Hill-Murray’s Future Leaders Program and Teacher Honored by Minndependent

Dear Hill-Murray Community,

We have so many exciting opportunities happening at Hill-Murray, and I would like to highlight a few this week!

Minndependent Selects Hill-Murray for Program and Teacher Award of the Year

I am thrilled to let you know that Minndependent, the organization that partners with independent and private schools throughout the state of Minnesota, has awarded Hill-Murray’s Future Leader Program the 2024 Program of the Year Award. Hill-Murray’s Future Leader Program is a transformative journey for students and highlights a truly innovative program that supports student engagement and long-term achievement.

The Future Leaders Program is a student program that provides students with scholarships along with the support, mentorship and the sense of community required for them to be successful in not just “doing school” but in reaching their highest potential in scholarship, leadership, and purpose. The program provides both the trampoline and the safety net that students need to learn, grow and benefit from a Catholic education. Under the leadership and guidance of Denise Bates, participants in the Future Leaders Program strengthen their own leadership capacity in service to Hill-Murray as well as the greater community.

One Future Leader commented, “The most valuable thing I’ve learned through this program is that leadership is not about being the person who can control a room but being the one who can find a way to relate to every single person in that room. It’s about vulnerability, honesty, reliability, and being able to have the hard conversations.” And yet another student, “the Future Leaders Program brings kids from every part of the school into one room to build bonds as they grow and learn together throughout high school and all of its challenges.” We are so proud of our Future Leaders!

In addition, one of Hill-Murray’s amazing teachers has also been selected for the 2024 Honor Teacher Award. Kelly Donnelly has been selected as the recipient this year, and we are thrilled that Minnedependent has recognized Kelly’s hard work and commitment.  Under her leadership, Hill-Murray students have qualified for DECA nationals/internationals consistently for the past ten years, including nine finalists which puts Hill-Murray in the top 10% in the nation. Two Hill-Murray students have become DECA state officers, and one was MN State DECA president. ​There is no shortage of excellent students in other schools, but when you see one school experience so much success in one particular area, you can be assured there is an amazing adult supporting and guiding those students.

What I appreciate about Kelly is, that she creates opportunities for students to shine, opportunities for students to find their passion, and engage in unique experiences that excite them. She is a faith-filled person who is dedicated and humble. She never draws attention to herself and always works hard to put the students in the spotlight. She is a committed educator and the kind of teacher that any school would love to have as a leader. We just learned yesterday that 16 Hill-Murray students made it to the finals at the DECA state competition!

The Minndependent Awards will be presented at the 2024 Private and Independent Education Awards on Sunday, April 28, from 4:00-7:00 pm at Mendakota Country Club.

Game One and Adidas Partnership

At Hill-Murray, we are continually analyzing our strategic partnerships and spent the last year reviewing our athletics uniforms, equipment, and school uniform vendor partners. After engaging in a rigorous RFP (request for proposal) process, we are excited to announce that we will partner with Game One and Adidas moving forward. By using one vendor and supported by Adidas, we will gain significant resources for our students and families.

In addition to the partnership, all Hill-Murray school uniforms will be available for purchase through Game One’s online portal. We are solidifying a few additional uniform choices for next year, and the school uniform online store will be open in May for all families. This partnership will also provide a consistent online shop for families and alums who are looking for Pioneer spirit wear year-round. Look forward to sharing more information with our families in the coming weeks.

Congratulations to our Mock Trial Students, who competed in the state tournament for the fourth year in a row! Francesca Primoli and Leah Kahley earned All-State Attorney and Witness Awards. A special thank you to our senior captain, Natalie Moore!

As we celebrate these achievements and embark on new partnerships, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the entire Hill-Murray community for your continued support and dedication. Together, we will continue to strive for excellence and uphold the values that make Hill-Murray truly exceptional.


Melissa Dan
Hill-Murray School President