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2019 grad puts her faith into action

Alex Henderson ’19, far left, and Bryce Hutchins ’20, on her right, pose with a group of college students after the Walk for Life Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville.

Alex Henderson ’19 is driven to promote a respect for life from conception to natural death. As a sophomore biology major on a pre-med track at Bellarmine University, she started a chapter of Students for Life of America on campus this past August in order to pool the resources of other students who also had the same mission.

“I saw a need for an outlet for pro-life voices on campus and wanted to create a space where like-minded students could meet,” Henderson said. “I knew I could help mothers and their babies, but I needed to gather the support and resources to do so. SFLA offers a number of free resources for students on both high school and college campuses and has done wonderful work across the country fighting for life.”

Working with other members of the newly founded chapter, which include Bryce Hutchins ’20 and Nolan Banet ’20, Henderson organized their participation in several events. Late last month, they helped a March for Life Watch Party, joined virtually with thousands of people from across the country on the 48th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. After COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the group plans to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., annually. 

Locally, the Bellarmine SFLA chapter also attended the annual Walk for Life with the Archdiocese of Louisville at the Cathedral of the Assumption. The event included a 1.5 mile prayer walk in downtown Louisville followed by Mass with Archbishop Joseph Kurtz along with other pro-life students from the University of Louisville, including Maria Popson ’20 and Abbi Hamm ’16.

One struggle for the new chapter is finding funding for its events. Classified as an outreach organization, the SFLA chapter’s request for funding from the Bellarmine Student Government Association was denied when the chapter formed in August 2020. Thus, the chapter relies on outside funding to support its outreach and events. Henderson said she was not surprised to have been denied funding by the SGA but has confidence in God’s providence.

“Despite this obstacle, I am confident that financial support (along with prayers) from the local pro-life communities and parishes will help us get to where we need to be to maximize our potential as a pro-life organization,” she wrote in an email. “We are working hard to promote a culture of life on campus and have also partnered with local pregnancy resource centers to expand our outreach throughout the Louisville community.”

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Class of ’80 grad finds comfort in cooking

Ha “Haley” Nguyen ’80 has made a career out of her love for cooking, and thanks to her son Ryan Tran’s acting career, her story was featured in a King Arthur Flour commercial and blog post. The blog post, “A recipe that echoes across generations: It’s connected my family from Vietnam to America,” went up on Dec. 28, 2020, and shares how Tran and Nguyen each got started cooking.

Nguyen enrolled at Providence just one year after her family immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in 1975, one of seven children. Her family was placed in Floyd County by the refugee resettlement agency, and Nguyen and several of her siblings attended Providence, where Nguyen was chosen to be basketball homecoming queen her senior year.

According to the blog, Nguyen learned to cook from her grandmother in Vietnam, and when her family settled in the New Albany area, she and her mother learned to cook American classics like fried chicken and apple pie. After earning a degree from Indiana University Southeast, Nguyen moved to Colorado, where she began her career in the food industry.

Cooking, Nguyen said in an email, is something that gives her joy, as does sharing her love of cooking with others.

“I enjoy cooking in any environment,” she said. “I connect to my past, home country, or current home, but not just cooking alone. There are people connections, places, and of course, finding food in the most unlikely places.”

Like her grandmother and mother before her, Nguyen taught her three sons, including Tran, how to cook American and Vietnamese favorites. She also loves sharing her knowledge and love of cooking through culinary arts classes and tours.

Nguyen has owned two restaurants, including one in Colorado and another in California, where she lives now. She also has been a professional chef, culinary arts instructor, and culinary tour guide. Her Orange County, Calif., modern Vietnamese restaurant closed in 2012, but she continues to teach and is the department head of the culinary arts department at Long Beach City College.

Like her restaurant career, her teaching career started in Colorado, at the Cooking School of the Rockies in 1994. By 1999, she was teaching at the Art Institute of California in Santa Monica, where she developed its Asian curriculum.

Nguyen also has taught culinary skills through cooking classes at her California restaurant and in cooking seminars at various locations, including the Los Angeles Museum of Art. She also leads groups on culinary tours in the Little Saigon area in Orange County, Calif., and in Southeast Asia.

The King Arthur blog is not the first media attention her culinary expertise has received. Nguyen’s culinary tours were featured on a “Cooking School Stories” episode on the Food Network in March 2002 and on “CNN with Joe Carter” in June 2012.

The King Arthur Flour commercial came about through Tran’s acting career, which includes parts in several short films. As part of the commercial deal, the company asked them to write a blog for its “Let Good Things Rise” series, which Tran did. It includes a recipe for a childhood favorite of Nguyen’s, Bánh Xèo, also known as Vietnamese Crispy Crêpes.

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Young alumni open businesses despite pandemic

It’s tough enough opening a small business in any climate, but doing so in the middle of a pandemic is even more challenging. Yet inventive, determined people, such as the three young alumni featured here, continue to turn their ideas into money-making ventures for the sheer love of sharing their passion with the public. Their businesses range from a part-time hobby to a large-scale sporting adventure club.

Monetizing a crafting hobby
Becca Hellinger ’15 has always loved to do crafts. At Providence her favorite classes were art, and she loved spending time working on various projects. But once she began nursing school at Indiana University Southeast, her studies kept her from spending much time at. After earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing in May, she promised herself she would return to doing things she loved as a personal reward, she said.

