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LOCAL BRIEFS - December 17, 2004


Sister Jeanne O'Rourke, RSM (standing left), campus minister at Mercy High School in Omaha, supervises the collection of diapers for Mercy's Diaper Derby to benefit Project Welcome. Collecting diapers (from back) are sophomore Amy Keller, and seniors Kristen Martin and Valerie Veneck.
Mercy High collects diapers for Sudanese

What began as an interest in Sudan and the Sudanese people turned into a full scale Advent project for Mercy High School students.

The Omaha school's week-long Diaper Derby – a competition to collect diapers for Project Welcome, which helps Sudanese families in Omaha – ended Dec. 6 with about 5,000 diapers collected.

The senior class won the competition, donating 2,284 of the nearly 5,000 diapers collected. For their generosity, the seniors received a dress down day.

Student interest in the Sudanese in Omaha was sparked by two visiting speakers – social worker Violet Illuebbeym and Sister Joan Mueller, OSF, executive director of Project Welcome.

MCS students make honor band

Three Omaha students, who participate in Music in Catholic Schools, have been named to the 2005 Nebraska State Bandmasters All State 8th Grade Honor Band.

Joseph Tucker of St. Wenceslaus School was elected as fourth clarinet, Kevin Wells of St. Margaret Mary School as fourth trumpet and Benjamin Gensichen of St. Pius X/St. Leo School as second tuba.

More than 400 students audition for the 82-piece band each year. The band is scheduled to meet Jan. 15 at the University of Nebraska-Kearney for a day of rehearsals leading up to a 4 p.m. performance.

"We are proud and thrilled that we have three members in this very select group," said Deb Lund, director of Music in Catholic Schools. "It is just great to have three MCS students make it."

Marian authors feature students in storybooks

Kindergartners at two Omaha Catholic schools were recently swept away to faraway lands by seniors from Marian High School in Omaha.

As part of a sociology project, Marian seniors wrote and designed storybooks casting the kindergartners as the main characters, who visit foreign lands and play the hero of their story. The books were presented Dec. 7.

The seniors interviewed 50 kindergartners from St. Philip Neri and St. Bernard schools to learn about the things they like and value. They then researched the Internet and other sources for examples of culture and the geography of a foreign land. Each student also took digital photos of her kindergartner for inclusion in the story.

"The books are a creative and unique way for kindergartners to learn more about other cultures," said Tom Baker, Marian sociology teacher. "This project gives seniors the opportunity to teach kindergartners about cultural diversity and understanding at a time when their young minds are shaping."

Legacy dinner supports St. Richard School

St. Richard School in Omaha has a new development office thanks to Gail Werner Robinson and the St. Richard's Legacy dinner.

The annual fundraiser, held Nov. 12 at the Christ the King Parish Center in Omaha, raised more than $115,000 in support of St. Richard School. An additional $50,000 was then pledged by Robinson to establish the development office.

More than 400 attended the event, which featured the presentation of the Spirit of St. Richard Award to John and Carmen Gottschalk in recognition of their support of the school.

J.J. and Monica Boyle, along with J. Firmature Jr., served as chairpersons for the dinner.

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