St. Francis Xavier Catholic School

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Alumni Spotlight

Middleton High School Boys Volleyball

St. Francis Xavier alumni have long been an active part of Middleton High School’s boys volleyball program and 2019 was no exception.  The MHS Boys Volleyball Program had another outstanding season, with a team roster that included four St. Francis Xavier Alumni.  Alumni included: high school seniors Scott Buros, Samuel Mefford, and Matthew Stormer, and sophomore Colton Tubbs.  All four are outstanding athletes that began their volleyball careers at St. Francis Xavier.  Their performances on and off the court, the fact that they are known as leaders and have been recognized for being respectful would certainly be enough to make us all very proud of the young men they are becoming.  They’ve even been known to return to the gym here at St. Francis Xavier to help coach the next generation

of players.


But this year, it wasn’t just their academic or athletic achievements that people took note of.  When their head coach, Ben White, was diagnosed with lymphoma, the team rallied together to support him, while still training and competing at the highest level.  The boys continued to work hard for Coach White, who had taken a step back from his position as head coach to focus on his treatment.  In his place, two additional St. Francis Xavier Alumni stepped up to support the team in coaching positions.  Junior Varsity Coach, Justin

Haack (2000) and  Freshman Coach, Brad Denruiter (2006) stepped in to lead the team to a 35-6 season, their ninth consecutive

Big Eight Conference title.


It was widely recognized that Justin and Brad went above and beyond to support their players as they dealt with such a difficult situation.  They also really stepped up in support of their friend and colleague when he needed them most, setting a great example for their players. Parishioner and parent, Patti Buros shared that, “This whole season meant so much more than some really great wins. 

The examples of empathy and compassion have been endless and in the game of life those mean more.”


Our St. Francis Xavier community will continue to cheer them on with pride as they represent us so well, demonstrating what it means

to achieve your goals while demonstrating strong character.  We also pray for Coach White’s full recovery and return to Volleyball for the 2020 season, which will be his 20th year leading the team. 


Mackenzie Doherty is a St. Francis Xavier class of 2013 graduate, currently studying nursing at Edgewood College.  During this past Christmas break, along with 19 other students and 4 registered nurses, she embarked on a service trip of a lifetime. 


Mackenzie and her peers traveled to Cambodia, where they worked in schools, orphanages, and run-down neighborhoods in the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. There, they were able to perform health assessments on children (and some adults) and provide needed education on good hygiene.  She taught lessons on hydration, teeth brushing, hand washing, and other important hygiene activities. She and her peers also diagnosed more urgent medical issues, including everything from sore throats, to a child with a heart murmur and even a child who was suffering from recently being bitten

by a dog.  


Prior to leaving on her trip, Mackenzie had done some local fundraising for the cause and was able to contribute those funds towards the payment for the medical treatments required.  All of the additional funds were donated to the children’s hospital in the area. 


The group of missionaries worked tirelessly to help the local people, but also took the opportunity to learn more about the culture while they were there.  They had opportunities  

to participate in a dance and music workshop, tour the beautiful landscape, visit Angkor Wat temple and attend Catholic Mass with local people who were all very kind

and welcoming. 


Mackenzie was deeply moved by her mission trip experience and shares that her faith and desire to help others is something that she realized at a young age.  She credits St. Francis Xavier for being a special environment where she was able to learn and grow in her faith,

while being supported by great teachers and encouraged to use her talents to make

a difference.  


Alina Pietrzykowski

Alina Pietrzykowski is a Class of 2016 St. Francis Xavier graduate who is in her junior year at Wisconsin Heights High School.  Alina recently starred as Belle in the Wisconsin Heights Drama Department’s presentation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.   Alina, along with Jenna Ziegler and Raegan Doherty (also Class of 2016 Alum) wowed the audience with a lively and entertaining show.   This was Alina’s fifth musical /theatre experience, her first being Dear Edwina Jr. a musical that was put on here at St. Francis Xavier School when Alina was in eighth grade.  It was that first theatrical experience at St. Francis, that introduced Alina to her love of acting and singing on stage.


As a student of St. Francis Xavier, Alina also participated in Forensics Club, competed in oratorical competitions, performed in the annual Christmas Programs and commentated at Mass. She was a member of our National Junior Honor Society and was voted “most likely to become an actress” by her peers. 


Alina is currently a member of the National Honor Society, secretary of her high school’s chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America, is the Vice President of Spirit Club and will perform in the Solo & Ensemble in February.


As a high honors student, Alina credits her academic performance in high school to the organization skills and diligent study habits she gained at St. Francis Xavier. 


