Pictured with Archbishop George J. Lucas at this year’s Archbishop’s Dinner for Education are, from left:  Jeremy Caniglia, Creighton Preparatory School, Omaha; Andrew Bauer, Ss. Peter and Paul School, Omaha; Lynn Schultz, St. Bernadette School, Bellevue; Jackie Adams, St. Bernard School, Omaha; Terri English, St. Columbkille School, Papillion; Erika Winkelbauer, St. Mary School, O’Neill; Jennifer Dunn, St. Francis School, Humphrey; and Cathy Hutchinson St. Anthony School, Columbus. PHOTO BY CASIE SCHLUETER


Dinner for Education garners new sources of funding for scholarships

About 800 people came together Sept. 22 to show their support for Catholic education at the 45th annual Archbishop’s Dinner for Education at the CHI Health Center in Omaha.

The event raises money for scholarships to Catholic school students in low-income families. This year, donors pledged approximately $335,000 for Children’s Scholarship Fund elementary school scholarships and $350,000 for high school tuition assistance, as well as $40,000 for honoraria for educator award winners.

Also announced at the dinner were a new endowed fund, The Patricia and Paul Mendlik Catholic Education Excellence Fund, to support future fundraisers and educator awards, as well as a new partnership and premier sponsorship with CHI Health to provide high school tuition assistance to students interested in a health care profession.

In addition, a challenge donation of $100,000 was made by an anonymous donor to provide more assistance to families in need. To date, $78,000 in matching donations has already been raised. To contribute towards the matching gift people can visit https://archomaha.org/ab-dinner-donations/.

Archbishop George J. Lucas expressed his gratitude for the generosity of donors in a “thank you” video shown at the event. “With your help once again, we are able to provide need-based scholarships for families who desire to send their elementary and high school students to our Catholic schools,” he said.

Another feature of the dinner was the recognition of educational excellence as eight teachers and administrators were honored for their service and contributions to Catholic education, each receiving a $5,000 award.

They are: Maginn Family Foundation Educator of the Year Awards for service to inner-city and under-served schools, Andrew Bauer, Ss. Peter and Paul School, and Jackie Adams, St. Bernard School, both Omaha; Administrators of the Year, Jennifer Dunn, St. Francis School in Humphrey, and Lynn Schultz, St. Bernadette School in Bellevue; Secondary Educators of the Year, Erika Winkelbauer, St. Mary School in O’Neill, and Jeremy Caniglia, Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha; and Elementary Educators of the Year, Cathy Hutchinson, St. Anthony School in Columbus, and Terri English, St. Columbkille School in Papillion.

“I’m so proud of our educators and administrators that have been highlighted at this year’s Dinner for Education,” said Archbishop Lucas in his video. “In honoring them we really honor all of their colleagues in our Catholic schools across the archdiocese who work so hard, day by day, week by week, to partner with parents in the education and formation of their children.”

Bauer, one of this year’s honorees, was the dinner’s keynote speaker. He spoke of Catholic education being a calling “to elevate students’ aspirations to be with God forever … with kindness, love, compassion, understanding and empathy.”

“We plant the seeds that one day will grow,” he said. “We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that,” Bauer said. “This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.”

Chairing this year’s dinner were Karen and Greg Van Dyke of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Omaha, with co-chairpersons, Stefanie and Chris Wiedenfeld of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish in Omaha, who will chair next year’s dinner. Honorary chairpersons were Patty and Paul Mendlik of St. Patrick Parish in Elkhorn.

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