Jennifer Barton
Jennifer Barton
Staff Writer
August 24, 2020 // Local

Catholic schools welcome two new principals

Jennifer Barton
Jennifer Barton
Staff Writer

Annie Borjas, Holy Cross School

ANNIE BORJAS

Taking on the duties of principal for the first time at Holy Cross School, South Bend, Annie Borjas has unique qualifications to lead the Crusaders for the 2020-21 school year. With the school’s bilingual immersion program, who better to serve as principal than one of the people who helped develop the dual-track curriculum?

A mother of bilingual, bicultural children, Borjas was interested in the dual-language program since its inception at Holy Cross. She learned about the school in 2017 when it was first beginning. After enrolling her own children, Borjas found a new career at Holy Cross as well, becoming the first immersion teacher for a new preschool class. The next year, she moved up to the kindergarten level.

Borjas stated that she has always wanted to be an educator, and her love of Spanish is evident. Earning a degree in both elementary education and Spanish from St. Mary’s College, she pursued a Master of Education degree at Boston College. Her postgraduate work took her to Honduras, where she taught in a Catholic bilingual school. Returning to South Bend, she taught Spanish for second through eighth graders at Stanley Clark School for seven years before reentering the sphere of Catholic education. She is currently working toward a master’s degree in educational leadership through Notre Dame’s Remick Leadership Program, with a projected graduation date of 2022.

When former principal Angela Budzinski announced her upcoming retirement from Holy Cross, Borjas said she felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit to look into the job. “I tried to ignore Him,” she shared. “I am a mother to four young children; I was happy as a classroom teacher and I had no desire to pursue administration. But God had other plans, and He works in mysterious and wonderful ways. He used many Holy Cross community members and stakeholders to help me truly listen to His calling.”

Spending time in prayer led her through the hiring process and into her role as principal. Borjas believes she has big shoes to fill, however.

“Angie Budzinski was a well-loved principal who knew and cherished generations of Crusaders. I pray I can carry on her legacy and continue to foster a welcoming school community that embraces diversity.”

Borjas has a great love for the school that has “felt like home” from the moment she walked through the doors. “It is truly an honor to be principal of a school I love and treasure.”

Aside from her work at Centro Escolar Santa Clara in Honduras, Borjas has worked with nonnative English speakers in Boston through a program called Urban Catholic Teacher Corps, where she taught in the inner city. Today she is active in her home parish of Sacred Heart, where she has served on the parish council for six years.

Borjas is looking forward to the new school year and to finding creative ways to educate and connect with students and families, even in the midst of the pandemic. Prayer will be her greatest support going forward, she said, and she hopes to ensure that families feel welcome and appreciated at Holy Cross.

Dr. Julie Lauck, Our Lady of Hungary School

DR. JULIE LAUCK

Dr. Julie Lauck wasn’t looking for a new job when she and her husband moved back to South Bend this summer.

“I was just interested in seeing the happenings in the diocese, since we were coming back. I happened to look at the Catholic schools organization portion of the diocesan website and clicked the openings.” From there, God led her to Our Lady of Hungary School as its new principal.

Completing her undergraduate and postgraduate work at Indiana University South Bend and her education specialist licensure and doctorate at Ball State University, Lauck worked for many years in schools in Mishawaka, New Prairie and Valparaiso, to name a few. She joked that after so many years in the public schools, she is now making the transition to the “light side.”

Working in the Catholic school system is an exciting change for her. She is excited to work with the families and meet the children at Our Lady of Hungary. “I am looking forward to helping the students and staff grow closer to God while building my own capacity for living an authentic life.”

Beginning as a high school English teacher, Lauck transitioned into leadership, including positions ranging from assistant principal to superintendent of Valparaiso Community Schools. Along with her husband, Joe, she moved back to South Bend this year because the couple “wanted to be closer to family, friends and four of our seven grandchildren,” she said.

Since returning, the couple has enjoyed walking the campus of the University of Notre Dame and going to the 6:45 p.m. rosary at the grotto. Joe retired from the South Bend Police Department in 2014, so they are very much at home in the city and have been blessed to reconnect to friends in the area. Though Holy Family was Lauck’s former parish home, she and her husband have become members at Our Lady of Hungary Parish.

Prayer has been a crucial part of the discernment process for her new position, Lauck said. She has been asking for God’s direction in her life and for the wisdom to see how He has called her to serve. “When I placed myself in God’s hands, this was His answer.”

This will be the first time Lauck has been able to merge her faith with her work, she said. She feels fortunate to be able to have quiet time with the Lord in the “beautiful church” before beginning work each morning. More than that, though, she hopes to share her faith and help build a strong faith foundation for younger generations of Catholics.

“To be in a position where I can have a profound impact on the education of children and help develop their Catholic identity is a calling that has been tugging at my heart for some time,” Lauck shared. “Our Church is coming to a time when we will be called to defend our faith – perhaps with our lives. We need educated Catholics who know the faith and are willing to defend it.”

Lauck is prepared for this challenge, “ready to serve Him through my service to the children, staff and families at Our Lady of Hungary.”

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