May 3, 2024 // Diocese

Catholic School Teachers Honored at Annual Banquets

Each year, local teachers and administrators are honored for their outstanding work in the academic and spiritual formation of children at Catholic schools across the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend at the annual You Can Lend a Hand Luncheons.

Sponsored by Quality Dining Inc., a hospitality group based in Mishawaka that has donated more than $12 million dollars to local Catholic schools through its coupon sales, the luncheons were hosted on Thursday, April 18, in the Discovery Ballroom at Century Center in South Bend and on Wednesday, April 24, at the Grand Wayne Center in Fort Wayne.

Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, David Maugel, introduces the Christ the Teacher honorees.

“The purpose of today is to share fellowship but more importantly to celebrate the success of our Catholic schools, and in particular, the excellence displayed by our teachers and administrators,” said Dan Fitzpatrick, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Quality Dining Inc., in his opening remarks in Fort Wayne. “As you well know, Catholic schools are much more than a place to learn the basics of just old-fashioned reading, writing, and arithmetic. Our schools do more – much more. Our schools are building and developing a moral foundation for our children, continuingly shaping, as it were, our students’ minds, bodies, and souls.”

South Bend Photos provided by Quality Dining


South Bend

Christ the King School, South Bend: Corinne Gries

Corpus Christi School, South Bend: Trisha Perry

Holy Cross School, South Bend: Bixis Colina

Holy Family School, South Bend: Emily Farris

Our Lady of Hungary School, South Bend: Marie Bubelenyi

St. Adalbert School, South Bend: Kevin Joyce

St. Anthony de Padua School, South Bend: Alexis Turnock

St. John the Baptist School, South Bend: Ryan Brandt

St. Joseph School, South Bend: Christina Venner

St. Jude School, South Bend: Charlene Weber

St. Matthew Cathedral School, South Bend: Kathy McMillen

Queen of Peace School, Mishawaka: Lora Mulstay

Mishawaka Catholic School, Mishawaka: Lauren Bonadies

St. Thomas the Apostle School, Elkhart: Elizabeth Yeakey

St. Vincent de Paul School, Elkhart: Not Participating

St. John the Evangelist School, Goshen: Ruth Newell

St. Pius X School, Granger: Katie Sater

St. Michael School, Plymouth: Angela Reese

Marian High School, Mishawaka: Elaine Desmarais

Saint Joseph High School, South Bend: Dan Mentock

St. Thomas More Academy, South Bend: Kaitlyn Brown

St. Mary’s School, Niles (Diocese of Kalamazoo): Lisa Bentley

Our Lady of the Lake School, St. Joseph (Diocese of Kalamazoo): Dane Whipple

St. Mother Theodore Guerin Administrative Assistant Award: Annie Borjas, Holy Cross School

Poster Contest Winner: Abilene Navarrete, Holy Cross School

In 1982, Fitzpatrick and his brother, Jim – the late Deacon Jim, who passed away last year – created the You Can Lend a Hand program to provide financial assistance to local Catholic schools. This program provided “a meaningful lifeline” for many area schools, Fitzpatrick said.

Dan Fitzpatrick, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Quality Dining Inc., shares his opening remarks in Fort Wayne.

“We are here today because we are convinced of the great ideal of Catholic education,” Fitzpatrick said. “We honor our Catholic school educators who serve this ideal with faith and devotion, by word and example. Why do they do so? It is because they believe in the mission of Catholic education, the mission of communicating Christ, forming our children and young people as disciples of Christ, and helping them to arrive at the fullness of Christian life. All of us are here today because we believe in this mission. We share the desire that the Gospel of Jesus will take root in the hearts and minds of our children and young people.”

Superintendent David Maugel presents the Monsignor William J. Lester Award to Judy and Jerry Kearns.

Along with the Christ the Teacher awards given to educators from schools across the diocese, at the luncheon in South Bend, Jerry and Judy Kearns were presented with the Monsignor William J. Lester Award. In Fort Wayne, the award was given to Lois Tippmann. Each of these individuals was honored for their longtime service to – and support of – Catholic education in the diocese.

Joshua Schipper
Bishop Rhoades presents the Monsignor William J. Lester Award to Lois Tippmann.

In his keynote address at the luncheon in Fort Wayne, Bishop Rhoades echoed Fitzpatrick’s emphasis on the mission of Catholic school and applauded those who take up this vital work.

“Our age and culture are marked by a certain confusion about the nature and purpose of education, often arising from conflicting understandings of the human person and of life’s meaning and final end,” Bishop Rhoades said. “We are clear about these things, for we recognize Jesus of Nazareth, the Incarnate Son of God, as the truth of God and the truth of man. … Our schools help our students to know, love, and follow Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To do so, we need educators, like those we have honored today, whose hearts and souls are shaped by the Spirit of Christ, educators who think with the mind of the Church, educators who look upon and love their students as part of the flock of Christ.”

Fort Wayne Photos by Joshua Schipper


Fort Wayne

Huntington Catholic School, Huntington: Amy Ball

St. Bernard School, Wabash: Angie Benner

St. Therese School, Fort Wayne: Brianne Bohnstedt

Most Precious Blood School, Fort Wayne: Andrea Buday

St. Louis Academy, New Haven: Darlene Carey

St. John the Baptist School, New Haven: Jay Crisp

Bishop Luers High School, Fort Wayne: Joe Davis

St. Vincent de Paul School, Fort Wayne: Anna Dowty

St. Joseph School, Fort Wayne: Jessica Elward

St. Rose of Lima School, Monroeville: Krystle Harless

Queen of Angels School, Fort Wayne: Jill Henderson

St. Jude School, Fort Wayne: Christine Hudson

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School, Fort Wayne: Jennifer Kleber

Sacred Heart School, Warsaw: Andrea Komorowski

St. Joseph School, Hessen Cassel, Fort Wayne: Joy Marquardt

St. Mary of the Assumption School, Avilla: Jill Marshall

St. Joseph School, Decatur: Michelle Miller

St. Charles Borromeo School, Fort Wayne: Emily Reeves

Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne: Theresa Roberts

Our Lady of Good Hope School, Fort Wayne: Elizabeth Sorg

St. John the Baptist School, Fort Wayne: Laura Sturm

St. Aloysius School, Yoder: Dawn Wyss

St. Joseph School, Garrett: Bradley Yarnall

St. Mother Theodore Guerin Administrative Assistant Award: Beatrice Royal, Our Lady of Good Hope School

Bishop Rhoades reminded those in attendance in Fort Wayne of St. Peter’s words that call us to always be ready to give a reason for the hope within us to anyone who asks. “That’s what we do in our Catholic schools,” Bishop Rhoades said. “We seek to instill hope in our young people. Nourished by our own personal prayer and our participation in the sacraments, in the holy mission of Catholic education, we seek to bear witness to Christ our Hope, Christ the Teacher, Christ the Savior of the world! May those we educate go forth from our schools as hope-filled young people who have encountered Christ and are equipped to spread the Good News of His Gospel and the truth that sets us free! Thank you all for your attention and may the Holy Spirit guide and strengthen you and all who serve in or support our Catholic schools!”

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