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“One of the things Dad said before he died was ‘Sure glad I am Catholic’,” writes his family when sharing their father’s background and love for Pius X.
It was a background deeply rooted in the Church and in Catholic education which inspired Bob McCabe to remember the Pius X Foundation and Pius X High School in his estate plan.
Bob, the grandson of Irish and French immigrants, grew up in a Catholic household in Omaha. With a rich and diverse culture, Omaha had many ethnic and religious divisions at the time and many Catholics were openly discriminated against. “Dad’s family centered on Holy Name parish and his father was friends with Fr. Flanagan at Boys Town,” the family notes. “Catholics in Omaha stuck together in community, school, and social events.”
Growing up in a typical Irish Catholic household with the house full of religious icons and family photos, it was natural that Bob attended Catholic schools. Starting at Holy Name grade school, he went on to attend Campion Jesuit School in Prairie Du Chien, Wis., and then earned a degree from Creighton University.
“One of the many attributes Dad learned from those years was a sense of loyalty - to family and to his religion,” the family recalls.
Bob employed the virtuous attributes he learned in Catholic schools and the Catholic community while raising his own family and during his decades as a business leader in the Lincoln. He was dismayed seeing those attributes chipped away by society changing over time.
“It was clear to Dad back then, as it is clear now, that his children, all Catholic children, and children from other denominations or no denomination, by attending Catholic schools, might have a chance to learn and carry with them in life the virtuous attributes Catholic schools taught then and teach today,” the family notes, adding that Bob understood supporting a Catholic school system meant supporting Catholic life, just as it did in his younger days.
Bob put his faith into action and was always a supporter of Catholic schools. He believed that being Catholic meant showing loyalty toward the Catholic faith - the true faith, the religion started by Christ himself.
“Dad felt that having kids attend and be involved with Catholic schools was the foundation for the Catholic community to come together to offset, not the ethnic and religious discrimination of his past, but the secular society of today,” shares the family, noting that Bob’s priorities in life were faith, family and work, but not always in that order.
“The Catholic school system in Lincoln and his parish were a big part of his life,” the family continues. “He believed in the Lincoln Catholic School’s mission to provide affordable, quality Catholic education to any student. Dad believed in Pius X High School and felt strongly a Catholic K-12 education was paramount to formation of Catholic faith.”
Bob was connected to Pius X in the same way he felt connected to the Omaha Catholic community when he was young. “Dad understood the financial needs of keeping an organization running. He loyally supported Pius for decades in time, talent and treasure because he believed the Catholic school system is a cornerstone of the Catholic faith. He knew supporting Pius was the right thing to do.”
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Three Pius X students competed at the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions (NIETOC) in Denver, Colo., May 13-15. Senior Monica Marsolek (pictured with Speech Coach Nolan DeWispelare) finished 3rd in Expository Speaking at the speech tournament.
Over 150 schools from 40 states were represented at the national tournament. Marsolek (picture 2, right) also competed in Humorous Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation. Junior Emily O’Gara (picture 2, left) competed in Original Oratory and Expository Speaking, and junior Olivia Pletcher (picture 2, center) competed in Original Oratory.
Marsolelk (Informative Speaking), along with Sophomore Abby Nelson (Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking), will compete at the National Speech and Debate Association tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah in June.
Pius X’s Speech season ended with a 6th place team finish at the Class A State Tournament, the highest finish in school history.
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To Robb and Courtney Hagen, passing on their faith by providing a Catholic, Christ-centered education for their four children was a blessing that they deeply treasured.
After Courtney passed away from cancer on November 5, 2015, an anonymous donor chose to honor her belief in Catholic education and her courageous battle with the disease by establishing a scholarship in her memory. The Courtney Hagen Memorial Scholarship Fund will be awarded to a child of a person suffering from cancer or has passed away due to cancer.
Catholic education set the foundation for Courtney’s faith formation. During her time at Cedar Catholic High School she met a lifetime friend and religious mentor, Monsignor Cyril Werner. Msgr. Werner had a dramatic impact on Courtney’s faith and her positive outlook on life. He would always close their conversations with “God is good.” Those who knew Courtney remember her often repeating those very words.
Courtney Marie (Heimes) Hagen was born May 15, 1974, to Allen and Cindy (Miller) Heimes. She graduated from Cedar Catholic High School in Hartington, Neb., in 1992. She attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Dentistry, graduating in 1996 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene.
