that this is his first full-time job since graduating college. He said he has spent much of his life around kids and realized he wanted to teach them. He said he wants to be a good role model for students.

Principal Dave Mikesell said, “We wanted to hire someone who already had a good relationship with the students. Nick substitute taught all last year, which set in stone that he had a good relationship with the students. He also has a tremendous heart. For the campus ministry role, you have to work with the students, and he is very good with that.”

According to Walters, one of the best things about his job as a teacher is being able to spread God to the students in more than one way. Also, he said he loves teaching because there is something different to do every day. In addition to teaching religion classes in the middle school, Walters also serves as the campus minister.

According to Walters, one of the hardest parts of being a campus minister is getting everything organized. He said, “Getting the Knights of Columbus to be at our bigger masses is particularly hard because of how busy the men are.” Walters also said that getting all of the positions filled for the masses, such as candle bearers, servers, and readers, is challenging as well. In addition to leading campus ministry, Walters is also involved in other groups.

Walters also leads a group called the Fellowship of Christian Athletes where students and players find Jesus through sports. He said he also wants to start an adoration group where each day different first block teachers take their students to the chapel so they can reflect on things going on in their lives. He also believes the adoration group would be a time for students to be able to relax and talk to God.

Nick Walters is the new campus minister and middle school religion teacher.

New face, familiar name

By Tate Fabisch - Knight Writers

Student Journalism - Lourdes Academy

Carrie Tyriver is the new face behind the desk in the office as the new administrative assistant this year.

If the name Tyriver sounds familiar, it should. Carrie Tyriver is dean of students Reed Tyriver’s mother. As the new administrative assistant of Lourdes Academy, Carrie said that it's “fun” seeing Reed in the office “acting professional.” Reed said that working with his mother is “something different” but that they work well together.

Working in the office is not the first time Carrie has been a member of the Lourdes staff. She said she served as a middle school volleyball coach for Lourdes in 2010 and coached for about three years.

Both Carrie and Reed said that the reason they choose their jobs is because they get to communicate and help the students of Lourdes Academy.

Carrie said that she was excited to become the new administrative assistant because she “wanted to be in an environment that was family-friendly and to be able to work in a religious atmosphere with the students and staff.” Carrie said some of her goals are to know all of the families’ names so that each student is comfortable talking to her.

Carrie said that the administrative assistant’s responsibilities are to take attendance for children who are sick or late, take school phone calls, let people into the building, make deposits for school lunches, and complete paperwork. Carrie said that her favorite part of her job is that she can interact with the kids on a daily basis.

Be sure to say hello to Mrs. Tyriver when you see her in the office, and let her know what a great job she is doing!

Carrie Tyriver is the new administrative assistant.

From teacher to dean of students

By Tate Fabisch - Knight Writer

Student Journalism - Lourdes Academy

Reed Tyriver has switched roles this year moving from teaching and serving as the assistant athletic director to leading the students as the middle and high schools dean of students.

Over the summer, the associate principal position needed to be filled. In addition, the high school was transitioning from an associate principal position to a dean of students position. Principal Dave Mikesell asked Tyriver if he was interested in applying for the new dean of students position. After applying for the position, interviewing, and being offered the job, Tyriver said he prayed on his decision and talked to his wife before he accepted the position.

Tyriver said he also spent some time thinking about what he wanted to bring to his new position. One of the biggest aspects was that he wants to create closer relationships with the students and help support them if they have problems. Junior Jack Reinardy said that having Tyriver as a dean of students is going to be different, but having Tyriver would be “Tremendous!”

Tyriver said that one of his goals for this school year is to help create a positive student body to help eliminate gossip and bullying. With this positive attitude, Tyriver believes the students will grow closer to God. In addition, Tyriver said that we need to help students focus on their faith and future, which is something that he would like to improve on for years to come.

Reed Tyriver: the new dean of students of the middle and high school.

Kimberly Strebe steps in as the new “Mr. Tyriver”

By Annie Schraa - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Kimberly Strebe has begun her first year at Lourdes as the new middle school physical education and health teacher. Strebe has taken over Reed Tyriver’s teaching position as he has been newly appointed as the dean of students.

Strebe has much to offer Lourdes Academy and its students with her educational background and the goals she wants to achieve in the classroom.

Although Strebe’s family is originally from Wisconsin, she said she grew up in Georgia and attended the University of West Georgia where she studied health and physical education. After college, Strebe said she wanted new experiences, so she moved to Wisconsin where she was closer to her family.

Strebe said she taught part-time at Black Creek Elementary and Middle School in Wisconsin last year. Looking for a full-time position, Strebe saw a teacher opening online for Lourdes Academy.

Strebe said she was excited about the opportunity to teach at Lourdes. “I think the thing that I was most excited about was the aspect of teaching health. Like most schools, the school I was at last year didn’t have a health class, so I was excited to give students the opportunity to learn about health,” Strebe said.

Strebe said she wants to continue to grow professionally as a teacher and grow with her students. Teaching fifth grade through tenth grade at Lourdes gives Strebe the opportunity to bond with her students and create close relationships with them.

