December Teacher Feature: Mrs. Lindsey Retzki

Mrs. Lindsey Retzki, 3rd Grade, Pacelli Catholic Elementary School-St. Stephen

Name: Lindsey Retzki

Grade & School You Teach: 3rd Grade at St. Stephen’s Elementary

Where did you grow up and go to high school and college?

I grew up right here in Stevens Point and attended Pacelli High School. After high school, I attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for their education program.

Where was your first teaching job?

My first teaching job was a 3rd grade position at St. Vincent de Paul  in the Assumption Catholic Schools district in Wisconsin Rapids.

How long have you been teaching?

This is my 3rd year teaching in my own classroom.

How long have you been teaching at Pacelli Catholic Schools?

This is my first year teaching at St. Stephen’s.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Pacelli Catholic Schools?

I truly enjoy the staff and other teachers I work with. Each individual is hardworking and passionate about education. It makes a great environment for our students to learn in.

What is unique about the education experience offered at PCS that you can’t find anywhere else?

The incredible, dedicated and experienced teachers. The system is filled with teachers that have been in the system for years. Many of them actually were my teachers in elementary, middle, and high school.

What was your favorite class when you were a student?

My favorite class was science class for its investigative and explorative nature. It is also my favorite class to teach.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Honestly, as a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher. I would actually make my little brother play school with me. He hated it. 🙂

Who is your biggest inspiration/role model?

My biggest role model is my mom. She is the most patient, generous, and positive person I know.  

What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?

I love playing sports. My favorite sports are basketball and volleyball. I also enjoy watching movies, spending time with family and friends, country music, shopping, and coffee!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

If I could have one superpower, I would want to be able to fly. I love traveling but, I really do not like the long car rides.

What’s something that most people or your students don’t know about you?

I am unable to whistle.

What is the most important piece of advice you can give to a student?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes is how you learn best.

Pacelli Gives Back

Service learning, love of community service instilled in each child at Pacelli Catholic Schools

ellen-lopas-1By: Ellen Lopas, Principal, Pacelli Catholic Elementary School-St. Bronislava & Pacelli Catholic Middle School

Service is an important component of a Pacelli Catholic Schools education. Our mission and vision for our students and staff is to provide assistance in many different aspects of our community.

At the high school level there are many ways we help the students to find the value of helping their community. Each year the entire senior class has a service day in which students go to various community agencies, neighbors, and our local parishes to perform acts of service. During the eight hour event, students helped rake lawns, move mulch, paint stairs, tear down a fence, and detail a number of cars for the Sisters of St. Joseph.

The high school also requires that each student document 15 hours of community service over the course of the school year. So far this semester, our high school students have served the community by recording over 1,800 hours of service outside the school day. Many of our high schoolers volunteer at local agencies, nursing homes, parishes, and more, often reporting that by serving the community they feel a stronger commitment to others and start to see their community through a bigger lense.

National Honor Society is another avenue that the high school students are a part of that requires service hours in the community. About 40% of our junior and senior classes participate in National Honors Society. The students are required to model the pillars of academic excellence, leadership, high moral character, and service to others. By the end of the year, each NHS student is required to log fifty hours of community service and leadership. As a school, this one club with just over forty students will log over 2,000 hours of service.  

At the middle school level the students are required to give three hours per quarter in service. There are many different types of service and we want the children to learn what kind of service is good for them. We want this to become a life skill and the students will learn how good it feels to help others.

Pacelli Catholic Middle School is also once again embarking on an international outreach project for Christmas with Casa Hogar, the orphanage that our Diocese founded in Lima, Peru. Our entire middle school is going to be putting together Christmas gift bags, which will be brought to Peru by students from Wisconsin Rapids who are going on a mission trip there this year. Next year, Pacelli High School students will again take their mission trip to Peru taking gift bags with them, too. We have a chance to demonstrate faith in action, and that is what being a Catholic is all about. We have seen first-hand the priceless reactions and smiling faces on the children of Casa Hogar when they receive gifts from us which truly makes our service worthwhile.

At the elementary level, all three of our schools do canned food drives, coat collections, money drives, and creation of gifts and caroling for nursing homes and the cancer center, among many other community projects. Even our early childhood center contributes to many of the same services in our community as well as collecting necessities for military veterans stationed overseas and cards for homebound people through meals on wheels.

Service learning helps young men and women to become members of their community who are caring and supportive of everyone. Pacelli Catholic Schools are committed to service and preparing our next generation of adults to care for and support all those in the community they live in and beyond.

Stevens Point City Times: Pacelli Gives Back

November e-Newsletter: In the News

The following are news snippets from the November e-Newsletter highlighting the Pacelli Catholic School system, individual students, alumni, staff, and members of the PCS community who have recently been highlighted for their accomplishments.

