- O'Gorman currently has 19 international students from seven different countries.
- Homestays are available through the school and they apply directly through Dr. Hamstra.
- O'Gorman has campus ministry and service opportunities, in which students grow their understanding of what it means to show compassion and concern for the most vulnerable in society.
- O'Gorman has ACT preparatory classes in the fall and in the spring.
- O'Gorman has a strong STEM focus with a total of 23 AP and Dual Credit courses.
Coming to a high school in a foreign country can be challenging for anybody. To ease the transition, OGHS provides programs designed especially for international students, including a semester-long orientation for all new international students.
- Student Profiles
- Faculty and Staff Spotlight
- Blog Posts
- About Sioux Falls
- Frequently Asked Questions
Country: South Korea
How long you have been at OGHS: 2 years
Favorite class: Speech Communication
Why you love that class: funny teacher, interesting subject
First name: Taeyun
Grade: Junior (11th)
Country: South Korea (Republic of Korea)
How long you have been at OGHS: 1 year
Favorite class(es): I enjoy every single class
Why you love those classes: All the teachers are passionate about what they teach and because I chose my own schedule, it's hard to not like the classes.
Activities in which you participate: Rocket Club and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America)
Why you like those activities: It is always fun to meet people who have common interests with me. By joining these activities, we can learn from each other and be more close.
Future plans after you finish at OGHS: College in either the United States or Korea. (Planning to apply both)
Something interesting I would like to share: I've tried both J1 Visa (Cultural Exchange) and F1 Visa (General Studying Abroad) program. Therefore, I can share a broad experience of life in U.S.A.
First name: Shenghong
How long you have been at OGHS: 1.5 yr
Favorite class(es): Mr. Lindemann's Math, Mr. Frankman's Photography, Ms. Schnell's Physics
Why you love those classes: Teachers are awesome and amazing
Activities in which you participate: Powerlifting
Why you like those activities: Getting stronger and meeting friends
Future plans after you finish at OGHS: I want to go to college
Something interesting I would like to share: OGHS is good.
- English Department
- Social Studies Department
- World Language Department
- Math Department
- CTE Department
- Fine Arts Department
- Academic Services
- Counseling Department
Name: Mrs. Gwen Skar
Educational background: University of Sioux Falls, 2003 (Bachelors in English Education); Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2005 (Masters in Literature)
Subject taught: English (I've taught English IV, III, II, AP, Foundations, and Debate)
Why I love my subject area: I love to read and it is so fun to share my love of reading with students!
Best part of my job: Seeing students find a book that speaks to them.
Something interesting I would like to share: My favorite authors are Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, and Fredrik Backman.
Name: Mrs. Natasha Berg
Educational background: Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ; Currently attending University of Sioux Falls to get my Masters in Education
Subject taught: English
Why I love my subject area: I love to read and to get others excited about reading
Best part of my job: My students- they make every day worth it
Something interesting I would like to share: I love tacos.
Name: Mrs. Sophia Hermanson
Educational and work background: BA in English and Education; 12 years of teaching English at O'Gorman
Subject taught: English (Foundations English II, English II, and Adv. English II)
Why I love my subject area: I love English because we get to tear sentences apart and find new forms that create variation within our writing, and I get to bring in new texts to make sure the class stays relevant to all my students each year.
Best part of my job: The best parts of my job are delving into abstract ideas with different pieces of literature and discussing in detail how my students connect to the literature they read.
Name: Mrs. Skye Bork
Educational background: B.A. Contemporary Media & Journalism, University of South Dakota; M. Ed. Teaching, University of Sioux Falls
Work background: O'Gorman High School Teacher for 3 years
Subject taught: Tragedies in U.S. History, Global Issues, Sociology, World Geography, Mass Communications I & II, Speech, and Yearbook
Why I love my subject area: I am able to teach about a wide variety of topics from current events to how events in history shaped the world we know today.
