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Moving Forward with Excellence Avera Partnership Renewal

The Benedictine and Presentation Sisters have deep roots in both ministries of education and health care. In the late 1800’s, Sisters from both orders came to South Dakota and established schools as their missionary outreach. When health care was brought to their attention as an equal or even greater need, they entered that mission field as well. Both orders have been active in ministries of education and health care ever since. The Catholic community will forever be indebted to their leadership which laid the foundation for our two entities, Avera and Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools, to partner together and continue their efforts. In 2007, Sioux Falls Catholic Schools expanded its relationship with Avera as part of the Building On Excellence Campaign to completely renovate O’Gorman High School. A campaign of this size was certainly a stretch goal in all that was hoped to be accomplished, and Avera’s $10 Million, 13-year agreement that helped address building projects, academics, athletics and marketing was the lead gift that moved things to another level. “We are so grateful to the campaign chairs who helped us dream much bigger than we ever could’ve imagined at that time,” says Michelle Katen, Exec. Director of the Bishop O’Gorman Catholic Schools Foundation. “For Avera to come on board was so significant. The gift was not only for the O’Gorman campus, where the visible changes could be seen, but there was also a substantial investment in the long-term with endowments for scholarships and teacher salaries that continues to be felt throughout the system.”

The impact is being felt by Avera as well, with many of our alumni looking to them for employment when launching their careers. “When working on a video for the partnership presentation, we went to Avera to talk to some alumni employees about how they feel the two institutions’ missions go together,” says Katen. “When we got there, we immediately ran into over a dozen more alumni who were Dawn Williams Burns eager to participate.” Dawn Williams Burns ’10 was in the first partnership year for shadowing opportunities at Avera during her junior year anatomy class. “It was a big reason why I decided to go into the medical field. I really enjoyed the community and the professionals I followed. It’s fun to see the new students come in and follow me now,” says Dawn. “Being an O’Gorman grad and partnering here with Avera McKennan has been so incredible,” says Lisa Gunia Jorgenson ’99, a neonatal nurse practitioner who also works on the Avera Careflight neonatal team. “I’ve been able to help out with the ‘Green Carpet’ experience here, getting those O’Gorman students in here and exposed to different healthcare experiences and to personally shadow many of the students to show them what a great Catholic organization this is, and how it is just a continuation of O’Gorman High School and this Catholic community that we have here in Lisa Gunia Jorgenson Sioux Falls.”

Profile for Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools

2018-2019 Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools Annual Report  

2018-2019 Annual Report for the Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools

2018-2019 Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools Annual Report  

2018-2019 Annual Report for the Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools

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