She started making decorative badge reels and epoxy tumblers for herself and then for friends as a way to destress after her night-shift job as a nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Norton Children’s Hospital. Coming home after a long shift and working on craft projects has become her favorite way to unwind.

“I love how I can go into my basement and start working on something and everything else in my mind melts away,” Hellinger said. “I lose track of time and stay up way too late quite often, but it’s worth it to me to have that outlet to unwind at the end of each day. I also love the happiness and excitement on people’s faces when I deliver their items. I love being able to make something personal for them to bring a little more joy to their day when they see it. Their excitement makes my heart happy.”

The idea for selling her creations came when friends who received her gifts suggested she sell them. In June, she started a Facebook page, Becca’s Craft Creations and Personalizations, and began taking orders. Since then, she’s had a steady stream of orders from coworkers and friends. For now, she plans to limit her orders to local delivery to avoid shipping.

She spends a couple hours each day either crafting for herself or working on orders. It takes five days to complete an epoxy tumbler because of the curing process, and she can make up to eight at one time, thanks to additional turners her dad made for her.

Hellinger said she plans to continue nursing full time and maintain her business as a hobby. Even though she loves crafting, she loves her career too.

“This is a tough job (working in the Pediatric ICU), but I love how rewarding it can be,” she said. “I not only care for children during some of their worst days, but also for their families.

Being able to see the kids go from very critical to walking out our doors is definitely a highlight I love. I can’t see myself working in another profession.”

Turning family tradition into marketing opportunity
Collin Rauck ’15 also is turning his hobby into a business. Whitetail Bloodline, which he co-owns with a friend who shares Rauck’s passion for hunting, “is a hunting brand that aims to promote hunting and conservation that has been passed down throughout our bloodline,” he said.

The business is still in the early stages of development and for now offers a merchandising line of hats, hoodies, shirts, and decals. Next up, Rauck and his business partner, Gavin Sodders, plan to post videos of themselves hunting to the Whitetail Bloodline YouTube channel. Future plans include starting a podcast focusing on hunting tips and strategies.

Rauck and Sodders began formalizing their longtime dreams of owning an outdoor company just as the spring quarantine began. Despite the shutdown, the two moved forward with their plans. Merchandise sales opened in late August, and the pandemic has meant shipping delays, but orders are coming in. The two continue promoting the brand and their love of hunting and the outdoors on the business’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

Although it may seem like a crazy time to start a business, Rauck said he and Sodders were ready to launch their business despite the climate. After all, hunting can be a solo sport, and they are both looking forward to the fall season opening soon.

“We’ve both been hunting since we could basically walk, and we both are very thankful for our dads being the biggest influence in getting us into hunting and the outdoors,” Rauck said.

Old family farm now a sporting club
Jack G. Koetter ’14 also has launched an outdoor activity business, but of the three profiled here, his is the only full-scale business. The Sporting Club at the Farm, located on 740 acres along the Ohio River on River Road in New Albany, offers a variety of outdoor activities, mainly focused around shooting and archery, with plans to expand into hiking, corporate outings and more.

Koetter left his job as foreman with his family’s business Koetter Construction in order to launch The Sporting Club. As assistant manager, he oversees daily operations and handles property management. It’s been a busy year for Koetter and his business partner, Bobby Brooks, who is a cousin to Koetter’s wife, Catherine (Emerson) ’14.

Brooks shared his vision for the river-bottom land one of his relatives was selling, and Koetter saw the potential for the old farm. The two began work on the property in July 2019, and The Sporting Club opened this past June – delayed from the original April opening because of the statewide quarantine. He also is using his former construction business skills to restore the nearly 150-year-old farmhouse into a pro shop and clubhouse.

“It has been seven days a week, daylight to dark getting us to where we are now,” Koetter said. “And I have to thank my wife, Catherine Koetter, for allowing me to spend countless hours away from her and our three young kids,” Summer, 4; Jackson, 2; and John Kayce, 8 weeks.

Business has gone well this summer, with families, individuals, and organizations coming out to enjoy clay target shooting, archery, fishing, and hiking. The facility also offers events, banquets, and weddings.

“These are some of the things we do to keep the lights on but our mission and our ‘why’ is to get kids in the outdoors,” Koetter said, noting that organizations such as the National Archery School Program and Scholastic Clay Target program use the facilities. “(We want) to get kids that maybe aren’t the star quarterback or pitcher or maybe don’t have a father figure in their life to get them outside and teach them that there is more to life than just video games and give them a chance to be a part of a team or talk about God. That’s something that is very near and dear to our hearts.”

Koetter said that despite the full-time effort needed to launch a business, he is grateful to see how families and children are enjoying the farm and its offerings.

“The opportunity to bring the business to our community that has an economic impact and to share our passion for the great outdoors has been a dream come true,” Koetter said. “I have to thank my business partner, Bobby, for including me on his idea and to give the glory to God for putting our families together and assembling our team to get this business to where we are now.”

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Teachers adapt to teaching in 2020

Schools across the country are grappling with how to educate their students while keeping them safe during the pandemic. Locally, most Southern Indiana schools are teaching students in person or using a hybrid schedule, while other states have opted for online learning. The focal point has been students and their health. The teachers and how they are all of these added challenges are an important component in the success of this school year.

