June 14, 2017 // Diocese

Around the Diocese: June 18, 2017

Humanitas Award given to Melissa Wheeler

NOTRE DAME — The Humanitas Award, given out annually by the Alumnae Association of Saint Mary’s College, recognizes an alumna who is outstanding in her personal and volunteer accomplishments and is recognized for her concern for the interests and welfare of her fellow human beings. Her actions exemplify the qualities of personal dedication, compassion, selflessness and sacrifice through social action, education and reform within the community, the church and the world.

This year’s recipient is Melissa Roberts-Wheeler, ’97, of Fort Wayne, for her service in Catholic education and with Catholic Relief Services. The award was announced June 3 at a reunion banquet held on campus.

Roberts-Wheeler has taught theology at her alma mater, Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, since 2001, and has served as the school’s social justice coordinator since 2005. She was also head of the Theology Department from 2003-12. Working in these capacities, she has touched the lives of countless students.

In 2012 Roberts-Wheeler was named director for Catholic Relief Services for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. As the director, she is responsible for representing the diocese at national CRS events and coordinating the organization’s work within the diocese. She manages this role along with teaching and other responsibilities.

Students of St. Mary of the Assumption School took a pledge at the beginning of the school year to show kindness to everyone. Students and staff created a paper chain of links showing all the kindnesses they witnessed throughout the school year, and as the school year came to a close they walked the chain through Avilla to the library, where they presented it for display. The children hoped others would see the chain and continue to spread acts of kindness throughout the community.

One of her nominators and classmates, Molly Schleeter Bell, Class of 1997, wrote that Roberts-Wheeler’s “character and moral compass guide her in all aspects of her life… (she is) a giver, a woman of faith, a volunteer, a teacher. She deserves this award because she would never expect it, with the way she lives her life as the reward to others.”

Catholic schools recognized by state

FORT WAYNE-SOUTH BEND — The state of Indiana issued recognition June 1 for achievements that have taken place in schools across the state, including several of the Catholic schools within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne, and Saint Joseph High School, South Bend, received 2017 Indiana AP recognition from the Indiana Department of Education and the College Board for their efforts to provide students with access to and success in advanced placement courses and exams. They were honored at the Indiana AP recognition ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse atrium on June 14, an event that recognizes all schools in the state where at least 30 percent of the graduating class cohort earned a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP exam. This year, a total of 53 schools achieved the 30 percent success rate for the 2016 graduating cohorts including the two from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. Students who receive scores of 3 or higher on an AP exam can use that score to test out of entry level college courses.

Additionally, 10 diocesan schools have been recognized by the Indiana Department of Education as Four Star Schools. Created in 1988, the Four Star School Award has been in existence for nearly 30 years. To receive Four Star designation, a school must receive an “A” on the state’s A-F accountability system, have excellent ISTEP pass rates, carry overall high graduation rate (if applicable) and show success in closing achievement gaps.

Four Star Schools in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend schools are: Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne; Christ the King School, South Bend; Marian High School, Mishawaka; Queen of Peace School, Mishawaka; St. Anthony de Padua School, South Bend; St. Bernard Elementary School, Wabash; St. Joseph High School South Bend; St. Joseph School, South Bend; St. Michael School, Plymouth; and St. Pius X School, Granger.

Brell awarded St. Jude scholarship

FORT WAYNE — Maryjane Brell, a student at St. Jude School, is the winner of the 2017 Mike Barnes “Woofus” scholarship, an award given annually to the second-grader who puts forth his or her best effort in class, works and plays well with other students and is courteous and kind in helping others. The scholarship was created in memory of Barnes, who was a second-grade teacher at the school for many years.

The $500 that accompanies the honor will be applied to Brell’s tuition at St. Jude School for the next school year.





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