February 9, 2016 // Local

Light of Learning luncheons celebrate excellence

In the photo at the Fort Wayne Light of Learning luncheon are the following: front row, from left,
Elizabeth Straley, Debbra Groves, Krystle Starr Martin, Jennifer Finney, Pamela Rorick, Kimberly Reber and Jill Marshall; middle row, Michelle Spychalski, Paula Svitek, Emily Nichter, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Maryalice Beach, Katherine Willoughby, Ashley Fullenkamp and Mary Yoder; back row, Secretary of Catholic Education Carl Loesch, Brigette Fogarty, Evan Smith, Joshua Smith, Rose Smith, Nicholas Peppler, Jason Schiffli, Cynthia Renshaw, Claudia Schnurr, Superintendent of Catholic Schools Marsha Jordan.

Teachers and administrators who express core values of Catholic education and incorporate those values into their curriculum were celebrated in both Fort Wayne and South Bend with the Light of Learning luncheons last week.

Quality Dining, Inc., sponsors the annual luncheons. The luncheons also mark the beginning of the You Can Lend a Hand coupon book campaign. Catholic school students in the diocese sell these coupon books that may be used at restaurants and sporting venues in the region. Since 1982, Quality Dining has given more than $10 million for area Catholic schools.

Teachers honored with the Light of Learning Award in Fort Wayne include the following: Nicholas Peppler, Most Precious Blood School; Katherine Willoughby, Queen of Angels School; Claudia Schnurr, St. Charles Borromeo School; Elizabeth Straley, St. John the Baptist School; Paula Svitek, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School; Evan Smith, St. Joseph School; Michelle Spychalski, St. Jude School; Kimberly Reber, St. Therese School; Maryalice Beach, St. Vincent de Paul School; Emily Nichter, St. Joseph School-Hessen Cassel; Cynthia Renshaw, Bishop Dwenger High School; and Joshua Smith, Bishop Luers High School, all Fort Wayne schools; Krystle Starr Martin, St. Aloysius School, Yoder; Brigette Fogarty, St. John the Baptist School, New Haven; Debbra Groves, St. Rose of Lima School, Monroeville; Mary Yoder, St. Mary of the Assumption School, Avilla; Jill Marshall, St. Joseph School, Garrett; Ashley Fullenkamp, St. Joseph School, Decatur; Pamela Rorick, Huntington Catholic School, Huntington; Jennifer Finney, St. Bernard School, Wabash; and Rose Smith, Sacred Heart School, Warsaw. Jason Shiffli, principal of Bishop Dwenger High School was the administrator honored.

Teachers honored with the Light of Learning Award in South Bend include the following: Mary Gallagher, Christ the King; Keith Foley, Corpus Christi; Katherine Kowalski, Holy Cross; Robert Budzinski, Holy Family; Amy Black, Our Lady of Hungary; Jennifer Crain, St. Adalbert; Karen Bogol, St. Anthony de Padua; Michele Weldy, St. John the Baptist; Jennifer Sweazy, St. Joseph; Mary Johnson, St. Jude; Janice Horan, St. Matthew Cathedral; Brett Goodrich, Saint Joseph High School, all South Bend schools; Stephanie McCune-Bell, Queen of Peace, Mishawaka; Gina Lehmann, Mishawaka Catholic, Mishawaka; Elizabeth Camp, St. Thomas the Apostle, Elkhart; Stephanie Kronk, St. John the Evangelist, Goshen; Kelly Lohr, St. Pius X, Granger; Barbara Blad, St. Michael, Plymouth; and Angela Kramer, Marian High School, Mishawaka. Elaine Holmes, principal of St. Pius X School, Granger, was the administrator honored.

At both luncheons Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades served as the keynote speaker. He provided statistics from the Pew Research Center that reveal why Catholic schools are needed today more than ever. His talk was featured in the Today’s Catholic Feb. 7, 2016 issue in his column, In Truth and Charity.

At the dinners, the Msgr. J. William Lester Award winners were announced. In Fort Wayne, the award was presented to Mike and Mary Jane Millikan. Mary Jane was a graduate of the first Bishop Luers class. The Millikans five children and many of their grandchildren either attended or are attending Bishop Luers.

In the photo at the South Bend Light of Learning luncheon are the following: from left, front row, Elaine Holmes, Katherine Kowalski, Stephanie Kronk, Angela Kramer, Barbara Blad, Mary Johnson and Amy Black; middle row, Michele Weldy, Kelly Lohr, Karen Bogol, Elizabeth Camp, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, Jennifer Sweazy, Stephanie McCune-Bell and Gina Lehmann; back row, Secretary of Catholic Education Carl Loesch, Robert Budzinski, Mary Gallagher, Brett Goodrich, Keith Foley, Jennifer Crain, Janice Horan and Superintendent of Catholic Schools Marsha Jordan.

Superintendent of Catholic Schools Marsha Jordan, in presenting the award, spoke of the Millikans’ commitment to Bishop Luers High School. She described the Millikans as superstars in a quiet way.

“They have been involved on all different levels for many, many years — LuersKnight, football field dad, capital campaigns, class gifts, class reunions, homecomings, alumni board, development committee and office renovations to name a few,” Jordan said. “They have supported the school financially and spiritually on both a personal and corporate level,” she said. “It is not uncommon to see them at the All School Masses, and their faith is a wonderful example to students, faculty and staff.”

J. Patrick and Aimée Matthews, faithful supporters of Saint Joseph High School in South Bend, were the Msgr. J. William Lester Award recipients in South Bend. Both are 1983 alums of Saint Joseph High School. Three of their children have graduated from Saint Joseph, and two are still to graduate.

Aimée Matthews chaired the Saint Joseph Auction two years in a row, and has served on numerous committees over the years. The Matthews are involved with the Saint Joseph High School Parent Group, with Aimée serving as president for several years. In addition, Aimée currently serves on the school board and several committees.

“Active members of Christ the King Parish, Pat and Aimée have demonstrated many times over their faithful support of Catholic education, and Saint Joseph High School,” Jordan said. “They strongly believe in the mission of the school and support Saint Joseph High School in any way possible. True servants of the Church, Pat and Aimée always give freely of their time, talent and treasure to their alma mater. Saint Joseph High School has been blessed over and over by their goodness and generosity, including their support of the Forward in Faith campaign and the Annual Fund drive. Pat and Aimée personify what we hope all of our students will be upon graduation from St. Joseph High School.”


Aimée and J. Patrick Matthews were the recipients of the Msgr. J. William Lester Award at the South Bend luncheon.

Mike and Mary Jane Millikan were the recipients of the Msgr. J. William Lester Award at the Fort Wayne luncheon.

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