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Debbie Henry Helmkamp V71 and Bill Helmkamp V71 are grateful for the quality education they received as students at St. Vincent High School and the opportunities it afforded them and their family. Debbie and Bill's family legacy at STVM started with their parents. Debbie's parents, Alice Dannemiller Henry V46 and Newton "Newt" Henry V47, along with Bill's mother, Elizabeth Murphy Helmkamp V41 were proud St. Vincent alumni. Debbie recalls, "our parents emphasized the importance of our traditions within our Irish Community and living out a greater mission through our Catholic faith."
Debbie and Bill carried on the family traditions at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School by sending their children, Bill (VM95), Betsy Helmkamp Striltschuk (VM96), and Mary Ellen Helmkamp Lintker (VM00) to be part of STVM. Debbie recalls, "our kids appreciated their education at STVM and thought that college was easier than high school." Debbie added, "the rigorous curriculum structure at STVM prepared them for a college education and beyond." Debbie and Bill's children are doing well and owe a lot to their foundational learning to STVM.
Debbie recalls a moment that touched her life as an adolescent when her father decided to pay for her brother's best friend's tuition at St. Vincent High School so he could be given the opportunity to receive a Catholic education like Debbie and her siblings. Debbie added, "my father never shared any information about this generous gift and it really made an impact on me and my siblings." To honor their dad, the family established the Newt Henry Memorial Scholarship for his lifetime commitment to St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
Debbie and Bill have always felt a great responsibility to the mission of Catholic education at STVM. Debbie adds, "Bill and I were always taught to give back and it is the reason why we have included St. Vincent-St. Mary High School as part of our estate plans." Bill added, "STVM has always had the highest standards for learning and we feel it is important to keep it going."
Debbie and Bill have stayed connected to many of their high school classmates and emphasized the importance of these lifelong friendships because of the bond they share through their Catholic faith. They added that their children have similar lifelong friendships with their STVM classmates, and get together annually, even though they are spread throughout the country.
Debbie and Bill know that giving as part of your future estate plans is vital to the long-term success of STVM. Bill said, "if we want to continue the growth of this wonderful institution, we need to maintain ongoing support and provide future gift planning for our school." Debbie added, "we need to reach out to our STVM Community and provide them with pertinent information to include STVM as part of their estate planning." Debbie and Bill are grateful to be part of their Irish Community and want to provide other young women and men these same opportunities.