This issue, we talk to a few teachers about how they are adapting to the new environment, including two new teachers. Julie Payne ’14 is in her second year of teaching 10th grade special education English in Washington, D.C., as part of the Urban Teachers program, and Kaitlyn Hellinger ’16 is in her first year of teaching second grade at St. Anthony School in Clarksville. Aimee (Hess) McDonnell ’96, who teaches English as a second language at Kenwood Elementary in Louisville, provides an experienced teacher’s point of view.

Hellinger is navigating the rigors of first-year teaching with the added component of safety and health practices for her in-person classroom. St. Anthony has two licensed teachers who provide online learning to students who opt to learn virtually this semester, so she is able to focus on her classroom students as she builds her lesson plans and creates teaching materials. She does, however, upload assignments to Google Classroom for her digital learners.

While she did have an opportunity to work online with one student last spring, her student teaching assignment did not extend into virtual learning. She completed her elementary education student teaching in Indianapolis, but the quarantine began when she was just two weeks into her special education teaching assignment. Marian University, where she earned her degree in elementary education and a minor in special education, changed the required length for student teachers once the quarantine began.

Hellinger said she is enjoying getting to know her students, adapting to their various learning styles, and eager to help them prepare for their First Communion. See below for a more detailed Q&A.

Payne teaches at a public charter school in D.C., which is requiring distance learning for the first several weeks of school. She said she feels more successful at providing online learning this semester after having the summer to “work out the kinks.” Working with her co-teacher, she is able to offer synchronous learning (live teaching at scheduled times) as well as in platforms from Google Classroom and Zoom to Nearpod and Quizziz.

She is able to provide one-on-one instruction as well as work more closely with a variety of teachers in other subjects, thanks to the school’s emphasis on cross-curricular collaboration. However, what is more challenging is building the rapport with her students that came more easily with in-person learning, she said.

Payne also feels more successful as a teacher overall, having learned a lot during her first year last year, as well as from master’s classes in education that she is taking at Johns Hopkins University. See below for a more detailed Q&A.

McDonnell said she is energized by the creativity her fellow teachers and the staff have used at her school to engage students during distance learning. At the same time, she realizes her students are missing out on an important component of in-person classes, that of being immersed in an environment with naturally occurring conversations in English. Many of her ESL students have no other English speakers in their homes, so they miss out on the daily listening to and speaking their new language.

***

Question: How is your school year going so far?

Kaitlyn Hellinger: The school year has been going well so far. It was a little bit of an adjustment at first, mainly for me to become more comfortable as a first-year teacher and figuring out what did and didn’t work with my class. However, we have settled into a routine and are improving every day. They are getting used to being in school again, since they were out of the school building for such a long time due to the pandemic. The students are doing a lot better than I ever anticipated with keeping their masks on. You can tell how badly they want to be in school with their classmates and teachers instead of being online like they were in the spring.

Q: What do you like about teaching second grade?
KH: Second grade is a fun age. My students are old enough to be a little more independent but still young enough to be silly and excited to learn. It is also the year students make their First Communion. I am thrilled to be able to accompany my students while they are taking this important and exciting step in their faith life.

Q: What creative ways are you using to get to know your students since everyone is masked?
KH: Even while social distancing and wearing our masks, my class was still able to play some get-to-know-you games at the beginning of the year. My students also love to talk and tell stories, so finding a little time throughout the day to listen to their stories and learn more about them has been important as well.

Q: What do you find most challenging in your first year of teaching?
KH: Finding the time to complete everything has been extremely challenging. I knew this was going to be a challenge my first year, even without the pandemic. There is just so much to plan, create, and grade. Since it is my first year, I do not have materials already made to use, so I am making everything from scratch, which takes a lot of time. I also do not have a partner teacher so figuring out the best way to teach everything has been a little overwhelming, but the other primary teachers have been a great help and are always willing to give me their opinion and support.

Q: What do you find most rewarding?
KH: When I get to see the “light bulb” go off in students when they finally understand a concept, we are working on is so rewarding. We work so hard together to learn new things and clarify any confusion so seeing when it finally clicks is just as rewarding for me as it is for them. I also love seeing my students grow as people. I have only known them for about a month, but some of them have already changed so much. Seeing them help one another and make Christ-like choices is a dream come true. Also, seeing their smiling eyes and masked faces when they are leaving at dismissal while saying they don’t want to leave school yet makes me feel like I am making an impact and helping my students love learning.

Q: How did your own education experience prepare you for being a first-year teacher?
KH: Thinking back to when I was a student in elementary school, the fun interactive projects are what I remember the most. I plan to incorporate as many hands-on learning experiences for my students as possible. My time in college with practicums in elementary classrooms and student teaching helped me see classroom management strategies, lesson ideas, classroom set ups, and have many other valuable experiences to help me go into my first year of teaching with an idea of how I wanted to run my classroom and teach certain skills.

Q: What is it like to be teaching at your old school?
KH: Teaching in my old school is like coming home, as cheesy as that may sound. I honestly could not imagine myself teaching anywhere else. I get to teach alongside some of my absolute favorite teachers while getting to know them in a different light as coworkers instead of as my teachers. It is still a little weird to call them by their first name instead of as Mrs. So-and-so, but I am slowly adjusting. Old and new faces alike, everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. I know I can ask anyone for help or advice, and they would do anything they can to help me. Job hunting during a pandemic was stressful, but I am so thankful for how everything worked out, allowing me to be back at St. Anthony’s teaching second grade.

