Comets team at basketball tournament

GRACE Students Take On State Basketball Championship

Basketball game

The Holy Family Comets 8th grade boys basketball team traveled down to Madison last weekend to compete against other Wisconsin school teams in the State Basketball Championship. The team was made up of students from Holy Family and St. John Paul II. Our first two pool-play games were against much larger teams from the southern part of the state, Evergreen (Kenosha) and Dodgeville. The Comets persevered from falling behind in both games, sometimes by as much as 15 points, to taking the lead with under two minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, but were unable to hold onto their lead. To see the fight from these boys was impressive.

With the two losses on Saturday, the Comets were placed in the consolation bracket where they played two teams. After the team sacrificed and sat in an ice bath for 10 minutes each, the boys had fresh legs and were ready for the next opportunity to play together. Many of the boys on the team have been playing together since 3rd grade, so we mentioned in the huddle that this was going to be the last two games that they would all play together – the boys did not disappoint. They played incredibly well and played the type of basketball that they have been known to play: fast, up-tempo, scrappy, and opportunistic defense with incredibly unselfish passing. They went on to beat Watertown before losing their final game against Pardeeville.

Besides basketball, all the families had such a great time spending time together. Whether it was watching the boys make diving catches in the pool, saying a team prayer after our last game, or everyone hanging out in the lobby to eat tacos that we all combined to make, it was a joyous celebration of our time together and watching the Comets end their Holy Family basketball career.

Tournament Results

  • Pool Play
  • vs. Evergreen, L 52-58
  • vs. Dodgeville, L 48-51
  • Bracket Play
  • vs. Watertown, W 58-44
  • vs. Pardeeville, L 28-51

Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

The best way to learn more about HFS is to visit! Schedule a tour here.

Holy Family Students Present the Living Stations of the Cross

Deacon Dan’s sixth grade religion class treated Holy Family students, staff, and community to a moving presentation of the Living Stations of the Cross. Each step along the path of Jesus’ final hours was portrayed with reverence and sincerity. The event was a solemn precursor to Holy Week and it left a lasting impression on all in attendance.

According to Sister Jan Jan Villemure, presenting the Living Stations has been part of the fabric of Holy Family for over forty years. It was originally directed by middle school English teacher, Mrs. Bobbi Weir.

Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving preschool through eighth grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually. The best way to learn more about Holy Family is to visit! Schedule a tour here.

Holy Family Eighth Graders Learn Pysanka

Father Patrick Beno invited Ukrainian artist Olga Halaburda Hietpas to lead a pysanka class for Holy Family’s eighth grade students. Patterns are drawn on the egg with wax to protects the covered areas from absorbing dye. An intricate pattern is built up by repeating this process with different colors of dye. Pysanky are usually created to be given to family members or highly respected family friends. The egg is a symbolic gift of life which is why the egg must remain whole. This was a challenge for some of our eighth grade artists! Holy Family Art teacher Mrs. Renee Zirbel said pysanka reminds her of batik art.

Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving preschool through eighth grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually. The best way to learn more about Holy Family is to visit! Schedule a tour here.

Navigating Tuition Affordability

GRACE is committed to partnering with families to ensure that Catholic education remains accessible and affordable, irrespective of income levels. Our dedication to this mission is evident in the various avenues available to manage and reduce tuition costs.

GRACE proudly offers financial aid to support families in need for children enrolled in grades kindergarten through 12th grade, with over 300 students annually benefiting from GRACE Financial Aid. Generous private donors, who share our belief in the value of Catholic education, make it possible to reduce tuition through scholarships and financial aid for families. The average GRACE Financial Aid award is around $1,500 per student. Families can access the GRACE Financial Aid application through our online TADS enrollment management portal.

Tuition costs for 2024-25 are $5,565 for grades K-5, $5,685 for grades 6-8, and $8,385 for Chesterton Academy of St. John Paul II Classical School grades 9-12. Active, registered parishioners completing the parish verification form with our GRACE 23 supporting parishes qualify for a $2,000 tuition reduction (Active Parishioner Incentive) per child enrolled in grades kindergarten through 12th grade.

To cater to individual family needs, GRACE provides an array of tuition reduction opportunities in addition to the aforementioned Active Parishioner Incentive. These include a New Family Referral Incentive, Sibling Incentive, SCRIP Program, Parish and School Scholarships, Payment Plan Options, GRACE Employee Tuition Discount, and a CatholicLink Tuition Discount (for employees who qualify.) Detailed information on these options can be found at gracesystem.org/admissions/tuitions-and-fees/.

