Parent Paws Newsletter 3/5/2021

Welcome to the Parent Paws Newsletter

The Parent Paws Newsletter appears in the News section of our website every Friday during the school year.

News From The Principal

Amazingly, the end of the 3rd Quarter has snuck up on us and here we are preparing for Spring Break next week. Please remember if you are planning on traveling over spring break that you let the office know. Likewise, remember to have all family members take all precautions to stay safe and healthy.  Most importantly,  we don’t want to virus to get a chance to spread. Thank you.

Additionally, Please make sure you have turned in your 2021_2022 Enrollment Packet as we are moving forward with planning for next school year. We need these forms for us to plan out scheduling of all classes.

Parent Paws Announcements

First, starting after Spring Break, we will have two vendors for lunch. We will continue with Chicago Dawgs on Tuesdays and Taco John’s on Thursdays. This will continue until the end of the school year.

Second, March 31 is the Cougar Cup! Above all, this is a required school day. All students compete in various events, and the House Cup is awarded at the end of the day.

Third, purchase your Gold Cup ticket today! Early bird drawing for $1000 is March 24th. You can purchase your Gold Cup Ticket HERE.

Fourth, the March Booster Club will be held on the 3rd Wednesday instead of the 2nd Wednesday, due to Spring Break. Please join us on Wednesday, March 17th in the Media Center. Social starts at 6:30pm and the meeting begins promptly at 7pm. All are welcome. Contact for Zoom info. This is one of the most exciting meetings of the year! It’s when we decide which funding requests from coaches/moderators will get Calendar Club funding and how much. Don’t miss out!

Fifth,  get ready for the Junior/Senior SPRING EVENT – THE GRAND GALA! The NEW and EXCITING event designed by our student council to replace prom for this year. Junior and Senior students will be able to buy tickets for “The Grand Gala” from March 15 – 24. This formal event includes professional pictures, prom court coronation, games of all kinds, and an opportunity to win fabulous prizes.

The cost to attend is $25. As an incentive, students who buy tickets by March 19 will earn additional raffle tickets and chips to play games! This year, only Gross Catholic students can attend this event (No outside guests). Additionally, sophomores and freshmen will be allowed to attend only if they are the guest of a junior or senior. Mrs. McNamara will be sending out a request for parent volunteers and donations to help with this event in the near future! Please consider finding a way to support this fabulous event!

Counselors Corner

Senior Parents – Please remind your students to notify the counseling office of any and all scholarships they have earned (even if they are for schools they don’t plan to attend). Send scholarship information via email or bring hard copies to the counseling office. Of course, we will make a copy and send the originals back home.

Last call for those interested in the Gallup Strengths finder test for your student. The cost for the book and test is $10.00. Mrs. McNamara will be placing the order for materials over spring break. Email Mrs. McNamara if you are interested. She will include your student in her order. The money is allowed to be paid after spring break.

Furthermore, ACT and Kaplan are offering an online ACT prep course for $399.

Campus Ministry

Marianist Mission hours are due on March 26 by 3:00 PM. Each year, the requirement is twenty-five hours. We will complete 5 hours on Mission Day, so students need to have 20 hours logged by March 26 to meet their requirement. Updated hours will be available outside Room 201 after school on March 15th.

Senior parents, please be on the look-out for an informational sheet regarding Senior Retreat, included in 3rd quarter report cards.

Finally, there is important information regarding Mission Day in the 3rd quarter report cards. Please be on the look-out.

That is it for the Parent Paws Newsletter. Stay tuned for next week’s news.

Behind the Scenes of Academic Decathlon

Demonstrating Excellence

Generally speaking, there are many wonderful academic competitions out there. Go prove you’re the best writer, or the best physicist, or the best speller. Academic Decathlon isn’t about any of that, though. It is not about demonstrating how good a student you already are. It’s about daring to push limits and to master college-level material. AcaDec is also a great way to practice skills, like public speaking, that might be wholly new. And it’s about the people met along the way.  Notably, the coaches who will mentor, the competitors who will challenge, and the teammates who will become lifelong friends.