Question: How was your first year teaching through the Urban Teachers program?

Julie Payne: My first year was, in large part, a learning experience for me. I was able to soak up a lot of different, new techniques and strategies that I was not taught during my undergrad experience. This year was a huge year of growth for me, and because of it, I felt more prepared for this weird virtual learning year that we’ve entered now.

Q: What were the challenges and your success stories?
JP: Some challenges that I faced were adapting my teaching processes for my students. When I student taught in undergrad, my host teacher did not engage in a lot of actual instruction. She would give students an assignment, talk about it for a couple of minutes, and then let them go on their way to work. Because of this, I modeled my teaching practice in a similar way, just being available to students if they needed help. When I started teaching in D.C. though, I found that my students needed more instruction and guidance. They needed constant engagement and stimulation, where they wanted to talk about and discuss the work/content. This is where a lot of my successes came in, though. This type of teaching allowed me to grow closer to my students and allowed me to better my pedagogical practices in a way that I wasn’t able to in undergrad. I felt like I was making a bigger impact on their education and could tell when I needed to adapt my teaching or approach.

Q: What did you do to adapt to virtual learning last spring?
JP: Before virtual learning back in March, we used Google classroom for a large majority of our assignments that required a computer in-person, such as extended writing assignments and essays. When we switched to all virtual, we transitioned everything to Google Classroom, so students were using a familiar platform. While we did not transition fully to synchronous classes that students had to login to, my co-teacher and I made ourselves available for virtual office hours for students to check into, if they needed more support or clarification about any assignments.

Q: With DC starting classes virtually, what things that you learned from last spring are you applying to this school year?
JP: Last year, we did not do any synchronous classes with students. My co-teacher and I tried a couple of times in the beginning, but there was no set time for class to occur, so students were not regularly logging in. Because of this, we decided to do one-on-one check-ins with students instead of actual classes. This year, we are doing synchronous classes with students, plus daily office hours and small group sections for specific students. My co-teacher and I are also working on creating more engaging lessons virtually for our students through various platforms, such as Zoom, Nearpod, Quizziz, etc., that we did not use as much last year.

Q: Is it more challenging starting off the year virtually?
JP: For actual lesson planning, it is a little easier starting off virtually because we had a couple of months to get started and work out some of the kinks from the spring semester. However, for actual classroom instruction, it is a little more difficult because I’m not as familiar with the students that I have now. I did teach one section of these same students last year, but it will be more difficult to build relationships with the other students, as virtual learning largely limits that one-on-one rapport you can build with a student. I’m hoping through different platforms and avenues during the school day, I will have opportunities to build that connection with students, even if we’re not in person.

Q: What do you enjoy about teaching?
JP: The thing that I enjoy most about teaching is whenever I can see that spark in a student’s eye when they finally make a connection or learn something new, especially a student whose favorite subject is not English. It makes me feel like I am making a positive impact on their educational experience, which is my main goal in teaching. I also enjoy the back and forth goofiness that I get to have with my students.

Q: What do you like about the Urban Teachers program?
JP: The Urban Teachers program has helped prepare me for the classroom in a way that my undergraduate experience did not. The level of rigor from the graduate school classes at Johns Hopkins, combined with the hands-on teaching experience and coaching that the residency year gave me is something that is unparalleled. I definitely feel more prepared to walk into any classroom and be able to teach any student, which is something that I did not feel so confident in when I graduated from undergrad.

Q: What do you like about teaching virtually?
JP: Teaching virtually gives me more of an opportunity to work with students one-on-one, with the way my school has set things up. It also gives me an opportunity to connect with other teachers and school personnel in a way that I wasn’t able to in person, as my school has really prioritized cross-curricular and cross-grade level collaboration and planning in the virtual world.

Question: As an ESL teacher, what challenges did you face last spring with distance learning?
Aimee McDonnell: The digital divide is a challenge for a large number of students. Providing chrome books, hot spots, and translation services on top of creating engaging content for our ESL students was a huge undertaking. Luckily, I am blessed to work at the only National School of Character in Kentucky. Our students, our staff, and our families are committed to each other and to overcoming challenges.

Q: How is this fall semester going as it starts virtually?
AM: We are back online and better than ever. I am always amazed at the resiliency of our students. Our teachers have gone above and beyond to reach every single child online. NTI 2.0 is providing so many exciting opportunities for our ESL population. We would love to be back in person, but for now, just seeing the kids back online makes all of the hard work worth it.

Q: What creative ways are you using to reach these students?
AM: Teachers are using interactive platforms and Bitmoji classrooms to capture students’ interest. They are planning culturally diverse lessons that include My Maps and CultureGrams so that all students have access to an equitable Education. We also do lots of fun and crazy things to get them to show up and keep them coming back. One of my favorite events this year has been our drive-in orientation. Each student was invited to come in their cars to receive Chromebooks and log on information. The parking lot was set up like a drive-in theatre, and our presentation for orientation was shared digitally so parents could watch it in their car. It is that kind of creative thinking that energizes our staff and students. I also consider myself honored that I get to do home visits during COVID. Following social distance and mask mandates has been challenging, but there is nothing more rewarding than helping people at home and getting a firsthand glimpse into their life.

