Goal 1 spotlight: Amy Becker, Dean of Students

Goal 1 spotlight: Amy Becker, Dean of Students

When I was young I attended public school, which meant going to CCD. (Now it is called Religious Ed.) It also meant that my parents had to be very intentional about raising my brothers and me Catholic.

One of the ways my mom did this was by talking to us about prayer and asking us to pray together, especially in times of trial.

I remember when a well line broke on the farm, my  mother gathered us to pray to Mary and ask her to help us find the break so we would have water for the livestock. The first prayer card I received from my mom was of St. Joseph. I remember having a discussion about his role as foster father and the power of praying to him specifically.

Over the years she and I have called, texted or shared in conversations and requests to have each  other join in praying to St. Joseph for someone or about a particular issue. 

When Pope Francis announced that 2021 was the year of St. Joseph, I was delighted! My mom sent me a whole book of prayers to St. Joseph. Tucked in the pages is the prayer she taught me, years ago, but there are so many other beautiful prayers there too!

I have spent 2021 contemplating the quiet, loyal foster father of our Savior. I love that prayers to St. Joseph are often labeled, ‘for impossible causes’ or ‘difficult situations.’ Guided by the Holy Spirit, St. Joseph faced a difficult situation with kindness and compassion and he was witness to the impossible made possible.

 

Duchesne family helps students celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Maria Cruz wanted share part of her culture with her daughter’s classmates. Mrs. Cruz, who is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, prepared on Wednesday a special lunch for students of enchiladas, beans, and rice. Her daughter is Sophia Becerra, A’22.

Maria Cruz leads Duchesne Food Program staff in making enchiladas, rice, and beans, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.

Maria Cruz leads Duchesne Food Program staff in making enchiladas, rice, and beans, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.

The meal was part of Duchesne’s recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Cruz was excited to celebrate introduce some teens to a new culture through food.

“It represents what we do, what we like, our culture, our food, our traditions, our language,” she said.

Jacqui Caniglia, Duchesne Food Program Manager, was eager to welcome Mrs. Cruz to the kitchen.

“The best part of being down here is when we have our community come in to cook and serve with us,” Caniglia said.

Students were excited to try the authentic food and Mrs. Cruz was happy to serve students and teachers.

“I love Duchesne. I love how they work together, the students with the teachers, and overall they care about each other.”

Duchesne senior wins national championships in competitive horse riding

OMAHA – A Duchesne Academy student is returning to school with a new title: National Champion. Caleigh Copenhaver, A’22, competed in six riding disciplines at the 2021 Arabian Youth Nationals in Oklahoma City – the top competition for youth in the sport. She won sidesaddle and western pleasure had six top-ten finishes in other events and qualified in another. This was the second year in a row she has won a national title in a horse-riding event.

Copenhaver’s road to Oklahoma City started in December. She spent hours in the saddle working with her horses and then more time caring for the animals all while balancing her schoolwork.

A Duchesne Academy student is returning to school with a new title: National Champion. Caleigh Copenhaver, A’22, competed in six riding disciplines at the 2021 Arabian Youth Nationals in Oklahoma City in July “The feeling of your number getting called for a championship is a unique feeling and there isn’t anything else I can compare it to,” Copenhaver said.

“It takes good mental stability and confidence to be able to show at a national level. It takes a lot of work to learn some of these horses and how to ride them,” Caleigh’s mother, Jenn Copenhaver said.

Her riding career began when she was 10 years old when she started competing in local competitions. When Copenhaver was 12 she added regional competitions to her schedule, and two years later was traveling the nation to compete. Copenhaver displayed her skills, experience, and endurance during this summer’s 15-day national competition in July.

“Show days are long and lots of hard work. Practice rides, show rides, getting the horses ready, doing stalls, keeping the horses healthy and sound, it takes a lot of time and effort,” her mother said.

To look her best, Copenhaver created competition outfits that included ornate tops and riding pants she wore a pristine white hat and her Sacred Heart ring.

“I wear my ring everywhere and never take it off. I am also grateful that Duchesne allows me to go to practice and compete as long as I keep up with my schoolwork. Duchesne has been supportive of this sport and I very much appreciate it,” Copenhaver said.

