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Testimonials

Alumni Testimonials

Aaron Menzel

Saint Mary's truly set me up for success. By offering me such a personalized education, I always felt at home in the classroom. Each and every teacher knew my strengths and weaknesses, and challenged me daily to improve.

Saint Mary's truly set me up for success. By offering me such a personalized education, I always felt at home in the classroom. Each and every teacher knew my strengths and weaknesses, and challenged me daily to improve. Additionally, Saint Mary's taught me to tolerant of all beliefs--religious or otherwise--a skill which I value above all else.
Aaron Menzel, Class of 2005, Alumnus

Ben Petr

The teachers I had were smart, kind and helpful and did everything they could to help students learn and have fun simultaneously. I graduated as valedictorian of my 2010 class from Bellevue East High School.

I attended St. Mary's school from kindergarten through 8th Grade and enjoyed every moment of it. The teachers I had were smart, kind and helpful and did everything they could to help students learn and have fun simultaneously. I created friendships that have lasted, as I have gotten older. The things I learned, both from books and experiences, have prepared me for the challenges ahead of me. I graduated as valedictorian of my 2010 class from Bellevue East high school and am currently attending college at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a Jesuit institution that is one of the top 100 schools in the nation and now have and an amazing internship with Northwestern Mutual. I can attribute these accomplishments to the things I learned while I attended St. Mary's. St. Mary's gave me the strong basis I needed to have to start high school right so I could be valedictorian and I choose the Jesuit institution because of the amazing education, both spiritually and academically, I had received at St. Mary's and I wanted to continue that style of learning. St. Mary's provided the basis I needed to succeed in all the things I have achieved to this point and I thank the school and my teachers greatly for helping me strive to be excellent. Ben Petr, Class of 2006, Alumnus, Sophomore, Marquette University

Charmaine Ortega

My 7th grade Biology class made the biggest impression, especially when we dissected frogs. I knew right then and there that I was going to be a white lab-coated scientist working in some form of biology lab. However, God had different plans for me working as a physician with people instead of frogs.

I remember the first day of school years ago at St. Mary's. We had moved from Massachusetts so my Dad could work with SAC HQ and all I could think of was how many "bugs" there were in this foreign state called Nebraska! We arrived in the middle of summer and boy was it HOT compared to New England!

I walked into 3rd grade that fall and my teacher was Sr. Rose Ann. She had the sweetest face I had ever seen, so serene and gentle and she really made me feel at home. It wasn't long until St. Mary's was my permanent school "home". We had that huge playground and daily Mass with Fr. Krejci and Fr. Garvey. I especially remember our trips to the library where I would read books and dream about Fr. Damien on the island of Molokai and Fr. John Bosco from Italy. I also would read stories about a young boy growing up on the Yangtze River in China and his interaction with the priest missionaries there. And I could never forget the wonderful annual Columban Fathers festival fundraisers that we would participate and volunteer for!

But my 7th grade Biology class made the biggest impression, especially when we dissected frogs. I knew right then and there that I was going to be a white lab-coated scientist working in some form of biology lab. However, God had different plans for me, still white lab-coated but working as a physician with people instead of frogs!

I developed a strong basic belief in God and my faith at St. Mary's and I credit it for giving me the blessing of having very few doubts in my faith. I had my rebellious years, but I have never doubted God's existence or even His love. This faith has helped me weather my own storms of self-doubt, personal tragedies and even witnessing the life and death of my nephew Michael as he so bravely fought cancer. I remember walking into Mass as a child and seeing the men and women sitting on the side in perpetual adoration. I remember deciding then and there that when I grew up, I wanted to be one of them. To this day, I am in a parish with perpetual adoration that I participate in.

Every day that I walk into the ER for duty; I pray. This habit was developed from my many years in Catholic grade school (St. Mary's), high school (Mercy High) and college (University of Notre Dame). I know that much of my inspiration and intuition in caring for my patients comes from God. He guides my hands and my heart and heals me of the pain and weariness that I carry from my patients on my drive home.

And as for my fascination of foreign lands learned in St. Mary's library, I travel extensively, and do mission work in Africa and Haiti and fly around the world in international critical care transport. God does bless us in the littlest details of our lives! And it all came from St. Mary's Grade School in Bellevue, Nebraska! Yvonne C. (Charmaine) Ortega, M.D., Emergency Room Physician, Alumna

Christina Legner

The work ethic I developed at St. Mary’s and the confidence in my capabilities that I built there helped me become valedictorian of my Bellevue East class. 

