Bellevue high school celebrates 50 years of faith, education and service

Like many of his fellow faculty members, Tim Powers’ nearly lifelong connection with Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School in Bellevue began as a student.
Twenty of Gross Catholic’s 54 educators graduated from the school, including Powers, who teaches social studies and coaches boys basketball and golf.
“It tells you what we think of Gross – it’s so special of a place that we want to come back here and teach,” Powers said. “It’s been really special being a teacher and coach here at a place I love.”
And this year, as Gross Catholic celebrates its 50th anniversary of connecting with students, parents and teachers, school officials can say with confidence they are continuing to fulfill its mission of providing a Marianist-based education centered on faith, said Dorothy Ostrowski, president. 
“There’s no question that we’re serving the mission of the church by what we do here,” Ostrowski said. “We’re educating young people in a faith-filled environment. They are the future of our world and they are the future of our church, so the foundation that we provide them here is really significant.”
Sponsored by the Marianist religious order, Gross Catholic opened its doors in September 1968 with a freshman class of 175 students. Most of those same students became the school’s first graduating class in 1972. Today, the school has 410 students and 8,300 alumni.
Ostrowski came to Gross in 1981 as a classroom teacher. She said the school has broadened its reach over the past 50 years, attracting students from as far away as Elkhorn and Iowa.
Powers believes a genuine feeling of family shared by staff, students, parents and alumni is the foundation of the school’s success. Tim and Carrie Powers’ oldest son, Trey, is a senior at Gross Catholic this year. Their younger son, Andrew, an eighth-grader at St. Bernadette School in Bellevue, will be a freshman at the school in 2019.
“It’s really been a sense of family for me,” Powers said. “Back when I was a student here, there were so many good faculty members who helped me get through the good times and the bad times. It’s been a lot of fun to see my son, Trey, experience a lot of the same things I did. He’s really enjoying his time here.”
Ostrowski said the connection Gross Catholic alumni have with their alma mater was evident by the turnout for the school’s 50th anniversary celebration over homecoming weekend Sept. 14-16. Activities included a tailgate party, alumni “extravaganza” at the Bellevue Berry Farm, 50th anniversary Mass, pancake breakfast, school tours and the Cougar Golf Classic.
“There has been and continues to be a great buzz around the school. Everybody is very excited,” Ostrowski said. “The 50 years is a great landmark. It’s been a great tradition and a great heritage and we’re really excited about where we are headed.”
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