Q: How will the ESL student population benefit once classes return to in person?
AM: Listening and speaking English are crucial to language development. Hearing conversations around you in English, and turning and talking with friends is invaluable. Some of it can be replicated online, but technology robs us of some of the natural conversations that happen during the day. You can’t replicate those additional organic interactions that happen in the cafeteria, on the playground, or even at the water fountain. Every student regardless of the language they speak needs human interaction for modeling.

Q: What do you enjoy about teaching ESL?
AM: The thing I love most about teaching ESL is that I am also the student. Each child has a unique experience that shapes who they are, and I have learned so much about the world through them. I also love being able to connect my faith with my pedagogy. Doing outreach with Catholic schools to bring acceptance for immigrants and refugees is just an added bonus.

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Grad rides tandem bike for charity

Running races together is something the Garner family likes to do. This year, they decided to register for the Disney Marathon in January 2021 and to raise money for a cause while they trained for it. Yet drawing attention to their chosen charity, A-T Children’s Project, which supports research for a cure for ataxia-telangiectasia, a rare, complex genetic neurodegenerative disorder that usually impacts children. But research for the cure will also likely provide help for other diseases, like Parkinson’s, which has impacted members of the Garner family, said James Garner Jr. ’15.

But drawing attention to their cause in the midst of a pandemic and protests over social justice issues would likely be difficult, they knew. Then James came up with an idea after seeing a neighbor and his son ride by his family’s New Albany home on a tandem bicycle. By that evening, James and his younger brother came up with a plan to buy a tandem bike and ride it to Asheville, N.C., where their family was vacationing for the July 4 weekend.

“We had to do something a little absurd to get (people’s) attention, and it seems like two guys on a bright yellow bike were able to do just that,” said James, who works in asset and risk management at Magnolia Bank in Elizabethtown.

He found a 1990s Santana Fusion bike on Facebook Marketplace, and the brothers mapped out their course, which took them from New Albany, across the Big Four Bridge into Louisville, down Bardstown Road to U.S. 150 through Kentucky, across the Cumberland Gap into Tennessee, and through the Smoky Mountains over four days.

Their first stop was in Danville, home of Centre College, where James earned his degree in economics and finance in May 2019. James posted information and photos from the trip on Facebook and Instagram to draw attention to the cause, and people began to respond with donations and words of encouragement. 

“I would also do some Q&As on my social media and got some great questions like ‘How many drops of sweat did it take to get to London, Ky.?’” he said. “Some back-of-the-napkin math tells me it took about 333,000 drops of sweat.”

After the second day, they stopped in London, Ky., where his younger brother, David, felt ill and decided to stop riding. James decided to ride on and finish the 350-mile trip, which meant biking up and over the Cumberland Gap and through the Smokies — 22,000 feet of vertical — by himself. 

“(It) was a pretty big effort – 108 miles on a tandem by yourself can definitely test your mettle,” he said.

The bike trip is over, having raised more than $2,000 for A-T research, but the family’s training and fundraising is not. Alumni members of his family training for the Disney Marathon include his father, James Sr. ’91; sister Dr. Rebecca Garner ’12, aunts Dr. Kathryn “Kitty” Garner ’78 and Anne (Garner) Offutt ’87, and cousin Mary (Garner) Casey ’07

For James, having completed the ride, especially the last half alone, is good preparation for the family’s marathon and inspiration for more fun fundraising activities in the future.

“The overwhelming support I received from family, friends and strangers along the way made this trip one that I will not soon forget,” he said. “The trip helped me realize how truly privileged I am to have such caring communities, including the Providence High School community, around me. The little things, like having parents of friends I went to high school with reach out to me with words of encouragement, meant the world to me on this trip, and I cannot thank them enough.”

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OLPH principal raises funds, awareness with 24-hour marathon

Steve Beyl ’99 continues to do creative and fun things to lead Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in his second year as principal. Last week, he ran a 24-hour “marathon” to raise money to support Catholic education. The idea came to run a mile at a time over a day as a way to promote the SGO Tax Credit Scholarship Fund while he was running for his daily exercise in his neighborhood. 

He said he was dissatisfied with how well he had gotten out the message of the SGO program and its benefit to students in Catholic schools during his time as principal as well as the public’s understanding of the program. With the pandemic affecting the economy, he knew more families would be in need of these Tax Credit Scholarships. He came up with the idea to run one mile at a time each hour over a 24-hour period to bring attention to the cause. He had never run a long-distance race before and knew a true marathon would not be doable, but breaking it down in manageable chunks would also help to draw attention to his cause.

“There is no way I could run a ‘real’ marathon of 26.2 miles straight, but I thought this was possible — and the 24-hour time period without sleep would be a challenge,” Beyl said. 

Source: Our Lady of Perpetual Help School Facebook page

His hope was to raise $2,000, but his primary goal was to increase awareness and understanding of the program. Donations to the program offer a tax credit to the donor and an opportunity for students in financial need to receive a scholarship to attend a non-public school like OLPH. 

“That was honestly my number-one goal, but of course, we actually wanted to raise some funds while we were at it,” he said. “I think we all know that during this uncertain time we are going to have to help not only potential new families, but current families as well. The funds in this account can make the difference on a child enrolling in our school.”

He started his run last Thursday night at 8:00 with a 3.2-mile run. He then rested until the next hour when he ran another mile. He posted his progress on social media, drawing attention virtually and in person as well.

