At St. Mary's School, our high academic standards haven't changed over the years. Neither has our mission, which is to help young people develop into Christ-centered citizens serving their communities.
Here are some stories from St. Mary's alumni who tell us what St. Mary's did for them and how they are using their talents to succeed and help others. Please consider adding your story to our alumni section. We would love to hear from you. Now, the first of many (it's up to you) stories begins...
It all started at St. Mary's School. "We had such wonderful teachers like Mrs. Schutt, Mrs. Nedemeyer, Mr. Eckerman, Mrs. Langhorst, Mrs. Gold, Mrs. Sobillo, and many more 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. I'm a Clinical Study Coordinator for Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. My job includes a variety of things from finding studies, recruiting patients, tracking all study activities, budgets, and contracts, as well as helping write up the results. Although, I didn't appreciate it, as I should have then, (I graduated from St. Mary's in 1999) 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." I graduated from Bellevue West in 2003. While there my extra curricular activities included volleyball, soccer, Captain of the Thunderettes, and tennis. My academic achievements included the National Junior Honor Society, and being on the school Honor roll.I then pursued a Catholic education at Rockhurst, a Jesuit college in Kansas City where I received an academic scholarship. While there I also received a science scholarship and graduated with a Biology degree in 2007. I was involved in tennis, a member of the running club, was on the honor roll, deans list, and a member and president for ZTA sorority. I was an Orientation Coordinator (for incoming freshman) and founded "Run for a Reason" to support breast cancer awareness and research.
Clinical Study Coordinator for Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Natalie (Targy) Kamtz, Alumna, Class of 1999
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? 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!
Emergency Room Physician, Dr. Yvonne C. (Charmaine) Ortega, Alumna
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, Alumnus, Class of 2006
Ben was Bellevue Youth Volunteer of the Year 2010. He is now on the Dean’s list at Marquette and is double majoring in Finance and Economics. He has also received the following scholarships:
The Ignatius scholarship, which is a merit scholarship awarded from Marquette
The Knights of Columbus Scholarship
The Bellevue Public Schools Scholarship
The Wall Street Journal Scholarship
A scholarship this year from Marquette University