Shawn Vaske
Shawn Vaske

August 16, 2017

When acting didn’t pan out, Shawn Vaske turned back to what he knew: education.

Raised on a pig farm near Bancroft, Vaske attended Bishop Garrigan High School, a private Roman Catholic high school in Algona where his mom, Annette Vaske, has taught business and accounting for 23 years. After graduating, he left Algona and headed to Winona, Minnesota where he attended St. Mary’s University with the intention of becoming an actor.

At the end of his sophomore year, Vaske realized acting wasn’t the best fit for him.

So he declared not one, but three majors. In May 2017, he graduated with degrees in theology, Western European history and music performance. Although he completely changed his career path, Vaske still believes the education field is the right one for him.

“I think teaching is an extension of where my interests lie,” Vaske said. “I am very scholar-like oriented. I really enjoy education and learning and being in academic setting. I love reading. It was a natural flow of where I was going if I wasn’t going to be an actor. I was starting to lean toward education. I thought, well if I can’t teach college yet, a whole world opens up.”

Kuemper Catholic High School was the first place where he applied for a job, and now he’s living in Carroll ready to start the year.

For Vaske, being in a private Catholic school was very important.

“I think the Catholic private school environment is a very positive environment for people to grow up in and develop,” Vaske said. “It’s easier than a public school, I think. I think the resources and teachers here are much more personable. You can relate with them easier, they care for you. ... For them to teach at a private school you definitely have to have more of that one-on-one.”

Vaske finds both anxieties and excitement as this school year rapidly approaches. He explained that he will be learning along with the students.

As new teacher, he will instruct juniors and seniors in morality class and seniors in a vocation class.

He is also the new head track coach, he looks forward to being involved in sports again having run sprints during track during college. He also hopes to help out with fine arts and music at Kuemper.

Vaske’s greatest goal is to teach kids to think for themselves, he said.

“It’s very important that we are all able to form our own critical-thinking skills based off a good conscience and mortality, he said.”

Although Vaske is trying to adjust to his new life in Carroll, he looks forward to seeing what high school teaching has to offer.