From midnight to 8 a.m., he was joined by three others who ran and rested with him at a distance — OLPH third grade teacher and PHS assistant golf coach Pat McGuire and former PHS coworkers Brad Burden (Spanish teacher and Girls Basketball coach) and Bart Makowsky ’87 (theology teacher). 

“Having their company as we all sat far away to keep our distance in those overnight hours was so helpful,” Beyl said.

The biggest help was yet to come. 

Source: Our Lady of Perpetual Help School Facebook page

“Once daybreak came, families and students just kept showing up outside my house and along the running route,” Beyl said. “I couldn’t believe it. On the final run, the entire route was filled with students, teachers, and staff from Our Lady. It was an amazing feeling to run and see so many familiar faces who cared enough to be there for the end of the 24-hour marathon.”

His marathon raised more than $8,100 in donations to the SGO program and the awareness he wanted. It’s just one of many ways Beyl has been creative in keeping his students connected during the extended eLearning period. Beyl or one of his teachers hosts a Facebook Live event every evening, telling stories or playing trivia games. In-person morale boosters, like the families who cheered on his last mile, are important too, with teachers doing drive-by parades and yard visits to students, who do their schoolwork on their own or school-loaned Chromebooks.

“I can’t say enough about how hard they have worked to maintain those personal connections,” Beyl said. “I’m blessed and lucky to have such an outstanding staff.”

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Providence friendships last a lifetime

Many of our alumni comment on how much they value the lifelong friendships they made while students here. With students coming from three counties and even Louisville, these friendships may not have been made without their attending Providence. The small school and strong community enhance these connections and forge bonds that last for decades.

In the next Vision magazine, scheduled to mail later this month, several of these friend groups will be highlighted, including two groups from the Class of 1969, which will celebrate its 50th reunion this year. If you are part of an enduring friend group, please email a photo and description to news@providencehigh.net to be considered for inclusion in a future eVision.

1969 Golfers

The late Mike Naville ’69 was a driving force in his class. He rallied his classmates to share in his continued love for their alma mater long after graduation. And he loved to have an excuse to spend time with them. Soon after the class’s 10-year reunion, the Class of 1969 Golfers began an annual three-day golf marathon at Naville’s urging.

For 40 years, the group has played a full 18 holes or more on each of three successive days once a year. It’s not serious golf, but “various forms of best ball, which I believe keeps the focus on having a fun time with great friends,” Tom Raidy explained.

Naville was good at organizing such golf scrambles, and even created one for the Alumni Association. For his classmates, he took the time to pair each one with different classmates each day – and grouped them by skill level. Richard Young and Tommy Blair carry on the task now that Naville has passed.

Raidy, Young, Blair, Steve Detenber, Jerry Wayne, Stan Farrell, Jeff Jones, Mark MeGraw, Cary Williams, Dale Popp, Ron Posante, Richard Andres, Gary Engle, Eddie Kruer, Mike Day, Pat Teives, Cletus Kochert, Ray Schulz, and Mike McKay make up this group of golf buddies.

The men became friends while in the same classes or on the same sports teams. They may not speak on a regular basis or even see each other in between the annual golf outing, but when they reunite, the men slip easily back into the connection made more than 50 years ago.

“While I only see most of my classmates at the reunions, there is something special that makes it seem we just saw each other yesterday,” Raidy said, noting he was only able to become part of the golf outing five years ago when he moved closer to Southern Indiana after decades in California. “On our annual golf weekend, we come together and have a great time, and it is obvious neither time nor distance has any effect on our friendships.

“It is a great, fun time. Golf, old friends, old stories, with some new ones mixed in. My only regrets are that I missed all the prior years from when they started until I finally joined up and missed being there with Mike. I love these guys and getting to spend time with them. These friendships have lasted since high school, and while I made lots of friends since then, I never made any better friends. The Class of ‘69 are a group of very special people.”

1969 Lunch Group

The 1969 Lunch Group at West Baden, left to right, are Paula (Cleveland) Bertloff, Karen (Gettelfinger) Book, Sandy (Lynn) Mason, Rita (Litch) Stocksdale, Barb (Miller) Schindler, Brenda (Speth) Sweet, and Rosie Miller.

The women in the Class of 1969 have their own tradition, one that started more recently. They gather for lunch about every other month, usually choosing a new spot or place of interest. Up to 13 women, including Barb (Miller) Schindler, Beckee (Olson) Blair, Brenda (Speth) Sweet, Karen (Gettelfinger) Book, Marilyn (Stumler) Pinnick, Pam (Schueler) Beerbower, Paula (Cleveland) Bertloff, Rita (Litch) Stocksdale, Rosie Miller, Sandy (Lynn) Mason, Vicki (Andres) Prince, Virginia (Gogel) Hyde, and Marguerite (Book) Mayfield, attend each time.

The tradition started in 2006 after one of the women’s father died and the desire to meet somewhere other than a funeral home sparked a lunch date, Mayfield said. The group started with just four or five women meeting on Saturdays for lunch, and the number grew over time. As the women retired, the day moved to Wednesday. The classmates don’t all live locally, with some driving in from Brownsburg and Indianapolis. But that gives the group the excuse to travel farther afield.

Their destinations have included local attractions such as Churchill Downs, Culbertson Mansion, and Speed Art Museum as well as road trips to Conner Prairie and an annual trip to Café Batar in Seymour.