As both an alumna and a parent of children who currently attend St. Mary’s School, I can attest to the gem that it is. 

As a graduate I was able to assimilate into public high school culture, participate in various sports & clubs, and excel scholastically.  The work ethic I developed at St. Mary’s and the confidence in my capabilities that I built there helped me become valedictorian of my Bellevue East class.  I earned several scholarships to various universities, including a 4-year full ride Regent’s Scholarship to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  I ultimately decided to take advantage of a scholarship to the University of Norte Dame, where I majored in Psychology, minored in Computer Applications, and graduated with honors.   I had a few offers from Fortune 500 companies and accepted one of them.  After a couple of years I left that opportunity for another, also a Fortune 500 company.

As a parent I see in my children what I came to recognize and value in myself, that attending a Catholic elementary school allows them to learn about their faith, live their faith, and grow in their faith as part of their full, normal day.  It isn’t compartmentalized.  It’s not just something they do once or twice a week.  It isn’t an “activity” like all the others fighting for space on the family calendar.  It’s an umbrella over everything that they do.  Faith formation and religious education begin at home, but it’s such a blessing that when they leave our door and pass through the one at school, that what we teach and value is also being taught and valued by the wonderfully talented staff at St. Mary’s. 

While there are larger budgets elsewhere that allow for brand new this and brand new that, I take a step back and ask myself what “this” is all for?  What are we working toward and is where my kids attend school helping them in that pursuit?  Of course I want them to be successful (which can be defined so differently in our society), but what I really want is for them to be responsible, honest, caring, hard working, and selfless.  I want them to contribute to their community.  I want them to make the world a bit better than they found it.  I want them to, in the words of Gandhi, “Be the change they wish to see in the world.”  I am so thankful that my husband and I have a partner in St. Mary’s School, to help what we want for our children become a reality. 
Christina Legner, Class of 1991, Alumna, St. Mary’s Parent

Hannah Menzel Clark

My education at St. Mary's School has been invaluable to me! Not only did it prepare me educationally for success at Mercy High School but it also set the foundation for a strong and deep appreciation of my Catholic faith.

My education at St. Mary's School has been invaluable to me! Not only did it prepare me educationally for success at Mercy High School but it also set the foundation for a strong and deep appreciation of my Catholic faith. Now, as a Catholic school teacher myself, I am honored to be able to share my faith with my own students. I owe so much to the administration, faculty and staff of St. Mary's. I feel very blessed and honored to call myself a graduate of such a wonderful school! Hannah Menzel Clark, Class of 2002, Alumna, Catholic School Teacher

Hannah Menzel Clark 2015 Update

"The faith community of St. Mary's Church and School have been such an integral part of my life. Now, I am raising my own family in the Parish, and am so excited to send my children to St. Mary's School!"

Hannah (Menzel) Clark, class of '02 and her husband John just welcomed their 3rd child November 17, 2015. His name is Elijah. They have two other children, Gabriel the big brother, 3 years old and big sister Caroline (Carlie) is 22 months old. Hannah attended St. Mary's School from Pre-K through 8th grade, and graduated in 2002. She went on to attend Mercy High School in Omaha, and Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. There, she majored in Special Education and Elementary Education, and attributes her love of learning to several teachers from St. Mary's. She's taught in 8th grade and 4th grade at Catholic Schools in Missouri, and Special Education for Bellevue Public Schools. Hannah says, "The faith community of St. Mary's Church and School have been such an integral part of my life. Now, I am raising my own family in the Parish, and am so excited to send my children to St. Mary's School!" Hannah Menzel Clark, Class of 2002, Alumna, Special Education Teacher at Bellevue Public Schools

Mary Ellen Reckmeyer

We feel these sacrifices are worth the same quality Catholic school education that my siblings and I received when my parents chose to send us to St. Mary's in Bellevue ...

My family has a long association with St. Mary's Grade School. My parents were lifelong members of the parish and were committed to their five children attending the parish school. This wasn't an easy commitment, as we were a modest one-income family and we lived farther from the school than many students. I've always appreciated the sacrifices they made to provide us with a quality Catholic education. All five of us went on to achieve success in high school, college, and our professions. Now, my husband and I have made the same commitment: our son graduated from St. Mary's and our daughter currently attends. There are still sacrifices, both financial and in terms of volunteer time and effort, and we live a longer distance from the school. But we feel these sacrifices are worth the same quality Catholic school education that my siblings and I received when my parents chose to send us to St. Mary's in Bellevue. Mary Ellen Reckmeyer, Alumna, Parent, and Teacher at St. Mary's

Missy Walther 2016 Update

I am convinced that my wonderful years with the teachers, staff and faith community at St. Mary's-Bellevue Catholic Church and School, and my intense faith, love and trust in Jesus Christ have prepared me well for a bright future." Thank You!

