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ACE Visits Minneapolis, MN

(April 2-3)

ACE in the Community

ACE is delighted to be a part of the Catholic community of Minneapolis. Ten former ACErs live and work in the Twin Cities area today, eight of whom continue to serve its Catholic schools. Additionally, former ACEr Luke Marquard (ACE 12, Denver) was ordained as a priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis last spring. Along with fellow supporters of Catholic education, the ACE graduates have established a vibrant and active Twin Cities ACE Advocates group that hosts liturgies, recreation, and fundraising events to promote community and support of Catholic schools.

Where We’ll Be:

Thursday, April 3

9:00 a.m. CST — School visit to St. Anastasia School

400 Lake Street SW, Hutchinson, MN  55350


12:15 p.m. CST — School visit to Blessed Trinity Catholic School

 7540 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55423

Event Point of Contact: Alec Torigian,

Award Recipients:

About the Awards

The University of Notre Dame Sorin Award for Service to Catholic Schools

Father John Forliti felt an early calling to the priesthood and youth ministry. As a young man, he had to make a choice between a career in music — a lifelong passion — or a life devoted to the priesthood. He recalls that the decision was within him the whole time, that he was "called from birth to be a bridge builder" and he would serve those on the bridge from youth to adulthood. At the national level, Father John made important contributions to the development and publication of leadership documents emanating from the National Catholic Educational Association.

In 1985, Father John became the first Vice President for Student Affairs at the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He returned to parish life at St. Olaf's parish in downtown Minneapolis six years later in 1991. At St. Olaf's, Father John dedicated himself both to reinvigorating youth ministry and to strengthening the parish's connection to its mission sites, especially its sister parish in Kenya. Father John believes that each parish without a Catholic school has an obligation to support a Catholic school that is not connected to a parish. Weaving together his passion for youth ministry and a passion for service, Father John used a $10,000 grant to provide computers for the Kenyan parish and sent a group of high school kids from Cretin-Derham Hall High School in Saint Paul to witness the benefits of their service and fundraising.

Father John expresses his love of faith and family in varied ways. He shares food with many, especially with students on retreats. By donating the dinners he cooks to the Risen Christ Catholic School Gala auction, he raises funds for children living in poverty, 77 percent of whom are Latino, in the urban core of south Minneapolis.

Father John retired from active ministry in 2004, but continues his devotion to high school youth ministry at Cretin-Derham Hall High School.

The University of Notre Dame Champion for Education Award

Laysha Ward

In an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2010, Laysha Ward listed her second and third grade teachers as her personal heroes and said the best advice she ever received was from her great-great-grandmother: "There are a few things in life worth fighting for: family, friends, faith, freedom and an education."

Ward currently serves as the president of Community Relations for Target and a member of its executive committee. She persists in pursuing the values of educational excellence and has devoted a significant amount of time and energy to promoting those ideals in the greater community. Within the corporation, Ward oversees the majority of Target's domestic and international philanthropy and serves as director of the Target Foundation, whose education programs and partnerships set students, teachers and schools up for success. In 2010, Target pledged to give $1 billion to educational initiatives by the end of 2015. At $777 million to date, they are well on their way to meeting their goal.

Ward also serves on the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and she is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Commission on No Child Left Behind. She is also a member of the advisory committee for The Shriver Report, a project founded by Maria Shriver that examines current cultural transformations affecting American women and families.

In 2010 Ward joined the White House Council for Community Solutions, established to bring together resources from the public, private, non-profit and philanthropic sectors in communities across the country. With a near-term focus on connecting youth to pathways to employment, the Council provides the President guidance on the best ways to enlist more Americans and leaders across sectors to catalyze change within communities and make progress on our nation's greatest challenges.

ACE Point of Contact: Bill Schmitt - 

Information confirmed: 3/20/14 - 4:25 p.m.