“We talk about our families, trips, memories, and news,” Mayfield said. “We are never at a loss for conversation topics. It has been great staying connected to these ‘girls’ 50 years after graduating from Providence.”

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Hornung, Boilermakers head to NCAA Sweet 16

Marissa Hornung ’18, a Purdue University sophomore, is having a great season as libero for the school’s women’s volleyball team. In the final two weeks of the regular season, she repeated as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. Her accomplishments over those two weeks included a total 46 digs in one week in wins over No. 22 Michigan and Michigan State, including a career high 29 in the Michigan matchup. She also was named to the Academic All-Big Ten.

The team earned a Top 16-seed for the NCAA Tournament, giving Purdue the opportunity to host the opening round, during which the No. 14 Boilermakers beat Wright State and No. 16 Marquette. On Friday, Hornung and her team head to Texas to face No. 1 Baylor at noon on ESPNU.

We caught up with Hornung before the first two rounds of the tournament last weekend:

Question: What has been the highlight of the season so far?
Answer: Two of the games that stick out to me as turning points in our season are the Nebraska game (at home) and the Michigan game (at home). The Nebraska game was a big momentum changer for us because taking down a Top 5 team drew a lot of national attention towards our program. We didn’t like how we felt when we left their place a couple weeks earlier with a 1-3 loss, so when we won that game, it gave my teammates and me confidence that we could compete with any team in the country. Not to mention, the atmosphere in our gym was CRAZY because we had a sold-out crowd and the five-set match was filled with amazing plays. Also, our Michigan game was a highlight of the season for me because it was senior day, and we hadn’t beat Michigan in 3 years. It was evident through our play that we were competing for Blake Mohler and Shavona Cuttino (our two seniors), and the win speaks to the level of respect and chemistry this team has for each other. We weren’t willing to lose to Michigan again, especially on senior day when we were honoring two people who have given so much to the program.

Q: What do you like about being a Boilermaker?
A: Right now, I like being a Boilermaker because I believe there are so many positive things happening on our campus. Since I stepped foot on campus in June 2018, I have witnessed and been a part of so many great moments. Some of these things include: Meeting Tyler Trent and getting to hear his life story through his perspective, being a student when Purdue celebrated 150 years of excellence as a university, playing on a team that just finished with the second most wins in the Big 10 at Purdue (14) in 32 years, witnessing amazing sports upsets and runs in the tournament such as Purdue football vs. Ohio State last year or our men’s basketball team making it to the Elite 8, watching any of our sports teams succeed because our athletic program is very successful right now, and being a part of a new major (Human Resources Development) (also my major) that the university has implemented, so I can earn the best degree possible. I could go on and on, but at the end of the day, I am proud to be a Boilermaker right now because I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by so many amazing people.

Q: What did you think when you heard you were Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week – twice?
A: Honestly, I didn’t think much about the award itself but more about how happy I was with the wins the following weeks. Those recognitions came after some very emotional, intense, and crucial matches so it was nice to reflect on those. Besides, everyone knows that in a team sport you don’t receive individual accolades without the help of your teammates and coaches. I am just grateful to still be playing at this point, to be surrounded by an amazing volleyball family, and the fact that I still have time to keep learning about the game I love.

Q: What’s your goal going into each game?
A: I have two goals going into each game that have helped me throughout this year.

1) Give it my all so I don’t have regrets. There is no feeling worse than going back and watching film and realizing that I didn’t try hard enough on a play. I have a lot of passion for the game, and my years left of playing are starting to shorten, so I want to make sure I give it everything I have while I still can.

2) Remember that volleyball is just a game and I am here to have fun. Playing in the Big 10 is one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. It is the toughest league by far, and there is NO game that I feel comfortable going into. Every team is capable of beating you, if you don’t show up. To take away from some of that pressure, I try to remind myself that competing is fun. I tell myself that I have been playing competitively since I was 8 years old, and it helps me not to overthink things.

Q: What is the team looking forward to in the tournament? 
A: Our team is most looking forward to hosting the first and second rounds of the tournament. It has been a long time since our program has hosted, and we are excited to show teams what Holloway is all about. Our gym is truly one of the hardest places to play in the country, and our fanbase has continued to grow throughout the past couple of years. Our tickets for the games sold out within the first couple of hours, and our website even shut down from so much activity at one point. We are motivated to give the Boilermaker community our best effort to say “thank you” for all the love and support they have shown us.

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’61 grad a strong influence on Indy school

Bob Tully ’61 fell in love with Catholic education while a student at Providence. He may have spent his career here had another opportunity not taken him to Indianapolis. There, he became football coach and religion teacher, then athletic director, then campus minister, and now vice president of mission and ministry for what is now known as Roncalli High School. His dedication to the football program earned him public recognition in recent years. Last year, he was named to the Indiana Football Hall of Fame along with retired Roncalli head coach Bruce Scifres. This year, Roncalli named the football field after Tully.

“I don’t have the words to describe what it meant to me,” Tully said, though he joked that he had to check the obituaries to make sure his name wasn’t listed there too. “To have such a beautiful stadium as that, named after me and created by Dr. [Joseph] Hollowell,” the school’s president. “The feeling was awesome. I was so happy.”