Strebe said her teaching philosophy is teaching to the whole child. “Sometimes the best thing for a student is not what is written in a lesson plan but something totally different like encouragement or hearing a kind word,” Strebe said.

Strebe said she finds it important to educate her students on the importance of health during this impressionable time of their lives. Strebe added that she wants to become more involved with the students outside of the classroom and plans to do that by assisting girls basketball and softball.

Strebe said her experiences at Lourdes Academy have been vastly different from those at other schools. Growing up in public school education and previously teaching at a public school, this is the first time Strebe has been a part of private school education. Strebe said she enjoys the great community between the teachers and the welcoming nature of the school. Strebe feels like the teachers make a great team because of everyone’s openness and support of one another.

Strebe said she enjoys teaching her students and feels like there is a different level of respect and kindness from her students here than those at other schools. Stebe said that teaching at a Catholic school has allowed her to grow in her own personal faith and to incorporate Christianity in her teaching.

Strebe said she enjoys finding Bible verses, prayers, or videos that combine health and wellness with personal faith and integrating that into her lessons. Strebe said that being in such a strong Christian atmosphere encourages the development of her own faith.

Strebe is the new physical education and health teacher

New club encourages students to explore new activities

By Regan Kraus - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Lourdes Academy middle school students will have the opportunity to venture outdoors to explore, fish, and hike by joining the new Adventure Club.

At Lourdes Academy, there is a large variety of clubs that allows students to use their talents and strengths or discover new skills. In the 2019-2020 school year, the faculty and students came up with new ideas to excite and advocate school involvement.

Adventure Club, led by Lourdes Academy physical education teacher Stacy Smith, was created for middle schoolers. “Adventure Club was designed for students who are not in any extracurricular activities to encourage physical activity,” Smith said. Students who may not have time to play or are not interested in sports are able to join Adventure Club and experience physical activities. The club will give middle school students a chance to explore new activities they typically do not get the chance to participate in, Smith said.

The students participating in Adventure Club can also enjoy the active aspects about the organization. Seventh grader Caden McKone said, “It is nice to get out sometimes and enjoy nature and physical activities instead of staying inside all day.”

The Adventure Club has already offered two outings so far, the first one being fishing. Two parent chaperones took the students fishing, teaching them how to cast and make spinners. The second outing took place at the TNT Fitness Center and consisted of an obstacle course to improve students' speed, flexibility, coordination, and balance. Smith believes that this club is important because there is nothing else at Lourdes like it, and it helps teach the students lifetime skills that they will carry with them forever.

Another aspect about Adventure Club is that the participants are able to meet students that they might not have classes with. “It’s special because these kids who do not get to be part of a team atmosphere are getting what it’s like to make new friends… because it’s grades five through eight. You may have a sixth grader that’s hanging out with a fifth grader that would never have had the chance to know each other,” Smith said.

Smith said the sign up process for Adventure Club allows students to choose which activities they want to participate in. An email is sent out to the club members, and they are able to sign up for the events they want to attend. Thankfully for the middle schoolers, this new addition to Lourdes is still open for participants. The sign up list is open at all times during the year, and all the students have to do to join is contact Smith at school.

Middle school student joins Adventure Club and learns how to cast during the first outing.

Middle school student fishes during the first Adventure Club outing.

Middle school students learn how to cast fishing poles during Adventure Club.

Jennifer Andrysczyk - new teacher, newly engaged

By Grace Syson - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Everyone has given Jennifer Andrysczyk, the new sixth-grade religion and seventh-grade reading teacher, a warm welcome as she begins her first year of teaching at the middle school.

Andrysczyk is originally from Hortonville, WI and graduated from Xavier High School in Appleton. She attended Loras College, a small Catholic school in Dubuque, IA. While there, Andrysczyk majored in Religious Studies and Philosophy. She also minored in Catholic Studies and Peace and Justice.

This is Andrysczyk's first year teaching and she said, “It’s been really good going into it. I was unsure if I really would like teaching or not.” Since settling in, though, Andrysczyk said, “I really enjoy being in front of kids and teaching them about Jesus.”

Since Andrysczyk majored in Catholic studies, she feels she is flourishing when teaching her religion class. While teaching her reading class, Andrysczyk said she “... rediscovered my own desire and love for reading.”

Not only is Andrysczyk a new teacher, but she is also newly engaged to first-year Lourdes high school religion teacher Aaron Heiptas. The couple got engaged in early October. Andrysczyk said Heiptas took her on a scavenger hunt where a close friend was stationed at each site to give her the next clue. Andrysczyk and Heiptas plan on getting married in Greenville, WI in June of 2020.

Ms. Andrysczyk's engagement ring.

Newly engaged couple: Jennifer Andrysczyk and Aaron Heiptas.

Future Knight Writers: eighth-graders study Journalism

By Raechel Russo - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Eighth grade language arts teacher Mary Anne Saiyed recently introduced a journalism unit to her students. During the unit, students read the newspaper, The Oshkosh Herald, at least once a week and were required to share a fascinating story.

