Stories From Experience

Becca Brannan '13

Becca Brennan '13My name is Becca, and I’m a junior at Cathedral. The decision to come to Cathedral was by far the biggest and best decision I have made thus far in my life. The atmosphere at Cathedral is very inviting and it feels like a family. The teachers all genuinely care for each student and his/her success. There are co-curricular opportunities for everyone at Cathedral regardless of age, interests or skill level. Cathedral also does a great job of preparing students for college-- whether it’s sitting down and talking about possible future plans or helping pick out appropriate classes. If a student struggles in a subject, help is always available. All students can be successful at Cathedral because the staff and faculty are committed to caring for the needs (academic, personal and spiritual) of all of its students.

When I first made the decision to come to Cathedral for seventh grade, I was nervous and unsure of how my first day would go. It was fantastic! The teachers helped all of us get acquainted with each other. After that first day, I knew I would succeed at Cathedral. As I entered my freshman year, there were more new students joining our class. Again, I was nervous as to how I would get along with all these new people. There was no need to be nervous. During the ninth grade year, many events are planned specifically to help students get to know one another. For example, the first day of ninth grade is spent with Link Crew, a group of junior and seniors that plan “getting to know you” activities. Ninth graders also have a special Homecoming event that is organized by some of the teachers.

As a current junior I have become comfortable with myself and my peers. We are all able to come together at sporting events and cheer our team on. I have also become more involved at Cathedral. I’m a junior officer for SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), a member of Optimist Club, a Student Ambassador, a peer tutor, and an athlete. Cathedral is an amazing school that offers something for everybody. Make a great decision--choose Cathedral!

 Jami Bestgen, CHS Parent

Jami BestgenInitially my son Steven selected Cathedral because he liked the feel of the place during his visit and the school was the right size to offer the extra-curricular activities he wanted. Since that initial selection the experiences in which he has engaged have expanded beyond what we envisioned.

Steven was always a bright kid, but an average student. He did enough to get by. The peer pressure to perform well in the classroom has helped him achieve beyond our expectations. Since he has been at Cathedral he has more fully engaged in the classroom experience, improved the depth of his learning, and has learned to love some unexpected subject matter. The engaged faculty have been integral in this transformation. They don't let any student fall through the cracks.

Steven's Cathedral experience has nurtured his many diverse interests. He loves to read and has expanded that interest to include a number of the classics. He enjoys writing and has been able to improve that skill through a variety of classroom experiences. He's learned to share his opinion and debate a position in a respectful and positive way. He's grown in his love of singing through two excellent choir directors. He's vastly improved his conversational Spanish through his mission trip to Columbia as well as this year's college Spanish class. While he has always loved basketball, he's taken the opportunity to engage in other sports as well, resulting in a new love for golf.

The positioning of faith in the forefront of the learning experience is a key ingredient in the creation of Cathedral's safe and nurturing environment. It is one where Steven feels safe to follow his own path with the knowledge that he will be treated with dignity and respect by peers, faculty, and staff. Cathedral has helped our ordinary child become an extraordinary young man. We know his six years here are a solid foundation for a bright future.

Eric Broker '11

Eric Broker '11Socrates famously declared upon his death trial that the unexamined life is not worth living. This dramatic depiction of a man willing to face death rather than abandon his commitment to philosophical inquiry offers up Socrates as a model for future generations. But let’s be real - today few of us are presented with the same stark choice between philosophy and death. However, all of us are faced daily with opportunities to decide between convenient conventionality and our devotion to truth and reason. One of these many dilemmas is choosing what high school to attend, and I believe with conviction that a Cathedral education is the right choice – a choice that will lead to excellent college and life preparation.

Cathedral offers a rigorous curriculum that gives students an advantage in the college setting. During my first semester at St. Olaf, it became apparent that the skills I honed at Cathedral set me apart. These skills include how to write a succinct and meaningful paper, how to read critically and make connections with material and how to study hard science and mathematical subjects. Cathedral alumni enter college with a fundamental toolbox to draw upon and in-depth conceptual knowledge in various subject areas that allows them to tackle the world of academia successfully.

However, the real beauty of Cathedral is that it is infinitely more than a school; Cathedral is a community. What I love most about Cathedral is how supportive everyone is; the faculty and administration genuinely care and want you to succeed. CHS faculty are more than teachers, they are mentors – mentors that have supported me and helped shape my life forever.

Cathedral does more than teach students Calculus and Chemistry, it serves as a foundational stepping-stone in distinguishing larger theological and philosophical issues faced in an examined life. Cathedral teaches students to examine the world around them and ask, “How can this world be better?" I am proud to have gone to Cathedral, and I am excited to still be a part of this community. I really think you should take advantage of the opportunity to attend Cathedral High School. And I know Socrates would agree with me.