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Archbishop’s Dinner for Education to celebrate Catholic schools

Gather, honor, elevate.

That’s the theme of this year’s Archbishop’s Dinner for Education, as well as an apt description of what the dinner is all about.

Each year hundreds of Catholic school supporters gather for the dinner – this year slated for Sept. 22 at CHI Health Center in Omaha – to honor outstanding educators. The event, now in its 45th year, elevates Catholic education by raising money for needs-based scholarships to help students attend a Catholic school of their families’ choice.

Historically, the dinner has raised enough money to provide tuition assistance for nearly 300 students. This year, CHI Health is a major sponsor through a new scholarship program for high school students interested in health care careers.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity for the Catholic community to gather together in support of Catholic schools,” said Vickie Kauffold, archdiocese superintendent. The dinner allows “us to honor excellent teachers and provide scholarship funding for students in need.”

 The event begins with a 6 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by a 7 p.m. program and dinner.

Reservations for the dinner and contributions for scholarships can be made at https://archomaha.org/dinnerforeducation/.

Eight educators will be recognized, including administrators, teachers in elementary and secondary education and educators who serve in inner-city and under-served communities. The honor includes a $5,000 award.

This year’s honorees:

Maginn Family Foundation Educator of the Year Awards for service to inner-city and under-served schools

Andrew Bauer – Bauer, now in his fifth year as principal of Ss. Peter and Paul School in Omaha, is being recognized for his dedication to students and their families, many of whom are native Spanish-speakers. Bauer is known for the individual attention he gives to students and also for the broader impact he makes. He “has moved mountains in South Omaha and has improved this community immensely,” a Ss. Peter and Paul teacher wrote.

Jackie Adams – Adams, in her 12th year as a kindergarten teacher at St. Bernard School in Omaha, was “put on this planet to be a kindergarten teacher,” one person wrote in nominating Adams for the honor. Adams summarized her teaching philosophy: “I have always taken the approach to treat children in my care as I would like my own children to be treated: with love, respect, and dignity.”

Administrators of the Year

Jennifer Dunn – Dunn, in her 12th year as principal at St. Francis School in Humphrey, models mercy, those who recommended her say. “Because of her desire to show the love of Christ, she never hides from difficult situations,” said Father Eric Olsen, president of the school and pastor of St. Francis Parish. “Rather, she confronts them directly, professionally, consistently, and always with the eye to what is best for the school, the student or employee, and the Church.”

Lynn Schultz – Schultz, principal at St. Bernadette School in Bellevue for 11 years, keeps her office door – as well as her heart and mind – open for students, staff and families, her supporters said. She “openly shares her faith” and inspires people to be Christ-like. She is “open to new ideas from staff and students” to create the best learning environment.

Secondary Educators of the Year

Erika Winkelbauer – For seven years Winkelbauer has brought science to life for students at St. Mary School in O’Neill. Students in grades seven to 12 “are pushed to step outside their comfort zones and learn through individual, group, hands-on, and demonstrative lessons and projects,” a school parent said. “Because of her example and willingness to push her students, two of my children have pursued a STEM field for their college education, as have many former students of Mrs. Winkelbauer.”

Jeremy Caniglia – Caniglia is in his tenth year at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, teaching art: drawing, painting, printmaking, filmmaking and sculpture. But he’s also a champion of his students, counselor and cheerleader. Caniglia is “what is best about Catholic education,” a fellow teacher said. “He has a knack for connecting with students and helping them to recognize the ways that God is present in their lives.”

Elementary Educators of the Year

Cathy Hutchinson – Students and staff at St. Anthony School in Columbus have learned to turn to Hutchinson for organizational or technology solutions. She’s been at St. Anthony for 13 years, teaching fourth grade, as a language arts teacher for students in fourth through sixth grade and as a technology teacher for grades kindergarten through sixth. “The bigger the challenge, the more Cathy enjoys it,” her principal said. Students have learned to turn to Hutchinson for just about anything. They “know that she is always there and that she would do anything for them.”

Terri English – For 31 years, first-graders at St. Columbkille School in Papillion have felt the warmth and love of their teacher, English. “She always points out the strengths you didn’t know you had and pushes you to do your best,” said a former student who is now a teaching colleague at St. Columbkille, thanks in part to English. “I feel blessed to have had Mrs. English as a teacher, worked alongside her, and now give my own children the opportunity to be in her classroom.” According to another co-worker and school parent: “Her classroom, like her personality, draws you in where you feel comfortable and safe – the ideal environment in which to learn.”