Alina plans to attend college at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, where she will study Pre-Law.


Sarah Faust and Mary Duhn

When Sarah Faust (St. Francis Xavier Class of 2008) began her first year of teaching earlier this year at St. Matthias Parish School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she assumed she'd be surrounded by like-minded educators who were passionate about sharing their Catholic faith.  She didn't expect to find another St. Francis Xavier alum down the hall.  She was excited to learn that Mary Duhn, also a St. Francis Xavier student and Cross Plains resident was teaching in the same Catholic School.


Sarah attended the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, earning her undergrad in education and is currently teaching first grade.  She believes that the strong sense of community she felt at St. Francis Xavier along with the positive experience she had here, drew her to teaching in a Catholic school.  "Teaching at St. Matthias reminds me in many ways of St. Francis Xavier.  I feel I have a great support system and strong connection with my students, families and co-workers."


It was teachers at St. Francis Xavier, like Ms. MaryKay Hillebrand and Mr. Jim Beall, that inspired Sarah most.  "My nine years at St. Francis Xavier shaped how I viewed school; I felt challenged, supported and loved.  And because of that, I loved school.  Ms. Hillebrand and Mr. Beall were so dedicated to their students and showed that they genuinely cared about each of us." 


Mary Duhn, spent her entire academic career in Catholic Schools.  From St. Francis Xavier, she went on to St. Ambrose Academy and then attended Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.  She is currently in her second year, teaching second grade at St. Matthias.  She recalls that her favorite teacher at St. Francis Xavier was her own second grade teacher, Mrs. Gulesserian.  "Mrs. G had a great impact on me through her everyday kindness that has stuck with me to this day. I have very fond memories of my time in her classroom. I remember when we learned about the Stations of the Cross, when we hatched butterflies in the classroom, and when we received our First Communion. I hope that she would be proud of a former student taking on a job similar to hers and I hope to someday be as great of a teacher as she was.”


Mary loves teaching second grade because students are becoming more independent in reading and writing which is exciting to watch as a teacher, but her favorite part is preparing students to receive the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion.  "I am thankful to St. Francis for planting the seed of faith in my heart at a young age and cultivating it throughout my time there. I am also thankful to my family, my parents in particular, for helping to water that seed and allow it to flourish so that I can share it with others today.  Attending a Catholic grade school helped to normalize faith as a part of everyday life.  It is a gift to be able to share that love with my students when they walk into my classroom each day.”


Kylie Peters

Kylie Peters, a 2013 graduate of St. Francis Xavier Catholic School, credits the support and encouragement she received at St. Francis with leading her to pursue her dreams of music and theatre. It was all of her peers and teachers encouraging her to do exactly what she dreamed to do that led her to where she is today. She would like to thank St. Francis for providing her a strong foundation in academics, self-assurance, and faith.


In high school, Kylie sang in show choir all four years and joined the Chamber Singers for two. In her senior year, she led the Bristol Street A Cappella group and student-conducted the freshman choir in her fall semester. Kylie was also the 2017 recipient of the National Choral Award at Middleton. She has participated in Wisconsin State Honors Choir, sang in a rock band through Madison Music Foundry, and was an apprentice at Madison Opera. In addition to music, she was an active member of Middleton High School Theatre, where she was involved in six shows. Her favorite show was Urinetown, in which she played the role of Hope Cladwell and was nominated for a Tommy Award for Outstanding Lead Performer. The show overall won in the Outstanding Musical category and Kylie had a blast performing at the Overture Center.


She graduated from Middleton High School in 2017 with a 4.0 GPA and has now combined her two passions; she studies both Music Therapy and Theatre Arts at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She is a recipient of the highest academic scholarship available and is a member of Carroll’s Honors Program, finishing her first semester with a 3.96 GPA. At Carroll, Kylie has already been involved in two Theatre Productions-- Numbers Nerds: The Musical and Hamlet: A Cover-- and sings in their Concert Choir. In addition to performing, she works on the Theatre’s PR team and is the secretary of Carroll Players, the first student theatre organization in Wisconsin, founded at Carroll University. Most of her time is spent practicing piano, voice, or guitar, memorizing dance moves, or studying with her friends.


Jack Jesse

Jack Jesse is a 2012 St. Francis Xavier graduate who is in his sophomore year at the University of Notre Dame. Jack is a student in the Mendoza School of Business studying Accountancy. In Jack’s freshman year at Notre Dame he earned All- ACC Conference Academic Honors.   Jack graduated from Middleton High School in 2016 as an Honors graduate and was a member of the National Honor Society.