In addition, the State of Wisconsin permits residents to leverage private tuition costs. The Wisconsin Parental Choice Program offers vouchers for full tuition at a GRACE school based on family income and eligibility. Families are encouraged to apply between February and April 2024. Find more details at gracesystem.org/admissions/wisconsin-parental-choice/. In addition, families can take advantage of Wisconsin Tax Deductions for private school tuition. Families are encouraged to check with their tax advisors regarding options that may apply to their situations.

GRACE is not just committed to academic excellence and the formation of children, but also to ensuring that quality education is within reach for all families. Our goal is clear: no child should be denied a Catholic education due to financial constraints. We remain steadfast in our commitment to making Catholic education available, accessible, and affordable to every interested family. We know Catholic education is a transformative gift for each child and family.


Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

The best way to learn more about HFS is to visit! Schedule a tour here.

GRACE Teacher Compensation

Besides education and faith, one of the very top priorities of GRACE leadership is to continually elevate educator compensation. Through the support of our Board of Trustees and our sound fiscal practices, GRACE has been able to make significant gains in employee compensation over the past six years. This is part of GRACE’s Strategic Plan to enhance compensation for our valued employees in a fiscally responsible and equitable manner. We are proud of the specific actions, which include:

  • GRACE employee wages have increased every year with raises historically between 3% and 5% annually.
  • We have developed, and are implementing, a multi-year, sustainable plan to continue to retain and attract top talent, including via competitive compensation which includes, in part, competitive compensation.
  • GRACE offers a robust benefits package to teachers and staff, including medical and dental benefits. Candidates seek to join our GRACE employee ranks to take advantage of not only our mission, but our benefit package as well.
  • We offer childcare for employees at below market rates through our GRACE Little Saints Child Care program.
  • GRACE employees receive attractive tuition discounts so their children can attend GRACE Schools. Tuition discounts are also available for our employees who have children attending Notre Dame Academy as well as St. Norbert College through our CatholicLink relationships.
  • Recognizing talent with our GRACE Teacher Excellence Awards through both Top Teacher Talent Awards and a Master’s Path Program which involves a fully paid Master’s Program for teachers through St. Norbert College.
  • From time to time, through generous support of donors and sound financial governance, GRACE has been blessed to provide special bonuses to our employees. Such bonuses reward performance achievements enabled through dedicated, valued teachers, staff and administrators – the most recent bonus distributed in January 2024.

These actions are important and vital steps in our ongoing strategic efforts to elevate compensation overall for our valued GRACE employees.

Competitive compensation is crucial for retaining and attracting excellent teachers and staff in all areas of our schools. This in turn, helps to build and support skilled and dedicated professional teams within our schools and our system.

Compensation is only one piece of the puzzle. Our educators feel valued when GRACE parents and students take time to express their genuine thanks for the excellent Catholic education teachers provide. This gratitude, coupled with attractive compensation and benefits makes GRACE an employer of choice and, in turn, contributes to the stability and continuity of our GRACE school communities.


Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

The best way to learn more about HFS is to visit! Schedule a tour here.

The True Value of GRACE

By Nick Anderson
GRACE Board of Trustees Chairperson

I am fortunate to have attended Notre Dame of De Pere for grade school where I received an excellent Catholic education. I was a student there years before Notre Dame and the other Green Bay area Diocese schools came together in what we now know as the GRACE System. Fast forward (many, many years) to 2023 and my wife and I are now blessed to have three students enrolled in a GRACE school and be part of a vibrant school/parish community.

I am a firm believer in the value of Catholic education. I am particularly passionate about keeping that education affordable for all families, especially for our middle-income families who reflect the majority of our community.

That’s where GRACE excels. Today, tuition at GRACE elementary schools is about $3,500 per year for active parishioners. While that amount certainly represents a significant sacrifice – and investment – that parents make for their children, GRACE tuition is reasonable as compared to other Catholic schools. For example, parishioner tuition at a Catholic grade school in the Milwaukee area is $4,990, and in the Fox Valley tuition ranges from $4,300 to $5,300 per year.

How does GRACE do this to maintain affordable tuition? In two ways: (1) By limiting costs, and (2) by drawing funding from a broad range of funding sources.