Thoroughly Tested

1990 Academic Decathlon TeamOn the whole, decathletes study and test in seven areas: math, language and literature, science, music, art, economics, and social science. Additionally, students give two speeches (a prepared and an impromptu). They write an essay, and participate in an interview. In must be noted that Gross Catholic has been competing in Academic Decathlon for over 30 years, led by English Teacher, Mrs. Teresa Dorwart.

Adjusting to Covid

The Academic Decathlon team recently competed in the State Competition. In normal years, students travel to other schools for scrimmages, regionals and state competitions. This year, due to health precautions, students gave speeches and then completed interviews with judges via zoom. The following day they tested in 7 different categories. Students compete at 3 different levels of competition based on their previous 2 years GPA.

Levels of Competition

To clarify, the first competition level is referred to as, “Varsity”. Students in this category have a GPA from 0.00 to 3.19. The second level is called, “Scholastic”, with a GPA between 3.2 to 3.79. Furthermore, the final level is, “Honors”. Students in this category must have a GPA of 3.8 to 4.0.

Academic Decathlon State Champions

Significantly, the team ended the competition as State Champions for Class B. The top scorer from Gross Catholic is Amy Conner. Amazingly enough, Amy has been competing on the team since her Sophomore year. She decided to join the team because she loves to learn new things and is very competitive. To be sure, Academic Decathlon is the perfect combination for Amy. Truly, “The biggest thing I have learned during my time on the team is how to study effectively, as well as how to manage my time.”

Academic Decathlon Individual Medal Winners

  • WinnersAmy Conner: silver medal science, honors division
  • Quentin Hanzlik: gold medal in speech, gold medal in interview, scholastic division
  • Joe Kouba: gold medal in speech, honors division
  • Ripley Stansbury: gold medal in interview, silver medal in speech, varsity division
  • Connor McGarry: gold medal in music, silver medal in science, silver medal in literature, scholastic division
  • Owen Nolte: bronze medal in speech, scholastic division


  • Audrey Swanson: bronze medals in hard sciences, soft sciences, and fine arts, scholastic
  • Arianna Serow: bronze medal in fine arts, honors division

Going forward, the team will now prepare for the online nationals competition that held in April.

Junior Cougar Basketball

Junior Cougar Basketball Tryouts in March

Junior Cougar Basketball, boys championsJunior Cougars Basketball is a fantastic way to learn skills and make friends for both boys and girls. The basketball program has tryouts on March 27th and 28th for the 2021-2022 season. Won’t you join us?

Register for Junior Cougars Basketball

Schedule for Boys and Girls

Saturday, March 27th

  • Third & fourth grade teams, 12 PM to 1:15 PM.
  • Fifth & sixth grade teams, 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM.
  • Seventh and eighth grade teams, 3:00 PM to 4:15 PM.

Sunday, March 28th

  • Third & fourth grade teams, 2 PM to 3:15 PM.
  • Fifth & sixth grade teams, 3:30 PM to 4:45 PM.
  • Seventh and eighth grade teams, 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM.


Junior Cougar Basketball (Girls)Basketball tryouts are held at Gross Catholic High School, 7700 S 43rd Street in Bellevue, Nebraska. Enter using the west commons doors. Athletes enter the commons area and proceed right to the main gym. Gross Catholic has excellent facilities, namely their recently renovated gymnasium.

Wonderful Experiences

First, as an athlete in the program, you are taught by excellent coaches. Second, you’ll learn all the skills needed to succeed at the next level. Third, you are in for wonderful experiences. Fourth, it’s a great way to find life-long friends.

Junior Cougars Program

Junior Cougar activities allow elementary school-aged children to learn more about Gross Catholic athletics and activities while learning skills, improving technique, and having fun! Currently, the program boasts seven sports: boys basketball, girls basketball, cheer, wrestling, football, dance, and baseball. Find out more about other Junior Cougars programs.

