Ask anyone at Blessed Sacrament Parish or school who the Harveys are, and they’ll know. Jim Harvey’s parents joined the parish in 1950 and were very involved there. He and his siblings all attended Blessed Sacrament School. Jim married his sweetheart, Deborah, at the church in 1981. When their children were old enough to go to school, there was no question where the six Harvey kids would go.
Although she had two college degrees that could have taken her on a different career path, Deborah saw how truly happy her children were at the school, so when their youngest was in fourth grade, Deborah decided to join the joyful environment at the school and accepted a position teaching preschool.
“As a mother of six, I truly valued what the Catholic education has meant to my family, and I wanted to give back to the community that gave so much to my family,” Deborah said. “I wanted to teach in a place that emphasized the faith formation, along with rigorous academics, and a wonderful student body.”
Over the years, both Deborah and Jim were extremely involved in many areas of the school over the years. Jim took on the role of volunteer athletic director and coach for many years, plus served on countless other committees at the school and parish. Because of his unparalleled dedication to the school, the gym was named in his memory in 2013, the same gym in which their son Joe now serves as P.E. teacher.
“Jim was just so incredibly immersed in everything Blessed Sacrament, so the fact that I get to come to work every day and see his name on the side of the gymnasium building means a great deal,” Deborah shared.
Five of the six Harvey children have worked at the school over the years. Kaitlin served as Administrative Assistant to former principal Greg Kruthaupt. James taught pre-kindergarten for several years before moving across the street to teach 5th grade. Joe has been the Athletic Director, basketball coach, and the P.E. teacher for the last 10 years. Kelly started at the school eight years ago in the preschool, but has transitioned to teaching 2nd grade, co-teaching with her own 2nd grade teacher.
“My favorite teacher at BSCS was my 2nd-grade teacher, Mrs. Merten. I now get to work WITH HER – my favorite grade with my favorite teacher – who gets to experience this?!” said Kelly. “I feel so fortunate to learn from her and experience many of the same things I loved about being a 2nd grader, now as a teacher!”
Kaitlin, James, Joe, and Kasey Harvey were all instructors at the summer camps that were held at the school, with the boys running a popular ‘Harvey Brothers’ basketball camp for several years in a row as well. That three of the Harveys are still on that same campus working together is not lost on any of them.
“It is incredibly special and a blessing to be working with my family at Blessed Sacrament,” Joe said. “Not many people get to pop across the street to say hi to their mom whenever they want or go have lunch with their sister every day. My mom is the absolute best preschool teacher! The kids love her.”
Kelly talks about how her students react when she tells them about her brother. “When I tell my 2nd-grade students that Mr. Joe is my big brother, I know I am earning serious points in their books. He is adored and loved by all for his easy, fun, and hard-working attitude,” she said.
And what mother wouldn’t want to be close to her adult children and seeing them succeeding in their careers and in life? “I feel so blessed and fortunate to work in a community setting where I get to see my children perfect their craft… they are both beloved members of the staff,” Deborah said.
Beyond the fact that the Harveys get to work together, they count being able to work in a Catholic school as one of their biggest blessings.
“I can say, without reservation, that the caliber of teachers is so high at a Catholic School because those teachers CHOOSE to be there,” said Deborah. “Teaching in a Catholic School is not a job for me, but more of a calling. I have so much respect for the hard work and dedication of my colleagues who have devoted their lives to mentoring and modeling our future generation.”
Joe agrees. “Teaching in a Catholic school is important to me because of the incredible community,” he said. “The small tight knit community of students, teachers, parents and parishioners is what makes working at a Catholic school like Blessed Sacrament special. Everyone looks out for one another and genuinely cares about the well-being of everyone in the community.”
“Catholic schools offer a love for your child like no other, because the idea is to educate the whole child, not just their academic experience but to help shape who they are as good people in the community that loves and cares for others is the most beautiful lesson of all!” Kelly added.
Teaching in a Catholic school, especially Blessed Sacrament, has truly been a vocation for the Harveys.
“It is incredibly special and a blessing to be working with my family at Blessed Sacrament. Not many people get to pop across the street to say hi to their mom whenever they want or go have lunch with their sister every day. My mom is the absolute best preschool teacher! The kids love her.”Joe Harvey
“There is always the option to teach somewhere else and make more money, but leaving this community, my co-workers and students would break my heart,” Kelly explained. “My day-to-day experience means more to me than making more money.”
Principal Brooke Urban says the Harveys’ presence at the school has been a true blessing to the school. “The love, passion, time and dedication of the Harvey family has had a tremendously positive impact on our school’s culture and in carrying out our Catholic mission,” Urban said.
“We are so grateful and indebted to this wonderful Catholic community,” said Joe, “and hope that dedicating our vocation and our passion for teaching, coaching, volunteering etc. here at BSCS illustrates how much we truly love and appreciate this place.”
Kelly agrees wholeheartedly. “We have a deep love for this school, parish, and community that goes way back,” she said. “I feel extremely lucky to work and learn from amazing teachers, which include members of my very close family. I love learning SO MUCH from my mom, my very first and best teacher, and of course my brother, ‘Mr. Joe’ the P.E. teacher and all-time favorite teacher at the school.”
The reality is the Harveys wouldn’t be the same without being part of the Blessed Sacrament community, nor would the community be the same without the Harvey family’s love and dedication.