This was the end of Caleigh’s riding season but not the end of her career. She plans to continue competing as a youth until she turns 19 when she will transition to adult competitions.

Congratulations, Caleigh!

Duchesne 2021 graduation at St. Cecilia will be full capacity

Duchesne 2021 graduation at St. Cecilia will be full capacity

OMAHA, Neb — Duchesne Academy’s 2021 commencement ceremony will be the first full-capacity event at Saint Cecilia Cathedral since March 2020, the school announced Tuesday. Graduation will take place on the evening of May 27.

Administrators encourage students and their guests to wear a mask to help protect vulnerable people who may attend, but will not enforce mask-wearing.

“Many of our guests will be grandparents who, even if fully vaccinated, remain our most vulnerable population and break-through infections are still possible after vaccination,” said Principal Laura Hickman, Ed.D.

St. Cecilia Pastor Father Michael Grewe made the decision to open the event to full capacity after administrators made the request to do so on behalf of seniors and their parents. Graduates will be allowed up to nine guests and will sit with their families during the ceremony.

“These students have worked hard to maintain their grades and a strong sense of community during multiple closures. We are happy that they will be able to graduate in front of their families,” said Hickman.

Duchesne’s graduation ceremony will be live-streamed on the school’s Facebook page.

Duchesne Academy Class of 2021:

84 Seniors

100% will attend college

95% received at least one college scholarship

21 scored a 32 or higher on the ACT

7 National Merit Finalists, 2 commended scholars

2 QuestBridge Scholars

1 Student selected to U.S. Senate Youth Program

9825 reported service hours since 2017

Students Share Joy and Build Community

Students Share Joy and Build Community

Ana Zulkoski says she knew Duchesne was different the moment she walked into the building as an eighth-grade student.

“Everyone was so welcoming and I could see myself walking through the halls. I liked how the teachers taught and that they were open and honest with all the students,” Zulkoski said.

Four years later, she says her classmates and teachers have helped her learn about the world and herself in a supportive environment. Given the difficulties presented by Covid, school administrators challenged Zulkoski and her classmates in A’21 with guiding younger students and ensuring they continue to build a supportive community.

“Duchesne is a place where there is a lot of love and a lot of community and connections,” Zulkoski said.

Their efforts have paid off. Younger students say they feel empowered to be themselves when they come to school.

“I love Duchesne because the community is really close-knit and everyone is always looking out for one another,” said Ina Satpathy, A’23.

The strong sense of community bonds students to each other and to Duchesne’s alumnae.

“If you haven’t been back to Duchesne in a while, I think returning would feel the same as it did when you walked through those doors as a student,” said Sophia Harding, A’23.

“Even though students are making new memories today the Sacred Heart foundation and family that you know and love is still here,” she said.

As they build community, students share their joy, creating an environment where every student can learn and grow into the woman she is called to be.

Duchesne Students Find Joy in Service and Faith

Duchesne Students Find Joy in Service and Faith

Seniors Sabrina Sulaymonova and Jackie Barnes each say they had to get creative when they were planning service projects at the start of the school year because many places stopped allowing outside visitors. The two and their classmates decided they would find ways to serve others wherever and however they could.

“Service this year has been a lot of seeing what we can do in our immediate community and really getting our school community involved,” Barnes said.

Barnes partnered with other students to form a UNICEF club. The group offered opportunities for other students to raise awareness about important issues and raise money locally to support UNICEF causes.

“In a lot of my classes we talk so much about the experiences of others and how our actions impact other people. I think that is it special that we are so focused on others while simultaneously discovering ourselves,” Barnes said.

Sulaymonova agrees that identifying their passions enables students to tap into a deeper source of motivation.

“Duchesne taught me to find my passion and ultimately put that toward my service. I learned that service is important because there are so many people in this world who are in need and it is our job as women of the Sacred Heart to assist those people when they are in need,” Sulaymonova said.

Sulaymonova worked with other students to send letters to Religious of the Sacred Heart sisters who were isolated in their homes during severe Covid waves in California.

“My theology classes especially have taught me that God’s love is very impactful and if we can show that to other people we can make a significant impact on people’s lives,” she said.