For further information, visit our Junior Cougars Basketball Facebook page.

Athletic Forms

All the Athletic Forms Needed to Participate

In order to compete in sports and some activities, students must fill out the following athletic forms.

Physical Form

Various balls for athleticsAny student engaged in athletics must have a current physical exam. Students cannot practice or tryout without a current exam. Of course, this includes cheer and dance teams. We encourage you to see your child’s physician to schedule the necessary sports physical soon. Additionally, please insure your child’s shots are current.  Bring the physical form to the doctor’s appointment.  Ask the doctor fill to out the form. Naturally, turn in completed forms to the main office before the sports season begins.

Download the Physical Form.

Concussion Form

In April of 2011, the Concussion Awareness Act was signed into law to protect student-athletes. It is true that dangers of concussions are often not recognized, not diagnosed, or mismanaged. To assist with prevention, parents and student-athletes, must read and sign the Concussion Form.

Download the Concussion Form.

Consent Form

In similar fashion, potential dangers associated with sports participation exist. Consequently, injuries are a possibility even with the best coaching, the best protective equipment, and strict observance of rules. In filling out the consent form, parents acknowledge the risk and give consent for treatment.

Download the Consent Form.

If you have any questions, please call our Activities Director, Mike Dempsey, at 402-734-2000.

Virtual Celebration 2021

Join Us at Celebration – April 24, 2021

Virtual CeleBration planning is underway and a special opportunity for each of us to support Gross Catholic’s annual event is needed at the crucial time. CeleBration plays an important role in Gross Catholic’s ongoing commitment to deliver excellent education to over 400 young men and women, keeping tuition affordable and providing over $1.7 million in annual financial assistance to over 80% of our families.

How Can You Help?

Purchase a Gold Cup Ticket

This year’s winner will have many chances to win cash prizes of $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000! PLUS, we will have an Early Bird drawing on March 24th for $1,000. That’s six chances to win CASH!
Click HERE to purchase Gold Cup ticket with your debit card – discount available for multi purchased tickets
Families who do not participate will have $100 charged to their tuition bill.

Donate Auction Items

Donate a gift or make a monetary donation to support the auction. Gifts of all varieties are needed and appreciated! Not sure what to donate? Click HERE to see our “Wish List”. Items are due by April 16th.

Advertise in the event program

Advertise your business on the mobile bidding auction website A variety of opportunities are available for businesses of all sizes.  Click HERE to advertise with us. Advertising deadline is April 9.


Get involved at Gross Catholic by volunteering at CeleBration. If you have any questions, email Dawn Sledge or call 402-734-2000

We come together each year to put together a successful event in support of our students and have a little fun along the way! Join us on YOU TUBE LIVE the evening of April 24. – Gold Cup drawing, special guests and student videos.

7th & 8th Grade Strength & Conditioning Camp

Get Strong!

Register Now

The Health and Conditioning Center is used for the Strength and Conditioning CampGross Catholic is offering a strength and conditioning camp for all 7th & 8th graders in March. Our 9000 square foot Health and Conditioning Center, a space that rivals facilities on college campuses, is the site of the camp. The center is located on the south side of the Gross Catholic campus at 7700 S 43rd Street in Bellevue, Nebraska.

Strength & Conditioning Camp Schedule

Camp runs March 1st through March 31st, excluding the week of spring break, March 8-11.

Campers attend Monday-Thursday, from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM. The cost of camp is $50 per athlete.

Safety First

Athletes are coached specifically to properly and safely lift weights. Consequently, this basic training will benefit them throughout their lives.  In addition, participants learn how to condition successfully. Our knowledgeable and qualified coaching staff also focuses on coordination of the athlete.

Eighth graders find that this strength and conditioning camp is a great way to prepare for the summer workouts that Gross Catholic’s incoming freshmen are encouraged to attend. Additionally, they will feel more comfortable and be able to progress further over the summer.

