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Family Focus 5/22/2020

date 06/02/2020 author Ed Friesen category May 2020 comment Leave a comment

Note from Dr. Briscoe…

I am sending out my final newspaper column in my final Friday Focus. It has been a joyful four years at BA and I wish the school community much success in the future. Students: thanks for your outstanding efforts during the stay at home pandemic. We are all stronger individuals for the sacrifices we have made. Thanks and please leave the light on for me.

May 2020 Daily News Column

New Beginnings:

I struggled with the title of this column, the final column that I will write as a school principal. The past 35 years as a principal have been joyful 99% of the time. I have had the ultimate privilege to create hope for hundreds of staff members and thousands of students. All have had a huge impact on my life. They were certainly challenges, struggling with the death of students and staff members, and having to make very difficult decisions that all leaders have to make. As I prepare to go out the door, I will keep all of the great memories and leave the difficulty of the 1% in a small shoebox on a shelf.

My heart grieves for the Class of 2020. We left for spring break on March 6 and never came back. I was looking forward to going off the stage with them on graduation night. I scheduled my rotator cuff surgery for the first day of spring break, March 9, with hopes that I could minimize my time away. While I have adapted to the life of a left-hander in the past two months, I never thought that when we left on March 6 we would end up canceling all of the school events that create the memories the seniors will talk about at their class reunions forever. It was painful to cancel the play, concerts, prom, and then all of the graduation events. High school graduation is one of the major transitions of everyone’s life. There will never be a way to create the graduation that was to occur on May 22, 2020. I wrote my final speech before my surgery and was looking forward to that one final speech. I started the speech with my usual line that “I will spend the next five minutes or so trying to tell eighteen-year olds something that they don’t already know.” This always brought laughter from the audience which relaxed me to deliver a great speech. I wanted them to get five minutes of free advice from me that they would remember. We will follow the new state guidelines and have a virtual ceremony with students and their family in cars in the Bethlehem Academy parking lot on May 29, 2020. We will have cars come up and we will present diplomas with our masks and gloves on. My hope is that the Class of 2020 will talk about the last quarter of their senior year at every class reunion in the future.

Seniors, remember to always be kind and humble. Continue to practice service to others and go out of your way to volunteer to help neighbors and community members who need your help. When we recover from this scary virus, there will be numerous people needing your help. The Jesus that I know spent his life with the homeless, the sick and the people who struggled with the challenges that life brings each of us. Follow his pathway!

  1. the isolation that we have all felt these past few months may we all remember to visit our parents, grandparents and relatives who reside in nursing homes. The loneliness that we feel after these few months will be felt by many of our elderly for much longer. hope that you will stay connected to the Church throughout your life.

I can promise you that you will make mistakes, get off track and some of you will need redirection. Like the MapQuest in your cell phone and car that says “recalculating” some of you will have to rely on us to go down a new pathway. Remember that life is a journey. Take the time to smell the flowers, drink good coffee, and treasure your family and friends. I love you; I will miss you and I wish you success. The BA Light will always be on for you! Nice Bike, Class of 2020! Thanks for the memories!

Dr. Chuck Briscoe


Staff Departures

We wish Sara Heselton, Mary Duecker, and Jake Schuman good luck in their future endeavors. We also wish Chuck Briscoe and Terry Condit a long and happy retirement.

Laptop & Textbook Drop Off, May 26-27

Families are asked to pick a time slot on Tuesday, May 26 or Wednesday, May 27 to return BA laptops, textbooks, calculators, sports uniforms, instruments or any other school property checked out to your students. In order to maintain the health and safety of our students and staff, please sign up for a specific family drop off time via this link. We ask everyone to wear masks and honor 6-feet social distancing requirements while in the building. Thank you!

Pass/No Credit Option for Semester 2

Recognizing the challenges placed on students and families, Bethlehem Academy has adopted a Semester 2 Pass/No Credit grading option for students who may have struggled academically during the 4th quarter due distance learning. AP and CIS classes do not qualify, and there are number of restrictions and caveats. Please review the attached grading policy. If interested in pursuing this grading option. please log into PowerSchool on or after May 29 to review current grades. Note the attached form must be returned to BA by June 4, 2020.


THANK YOU to everyone involved in the production of the wonderful 2020 virtual Mary Ceremony!