Jack’s athletic ability in Track and Field brought him to Notre Dame, earning an athletic scholarship as a long jumper. While at Middleton High School, Jack broke the school record in the long jump during his junior year. He made appearances at the State Track Meet in the Long Jump and Sprint Relays and was on the medal podium both years. Jack’s other accomplishments in Track and Field include 2016 Team Captain, 

2 time Big 8 Conference champion, 4 time Big 8 Conference team champion, 2 time regional champion and 2016 Sectional champion. Even with his athletic ability, Jack could not attend an elite academic University like Notre Dame without stellar academic credentials, the foundation of which was established at St. Francis Xavier.


Jack reflects on his days at St. Francis Xavier as having been instrumental in forming his work ethic and compassion for others.  Jack has great appreciation for the sense of community at St. Francis and for the life long friendships that started in grade school. His favorite memories are the many St. Francis sports game days and the annual Edgewood Track Meet, lunch being supervised by Mrs. Ruhland, great times in Mr. Beall’s classroom and the annual Rollerblading unit in Ms. Runyon’s gym class.


Randy Krueger

Randy Krueger earned a perfect score of 36 on his ACT while attending Edgewood High School during the 2015/2016 school year.  Randy is a class of 2011 graduate of St. Francis Xavier School. He earned High Honors and received an Academic Excellence Award all four years at Edgewood.  He was also a member of the National Honor Society and is a semi-finalist for a National Merit Scholarship.

Lorraine Guerin

Lorraine Guerin (class of 2007) received bachelor degrees in Latin and Engineering Mechanics and Astronautics from UW-Madison in 2016. During her years of undergraduate studies at Madison, she performed research on nonlinear vibrations with application to hypersonic aircraft and also received a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. While attending UW-Madison, Lorraine also enjoyed playing on the women's ultimate Frisbee team.


Currently, Lorraine is attending graduate school at Stanford University on a full scholarship, where she will receive her master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering in March of 2018.


Bryelle Coleman

The Urban League of Greater Madison has selected Bryelle Coleman as a recipient of their annual Outstanding Young Person Award. Outstanding Young Person awards are a central part of the Urban League’s commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy.  Each year they look to honor Dane County Youth who excel in academics, extra-curricular activities and community service.  Bryelle was nominated by the faculty and staff of Middleton High School for their belief that she is an outstanding student, deserving of this award. Bryelle was recognized and presented with her award on Sunday, January 18, 2015 at the Urban League’s 31st Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Recognition Breakfast at Edgewood High School.

Joshua Utter

Joshua Utter (a 2005 graduate of St. Francis Xavier) went on to Edgewood High School, before attending Loras College.  Josh has had highly successful high school and college experiences and has dedicated much of his young life to the service of others. 

 "While I was a student at Loras College in Dubuque, IA, I served as an Americorps volunteer at the Dubuque Multicultural Family Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters. After graduation, I packed my bags and moved to Sierra Leone, West Africa to work as a Peace Corps volunteer. I taught English to high school students in a rural town, while also aiding in other projects around the school and community. Upon my return to the United States, I spent a year as a Servant Leadership Team (SaLT) missionary at Camp Gray in Reedsburg, WI. As a member of this team, I helped facilitate environmental stewardship, leadership, and confirmation retreats for the youth of the Madison Diocese. Currently, I'm spending the 2015-2016 school as a Jesuit donné (a year of discernment with the Jesuits) at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE. At Prep, I assist in the Spanish classroom, coach cross country, and work with campus ministry.  
As I sort through the 9 years of memories and experiences that St. Francis Xavier School has given me, I find it difficult to name one specific experience as the one that has left the biggest impact. Advent programs, school masses, washing dishes after lunch, and a trip to Camp Gray all stick out to me as very memorable and formative moments. But if I need it to narrow it down to one that truly sticks out, I have to acknowledge the Adopted Grandparent program. As I wrote my letters to and received letters from Bob Bollig, I came to realize that everyone has a story to tell. Our correspondence helped me discover that the St. Francis Xavier School community extends beyond the classroom. It taught me new ways to communicate and to appreciate the thought and care one puts into a letter. It fostered a friendship that motivated me to move out of my comfort zone and get to know those different from myself. I am so grateful that St. Francis Xavier School provided me with that experience."  

Peter Guerin

Peter Guerin (a 2006 graduate of St. Francis Xavier) graduated from UW Madison with a Masters Degree in Biomedical Engineering in just 4 and a half years. He was on the UW Rowing and the UW Ultimate Frisbee teams and completed undergraduate research in the Shusta Lab identifying antibodies to transport molecules/ pharmaceuticals across the blood brain barrier.  In graduate school he was a Teaching Assistant in bio-instrumentation and bio-mechanics.

