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The Story of the ACE Bus

Alliance for Catholic Education celebrates 20th year with campaign, bus tour

The University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) is conducting a cross-country celebration of Catholic schools that marks ACE's 20 years of service to under-served children and to the Church's mission of educating hearts and minds.

"Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Schools" is the message that is being rolled out from the Notre Dame campus. Since this fall, the ACE team have been traveling by bus to events in nearly 50 cities and advancing their mission to sustain, strengthen and transform Catholic schools.

Spanning the 2013-14 academic year, the bus tour is part of a 20th anniversary campaign highlighting the contributions that Catholic schools make to the rich education landscape in America and to civic society generally. An ACE-themed bus has been visiting communities where ACE has been privileged to send forth faith-filled teachers and school leaders, as well as enter into a variety of innovative partnerships, since it was founded in 1993 by Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., and Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C.

Bus Tour Video"We want to express our gratitude to the teachers, leaders, students and families who enable Catholic schools to develop the God-given talents of each child, and we hope to draw greater attention to the amazing legacy and bright future of these schools that form engaged citizens and advance the common good," Father Scully said. "After 20 years of providential growth that has allowed the Alliance for Catholic Education to work with so many communities, dioceses, schools and partners, we want to stand alongside them to renew our commitment to serve more children and families through Catholic schools."

An array of events are happening at Notre Dame and across the country to convene supporters of Catholic schools to pray together, to honor local leaders and to celebrate the profound contributions of Catholic schools for the Church and the nation. To reflect ACE's work in scores of dioceses, a specially outfitted tour bus, provided by a generous benefactor, brings a Notre Dame presence to cities big and small—from New York and Washington, D.C., to Tampa, Tucson and Dallas; from Baton Rouge and Memphis to Chicago, Stockton and Los Angeles.

The bus tour came home to the Notre Dame campus for events on the weekend of the Notre Dame-Navy football game in early November to commemorate the first ACE recruiting meeting, on Nov. 4, 1993, when students learned of a new opportunity to serve as teachers in under-resourced Catholic elementary and secondary schools. Those students constituted the "ACE 1" cohort and began their preparation for teaching following their graduation from Notre Dame, in the summer of 1994. The "ACE 20" cohort, consisting of about 90 graduates competitively selected from colleges and universities across the United States, began its two-year formation experience this summer.

Segments of the bus tour are continuing in spring 2014, and the broader celebration will culminate this summer.

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame's president, notes ACE's strong connection to the University's values: "The mission of the Alliance for Catholic Education uniquely embodies the University's mission to 'create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.'"

Learn more about the celebration at a special section of the ACE website. See ACE's digital annual report and visit the Institute for Educational Initiatives website to explore Notre Dame's broad commitment to the future of children and schooling. More information is available by visiting Carole Sandner Hall, home of ACE on the Notre Dame campus, near the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Main Building and the Grotto.