Fundraiser for local Catholic schools begins

January 30, 2019

About 300 people dined Tuesday in a Grand Wayne Center ballroom decorated with posters illustrating what a $3 coupon book can do for Catholic schools.

At one school, proceeds will help pay for a new drinking fountain and another computer charging station. Other schools have put the funds toward field trips, athletic pursuits, tablets and laptop computers.

“There is so much need,” Marsha Jordan, superintendent of Catholic schools, said in a video shown during a luncheon that officially kicked off this year’s You Can Lend a Hand coupon book fundraiser.

Jordan was unable to attend the event, which coincided with Catholic Schools Week and featured keynote speaker Bishop Kevin Rhoades, teacher recognitions and a choral performance by St. Vincent de Paul students.

Sponsored by Quality Dining Inc., the You Can Lend a Hand program has raised nearly $11 million since 1982. About 40 schools from the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese participate with students selling the booklets throughout February.

“Some schools use the money they raise to pay for learning tools such as tablets, smart boards and textbooks,” Quality Dining President John Firth said in a statement. “Others use it to host English classes for Spanish-speaking parents and some deposit the profits directly into their general fund, which further demonstrates the importance of the You Can Lend a Hand program. Local Catholic schools depend on this money.”

Rhoades addressed the role of Catholic schools.

“Catholic schools are to be nurturing environments in which young people can grow and prosper at their own pace,” Rhoades said. “This is not about lowering standards or coddling students. Neither is it about allowing unhealthy or unbalanced expectations. Sometimes I see kids pressured so much ... that they seem to be missing out on the joy of spontaneity of childhood. It cannot be that way in our Catholic schools.”

Rhoades congratulated 23 area educators who received the Light of Learning award for their commitment to Catholic education.

Carol Cornell, a retired Bishop Dwenger High School teacher, also received the Monsignor J. Lester Award for her support of Catholic education in the community.

Amy Johns, the diocese’s associate superintendent of schools, described Cornell as a relentless fundraiser who looked out for her students. Students in need would somehow get what they needed, such as a prom dress or money to pay a school a fee.

“An ever humble guardian angel, Carol would never boast that over the years, that she was their silent fairy godmother,” Johns said.


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