Today, Peter works for a startup company called Marvel Medtech, with fellow Parish Member,  Ray Harter, where he is working to develop an advanced MRI-compatible robotic system in conjuncture with real-time MR imaging techniques to enable more effective breast biopsy protocols and breast cancer treatment. 

St. Francis Xavier Class of 2012

In the spring of 2016, St. Francis Xavier took part in what we hope will become a time honored tradition. 


A “Senior Walk”, where graduating High School Seniors returned to their elementary schools donning their cap and gown took place in May and we were thrilled to welcome several of our alumni back to St. Francis Xavier.  Our current elementary and middle school students had the opportunity to hear from the grads about their high school careers, plans for the future and advice on how to make the most of your high school years.They made a big impression on our students and we couldn't be more proud of them!


The class in total, had 21 students when they graduated 8th grade at St. Francis Xavier.  All 21 graduated high school and are now attending various colleges across the United States.   52% of the class finished their high school careers with honors and at least three are collegiate athletes. 


They are certainly an impressive group, and their success speaks highly of the preparation at St. Francis Xavier, academically, socially and spiritually.


Grace Douglas

Grace Douglas graduated from St. Francis Xavier in 2012.  She currently attends UW–Madison, where is plays Soccer for the Badgers. In addition to her outstanding achievements in athletics, she earned a GPA of 3.94 in High School. There is no doubt that Grace has put in a lot of hard work to achieve her goals, but  she also attributes much of her success to her family and experiences gained at St. Francis Xavier. 
“There are a multitude of factors that have contributed to my good fortune. I’d like to recognize the role St. Francis Xavier School played in helping me develop a strong academic foundation.I take numerous Honors and AP classes in part because of the skills and work ethic I developed at St. Francis. Right now, I love my physics and math classes and felt well-prepared. I plan to study engineering at UW-Madison and I hope to pursue a career as a field agent in the FBI or CIA.   I also credit the St. Francis community for helping shape my character. In addition to being a hard-worker, I feel that I am a good friend to others and genuinely care about their well-being. As a Defender on the soccer field, I can see the field fully and it’s my job to help direct the other players to the proper positions. Because of this I am always talking to my teammates, and encouraging them to play their best.  I feel I can help my friends off the field in the same way. Some of my best coaches over the years, including those I had at St. Francis, gave me that same “gift” and I’m stronger for it. In addition to some life-long friends I made at St. Francis, I think my most memorable experience was the 8th grade students vs. teachers volleyball game. It was a sentimental time and really highlighted the student-teacher bond and also the supportive and FUN community that makes St. Francis Xavier such a unique learning environment.”

Cole Jordee

Since graduating from St. Francis Xavier in 2011, Nicolette “Cole” Jordee has continued to shine at Middleton High School.  She participates in volleyball, basketball and track and field.  She is a four-time letter winner and her performance on the basketball court has helped to lead the Cardinals to two Big Eight Conference titles. In addition to being a tremendous athlete, Cole maintains a GPA of 3.993, is a member of the National Honors Society, Captain’s Table and spends time volunteering as a youth basketball coach. Cole plans to attend the University of Arizona next fall on an academic scholarship, where she will study pre-medicine and play either club volleyball or basketball.  This former St. Francis Xavier Class President reflects on her time at St. Francis Xavier:  “I feel that going to a school made up of kids from preschool to eighth grade was really special. It allowed me to have many older students to look up to when I was younger, and then I was able to be that role model for many kids as I went through middle school.  Having the opportunity to interact with children of all different ages helped me gain various skills such as leadership and understanding.”
Emily Padrutt
“I have many fond memories of my time at St. Francis.  Some that stand out are four-square at recess, Catholic Schools Week, middle school dances, and most importantly the close friendships I formed with my classmates. Though the transition from little St. Francis Xavier to Middleton High School was a big one, I never felt uncomfortable or unprepared at the high school.  In fact, the foundation I received at St. Francis allowed me to take a variety of honors and advanced placement courses and maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout my high school years. 
St. Francis not only prepared me for Middleton High School, but the lessons I learned there, both academically and otherwise, have helped me achieve my dream of attending UW Madison. St. Francis has helped develop me into an organized, faithful person, and the religious education I received has shown me that being a kind, caring person in the most important lesson I could learn.” 
Emily is a class of 2010 St. Francis Xavier graduate, who attended UW Madison. She served as a Peer Catechist in our high school Confirmation program, was named a National Merit Finalist and is also a talented and accomplished dancer.