In addition, students also had to write informative articles. Eighth-grade students Fisher Mackenzie, Emily Cader, Emma Dillenberg, and Reagan Proud wrote news stories about homecoming, “Hamilton,” football, and a debate. Mackenzie said, “I decided to write about football because I love to play the game, and it’s something I’m passionate about.”

Journalism is a course offered at the high school, and eight out of the 10 students in Saiyed’s class said they would like to take the Journalism class when they get to high school. Saiyed said, “Including an informative style of writing will start to give the students a feel for what high school is like.”

Saiyed said the reason she developed the Journalism unit was to provide students with real-world experience and to practice time management and communication skills. Saiyed is excited about the possibilities of the eighth graders becoming future Knight Writers.

Eighth grade students explore and research news articles during their Journalism unit.

Mikesells prepare for second baby, Knights experience baby fever

By Annie Schraa - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Lourdes Academy students chattering about babies and wearing pink or blue clips is not unusual. You see, the Knights are experiencing baby fever. That’s right, there’s a new baby arriving soon and everyone is excited.

Principal Dave Mikesell and religion teacher Abigail Mikesell announced to the school that their second child is on the way. During a gender reveal at the homecoming pep rally, the students and staff learned that the Mikesell’s would be having a girl.

Both Dave and Abby said they have loved raising their two-year-old son John, and that they would feel blessed with either a boy or a girl. The Mikesells said that the front runners for names for the new baby are Elliot and Bernadette.

Dave said he wants their new baby to grow up to be fun-loving and caring, and Abby said she wants their baby to be open and happy with life. Dave and Abby both hope the new baby girl will be strong in faith as they both grew up in strong, Christian households. Dave also said that he wants all his children to be family-oriented because he experienced that growing up.

Dave and Abby said they are most excited about expanding their family because they are having so much fun raising John. Dave said that he is excited for when his children are old enough to interact with each other. “I think it’s going to be one hundred percent chaos, but one hundred percent fun at the same time,” Dave said.

Abbyl admitted, though, that her biggest fear about having another child is learning to split up the love and affection between John and the new baby. She said she loves John with her whole heart and doesn’t know how she could love another child so much. She knows, however, that when the baby comes, she will be able to love both children wholeheartedly. Dave said that he is most nervous about raising a girl because he has not had any experience with raising girls. He did not grow up with sisters and his experience of raising a child has been with raising John.

Dave and Abby said that communicating with each other is going to be important for them especially when life gets busier when the baby girl arrives. “I think having conversations about what we expect ourselves to do as parents and what we need from one another is a good quality to have,” Abby.

The Mikesell's son John discovers that he is going to have a baby sister.

60 years of homecoming spirit

By Grace Syson - Knight Writer

Student Journalist - Lourdes Academy

Students and families celebrated Lourdes 60th homecoming the week of Sept. 16 and showed what it truly means to be Knights.

This year, Lourdes Academy alumni were given special invitations to the celebration and were encouraged to participate in various events. This year, activities were offered at the annual homecoming picnic before the parade. Current Lourdes families and alumni were also invited to a bonfire held on the baseball diamond after the football game. These events gave alumni an opportunity to come together and share their favorite memories of being a Knight.

Director of advancement Karen Boehm, who was also responsible for inviting all the alumni to the homecoming events, said that her favorite part of homecoming week was “the homecoming picnic… it brings together our current families, students, and our alumni. I think it was fun for everyone to share stories and for our alumni to come back and see what's happening now with our students.”

Following the parade and the picnic, there was a pep rally to send off the football team. Everyone gathered to create a human tunnel for the players as they made their way to Titan Stadium to face the Dodgeland Trojans. The football team was victorious with a 48-7 win. After the game, students, players, and families went back to the school for a bonfire as a final celebration. Homecoming Queen Claire Chier lit the bonfire, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen sold hotdogs to the hungry Knights.

Science teacher and 1996 Lourdes alumna Carrie O'Connor said that homecoming when she was a student was “...a lot of fun. We had float building every night except Wednesday night, had a bonfire, and had a big community pep rally Thursday night. Everything else was Saturday morning: the parade, the football game, and the dance was Saturday night.”

In contrast to the homecomings held when O’Connor was a student at Lourdes, this year the pep rally, parade, football game, and the bonfire were all on Friday, but the dance was still held on Saturday night.

One tradition that has been around for as long as most students and alumni can remember is the brown jug contest. This year, the juniors won the brown jug competition. When O’Conner was a student, she said the seniors won the brown jug competition.

One tradition that has not continued from when O’Connor was a student was one that she remembers well from her senior year. “We used to do a senior skit at the pep rally where we spoofed the teachers,” O’Connor said. Students from her class acted out their favorite parts of their four years at Lourdes throughout the skit.

This year, a new activity that was introduced at the pep rally was a pie-eating contest. One student from each grade had to eat as much pie as he could with no hands in an allotted amount of time. Junior Jacob Husman came out victorious.

One tradition that will surely never die is the homecoming dance. This year, the dance was held in the commons, and it had the biggest turnout in many years with 130 tickets sold.