Workouts include, strength training, speed and agility drills, flexibility, and injury prevention.

Camp Director

Coach Ben Stanesick is the camp director. Coach Stanesick started at Gross in 2018 teaching Biology, Environmental science, and Earth Science. He graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a bachelor’s of Science in Education with an endorsement in Biology. Prior to teaching, Mr. Stanesick served six years in the United States Air Force Security Forces, namely as a Training Instructor. Additionally, he deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2013. Mr. Stanesick is married and has a son.


Please arrive in athletic attire (shorts/t-shirt) and athletic shoes with a mask on. Masks required for the duration of the workout. Likewise, social distancing standards enforced. Bring your own water bottle. A water bottle filler is available. Furthermore, cubbies are available for storage.

Sign up soon! Limited spaces are available for the camp.

Register Now


Remote Snow Day Information

Online Class Schedule for Remote Snow Days

Snow buried houseIf the school declares a remote snow day, notifications are sent via social media, email, and text messages.

Furthermore, students are required to answer daily attendance questions and above all, attend each class virtually.

If a teacher is not meeting with a class during the assigned time, the teacher will post video instructions for students along with the assigned work for the day. Students are required to complete homework by the deadline assigned by each teacher.

Remote Day Schedule

  • 1st Period, 8:30-9
  • 2nd Period, 9:00 – 9:30
  • 3rd Period, 9:30 – 10:00
  • 4th Period, 10:00 – 10:30
  • 5th Period, 10:30 – 11:00
  • 6th Period, 11:00 – 11:30
  • 7th Period, 11:30 – 12:00
  • 8th Period, 12:00 – 12:30

Student Expectations

1. Each student is responsible for answering a daily attendance question in each of their classes, consequently proving to the teacher that you are present.
2. Follow the Remote Snow Day Learning Class Schedule.
3. Classes are in 30 minute increments starting at 8:30 am running through 12:30 pm.
4. Notify the teacher prior to the class if you are unable to attend, or you will be marked absent. Of course, attendance is required, just as if school were in session.
5. Each teacher holds a live zoom session for the class period, or in place of that, an instructional video in Google Classroom along with any assignments.

Academy Launch

Innovation at Its Best

Student looking at computer screenWe are proud to announce that Gross Catholic is moving forward with new and innovative opportunities for our students. In the fall of 2021-22, we will be adding Academic Academies to our curriculum offerings. This program is unique because it builds upon our current course offerings and adds dual enrollment options along with a year-long field experience or capstone project.

Health Science Academy

Beginning with Nursing, this track will contain dual enrollment coursework along with a year-long field experience at a hospital. Be sure to check out the Healthcare Academy brochure.

STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art, Math)

The STREAM Academy will begin with Math and Computer Science. This track will contain dual enrollment with a year-long Capstone Project. These Academies have a complete plan for students with requirements starting in their freshman year and continuing through their senior year. Classes will be offered at Gross Catholic with the added component of Dual Enrollment and either a year-long Field Experience or a year-long Capstone Project. Please know that these academies have limited space. See Mrs. McNamara to apply and also speak with her if you have any questions. Have you seen the STREAM Academy brochure?

Choosing Gross Catholic after Public School

What Young People Need

Students walkingCatholic school, or public school? Take a minute to think about all of the difficulties that youth face, during their teenage years. It’s a time when they begin to act independently and make choices that can impact the rest of their lives. When they look at the future, they’re often filled with hope and excitement along with some anxiety. They have questions about who they are and what they are called to be. Popular culture and our secular society are bombarding them with many “answers” to those questions each and every day. What young people need during their teenage years is a vibrant, faith-filled environment to teach them the knowledge and wisdom needed in an increasingly competitive and confusing world. We are a place that has an everyday impact.