PCMS students are putting on Peter Pan and Wendy this weekend at the high school. Shows will be Dec. 1 at 7pm, Dec. 2 at 7pm, and Dec. 3 at 2pm. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students.

4K & kindergarten students at St. Stan’s held their annual Thanksgiving Friendship Feast with families full of songs, treats, and service projects. St. Bron’s elementary students also held their Thanksgiving Fun Fest.

Frank Runyeon, former star of As the World Turns, presented “Salt & Light: A Comedy for Kids” to K-4.

Weston from PCMS was congratulated by Mr. Joseph Cahill from the VFW for winning the Patriot’s Pen Contest.

Joe Odhiambo, NBA All-Star Performer (’06, ’07, ’08, ’09), Former Phoenix Suns & Mercury Player, and World’s Greatest Basketball Dribbler (12-time Guinness World Record Holder) came to St. Stephen’s to motivate students and show off a few tricks.

PCMS 7th graders made cards for veterans at the Veteran’s Home in King to thank them for their service.

St. Stan’s 2nd graders dressed as their favorite saints in honor of All Saints Day. St. Bron’s students also observed this special day.

Kids in our childcare program at St. Joe’s had a giggle filled game of red light, green light with Mrs. DeeAnn.

Congratulations to our students who affirmed their faith by celebrating their confirmation.

PCHS hosted a blood drive collecting 47 pints of blood, surpassing the goal set by the Red Cross.

Pacelli alum Payton Hintz ’14 was named to the Association of Division III Independents 2016 All-Independent Women’s Volleyball Second Team for her efforts on the court for the Mount Mary University volleyball program.

Marten Machining hosted 6 PCHS students for a day of hands-on learning about their business.

The PCMS peer mentor program continued with lunch and a game.

PCHS senior Jacob Schulfer recently completed his Eagle Scout project, a prayer garden at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Polonia, and officially earned his Eagle Scout rank. He joins fellow PCHS senior Philip DiSalvo who completed a beautification of the PCHS front entrance and earned his Eagle Scout rank in October.

Congrats to all of the PCHS fall athletes who were honored for their All-Conference performances this season.

PCHS held their annual Veteran’s Day Service, honoring those who have served our country. See even more pictures by clicking here.

Congratulations to our Bridge Mixer Marathon Group grant award winners – Jenna Feltz of St. Bron’s and Kathy Hansel of St. Steve’s.

PCMS student Nic won a Kindle Fire by entering a poetry contest in Mrs. Jakusz’s writing class last spring.

PCHS drama students put on the play “Dear Finder” directed by Carrie Gruman-Trinkner. Special thanks to Wendie Cliver, WCM Photography & Creations for the great photos of the performance.

St. Stan’s s 2nd graders made scarecrows and wrote fall themed poems to cheer people in the oncology department at St. Michael’s and the Brookdale Senior Living facility.

Special thanks to the Knights of Columbus Council 1170 and the Intellectual Disabilities Fund for your donation to our schools from the proceeds of your annual tootsie roll sales.

Nic & Nate, PCS students, were nominated by Mr. Dahlseng to perform in a state band and orchestra concerts – 2 of only 300 students total selected from the 1,200 nominees to perform.

See Pacelli in the news? Send it to for inclusion on our website, social media sites, or e-newsletters.

November Teacher Feature: Mrs. Emily Butz

Mrs. Emily Butz, 1st Grade, Pacelli Catholic Elementary School-St. Bronislava

emily-butz-novemberName: Emily Butz

Grade & School You Teach: First Grade at St. Bronislava

Where did you grow up and go to high school and college?

I grew up in Annandale, MN and attended high school in Maple Lake, MN. I graduated from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a B.A. in Spanish.

Where was your first teaching job?

My first teaching job was teaching 1st grade at Winship Elementary, an English Language Learner magnet school,  in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

How long have you been teaching?

This is my second year teaching first grade!

How long have you been teaching at Pacelli Catholic Schools?

This is my first year at Pacelli Catholic Schools. My husband and I just moved to Stevens Point from North Dakota.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Pacelli Catholic Schools?

What I enjoy most about teaching at Pacelli Catholic Schools is the wonderful students I have in my class and the great families in our system.

What is unique about the education experience offered at PCS that you can’t find anywhere else?

The unique education experience offered at PCS is that we get to incorporate our Catholic beliefs into our classrooms, which builds a positive environment for our students.   

What was your favorite class when you were a student?

When I was a student, I genuinely liked every subject! They are all so fun I can’t decide.  I suppose that’s why I turned to teaching when I was older!

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a prima ballerina when I grew up.

Who is your biggest inspiration/role model?

My biggest role models are my parents. My mom is a wonderful teacher that I aspire to be like and my dad has shown me that hard work and determination can get you far in life.

