Magazine article Momentum

Catholic Education Leaders Recognized as "Champions of Change"

Magazine article Momentum

Catholic Education Leaders Recognized as "Champions of Change"

Article excerpt

Nine leaders in Catholic education were honored Jan. 25 by the White House in recognition of their service to their communities and the country. The Champions of Change program highlights a different sector each week, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders. The White House planned this Champion program as a prelude to National Catholic Schools Week, which began Jan. 29.

The Champions of Change program recognized individuals who have made a major impact on the students, families and educators in Catholic schools and universities throughout America. According to the White House, their "innovative ideas and dedication to students and to the wider community, demonstrate the strong commitment to ensuring that every child has an opportunity for greatness."

"Each of these nine leaders embodies the values of education, innovation and service through their stellar contributions to Catholic schools and the communities they serve," said Alexia Kelley, senior policy advisor in the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. "These champions, like their colleagues in Catholic education across the country, inspire all of us to build up our communities and our nation's young people."

Karen M. Ristau, NCEA president, added, "NCEA is proud of these exceptional leaders. We look upon them not only as champions but as ambassadors for Catholic educational leaders. Their leadership reflects the good work that is being done by our outstanding students, teachers and administrators nationwide."

NCEA leaders played an important role in helping the White House organize the Champions of Change recognition. "We were privileged to assist the White House in this most challenging task," said Dr. Ristau. "We often refer to Catholic education in general asa 'gift to the nation.' !think we can truly say that these champions of Catholic education are wonderful gifts to the country."

Bertha Castañeda, Washington, D.C.

The child of a hard-working single mother who immigrated to the United States from El Salvador, Bertha Castañeda is a senior at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C. She maintains a 4.0+ GPA in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and is involved in almost every facet of school life, including lacrosse, stage crew and the National Honor Society. She began her own summer program for neighborhood children as a tenth grader, and she continues to be a "pied piper" to her fellow students. Castañeda almost never participates in an activity without inviting a few friends or classmates to join with her. As a result, she has expanded participation in the school's peer ministry group, diversified its basketball program, expanded the Volleyball team and inspired other students to get involved in everything from service to improving their own grades.

Father Charles L Currie, SJ, Washington, D.C.

Jesuit Father Charles Currie has spent his entire professional life in higher education as faculty member, administrator, president and, most recently, as president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, serving 28 institutions by representing them before various constituencies and promoting a wide range of collaborative efforts, nationally and internationally. With his encouragement and leadership, these schools have advanced to new levels of academic quality, education for leadership and service, community outreach, internationalization and a commitment to educate for justice. He co-founded the student-led lgnatian Family Teachin for Justice, the lgnatian Solidarity Network and the Jesuit Commons, a global initiative that seeks to relate the resources of Jesuit education with the marginalized populations Jesuits and their colleagues serve worldwide.

Father John P. Foley, SJ, Chicago, Illinois

After serving the Jesuit missions in Peru for 34 years, working primarily in education, Jesuit Father John P. Foley returned to Chicago in 1995 to collaborate in establishing Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. …

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