I am convinced that my wonderful years with the teachers, staff and faith community at St. Mary's-Bellevue Catholic Church and School, and my intense faith, love and trust in Jesus Christ have prepared me well for a bright future." Thank You!  Missy Walther, Class of 2012, Alumna, Will start at Creighton University Fall 2016-17.

Natalie (Targy) Kamtz

We had such wonderful teachers at St. Mary's. I had so much fun dissecting all kinds of cool animals. It was so wonderful to be able to explore the sciences and it certainly became a passion of mine that feeds what I do currently.

Although, I didn't appreciate it, as I should have then, I now very much appreciate a Catholic environment and curriculum in school. It's so important for kids to be surrounded with the church's teachings and to understand the importance of Christ's love in every aspect of our lives, including our education."

Natalie (Targy) Kamtz, Class of 1999, Alumna

Rebekah Menzel

As I enter my freshman year at Benedictine College, I look back and realize that what I learned at St. Mary's has formed my foundation of faith, creativity and a deep desire to learn more...

Having attended St. Mary's School from PK all the way through 8th grade, I just took it for granted that everyone had an education like this. Some of my fondest memories of St. Mary's focus on the Advent and Lenten Prayer Services, and the times that the entire school was gathered for Mass. Stepping in to Mercy High School, I felt well-prepared to handle the expectations academically; and I know that the encouragement I received from so many teachers in grade school to really live out my faith fanned my desire to serve others. As I enter my freshman year at Benedictine College, I look back and realize that what I learned at St. Mary's has formed my foundation of faith, creativity and a deep desire to learn more about our global community. Rebekah Menzel, Class of 2007, Alumna, Freshman, Benedictine College

Rebekah Menzel 2015 Update

I've been reflecting on how St. Mary's School helped to form the woman I am today. It is as if St. Mary's set the standard for how I view learning communities. Now, as a first year teacher at Christ the King (K-8 Art) I can't tell you how many times I think to myself, "Okay, how would Mrs. Schutt have solved this problem?"

Hi there! I was talking with my mom the other day about the importance of community in my life. We discussed the different milestones in my life over the last 20 years; most recently graduating from Benedictine College this past Spring 2015, before that from Mercy High School in 2011, and the start of it all: St. Mary's School in 2007. Since then, I've been reflecting on how St. Mary's School helped to form the woman I am today. It is as if St. Mary's set the standard for how I view learning communities. Now, as a first year teacher at Christ the King (K-8 Art) I can't tell you how many times I think to myself, "Okay, how would Mrs. Schutt have solved this problem?" As I enter into my career as an Educator, I look to all of my Pre-K-8th grade teachers as role models. Their camaraderie, dedication, and passion for education has stuck with me through the years, and now inspires me to become a teacher my own St. Mary's School teachers would be proud of. Rebekah Menzel, Class of 2007, Alumna, Art Teacher at Christ the King, Omaha

Scott Steele

While I may still face challenges in my life I know that in order to overcome I simply need to look back on what I learned at St. Mary’s and trust that God is watching over me…

Through my time at St. Mary’s I was able to enjoy firsthand what it feels like to be part of a school that feels like a second home. I was challenged academically and forced to take a greater responsibility for my actions. I am proud to say that I am the person I am today through my years there. And while I may still face challenges in my life I know that in order to overcome I simply need to look back on what I learned at St. Mary’s and trust that God is watching over me. Scott Steele, Class of 2006, Alumnus, Sophomore, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

St Mary's Information

St. Mary's Catholic School is a Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth Grade School of the Archdiocese of Omaha. Our mission is to provide a Catholic education that nurtures students' hearts and minds to become servant leaders in an ever-changing world.

Our philosophy of education is to offer a five-day program to assist families in teaching those truths, skills, and ideals, which are necessary for Christian living. We believe that education must develop the faculties and abilities of the whole child: spiritually, intellectually, physically, and emotionally. To help achieve this, our faculty and staff are an integral part of the formation of Christian community and dedicate themselves to the task of developing Christian citizens.

 

 


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