New scholarship is named for the archbishop’s brother

First-grader Jordan Henon and kindergartner Miles Hanna, both students at Immaculata Classical Academy, were the first recipients of the Georgie Kurtz Scholarship — named after Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz’s older brother.

The newly-created scholarship fund is awarded by Angels in Disguise, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to “celebrate the gift of Down syndrome,” said a statement from Mike and Penny Michalak, founders of the organization.

The scholarship is open to preschool through 12th-grade students diagnosed with Down syndrome who attend private schools where both special needs and typical-needs students learn together in the same classroom. It’s open to students across the United States, according to the statement. The scholarship fund is named for Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz’s older brother Georgie, who was born with Down syndrome. Following the death of their mother, Georgie Kurtz lived with Archbishop Kurtz until his death in 2002.

The scholarship is “a wonderful way to honor the memory of Georgie and to recognize the archbishop’s efforts to advocate for families, Catholic education and people with Down syndrome,” said the Michalaks in the statement. “We believe children with Down syndrome should have the same opportunities as typically developing students, allowing them to reach their full potential.”

To request a scholarship application or to contribute to the fund, visit

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