What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, being outdoors, reading, baking, watching movies, playing piano, and crafting! I love traveling and I’m always up for new adventures.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

If I could have one superpower I would like to have the ability to apparate and disapparate (or in muggle terms, teleportation) so that I can transport to any place I would like whenever I feel like traveling!

What’s something that most people or your students don’t know about you?

I plan on visiting the six main continents  in my lifetime. Right now I’m at 3 out of 6! (Sorry Antarctica…I’ll count you as an extra credit excursion!)

What is the most important piece of advice you can give to a student?

  1. Never give up!  
  2. You do you. You are special and unique. Don’t worry about what others think.
  3. Read, read, read!

The Path to Success

College & Career Readiness Initiatives at PCHS

By: Larry Theiss, Principal, Pacelli Catholic High School

Preparing students for life after high school has been an important part of Pacelli Catholic High School’s mission for decades. Our track record shows our success.

Last spring, PCHS achieved the highest ACT score in the area with a composite score of 24.4 for our graduating seniors. Recently, the high school was also ranked by ACT as one of the top high schools in the state for post-secondary success.

But as the principal, I’m not satisfied with that. I want to help all of my students have a plan for success. Over the past three years, I have worked with my staff and community stakeholders to develop new programs and opportunities for our graduates.

One of the most important things we have done recently as a school is to begin exposing students to the various career paths available to them. Last spring, a small committee of students took charge to plan PCHS’s first Cardinal Career Fair. This fall, over 40 employers attended the event and met with over 200 students. Through this experience, the students were able to begin inquiring about careers in finance, engineering, medical fields, manufacturing, and many more. Next year the student-run event hopes to bring in over 60 employers.

Other opportunities include our internship and apprenticeship programs. Two years ago we began looking at means of providing our students with authentic opportunities to engage in their career interests.  In working with CESA 5 and local businesses/employers, we have been able to place 11 students with eight different employers working in a multitude of different fields ranging from banking to anthropology, manufacturing to marketing, education to computers, and more. Apprenticeship/internship students are assigned projects with real-world results hanging in the balance. Many students report back about how they are directly contributing to the company or program. In all cases, the students work side-by-side with a skilled mentor in the field. This gives them their first opportunity to professionally network and to more solidly craft their post-secondary plan.

This fall, PCHS began developing a partnership with MSTC. Through a grant from the Pacelli Education Foundation, we are going to begin offering college classes to Pacelli students. Not only will the students have a chance to earn college credit, they will also be able to begin their post-secondary education in high school. We currently have students from a broad range of career fields getting ready to take advantage of the program. The vision is that PCHS students will be able to earn as many as 16 college credits before high school graduation.

I am proud of the College & Career Readiness Program at PCHS. Students will have a chance to earn credits before graduation, develop clear post-secondary plans, and more importantly interact with adult mentors outside of Pacelli. The program not only benefits each student, but it also benefits the Stevens Point/Plover community by connecting great students with great employers.

Over the past two years, we have seen the great results of these initiatives. More and more alumni are coming back saying they are better prepared for college and their careers than many of their peers. I am excited about what the future holds for our Pacelli students. It is truly a privilege to work in a school setting with highly motivated students who excel academically, seeing a world of opportunities awaiting them. This provides me with the unique opportunity to work with them one-on-one to set them on the path to success.

Stevens Point City Times: The Path to Success

October e-Newsletter: In the News

The following are news snippets from the October e-Newsletter highlighting the Pacelli Catholic School system, individual students, alumni, staff, and members of the PCS community who have recently been highlighted for their accomplishments.

Pacelli alum Mike Elsenrath ’96, a pilot and flight instructor for FedEx, recently volunteered his time to fly one of the FedEx Relief Flights to Haiti following Hurricane Matthew. Elsenrath, along with many others, helped bring crucial supplies to the disaster-stricken area at a time when they needed it most. “This can be a once in a career type of chance – to take the unique skills we have and do something good,” said Elsenrath. “It’s great to be able to make such a positive impact for so many people.”

Elizabeth Cisewski, a Pacelli senior, was highlighted as the CWS Student Athlete Spotlight.

As a team, the Pacelli Cross Country girls won the sectional title advancing to state. The boys respectably placed 10th, sending sole runner Thomas Basala to state for the 2nd year in a row.

Students from every grade participated in the annual Make a Difference Day, raking leaves for our valued neighbors and community members.

Pacelli girls tennis team made school history, appearing in the WIAA Division 2 state team tournament earlier this month. Individual state qualifiers included Alliey Krusa (singles), Anna Koehl & Julia Grygleski (doubles), and Katherine Mueller & Kaitlin Rogers (doubles). The team was celebrated with a special send-off at Community Meeting.

Pacelli Catholic Middle Schools’ 8th grade volleyball team went undefeated on their 2016 season.

