As the Cougar softball team took the field in their 2019 state appearance, Bill and Sherry Wachtler were in the stands to cheer them on. The couple made the 160-mile trip to Hastings despite the fact their granddaughter, Anna Campbell, hasn’t played on the team for a couple years; she graduated in 2018.
“We kind of ran out of grandkids,” Sherry said about how they used to go to all the games of her now-adult grandchildren. “So, we are using other peoples’ grandkids.”
In the years Anna played for Gross Catholic, the Wachtlers grew close to the parents, grandparents, coaches and players. It’s a relationship that goes beyond just playing ball.
“It’s like a family,” Sherry said. “And we are blessed that they adopted us into their family.”
The feeling of “family” is what keeps three generations of Wachtlers and Campbells connected to Gross, years after their students graduated. Bill Wachtler is a member of Gross Catholic’s Endowment Board. His daughter, Terri Campbell, serves on the school’s advancement committee, focusing on fundraising and enrollment efforts. And grandson Collin, a member of the Class of 2016 and a senior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, is an assistant football coach.
“Gross is such a strong family community,” spanning several generations throughout its more than 50 years, Terri said. “We just connected with it.”
Anna and Collin attended St. Bernadette Elementary next door and often played sports and attended events at Gross Catholic. Terri, her husband Corey, and their kids formed friendships through these activities. So it was only natural for them to send their kids to Gross.
Religious studies also played a part in the decision, said Terri, who is vice president of alumni and donor relations at the College of St. Mary.
“I just value Catholic education at the high school level,” she said.
Through their committee work, Bill and Terri are helping other families send their children to Gross. For many, tuition is almost out-of-reach, Terri said.
When Anna and Collin attended Gross, Terri said, “We could just afford tuition.”
Now they give to Gross Catholic annually to help with whatever the need. People who have the means to donate will create opportunities for students to grow academically and spiritually, she said.
Gross provides “such wonderful role models” through their coaches, Sherry said, and the teachers challenge students in the classroom.
“Gross prepared them so well,” she said of her grandchildren. “They prepared them so well for college.”
The school also promotes inclusivity, Sherry said. On the playing fields, seniors support the underclassmen. Off the field, the school reaches out to students’ extended family members to join the Cougar family – like when they celebrate a special Grandparents’ Mass.
“They invited us to be a part of it,” Sherry said.
It was an invitation they accepted with enthusiasm. The three generations have become cheerleaders for Gross within the community. And on any game day, the Wachtlers might be found cheering from the stands.
“We are just great fans of Gross High School sports,” Sherry said.
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About Gross Catholic
One of Nebraska’s premier private schools, Gross Catholic High School is a faith and family-based community committed to developing Christian leaders through academic excellence in the Marianist tradition. Recognized locally for its outstanding education, welcoming atmosphere, competitive sports programs, engaging activities, robust faith, and boundless service work, Gross Catholic has energized the Omaha area for over 50 years. We are Faithful, Compassionate, and Driven! We are Gross Catholic!
To discover the Gross Catholic difference, contact us at 402.734.2000 or visit our Admissions page at grosscatholic.org.