Totino-Grace

Legacy Awards

Since 1966, Totino-Grace has been truly blessed by the legacy that individuals and families have created within the Totino-Grace community through their contributions of time, talent, and treasure. Totino-Grace continues to inspire and transform students because of their generous gifts and contributions. 

In 1991, Brother Milton Barker and former VP for Institutional Advancement, Greg Balego, initiated a Totino-Grace tradition by recognizing, celebrating, and thanking alumni, parents, and friends for their special contributions.

President's Award Brother Milton Service Award Distinguished Alumni Award

Lasallian Legacy Award Signum Fidei Society Award 2024 Event Photo Album


 

President's Award

The President's Award recognizes and honors those friends whose leadership and achievements in the area of Christian faith, service, and philanthropy have made an exceptional impact on Totino-Grace High School.

2024 President's Award Recipients: Philip & Jennifer Ebeling
The President’s Award recognizes and honors individuals whose leadership and achievements in the area of Christian faith, service, and philanthropy have made an exceptional impact on Totino-Grace High School. Phil and Jennifer Ebeling are the recipients of the 2024 President’s Award.   

Phil and Jennifer first became involved with Totino-Grace when their son, PJ, enrolled as a student in the fall of 2018. Since then, they’ve given generously of time, talent, and treasure. In addition to their financial support of TG, the Ebelings have given much time and thoughtful leadership to our school.  Phil served as a mentor in TG’s E3 Engineering program as a way to give back to those who paved the way for his successful career. In his acceptance speech, Phil spoke of the principles of “paying it forward” and “finding what works for you to get involved”. He added that what nonprofit organizations really need is your commitment of “time and talent”.

Phil and Jennifer grew up in Southwestern Minnesota, near Worthington. Their sense of wanting to give back comes from how they were raised and the sense of work ethic that they have. They currently reside in Maple Grove with their four children.

 

 

Brother Milton Service Award

The Brother Milton Service Award honors outstanding leadership and exemplary service to the community. In honor of long time President, Brother Milton Barker, FSC, this recognition is presented to individuals who have gone above and beyond to make a significant impact by sharing their time and talent.

2024 Brother Milton Service Award: Tara Melsha '89
Tara’s record of service to TG is second to none. She has been a TG board member and served for two years as co-chair of our Board of Directors. Her six-year commitment to the Board is coming to an end this summer.  Tara has been part of TG’s Finance Committee, Executive Committee, Marketing Committee, and Mission Committee. Tara has also served on the Gala Committee. Tara describes her willingness to serve as: “It’s not hard to give back to a place where people are rowing the boat in the same direction. I want other people’s kids to have a great experience here.”  

Tara is married to her TG classmate Chris Melsha and they have three boys who also attended TG (Carter ‘18, William ‘21 and Nicholas ‘21).

2024 Brother Milton Service Award: Barbara Gerber
Barb’s service to TG begins before there was a school, when she, and other members of St. Alphonsus Church commissioned the archdiocese to build a co-ed high school in the Northwest Metro. 

Barb got involved with volunteering at Grace right away. She coordinated information nights and served ham dinners to other parochial school parents to enlist their help to volunteer for the upcoming Sno-Daze carnival which she partnered with Brother Milton on. Barb was foundational in running events like the carnival for 20 years. 

Barb is the mother to six alumni children and seven alumni grandchildren. Her oldest daughter, Nancy ‘71, was in the second graduating class of Grace High School. Paul ‘72 (deceased), Peter ‘75, Sally ‘79, Patrick ‘83 and Mary ‘89 followed. Barb continues to remain passionate about Catholic education. 

 

 

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award honors alumni who have made a distinct contribution to and made outstanding achievements in their field of profession and serve as positive role models. 

2024 Distinguished Alumni Award: Mark Sitarz '88
Mr. Mark Sitarz ’88 is our 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient and is being recognized for the impact he delivered over his 25 years of service to the Saint Anthony fire department.

Mark’s passion to serve others was instilled during his time at Totino-Grace. While in high school, he participated in a variety of activities including as a peer mentor. Mark also spent a summer in Ecuador assisting poor farming villages to improve their health and hygiene. Mark’s experiences at TG would ultimately shape his identity.

After graduating from St. John’s University, Mark would spend ten years as an IT professional. While working in IT most of the week, in 1998, Mark became a paid on-call firefighter and worked his way up from lieutenant, to captain, and finally the chief from 2013-2023. 

Mark was recently awarded the MN State Fire Chiefs Association’s fire officer of the year for cities under a population of 10,000. Mark retired on October 31, 2023 after a 25 year career with the St. Anthony Fire department. Mark is married to Sarah and enjoys traveling and cooking.

 

 

Lasallian Legacy Award

The Lasallian Legacy Award recognizes and honors special members of the community who have spent a significant portion of their lives in support of the Totino-Grace mission. These dedicated donors have played a vital role in forming the history of the school, have made gifts eclipsing the half million dollar mark, and are stakeholders in the continued success of Totino-Grace High School.

 

 

Signum Fidei Planned Giving Society

This society recognizes all individuals who make a planned gift to benefit Totino-Grace High School. Becoming a member is as simple as establishing a planned gift - a bequest in a will, a charitable gift annuity, a trust, or other deferred gift - to benefit Totino-Grace High School. 

2024 Signum Fidei Award: Gary and Celine Horn
Gary and Celine grew up on farms in Iowa; Gary near Fort Dodge and Celine near Mason City. Both Gary and Celine are accounting majors and CPAs who attended the University of Iowa. Gary retired as CFO of Old Republic Title in 2020. Celine retired as an accountant from The Metro Educational Cooperative Service Unit in 2019.

Gary and Celine believe strongly in the importance of Catholic education and want to ensure a high-quality education remains affordable for all. They sent both of their daughters, Michelle Higgins ’07 and Rachel Horn ‘05 to Totino-Grace. In his acceptance speech, Gary stated that the reason he and Celine are making an estate gift to TG is that “it just feels like the right thing to do. It is a chance to really make a difference. We all know what a special place Totino-Grace is and what an impact it has on students’ lives.”

Gary and Celine are residents of New Brighton for over 40 years and are the proud grandparents to three grandsons.

 

 

2024 President's Dinner Event Photos

Thank you to Michael Hamerlind '91 for taking the event photos.