Catholic Schools Week

Educators lauded at ‘schools week’ Mass

Father Mark Spalding urged all to ‘be a sign and symbol of Christ to others’

By JESSICA ABLE, Record Staff Writer

Administrators, teachers and students from schools around the Archdiocese of Louisville gathered at Holy Trinity Church on Jan. 31 for the annual Catholic Schools Week liturgy.

The theme of this year’s Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Academics. Service.”

Father J. Mark Spalding, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Louisville and pastor of Holy Trinity parish, celebrated the Mass in place of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, who was in Rome.

Father Spalding shared a favorite saying of his that he repeated several times throughout his homily, “Good, better, best.  Never let it rest ‘til the good gets better and the better gets best.”

“That’s our mission as edu-cators, administrators and teachers in the classroom.
Each day make good students better,” he said.

Father Spalding noted that in education “we are always searching for the truth.”

“As we gain a deeper knowledge in education, we find
truth. The church teaches us that if we know truth, we know God,” he said. “If we know God, our lives can be full.”

Father Spalding urged the Catholic educators present to
be “first and foremost, men and women of faith” and to always remind their students “to celebrate week in and week out around the table of the Lord.”

He challenged those present at the archdiocesan Catholic Schools Week liturgy to “go back and be a sign and symbol of Christ to others.”

Following the liturgy, Father Spalding and Leisa Schulz, superintendent of schools, presented the Distinguished Elementary Principal, the Religious Educational Excellence and the Outstanding School Volunteer awards to this year’s winners.

Also recognized was the recipient of the Father Joseph McGee Award for Outstanding Catholic Educator — Mary Jane Spaulding, a teacher at St. Dominic School in Springfield, Ky. The Father McGee award will be formally presented at the Salute to Catholic School Alumni dinner on March 14.

Cathy Guizio, principal of St. Martha School, received the Distinguished Elementary Principal Award for 2012. Guizio will be the Archdiocese of Louisville’s nominee for the National Catholic Educational Association’s Distinguished Elementary Principal Award later this year.

The nomination said Guizio, “works hard to provide her faculty with the training and support needed to meet the needs of the 21st century student.”

Her nomination also said that her efforts trickle down through the faculty to her students and that everyone at St. Martha benefits from her dedication to Catholic education.

Spaulding’s nomination for the Father McGee award noted that she “is a wonderful blend of tradition and trend, incorporating cooperative learning and differentiated instruction with recitation and memorization, using a SmartBoard to teach cursive handwriting as well as pre-Algebra.”

The nomination also said that Spaulding takes “great care to see that her students learn their Catholic prayers and prepare for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion.”

Johna Fortener, a theology teacher at Presentation Academy, was recognized with the Religious Educational Excellence Award for 2012.

The nomination said Fortener has implemented a comprehensive service program where all upperclassman are required to participate in a service project that focuses on social change.

Fortener’s nomination also said she “is committed to presenting a strong Catholic view on all life issues.”

Sally Lynch is the archdiocese’s outstanding school volunteer for 2012. She was selected for her involvement at John Paul II Academy.

The nomination said Lynch tells students stories of her experiences with the homeless and others.

“Mrs. Lynch is quite human in discussing how others and she react to certain situations,” it said. “But above all, she stresses by both actions and words what Jesus would want us to do.”

Also recognized at the Catholic Schools Week liturgy were the student winners of a poster and essay contest sponsored by the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF). Rich Lechleiter, chairman of the CEF presented the awards.

High school students were asked to write an essay and grade school students were asked to make a poster on the Catholic Schools Week theme: “Catholic Schools: Faith. Academics. Service.”

Benjamin Koch, a senior at St. Xavier High School, won the essay contest. (His essay appears on page 5 and a story about the contest appears on page 3).

The kindergarten through second-grade winner for the poster contest was Paige Hagan, a second-grader at John Paul II Academy. April Dong, fourth-grader at John Paul II Academy was named the third- through fifth-grade winner. St. Martha School seventh-grader Lauren Bishop was named the sixth through eighth-grade winner.

The winning posters will be featured in future CEF publications.

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