We look forward to continuing our celebration of the Class of 2020 next week. All virtual programs are viewable on Bethlehem Academy’s Facebook page ( and YouTube channel (

Baccalaureate, Wednesday, May 27, 7:00 pm: YouTube premier.

Awards Program, Thursday, May 28: The virtual grade 6-12 awards program will debut at 7:00pm on Facebook and YouTube.

Commencement, May 29

  • 7:00pm: Virtual Commencement ceremony will be presented at 7:00pm on Facebook and YouTube as well as on Power96 Radio (
  • 8:00-8:15pm: In-person diploma presentation in BA’s parking lot followed by a and short recessional south on Third Avenue.


Calendar Updates

  • May 26-27: Laptop and Textbook turn in; sign up here
  • May 27: Baccalaureate program, 7:00pm virtual presentation on BA’s YouTube Channel
  • May 28: Awards Ceremony, 7pm virtual presentation on BA’s Facebook page, YouTube Channel
  • May 29: Commencement: 7pm virtual ceremony broadcast live on Facebook/YouTube followed by a brief diploma presentation in the BA parking lot and recessional south on 3rd Avenue


2020-2021 Financial Aid & Tuition Agreements

We will begin releasing tuition agreements via TADS today, May 22. See separate parent email for more information. Please contact Sister Mary Margaret ( or Kris Sauer ( with questions.

PSAT Exam Signup for Class of 2022

Current sophomores: the PSAT exam is scheduled for October 28, 2020. Students interested in taking the exam need to email Mr. Schuman at by Friday, May 29 to meet the registration deadline.

Get Involved in BA! Join the Board of Directors

The BA Board of Directors is looking for 5-6 people to join the Board! It's a great way to meet new people, make new friends, and move BA forward. You will only have two meetings a month, so it isn’t a huge time commitment. And you can even join with a friend! We need you! If you want to help, have questions, or are on the fence about joining, please reach out to any of our current members, who would be happy to talk: Kathy Nass (Board Chair, 507-323-5365), Mike Donkers, Debbie Korman, Mellanie Smith, Kathy Halvorson, Mary Campbell, Pat DeGrood, Melissa Casper, Cory Caron, and Crystal Bauer. Bethlehem Academy needs our parents, alumni, friends to serve and help guide BA. We can’t wait to welcome you to the Board. Thank you! #WEAREBA #TogetherWeFly

Needed: Used Summer Reading/IRP Novels

A note from our English Departments: If you have any old summer reading novels, or IRP (Independent Reading Novels), sitting around at home that you would not mind donating we would love them!!! We will have a table available in the gym on the day students return laptops and textbooks for these book donations. Thank you for your consideration.

Box Tops

Keep turning in your Box Tops or to scan them digitally for credit! You can also turn in your receipts to school right after you shop and Mrs. Smisek will do scan them digitally if you don’t have the app. And, through May 10, earn double Box Tops when you buy any Box Tops participating products. This program helps support our middle school science program.

Grade 9-10 Students: Be a Big!

Big Brothers Big Sister of Southern Minnesota is recruiting interested 9th and 10th grade students for next school year. Check out this message from BA junior Kennedy Tutak: Interested students need to have a valid driver’s license by December 2020; commit to at least 2 years; want to be a kid’s new friend! Click here to take the first step in becoming a Big. Contact Megan Horton, Community Outreach Director at for more information.

Yearbook Orders

Still want to buy a 2019-2020 yearbook? It’s not too late! The BA Multimedia class has worked hard to create a memorable yearbook highlighting this historic year. Purchase yours for just $60 + tax online at


Summer event dates below – please add these to your calendar! More information coming soon.

  • Cardinal Café @ the Rice County Fair: July 22-26
  • Cardinal Golf Classic: Friday, August 7
  • S.M.A.R.T. Challenge Ride: Thursday, August 6-Saturday, August 8 (1-day ride options available!)
  • Heritage Days Parade: Saturday, August 8, 2pm.


Attached Files

PassNo Credit.pdf


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Our Mission
Bethlehem Academy, a Catholic school in the Sinsinawa Dominican tradition, strives to empower its students and staff to achieve personal, spiritual and academic excellence. We challenge ourselves to love as Jesus Christ loved, to lead, to serve, to inspire and to seek the truth: Veritas.
105 3rd Ave. SW
Faribault, MN  55021
Phone:  507-334-3948
Fax:  507-334-3949