Best part of my job: The people.
Something interesting I would like to share: I am also the head gymnastics coach as well as Newspaper & Yearbook advisor.
Name: Frau Anika Rodig
Educational background: Certified German and Social Studies Teacher with a BA in Global Studies and Spanish
Subject taught: German 1-5, US language and culture
Why I love my subject area: I love to explore different cultures with my students and to help them grow into open minded and curious members of our global community.
Best part of my job: Being able to share my passion for other cultures with my students and to watch as this same passion grows within them.
Something interesting I would like to share: I was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. I came to Sioux Falls as an international student for my junior year of high school. It was a life changing experience I will be forever grateful for.
Name: Dr. Chad LeBrun
Background: 12 Years at O'Gorman High School
Subject taught: Spanish
Why I love my subject area: I love to be able to travel to new places, try new food, and make new friends in the Spanish-speaking world.
Best part of my job: Seeing students continually develop new Spanish-language skills
Something interesting I would like to share: I love to garden
Name: Mr. Ken Lindemann
Educational background: BS in Mathematics Moorhead State University of Minnesota 1989; Masters in Education from USF in 2008
Subject taught: OGHS - Math since 1990.
Why I love my subject area: I love the mental challenge of learning and doing math.
Best part of my job: Working with exceptional students and seeing them grow and excel academically.
Something interesting I would like to share: I have taught over 5000 group fitness classes since 1988.
Name: Mrs. Sheila McQuade
Educational background: MA in Education, Augustana University, SFSD (May 2014); BA in Mathematics & French, Augustana College, SFSD (May 1985)
Subject taught: Math (Algebra IA, Algebra Skills, Informal Geometry, Geometry)
Why I love my subject area: I love the order/organization of Mathematics
Best part of my job: The ah-ha moments when a student understands a concept that they've been struggling to grasp.
Something interesting I would like to share: I am the parent of three OG grads.
Name: Mrs. Angela Lynch
Educational Background: BS in Food and Nutrition from South Dakota State University; Master's in Education from University of Sioux Falls
Subjects Taught: Family and Consumer Science and Psychology
Why I love my subject area: I love teaching life skills because they are used every single day and necessary to function in today's society
The best part of my job: The best part of my job is teaching students how to be self-sufficient
Name: Ms. Teresa Fester
Educational background: MS in Speech Communication Studies and Theatre
Subjects taught: Speech Communications, Theatre Production, Oral Interpretation
Why I love my subject area: No matter what class I am teaching, the subject area allows the students to have an outlet for their creativity and/or opinions.
Best part of my job: Working with staff and students.
Something interesting I would like to share: I was a veterinarian technician
Name: Mr. Ben Koch
Educational and work background: 2004 OG Graduate; Bachelor and Masters from University of Nebraska-Lincoln; 8 years at Bishop O'Gorman Catholic Schools (2 years at OGJH - Theology, 6 at OGHS - Band)
Subject(s) taught: Band (OGHS), Theology, World Language (OGJH)
Why I love my subject area: It's a great opportunity to be creative! Music is a chance to explore a problem that doesn't necessarily have a "right answer" and to apply creative thinking and questioning skills as you hone your craft.
Best part of my job: Working with students
Something interesting I would like to share: We have lots of openings for trombones!
Name: Katie Kerkvliet
Background: 19 years in education (Elementary Teacher and Principal)
Job: Academic Services Teacher
Why I love my subject area: I never thought I would like teaching at the high school level or helping students with special needs, but I love both! I enjoy meeting the students where they're at academically and helping them be successful with the rigor at O'G.
Best part of my job: I like having variety in my day. I get to help kids with all the different subject areas and co-teach in different classrooms. I help mainly in English, which is my favorite subject.
Something interesting I would like to share: I like to do outdoor activities with my family, such as hiking and snowboarding.