First, let’s consider the cost side. Today the full actual cost of educating a student in a GRACE school is about $8,000 per year. Here are the components of this cost:

  • 64% – Educator pay and benefits
  • 11% – Facilities (buildings and grounds, rent, etc.)
  • 8% – Medical Insurance Benefits
  • 6% – Books and technology
  • 4% – Administrative pay and benefits
  • 3% – Food service
  • 4% – Other operational

This cost would be significantly higher without GRACE. That’s because GRACE provides key economies of scale (think: purchasing textbooks and technology in bulk; limiting administrative costs). Without GRACE each individual school would need to pay for its own benefits, manage facilities, and provide books and technology – all without the robust platform that GRACE provides. Before GRACE was formed, our parishes were investing upwards of 75% of their annual parishioner giving to support their parish schools.

Let’s turn to the funding side. As noted above, tuition of $3,500 falls well short of the $8,000 actual cost to educate a student. Generous support by our community allows GRACE to coordinate funding sources that bridge the gap. Here are GRACE’s key funding sources:

  • 36% – Tuition
  • 28% – Wisconsin Parental Choice
  • 19% – Parish subsidies (remember, there are 23 parishes supporting nine schools).
  • 6% – Food Service (e.g. Annual Appeal, grants)
  • 6% – Site-level Third Source Funding (e.g. $ from so many great Site Advisory Committee (“SAC”) events/auctions)
  • 5% – Centralized GRACE fundraising

Some good news: while GRACE’s overall enrollment has been increasing throughout its existence, GRACE’s reliance on parishes and third source funding (SAC) has, in that same timeframe, decreased. To maintain this positive momentum, centralized GRACE development will be a particular area of focus in the coming year. GRACE recently formed a Development Committee to explore the best ways to fund Catholic education, better collaborate with our outstanding SAC leadership, and support GRACE’s objective to continue to systematically reduce reliance on the amounts that individual parishes invest.

I will admit when I first heard about the GRACE System, I made some faulty assumptions. I jumped to the conclusion that GRACE was an unnecessary bureaucracy – I thought each school could simply run itself. But I was wrong. I have since asked a lot of questions, learned more, witnessed GRACE in action in many facets, and come to realize the wisdom and vision of the parents, priests and Bishop who formed the GRACE system over 12 years ago. The math shows that, absent the power of the GRACE System, any lone individual school would need to charge more tuition and/or engage in far more fundraising in order to manage the administrative and operational costs needed to maintain a high-quality school experience. As a parent I am grateful for the support of our great SAC leaders, volunteers, parishes and donors, all of which help keep Catholic education affordable and attainable to our Green Bay community. And that is the true value of GRACE.

Nick Anderson
GRACE Board of Trustees Chairperson


Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

The best way to learn more about HFS is to visit! Schedule a tour here.

Cathedral Book & Gift Fundraiser

GRACE Schools will earn 10% of Cathedral Book & Gift in-store and online sales on select Fridays and Saturdays in March. Proceeds will benefit all GRACE Schools SAC third-source fundraising! Shop online now.

Dates:
March 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23

Store Location:
Cathedral Book & Gift
131 S. Madison Street
Green Bay, WI 54301

Store Hours:
Monday-Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.


Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

The best way to learn more about HFS is to visit! Schedule a tour here.

2024-25 GRACE Calendar Now Live

The 2024-25 GRACE calendar is now live! Check it out on the GRACE website here.


Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

The best way to learn more about HFS is to visit! Schedule a tour here.

Our Outstanding Volunteer

Today we’d like to highlight an outstanding volunteer in the GRACE community: Melissa Parker!

Melissa has been a presence at Holy Family Catholic School since her oldest child–now in middle school–entered preschool. The Parkers have three daughters and one son, all currently enrolled at Holy Family and Little Saints Childcare Center. Melissa has actively assisted the school since 2020 by participating on our Site Advisory Committee as President, raising funds through gatherings such as Fall Fest, assisting families in their time of need, or inspiring others with her dedication. She is a true beacon of hope and positivity.

Melissa is a blessing to everyone whose path she crosses at Holy Family!


Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

The best way to learn more about HFS is to visit! Schedule a tour here.

Winter 2024 GRACE Newsletter

It’s here: We are excited to share our Winter Edition of the GRACE Newsletter with you! In this issue, you’ll learn about GRACE’s budgeting, teacher compensation, tuition affordability, our Finance Committee, and more!

Read Now

Holy Family Catholic School is part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) School System. It is a private Catholic school serving Preschool and Elementary through 8th grade (PK3-8) with open enrollment. Holy Family provides an individualized education in a faith-based environment. Each child is supported not only academically, but spiritually.

The best way to learn more about HFS is to visit! Schedule a tour here.