The mission of Gross Catholic High School is to provide a faith-filled education built upon Catholic virtues and the life of Jesus Christ. We are a Catholic school and proud of it. However, you don’t have to be Catholic to attend Gross Catholic. We accept students of all faiths and accept and honor all faiths. Gross Catholic teaches moral values and decision making,  The difference is that we can talk about faith in our school. We can teach students how to make moral decisions based upon faith. We talk and learn about morals in a safe environment. Our students go out into the world to become productive, successful, and ethical citizens. While the majority of the students at Gross Catholic come from Archdiocesan Catholic grade schools, we also have a number students who have attended public schools.

We interviewed a few of our current families that made the decision to send their student to Gross Catholic High School, after attending a public grade school.

What guided your decision making switching from a public school, to a Catholic high school?

Chris Drake (Current Sophomore Parent)

It ultimately came down to the closeness of the Gross Catholic family. My son is baptized Catholic, but never had any previous Catholic education. We knew that Gross Catholic emphasized academics and that the small class sizes were far superior to what we had experienced with our daughter at a large public high school.

Judy Sauley (Current Sophomore Parent)

The primary influence that drove us to send our son to Gross Catholic began in 7th grade public school. He started hanging around kids we did not think were a very good influence on his character. In addition, he began saying things that we did not like. We saw him heading in a direction we did not want, so we chose to invest in our son’s future by ensuring a better environment.

What value do you see in sending your children to Gross Catholic High School as opposed to a public school?

Chris Drake

The value of having a small, close-knit group of students and families can’t be emphasized enough.

Judy Sauley

The primary value of sending our children to Gross High School turned out to be the same reason my mother sent my brothers and sister and myself to Gross High School 30 years earlier. She said the reason she sent to Catholic school because she felt she would have four more years of influence over us with our faith, academic, and personal development. All the teachers knew our entire family and different teachers mentored each of us kids in different ways.

Did your student have any input in choosing a high school?

Chris Drake

Yes. Gross Catholic is actually my son’s idea. He had played a couple of years of Junior Cougars sports and had become very close with a number of kids that were going to Gross Catholic.

Judy Sauley

Yes, so we developed a list of pros and cons. We explained our decision and why.  The primary argument that always came back to us on the con side (from them) was always the same. Their friends were going to a different high school. We explained that friends come and go, so that reason could not be the only argument against not going to Gross Catholic.

Tell us about the transition from public school to Catholic school for your student and family.

Chris Drake

My son has always been a solid and conscientious student. That said, there was a period of adjustment as he got used to the grading, homework load, and expectations. There was also some adjustment for us as a family made much easier by the Gross Catholic families that we had built relationships with.

Judy Sauley

A seamless transition quite frankly, because the small school size enabled our kids to get as involved as they wanted. It helped them excel where they would have been “lost” in the shuffle of public school.

What has your student gained from their experience at Gross Catholic High School?

Chris Drake

The academic and athletic experiences have been far greater than what he would have had at a public school. The relationships with friends, families, staff, and coaches is not something that he would have had the opportunity to form at a larger school.

Judy Sauley

Character development. Sending our kids to Gross Catholic instead of public school gave me firepower. We chose to invest in their future now when we could have chosen public school for free. So don’t ever say we do not care. They knew the teachers could make more money elsewhere.  However, the teachers chose to work Gross Catholic, because it is more than just about the money.  That is one of life’s most important lessons.

What advice would you have for public school families considering Gross Catholic High School?

Chris Drake

Don’t ever worry that your kid won’t be loved or valued at Gross.  Gross Catholic is an amazing place that embraces every person, regardless of faith. I doubt that you will feel more welcomed than you will at Gross Catholic.

Judy Sauley

Sending your kids to Catholic School instead of a public school is an investment in their future. It is about leading in every aspect of their lives – moral character, community service, academic development, critical thinking skills, ethical responsibility, and a faith-filled life. With the more personalized approach for students, they are more involved and excel in a safer, more supportive atmosphere.