The Walz Family in St. Cloud has strong Catholic roots and has always believed in the value of a Catholic education. With six school-aged kids, though, the cost of a Catholic education seemed out of reach for Jonathan and Carolina Walz.
Hard work has always been a pillar in the Walz household. Jonathan works as a Community Health Worker at CentraCare Melrose, and Carolina is the Office Manager at the St. Cloud Missions Office in Downtown St. Cloud.
The Walz kids have all attended the Clearview Spanish Immersion Program in Clearwater, MN. When it came time for their oldest child, Nathaniel, to move on to middle school, Jonathan and Carolina faced a dilemma – what would be the next step in their children’s education?
A Desire for Something More
Nathaniel began attending a public middle school in 6th grade. After a few months, he was experiencing an environment where he didn’t feel safe. He begged his parents to be transferred.
“I didn’t feel like the school aligned with who I was. There were a lot of gang-related issues and fights. I just didn’t feel safe,” Nathaniel says. Jonathan and Carolina began to re-evaluate their education options. They wanted a school that paired safety with strong academics and faith. “After all, what is academic achievement if you can’t couple it with your faith foundation?” Carolina says.
During their time doing missions in Venezuala, Jonathan and Carolina had heard about Cathedral. They knew it was a place where students not only talk about their faith, but they live and experience it. That is the kind of place they wanted their kids
to be taught.
The Beginning of a Generational Change
Jonathan and Carolina started the admissions process at Cathedral, and evaluating whether this was feasible for their family. “We knew we had to be financially responsible with six kids, and we really wanted this for our family.”
They worked with Cathedral’s Admissions team to explore the options and determine the financial support available. With the help of the Cathedral Education Foundation, Jonathan and Carolina were able to enroll Nathaniel at Cathedral.
“Cathedral provided an environment where Nathaniel felt nourished and could thrive. He grew in his faith, thrived in his academics, was involved in sports, and built a community of lifelong friends,” Jonathan says.
Nathaniel also added that the teachers at Cathedral helped him understand his weaknesses and helped him develop in those areas.
They coached him through different methods of studying, helped him prioritize his time and projects, and embraced his unique learning style.
“I just don’t think that’s something I would have gotten at a public school,” Nathaniel said.
Nathaniel worked throughout his high school career at PowerHouse Outdoor Equipment, cleaning and maintaining machines. “I take a great deal of pride in my job,” Nathaniel says. “I work hard and save money so I can provide for myself and pay for college without any student loans.”
As a 2020 Cathedral graduate, Nathaniel is planning for his future with confidence. He will attend St. Cloud Technical and Community College to study engineering and plans to transfer to North Carolina State to become an aerospace engineer.
“Cathedral prepared me for my future,” Nathaniel says. “They helped me develop the tools I needed to succeed in my professional life and taught me the values and morals that will help me succeed in my personal life.”
The Education Foundation Impact
“I firmly believe that whatever Cathedral costs, it is worth it, every single penny. But, without Cathedral’s Education Foundation, we would not be able to send our kids to Cathedral, we just would not,” Jonathan says.
Jonathan and Carolina are forever grateful for the generous donors and gifts that make it possible for their children to attend Cathedral. Generations of families will be changed because of the Education Foundation’s impact.
“Our family is changed because of Cathedral,” Carolina says. “You have given our children an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The Cathedral Education Foundation exists to help Cathedral School fulfill their mission of providing a quality, Catholic education to all who desire it in the St. Cloud area. For more information on how you can make an impact on families like the Walz’s, contact Chris Schellinger, Director of Advancement, at 320.257.2139.