St. Mary’s Catholic School honored as Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

The Sleepy Eye Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors presented the Business of the Year award to Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s Catholic School at a special luncheon on Friday, May 28 at the school. In attendance were St. Mary’s School staff, Chamber Board members, and the Miss Sleepy Eye Ambassadors.

St. Mary’s School was recognized as Sleepy Eye Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year at a luncheon on May 28. Pictured are Chamber Board of Directors and St. Mary’s Administration, from left: Chamber Board member Scott Salfer, Chamber Executive Director Christina Andres, St. Mary’s Principals Peter Roufs and Mary Gangelhoff, Chamber Board member Shelly Kosak, Chamber Board President Matt Wagner, and Chamber Board member John Cselovzki.

Chamber Executive Director Christina Andres said, “This is a special award because the nominations are received from the Chamber membership and are your peers.” 

Andres said it was from those entries that the Chamber Board of Directors, voted for St. Mary’s School, based on the established following criteria:

•Be a member in good standing with the Sleepy Eye Chamber,

•Been in business for at least three years,

•Has demonstrated a commitment to good business practice,

•Has a dedication to making Sleepy Eye a better place by giving back to the community,

•Supports the economic development of the Sleepy Eye area.

Andres shared the following quotes from one of the nominators: 

“As we are all aware, COVID changed our world. Next to healthcare and nursing home providers, schools were at the front lines, being asked to navigate through a pandemic with few, if any, ‘best practices’ from which to draw upon. St. Mary’s rose to the challenge. In March of 2020, teachers turned around packets in a three-day weekend so school for their students would not be interrupted. They committed to scheduled delivery and drop-offs to minimize disruptions.

“These efforts continued in September when they collaborated with stakeholders and medical professionals to return all students back to in person classes in a safe learning environment. They crafted plans which would minimize student exposure should that occur, from assigned seats, to a cafeteria and playground rotation, to changing the structure/curriculum of physical education classes. They methodically reviewed their practices, and continuously improved.

“These actions along with their continual support of the On The Job Training program and their push for student engagement within the business sectors and community organizations, again reaffirms their dedication to brighter future for Sleepy Eye.”

An especially fun honor that is bestowed on the Sleepy Eye Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year is being the grand marshal of the parade—which will be on Saturday, Aug. 21.