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Dave Berns - Fine Arts Hall of Famer

Dave Berns

On Wednesday, May 16, Don Bosco honored the 2018 Fine Arts Hall of Fame recipient, Dave Berns, at the Spring Concert. Dave is a 1982 graduate of Don Bosco.

            Music has been a big part of Dave’s life since he began playing the organ at Immaculate Conception Church at age eleven. He has served as a music minister for a total of 43 years, the past 25 at St. Edward Church in Waterloo.

            While at Don Bosco, Dave was very involved both in athletics and the fine arts. His athletic involvement included playing baseball, basketball, and running cross country. His involvement in the arts included participating in speech and drama, playing the trumpet in the band, and participating in the chorus both as a singer and an accompanist. He also traveled to churches and retirement homes with the swing choir, Life Unlimited, performing a musical cantata about the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. He took his musical skills further by participating in music festivals and in solo/ensemble contests as well as serving as an accompanist for other students. His talent in the arts was recognized through several awards, including Outstanding Senior Musician, Best Supporting Actor, and Actor of the Year. Academically, he was president of the National Honor Society and finished near the top of his class.

            After graduating high school, Dave attended Loras College and majored in psychology and religious studies with a minor in music. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1987.

            Dave returned to Don Bosco to teach theology and psychology, where he remained for four years. During this time, he also assisted with the swing choir Life Unlimited. While teaching at Don Bosco, Dave worked towards his master’s degree in School Counseling at the University of Northern Iowa and graduated in 1994.

            Dave began his career in counseling with the Cedar Valley Catholic Schools. As a school counselor for five buildings from 1991-1994, he worked with St. Edward, St. John/St. Nick, St. Mary, and St. Patrick schools. Dave is currently employed with the Cedar Falls Public Schools where he has served as an elementary school counselor for the past 24 years. In 2015, he was a Gold Star Teacher Award recipient.

            In 2009, Dave founded Agnus Dei Ministry, a talented group of music ministers from several Catholic churches in the Cedar Valley. The roots of this group can be traced back to his experiences in Life Unlimited at Don Bosco, as the significant impact this experience had on himself and others stayed with him throughout the years. Dave wished to form a musical group that would have the same impact on others as Life Unlimited had when he was a teen. Consequently, Dave wrote and directed “A Musical Journey with Christ,” and the group began its traveling ministry in the spring of 2010 to full churches at nearly every presentation. Agnus Dei Ministry has performed 63 presentations within the past 8 years at locations throughout Northeast and Central Iowa. While the group is taking the 2018 year off from the Lenten Presentations, they are still ministering at special Masses and at the annual Iowa Irish Fest Mass in downtown Waterloo.

            Dave is proud to be a Don Bosco graduate and is very appreciative of Catholic education. He is thankful for the dedicated teachers and staff who encouraged him and nurtured his faith, passion for learning, love of music, and service.