by Jill Ragar Esfeld
OVERLAND PARK – When presenter Christa Dubill requested at the finish of the Gaudeamus gala on October 29: ‘Do we’ve got a quantity for tonight?’ She was met with a drum roll – actually. It got here courtesy of Topeka’s Mater Dei Grade School Drum Line, one of the highlights of the annual fundraiser.
“We set a new Gaudeamus record tonight,” introduced Jeff Jaworski, Chairman of the Catholic Education Foundation. “The 2022 Gaudeamus total is $2,443,000.”
One hundred p.c of that, Dubill added, would go on to funding Catholic faculty scholarships.
25 years in the past, the founders of CEF had a easy imaginative and prescient: to assist underprivileged kids attend Catholic colleges. You could be amazed at the outcomes of this yr’s occasion.
Jaworski set the theme for this yr’s occasion, held at the Overland Park Convention Center, as he opened the night by expressing his gratitude to those founding members.
“Tonight will be another fantastic chapter in the history that God has written for CEF,” he mentioned.
CEF Executive Director Vince Anch reminded the patrons that 300 kids are presently in want of monetary help, then launched the night’s speaker, Vicky Simms.
Simms, a senior at Hayden High School in Topeka, started her Catholic schooling in the sixth grade at the native Holy Name School.
“I was one of those kids who got a scholarship,” Simms mentioned in her introduction.
She went on to discuss the big affect the college and employees at her Catholic colleges had on her life.
“My dream for the immediate future is to go to college,” she mentioned, “and major in communications with a minor in digital marketing. And become an architect. And become a radiologist.”
The crowd laughed and applauded their momentous targets.
“The Catholic upbringing made me the person I am today,” she mentioned. “I want to categorical my heartfelt because of all donors.
“Your commitment to Catholic education changes lives like mine.”
The night had a number of highlights, together with the presentation of Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann’s CEF School of Excellence Award to St. Gregory the Great School in Marysville.
And the inaugural CEF Lifetime Achievement Award acknowledged the group’s founders: Blake Mulvany, Tom Zarda, Rich Henry, Archbishop James P. Keleher, Sister Vickie Perkins, and Leonard and Ellen McKinzie.
Zarda and Henry, CEF’s first CEO and Vice-Chairman respectively, took to the stage to simply accept the award and discuss the significance of the group and the individuals who proceed to help its mission.
“Our work is not over yet,” mentioned Henry. “Not till each little one who desires a Catholic upbringing can have one.
“That is the task with which we are also entrusted tonight.”
Zarda agreed, praising the efforts of the Catholic faculty lecturers and school and the essential function they play in the kids’s lives.
“I am confident that CEF will continue to grow,” he mentioned. “I am confident that each of you and you will help make this happen.”
Archbishop Naumann closed the night with prayer and reward for all the individuals who have labored diligently to make the first 25 years of CEF successful.
“I need to go to our schools and see some of the wonderful work that’s happening there,” he mentioned. “It’s nice to see.”
In addition to a high quality schooling, the Archbishop harassed, our Catholic colleges “offer our young people the opportunity to get to know the Lord and to develop a friendship with him”.
This alerts a promising future.
“Some of the great young people you are helping tonight will be future leaders in our community, our society and our church,” he mentioned.