Sunday, September 30, 2012

Art Teacher Fr. Daniel Lenz Schowcases Talent in Israel

Michael Budler '13 | The Mount

Aside from working as a well-known artist and art teacher at Mount Michael, Fr. Daniel Lenz spent a month of his 2011 summer in Israel working on various artistic projects and learning about Israeli culture. Lenz spent his time well in Israel; he created multiple remarkable works of art and helped the Arab, Christian, and Muslim community he lived with in the village of I'billin, Israel.

Lenz's first project was to assist in the completion of a massive 15-foot Pantocrator icon of Jesus, which took two weeks to finish. Pantocrator, which is Greek for "ruler of all", is the image of Jesus holding the Bible in his left hand and giving a blessing with his right hand.

After completing the icon, Lenz was granted permission from the Archbishop of Galilee, Elias Chacour, to begin stone work on a St. Michael the Archangel icon with 'Peace' engraved in English, Arabic, and Hebrew on a slab of limestone from Rama, Israel. This was a very hard type of limestone.

Finally, he created a large banner with the icon of Mary and Jesus on it, which was the last art piece on his list in I'billin. The banner was to be used for an Arab Catholic youth rally called the Hallelujah Festival in July.

Besides completing his line of art projects for the community, Lenz helped the village school security every morning and assisted in traffic control, allowing the students to get to their school safely. He also had the opportunity to participate in and learn about the religious traditions and heritage of the local Arabic people. "I had a number of house blessings and visits with people who had need of a priest. I also learned how to pray in Arabic with the people," said Lenz.

He also made a short trip to the Holy Land, Jerusalem, with a large group of Arabic-speaking Catholics, both Latin and Byzantine. "We all had mass at the Franciscan monastery on the Mount of Zion." He was also able to receive special permission to pray in the Cenacle Church where the Last Supper and descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost took place. "It was a wonderful experience to pray with the Christians in the Holy Land at the place of Pentecost," said Lenz.
He was able to celebrate mass at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth where the Holy family lived and St. Joseph worked.

Lenz also enjoyed being around and socializing with the people while there. "The people I encountered were very hospitable and loving. In the village I lived in, the Christians, Muslims and Jews got along and really had respect for each other," said Lenz. He thought the food in I'billin was wonderful and he also enjoyed learning about the Holy Land while he stayed in Haifa.

Although Lenz's trip to Israel was relatively short, he relished every moment of his stay and is looking forward to other excursions in the future. - Michael Budler '13  More Photos

Friday, September 28, 2012

Archbishop Celebrates Feast of the Archangels at the Mount

The feast of St. Michael and the Archangels is always an important celebration at Mount Michael Benedictine. This year we were blessed with the presence of Archbishop George Lucas presiding at the Eucharist.  The occasion was doubly blessed by the Archbishop blessing students as Eucharistic ministers. Usually the ceremony is held at the Cathedral but due to conflicts of schedule for the students the ceremony was moved to this occasion.  Mount Michael’s new Eucharistic ministers are Thomas Kalil, Josh Policky, Vinny Harvey, Chris Beirman , Charlie Jarosik,  JT Cronin, and Jake Recker. More Photos

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Doctor is In: Crnkovich Transitions From Life as a Veterinarian To a Teacher

Jake Recker | Staff Writer for The Mount

With the start of a new school year comes change. Some of this change includes an entirely new science department. Dr. Randy Crnkovich, in his first year of teaching, is also joined by chemistry teacher Leah Zohner and physics teacher David Primavera. Aside from being head of the department, Crnkovich is teaching four freshman Biology classes, and two senior classes, Anatomy and Physiology and A.P. Biology. Even though he has always wanted to teach, this is Crnkovich’s first year as a teacher.

After attending Creighton University, where he received a degree in Biology, Crnkovich was faced with a tough decision: pursue a career as a veterinarian or become a teacher straight out of college. After much deliberation, he decided to become a vet but with the idea that he would teach sometime in the future. Crnkovich finished veterinary school at Kansas State University where he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree.

It’s not hard to find work as a vet, and Crnkovich had plenty. Aside from making house calls to individual clients, he would also work at other veterinary clinics when they needed extra help. He also worked as a drug rep on the side, selling major prescription drugs to hospitals in the Omaha area. One dream he never realized was to open his own veterinary clinic. “I always wanted to be able to run my own clinic, but if I did, it would take away from the time I spent with my family,” said Crnkovich. As a father of four children, one of whom, junior Jarrett Crnkovich, is currently a student at Mount Michael. So it was hard for Dr. Crnkovich to devote the long hours needed to run a clinic.

After 18 years as a vet, Crnkovich decided it was time to go back to school and get a teaching degree. “I just got to that point in my life where I wanted to go back to school and get my degree so that I could teach,” said Crnkovich. After receiving his teaching degree from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, his dream job, teaching science at Mount Michael, was open. “Before I even became a teacher I really liked Mount Michael,” said Crnkovich, “I always saw myself teaching here and if I had not got the job here, I probably would not have started teaching right away.” With the school year in full swing, Crnkovich doesn’t see himself changing anything except for maybe coaching sports in a few years. “I am really happy here and I hope to be able to stay teaching here for as long as I can,” said Crnkovich.