Courtney married Robb Hagen on October 12, 1996, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Hartington. They had four children, Brynn (1999), Ella (2001), Avery (2006), and Willem (2007). Courtney referred to her children as ‘her babies.’ They are a reflection of her.
She demonstrated her love and passion for people during her 19 year career as a dental hygienist. Courtney genuinely cared for her patients’ dental health, but also cared deeply for them on a personal level. Her prayer list was filled with the names of patients, along with many family and friends who needed prayers.
Courtney’s faith truly shined when she was diagnosed with spinal cancer in June 2014. After surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the cancer was contained until new growths were discovered in June 2015. Courtney restarted treatment, but the cancer spread to her brain.
In times of struggle, especially during her cancer battle, Courtney lived her life as a testament to Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Courtney’s incredible courage, radiant spirit, and faith in God never wavered; she considered each and every day a blessing.
“The support and prayers that we received during her battle was overwhelming,” Robb reflects. “From the candlelight rosary, to the endless support of the Pius X staff, it’s proof that all involved with Pius X are family.”
“We are honored that a scholarship has been created in her memory,” Robb shares. “Courtney touched so many people through her volunteer work, through her job, through her friendships, and through her faith. She often said she was a servant, not a leader.”
Her love of the Catholic faith motivated Courtney to be a lector, be involved in parish life, and volunteer at St. Peter’s school and Pius X. Courtney indeed led by example through her dedicated service to others. “She never wanted, or even liked, recognition for any of the volunteer work she did; she simply did it because it was for the good of others.” Robb recalls.
Courtney’s legacy will live on through the lives she touched, especially her family, friends, and those in her community that she so cherished. “Her uplifting attitude was evident through her contagious smile and warm spirit. Courtney simply loved life,” Robb reflects, adding that “her spirit lives on in her children and the many lives she touched.”
While her family and friends feel the loss of her physical presence, they pray that this scholarship will inspire others to wear a smile, be positive, and lead as a servant of Christ, just as Courtney did.
“Courtney would say that she has been blessed by many and to have this scholarship created in her name is a true honor,” Robb expresses. “Courtney often said, ‘You can put a price on a Catholic education, but the value is priceless’.”
Despite the hardship from his personal loss of a loving wife and mother, Robb offers these words of comfort and hope: “God is good.”
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Lincoln is #PiusProud.
Thanks to hundreds of parents, alumni, friends of Puis X, and the Lincoln business community Pius X finished in first place on Give To Lincoln Day #1 for the largestest amount raised.
“It is a testament to our school and our mission, and a true blessing the way our Pius X family consistently offers their generous support to preserve and enhance Pius X," Fr. Jim Meysenburg said. "I am truly grateful, as are our teachers and students. Our record enrollment and consistent performance on Give To Lincoln Day illustrates the place Pius X holds in the Lincoln community.”
Preliminary figures show that thanks to the generous outpouring of support from donors, Pius X was able to raise more than $119,000 (including both online and offline gifts). Prior to and after Give To Lincoln Day, Pius X supporters donated additional gifts in excess of $26,000 for a total of more than $145,000 raised to date. Pius X will also receive a portion of the $300,000 matching pool. All of the funds raised have been designated to enhance teacher salaries in an effort to retain and recruit top quality teachers, support the addition of portable classrooms to accommodate record enrollment, and to create an dedicated space for faculty and staff who are nursing mothers.
"I want to thank the Lincoln community, our Pius family, the Lincoln Community Foundation, and the Give To Lincoln Day sponsors for their generosity," stated Michelle Birkel, Pius X Director of Development. "Give To Lincoln Day is a wonderful opportunity to share information about the importance of Catholic education in Lincoln and the impact that donors can have on our young people. Their generous support of Pius X truly changes lives and creates futures."
Donations are still being accepted for this year's Give To Lincoln Day projects, as well as other needs at Pius X. Gifts can be made online at www.piusx.net (simply click the DONATE button) or on the Give To Lincoln Day website (click here to donate online). Donations may also be sent to Pius X at 6000 A St., Lincoln, NE 68510. Any questions may be directed to the Pius X Foundation at 402-488-1046.
Ranking among the top 5% of all Catholic high schools in the country, Pius X provides an affordable, Catholic education in a positive environment. As part of the Pius X family, students deepen their faith and knowledge, and have opportunities to pursue their talents and passions. With its largest enrollment ever at 1,225 students, Pius X has served the Lincoln community for 60 years and works to instill six core values - excellence, service, purpose, faith, integrity and charity - into the next generation of leaders. Learn more about Pius X High School and the Pius X Foundation at www.piusx.net or follow us at Facebook.com/RestoreAllThings and @PiusXLincoln.