Name: Mr. Scott Nelson
Educational and work background: I graduated from South Dakota State University with majors in English and Speech/Theatre and a minor in Psychology. I have worked at O'Gorman High School for 29 years.
Job and subjects taught: I taught English I, Speech, and Drama I for 23 years. I also direct the fall play and children's play. When the library media specialist job became available, I decided to switch my career.
Why I love my subject area: I enjoy helping students in various areas like searching for the right book, helping them with their research, and taking care of Chromebook issues.
Best part of my job: My job is different each day. My lists change from one day to the next.
Something interesting I would like to share: If I could change my middle name to Disney, I would. I love anything Mickey Mouse or Disney.
Name: Dr. Caitlin Hamstra
Educational background: BA in English with a secondary teaching certification from the University of Michigan; MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Central Michigan University; Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Central Michigan University
Job: International Student Coordinator
Why I love my subject area: I love working with people from other places and learning other languages and cultures.
Best part of my job: I love working with our amazing students and visiting new places around the world.
Something interesting I would like to share: I love to read.
Name: Fr. Joseph Scholten
Background: Catholic Priest (STB in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome)
Job: OGHS Chaplain
What I love about my job: I love introducing students to the One who changed my life, and accompanying them as they discover their unique destiny.
Best part of my job: The best part of my job is seeing people come alive as they discover God's love for them!
Something interesting I would like to share: I'd share that I speak three languages
Name: Morgan Robey
Educational/work background: I received my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sioux Falls with majors in Criminal Justice, Psychology, and Sociology. I went on to receive my Master of Science from South Dakota State University in School Counseling. I worked as a Professional School Counselor at the elementary level for two years before starting at O'Gorman High School in August 2019!
Job: As a professional school counselor, I provide individual, group, and classroom support regarding emotional/mental health, social, career, and academic considerations.
Why I love my subject area: I am passionate about being present for students and supporting them with whatever they are carrying. I really enjoy getting to know the students and advocating for them!
Best part of my job: I have many roles, so I get the opportunity to support most of the individuals in our school system from students to staff to families! I especially enjoy hearing students tell their stories and witnessing their journeys of growth!
6 Benefits of Studying at a Catholic High School
By: Dr. Hamstra
There are many different types of schools in the United States, and with so many options, choosing the right school for you can be a difficult decision. The US has private, religious, and public schools, and they are all unique. International students are limited to attending US public schools for one year, but international students can attend private and religious schools for all four years of high school. This allows students to become fully immersed into the school and US culture.
Religious schools are private in the US, and they can be any denomination. Religious schools offer many benefits to international students. Catholic high schools—one common type of religious school—are popular options for international students, whether or not they are Catholic themselves. International students choose Catholic high schools because of their small class sizes, strong academics, and focus on the student as a whole person. Here are six benefits to studying at a Catholic High school:
1. More likely to graduate from college
Students who graduate from Catholic high schools are more likely to graduate from college. Therefore, if your goal is to go to a US college and graduate, a Catholic high school might be a good option for you.
2. Higher average SAT scores
Students who attend Catholic high schools have higher average SAT scores than students who attend other types of schools. Higher SAT scores means you will be able to attend more competitive colleges or receive more scholarships.
3. Higher reading and math scores
Students from Catholic schools have higher reading and math scores on standardized tests, which results in higher scores in class and on those tests. This also means that you will be more prepared for challenging collegiate course work.
4. Lower cost than other private schools
Catholic schools have an average tuition rate that is lower than other private schools, making it more affordable for everybody. This option often makes school in the US a possibility for many international students.
Catholic schools focus on serving others as part of their education for students. Students learn the value of volunteerism and compassion for others at Catholic schools, often through service hours built into the curriculum.
6. Single-sex options
Catholic schools can be co-ed—where both boys and girls attend—or single-sex, where only boys or girls attend. Single-sex options might be good options for students who are accustomed to attending class with people of their own gender or those who believe that would help them learn better. When researching and talking to schools, think about what is the best fit for you and your learning.