Tully followed his Providence football coach, Jim MacGregor, to what was then Bishop Chartrand High School, a new Catholic high school opening on the southside of Indianapolis a year after graduating. MacGregor was recruited to start the football program, and he needed an assistant. MacGregor was recruited by Fr. Robert Kitchin, then the Providence spiritual director, who was moving to Chartrand to serve as principal.

Tully became the school’s and the football program’s biggest cheerleader. When Chartrand merged with another south Indianapolis school in 1969 to become Roncalli, the football coach resigned and Tully was asked to step in. He took the head coaching job for four years and then became athletic director, a role he used to make financing the football program a priority. Scifres became head coach in 1990 and amassed a 248-88 record and eight trips and seven wins at state before retiring in 2016.

That level of success was “something we were striving for (when he helped MacGregor start the program and as he insisted on the program’s financial support) but we never expected to achieve heights it as,” Tully said.

When invited to the Indiana Hall of Fame, Scifres said the honor should go to Tully instead. The Hall of Fame board was so impressed, they inducted the two of them together.

That moment was a great honor and one Tully celebrated from a hospital bed. But in September, he stood proud under the scoreboard and the sign that bears his name.

“It’s been a blessing to be part of the Roncalli program and meet so many great people,” Tully said. “God continues to smile on us by sending us blessing after blessing after blessing.”

When Roncalli happens to compete against Providence in sports, Tully said he is a little torn.

“My heart is still in the halls at Providence, but I have to cheer for Roncalli though,” he said.

He credits the Sisters of Providence who taught him at PHS with instilling in him his love for Catholic education, PHS, and Roncalli. He parlayed that love into creating the campus ministry program at Roncalli more than two decades ago. His love for the school – and its love for him – led to the creation of his current position several years ago.

He is happy to be working in the same building since he moved to Indianapolis in 1962, even as the name changed – and his job description. One thing hasn’t changed is his commitment to his faith, his family (which includes wife Mary Pat (Dallmann ’63) and their children, Leigh (Tully) Wilham and Michael, and five granddaughters), and Roncalli.

“I hope I am allowed by God and the administration to continue,” he said.

 

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Vocal spray leads to new business for ’84 grad

Gina (Summers) Emerson ’84 didn’t intend to start her own company when she went looking for a natural, organic vocal spray. The person who had previously formulated one for her was retiring, so she turned to Rob Pappas ’85, Ph.D., a chemist with expertise in essential oils formulations. She had been reading about the benefits of CBD oil and followed his research on his blog for his company, Essential Oils University. She asked if he could create a spray combining CBD oil and essential oils.

After several different attempts and few “silly” names, Emerson said, the patented spray Vocal Gold, which contains 200 milligrams of full spectrum hemp extract, was born. Emerson was so impressed she asked him to create more formulations for her and in August started the company Dew Drops CBD to share them with the public.

Emerson said she wanted to add CBD oil to her vocal spray because she had read it helped reduce inflammation. As the lead singer in several local cover bands, she sometimes had to deal with strained vocal chords. And she was taking medication that dried her throat. The spray helped with those problems – and a few other unexpected benefits, from helping calm her nerves before going on stage to improving her health.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Emerson said of the vocal spray. “It’s not only helping with vocal chords, it’s helping with colds and coughs. It’s great for allergies. It’s better than we anticipated.”

Emerson said that in the few weeks her business has been up and running, she has built a client base of more than 100 people. Some Vocal Gold users have seen relief from acid reflux and irritation from radiation from throat cancer treatments.

The company must not claim that its products have any specific health benefits, per FDA rules. But clients using Dew Drops flavored CBD oil drops have seen benefits such as relief from anxiety and insomnia. The Royal Blue Super A.I., for anti-inflammatory, helps with chronic pain and inflammation. There even is a formula for dogs that has helped with seizures and anxiety from storms.

Emerson said she was compelled to start her own business after Pappas’ formulations helped her with her own health. She was on several medications for conditions from osteoporosis to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. After taking the essential oil/CBD oil formulations, she no longer needs any medications and her positive energy has returned.

“I’m off everything,” she said. “I tell Rob, ‘You’re my hero. You saved my life.’ Because he did.”

Pappas is an independent consultant formulator supplying the formulations for Dew Drops CBD. He uses a carbon dioxide extraction process to extract the “beneficial cannabinoids” from certified organic hemp without leaving any solvents behind, he said.

He began adding CBD oil to his essential oils formulations about five years after reading about its benefits, from controlling seizures to treating cancer.

“It just seems to have a lot of beneficial properties,” he said.

There are restrictions in the industry, including keeping the THC level in the hemp products below 0.3 percent, and those restrictions as well as restrictions in the banking industry put up some hurdles, but Emerson is moving forward because she has witnessed the products helping herself and others.

She has left her previous job as a certified medical assistant and focuses full-time on running her new company. She has a handful of employees and several partners, including alumni Marty Shireman ’78, Kim Karem LaPilusa ’84, and Beth (Crone) Jones ’84, among others.

The products are bottled and labeled in a warehouse in Greenville and sold online, and plans are in the works for a downtown New Albany store to open in a couple months.

Emerson said she is going on faith – and belief in her products.

“I’d never in my 53 years would have thought if somebody came up to me and said, ‘Gina, you’re going to own a CBD company,’ I’d believe them,” she said. “I’d have laughed in your face. But God has a plan for everything.”

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