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Pius X High School Aca Deca team claimed 5th place in Division II at the 2016 United States Academic Decathlon was held in Anchorage, Alaska on April 28-29. The national competition is split into three divisions based on school size. This was the third consecutive trip to the National competition for the Pius X Aca Deca team after once again winning the Nebraska state competition earlier this spring.
A highlight of Pius X’s performance was the claiming three individual gold medals, including a perfect score by Catherine Kruger in the art competition. Liam Kruse received a scholarship for placing 2nd overall in the Honors category and posted the highest individual score for Pius X. Henry Jaros also received a scholarship being voted Most Valuable team member by his peers.
Individual medals earned at the National meet include: (Honors) Liam Kruse: Bronze-Economics, Silver-Music, Gold-Social Science, Bronze-Math, Silver-Literature, Silver-Science, Silver-Art; Catherine Kruger-Silver-Economics, Gold-Math, Gold-Art (perfect score); Lisa Vu-Silver-Math; (Scholastic) Henry Jaros-Bronze-Math; (Varsity) Cole Johnson-Bronze-Social Science.
The Pius X Aca Deca team is coached by Ann Kotopka, Shiela Sievert, Mary Jo Kopf, Margaret Kaiser-Woodward and Fr. Steve Mills.
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Ray Forycki, Lincoln Pius X boys’ head basketball coach, met with his players today to announce his retirement. Athletic Director Tim Aylward took the opportunity to promptly name Forycki’s replacement, Pius X assistant coach Brian Spicka.
During the last game of regular play this past season Forycki reached the milestone mark of 300 wins. Forycki became the head basketball coach at Pius X in 1994 after serving for 8 years as an assistant coach for the Thunderbolts. Earlier this spring Forycki announced his retirement from his post as a history teacher, a position he held for 30 years.
“This is the perfect time for our basketball program,” Forycki noted. “Moving forward we have as much talent and depth as we have ever had, freshman through seniors.”
Regarding the announcement Fr. Jim Meysenburg, the school’s chief administrative officer, stated: “Ray has always been one of Pius X’s best and most loved teachers and coaches. He will be truly missed in the classroom and on the court.”
The Thunderbolt basketball program had great success under Forycki’s leadership. The longtime coach retires with a career record of 301 wins and 164 loses, and earned 11 state tournament appearances, coached in four state title games, won two State Championships, and claimed the respect and admiration of hundreds of young men who played for him.
“Our youth program is flourishing and the positive commitment from our parents is as always very strong,” Forycki added. “I will miss all of the people who care so much about helping our students and athletes. I will miss the players the most. We shared a common bond and worked very hard to learn about life. Pius X was my dream job. I have been living the dream.”
Spicka began coaching at Pius X in 1999 as the assistant JV coach, and was named the freshman boys’ basketball coach the following year. He joined the Pius X faculty in 2002 to teach World History, and in 2008 was named the assistant varsity coach.
“I am very excited to be succeeding Coach Forycki as head coach of the Pius X boys’ basketball team,” Spicka said. “Ray is a great coach, mentor, and above all a tremendous person that has helped me grow as a coach and a person. I look forward to the challenges ahead with the great support of the Pius X coaches, administration, parents, and alumni.”
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Pius X is excited to share the news that we have partnered with Propelr, a re-loadable VISA prepaid card that can be used anywhere, anytime. When you use your Propelr card at participating merchants, a percentage of the purchase amount will be donated to Pius X. Propelr works just like a debit card, but with donation percentages as high as 20%. To learn more about Propelr, watch this video!
You can sign-up today to get your Propelr card and give back to Pius X.
View the growing list of merchants here.
Propelr is an easy, convenient and effective way to fund raise for our school and/or your church. You simply load your Propelr card with any amount between $50 and $1,500 and use it anywhere. When purchasing at a wide variety of participating merchants throughout Lincoln, a portion of the purchase will go back to Pius X or your church.
Propelr has a special feature for families. Each account can have up to five cards attached to it, including a card for your spouse and/or children. Kids' cards allow you to give your child a card with a limited balance or automatic allowance and see exactly where it is spent. That way you can help them pay for things like gas and groceries and they are helping to raise money for Pius X through their everyday purchases.
Lincoln Friends - Please consider signing up today and sharing this link with your family and friends!
Additional merchants for Omaha and beyond will be coming soon, and Propelr will expand outside of Nebraska in 2016.