Early Childhood Center kids enjoyed Fall Fun Night, putting on their Halloween costumes and enjoying crafts and friends.

PCMS Student Council is hosting a Noodles fundraiser on Nov. 2.

Second graders at St. Bron’s were having fun in coding class with their new Bee-Bots.

PCMS Cross Country team finished with a strong season, as the boys took the Conference Champion title and the girls showed constant improvement and top placement all season long.

Middle and high school band and choir students joined forces for the Fall Fine Arts Festival, showcasing the many talents of our students.

Sign up for the Pacelli blood drive on Wednesday, November 2. By signing up to donate you can help save up to 3 lives AND help provide scholarships to Pacelli seniors.

Fire safety was a hot topic at our elementary schools during Fire Prevention Week. Members of the Plover Fire Department visited St. Bron’s while St. Stan’s 4K students took a trip to the fire station.

8th grade mentors at PCMS ate lunch with their 6th grade mentees a couple weeks back. They also competed in two rounds of rock, paper, scissors. The mentor/mentee program is focused on further welcoming 6th graders to the building with an additional support person.

Pacelli’s homecoming was another one for the books. Activities included dress up days, Power Puff Volleyball for the boys, Powder Puff Football for the girls, the pep rally full of fun games and entertainment and the king & queen announcement, the parade, football game, and concluded with the dance.

Pacelli seniors scattered around the community on September 29 for Senior Service Day. They helped out at schools, parishes, various spots throughout the community, like Operations Bootstrap.

Programming Their Futures

Computer coding new, integral piece of well-rounded learning in K-12 Pacelli Catholic Schools

By: Jeff Bushman, Director of Technology, Pacelli Catholic Schools

“I’m so close to getting it right, I just want to work through it.” Those are the words of a fourth grade student at Pacelli Catholic Elementary School while learning how to code last month.

At Pacelli Catholic Schools, every kindergarten through 8th grade student is taking a coding course. Coding, or computer programming, is an essential element of computer science.

Kids these days are immersed in their phones, tablets, and other technology. However, very few of them know how it all operates. Learning to code gives them an opportunity to have a basic understanding of how the devices we use every day actually work.

Why is it important that we teach our kids programming? Last year there were more than 600,000 high-paying tech jobs across the United States that were unfilled, according to the White House. Beyond that, the Bureau of Labor predicts that there will be over 1 million more jobs than computer science students by 2020.

But this is not just about career development. We do not even know what jobs will exist when our elementary students will be in the workforce 10 or 15 years from now. Introducing our youngest students to coding is teaching them about designing projects, communicating their ideas, and learning strategies for solving problems.

Gone are the days where programming just meant sitting at a computer using a keyboard and mouse to write individual lines of code, by yourself. Now, it is about collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication – all skills that are transferable and sought by most employers.

Our elementary students are programming interactive robots using an iPad. Our middle school students are creating games, solving puzzles, and learning about app development. As one of our fifth graders put it, this is hard to do but fun! They work both individually and in groups, and our often encouraged to showcase their work.

It is also important to not think of coding as a separate subject area, but rather how we can incorporate it into our existing curriculum. While our students are creating games, solving puzzles, and programming robots, they are also meeting curriculum standards in language arts, math, science, and art.

Additionally, coding is about learning how to fail, often over and over again. The beauty of having our students learning code at a young age is that it encourages and supports problem solving and creative expression.

So when a student knows they are so close to getting it right that they simply want to work through it, coding allows them that opportunity until they get it right.

And when they do, they move on to solve the next challenge.

Stevens Point City Times: Programming Their Futures

September e-Newsletter: In the News

Pacelli senior Katherine Mueller was named a semifinalist in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Pacelli students won the “Fan Face Off” in a head-to-head match up against Loyal.

Panacea 2016 was a huge success, thanks to the many volunteers, attendees, and donors. We can’t wait for next year’s event!

Pacelli seniors Hannah Frane, Katherine Mueller, and Anna Koehl planned and hosted the first annual Cardinal Career Fair with nearly 40 area professionals and higher education institutions present.

Students at St. Stan’s checking out how they measure up to their new neighbor – UWSP’s new science building. We can’t wait to see how you’ve grown at the end of the year!

Pacelli ACT scores soar above state and national averages yet again.

Pacelli’s Andrea Pisarski was featured in the Stevens Point Journal’s “Prep Profile” for her leadership on and off the volleyball court.

Pacelli junior Thomas Basala was named as one of the Stevens Point Journal’s athletes of the week.

Pacelli Catholic Middle Schools’ 8th grade volleyball team recently finished first place in a tournament.

Join the Pacelli Catholic Schools family of students for tailgating after the homecoming parade on Friday, October 7 in the high school parking lot.