Choosing a US high school is a difficult and important decision. It is important to think about what you want your experience to be like while you are in high school, as well as your goals after you graduate. Catholic high schools can provide excellent high school experiences and prepare you for success in college and beyond.
What are the best parts about studying abroad, according to international high school students?
By: Dr. Hamstra
There are many reasons students choose to study abroad for high school. Some reasons include wanting to broaden your horizons, learn about a new culture, enhance your language skills, and take charge of your futures. Once students make the decision to study abroad, they have a wide variety of experiences. Everybody has both positive and negative experiences while they study abroad, especially at the beginning. However, in the end, most students are really happy they made the decision to study abroad.
When students are studying abroad during high school in the US, what do they think are the best parts? According to international students studying at a US high school, there are three major advantages to studying abroad in the US for high school.
1. New Experiences. When you chose to study abroad, you get new experiences that you cannot get in your home country. You have different cultural experiences than you experience in your own country. When you are living abroad, you learn about a completely new way of life. For example, you experience different foods, you learn in a school that has a different way of teaching, and you meet new people who have different life experiences and outlooks.
2. Challenge Yourself. When you choose to study abroad, you are putting yourself in a completely new and strange context. You have to push yourself to adjust to your new place, culture, and environments. Learning to adapt to these will help you with your future, including adjusting to college and work.
3. Become More Independent. When you study abroad, you go to a new place all by yourself. This may be the first time you have been away from your family and friends, so you learn how to do things by yourself. For example, you may have to learn how to cook or do laundry, or you may have to learn how to ask others for help when you do not know how to do something. As you become more independent, you also learn to take responsibility for your actions in ways you have not had to do before. As you gain experiences in your new high school, you become more mature and learn how to handle situations or circumstances that you face by yourself.
There are many reasons and benefits to studying abroad, and when asked, international students at a US high school said that if you are interested, you should definitely study abroad. When asked what advice they have for students interested in studying abroad, this is what they said:
“Go for it! …Go study abroad. Go have an experience because you never know what could come out of it.” -11th grader from South Korea
“I think students should know that studying abroad is really worth it and that it might not be exactly what they pictured. They should also know that it's not scary and that they will get to experience a lot of new things that will definitely be useful in the future” –11th grader from Thailand
Studying abroad is a transformative experience—it can change your perspective on the world, your life, and who you are as a person. You will gain next experiences, challenge yourself in new ways, and become a more independent person. If you are interested in studying abroad… Go for it! You will have the experience of a lifetime.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota is located in the “Heart of America.” Sioux Falls is the largest city in the state of South Dakota and is 2 ½ hours from Omaha, Nebraska and 4 hours from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.
Metro Population: 265,000
Area: 73.66 square miles
Altitude: 1,422 feet above sea level
Latitude: 43° 32’ 50” • Longitude: 96° 43’ 48”
Summer: High: 84°F/Low: 62°F
Fall: High: 60°F/Low: 36°F
Winter: High: 29°F/Low: 10°F
Spring: High: 59°F/Low: 34°F
- The Washington Pavilion: Experience Science, Theater, and Art
- Downtown Sioux Falls: Restaurants, shops, museums, and art galleries
- The Sculpture Walk: Exhibit of sculptures from around the world
- Movie theaters, bowling alleys and shopping malls!
- Over 20 miles of biking and walking trails
- Ultimate Frisbee or Frisbee golf.
- Public swimming pools, tennis courts, and golf courses
- Canoeing and Kayaking
- Go-Kart park, a trampoline park, skateboard parks, and video gaming venues.
- Downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snow shoeing, and ice skating
- Rock climbing
- Soccer or softball
- Pheasant hunting in the fall
The International Student Coordinator, Dr. Caitlin Hamstra is looking forward to helping you find your place at O’Gorman.
Dr. Caitlin Hamstra