Mi Casa Es Su Casa: Foreign Student Brings Native Culture to Mount Michael

Matt Okelabo | Staff Writer for The Mount

Every year Mount Michael strives to reach out to the international community and joyfully embraces new students. This year Mount Michael has enrolled twenty-six international students; among these students, eleven are new to the Mount Michael community. One of the new additions to Mount Michael is junior Diego Buerreta Ochoa.

Ochoa is from Culiacan, Mexico. Culiacan is in northwestern Mexico, the largest city in the state of Sinaloa as well as its capital. Ochoa’s search for a new school started when he and his family started looking for high ranking high schools in the United States with aprestigious curriculum. Mount Michael was a great fit and attracted Ochoa because he was looking for a new experience and a good opportunity to improve his English. He is happy to be at Mount Michael and is glad to have joined the community.

Although Ochoa enjoys being at Mount Michael he misses some aspects of his hometown. Some of the differences between Mexico and Mount Michael include the language, the culture, the food, and the school schedule. He says that although the food here is great, it is no where near as good as the Mexican food he enjoys at home.

The school schedule also varies in Mexico. Ochoa’s school day in Mexico consisted of five classes, each an hour and a half long. Another difference between schooling in Mexico and Mount Michael is that Ochoa did not have lunches, but instead had two breaks a day to do whatever he wanted. Although some of the differences may be difficult, Ochoa says that he loves the classes, especially Physics, Literature, and Pre-Calculus.

Ochoa is also an avid fan of basketball. He loves the Lakers and he hopes they will win the NBA Championship this year. As a fan of the Lakers, Ochoa naturally does not like certain teams like the Miami Heat. “I hate Chris Bosh, he’s so bad. The Lakers are going to win this season, that’s for sure,” said Ochoa. He also plays basketball and spends about three hours a day in the gym getting ready for the basketball season.

Mount Michael is starting to feel like home for Ochoa. “So far it has been one of the best experiences in my life. I like everything so far about Mount Michael including the classes, sports, and how the students and teachers treat the international students. It’s been really cool thus far.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

AP & National Merit Scholars

National Merit Scholars

Congratulations to Mount Michael’s two National Merit Semi-finalists. John Choi and Paul Kujawa.

Semifinalists represent less than one percent of U.S. High school seniors.

Semifinalists now continue on to compete for National Merit scholarships. Finalist status and scholarship winners are announced in the spring.

Previous Year's Honorees

Congratulations Knight Scholars!

Twenty-seven Mount Michael Students have been recognized for outstanding achievement on Advanced Placement exams by the College Board.

AP Scholar
Martin Anderson, Jared Bourek, John Byrne, John Choi, Matt Denton, David Dickey, Graham Jewell, Yoon Ho Park, Paul Kujawa, Ned McNally, Evan Murray, Yun Sik Oh, Jihoon Park, Jacob Peffer, Ian Sheets, Nate Van Haute.

AP Scholar with Honor
Nick Cairney, Thomas Feichtinger, Sean Kruger, Richard Woods.

AP Scholar with Distinction
Tyler Bolden, Michael Collins, Harrison Engel,  Hyo Bin Im,  Michael Sojka, Joe Stellato, George Townsend

AP Scholar: score of 3 or higher on 3 or more AP Exams;

AP Scholar with Honor: Average of at least 3.25 on all exams taken and 3 or higher on 4 or more of these exams

AP Scholar with Distinction: Average of 3.5 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on 5 or more of these exams

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall Festival

Thank You to Everyone for Making the Fall Festival Such A Great Success!

Friday, September 7, 2012

National Blue Ribbon School!

Elkhorn, Nebraska, September 7, 2012 - Mount Michael Benedictine High School has been selected as one of 269 recipients of the 2012 National Blue Ribbon School award. The U.S. Department of Education will honor approximately 219 public and 50 private schools at a recognition ceremony on November 12-13, 2012 in Washington, D.C.  The award highlights outstanding models of American schools and school leadership. Since the inception of the program less than 4% of the eligible schools in the United States have been selected for this honor.  Mount Michael Benedictine proudly marks this as the first time applying for as well as receiving this exemplary award.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and non-public elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement. The Program sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program is part of a larger U.S. Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices.

The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories: “Exemplary High Performing” and “Exemplary Improving.”  The “Exemplary High Performing” category recognizes schools that are among their state’s highest performing schools, as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.  Mount Michael Benedictine had to submit standardized testing data that went back five years.  Since over 90% of our students take the ACT exam, these scores were used.  In Reading the ACT cut score for the Blue Ribbon recognition was 24.3 (denoting a school to be in the top 15% of the nation); Mount Michael’s score was 27.1.  In Mathematics the cut score was 24.3 (also denoting a school to be in the top 15% of the nation): Mount Michael’s score was 27.9.  More Photos