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ACE Partners with Notre Dame Men's Basketball to Help St. Catherine of Siena

Theo Helm on Tuesday, 17 October 2017.

St. Catherine of Siena Notre Dame Men's Basketball

The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) will be working Friday night with the University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team to help St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School in Port Arthur, Texas, and other schools recover from recent hurricanes.

The basketball team added a third exhibition game to the 2017-18 schedule and will take on Holy Cross College at 7 p.m. Friday in Purcell Pavilion. The NCAA approved a waiver for the game, with all proceeds going to hurricane relief. Notre Dame will be focusing its aid on ACE, St. Catherine, and other schools affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Haidee Todora, St. Catherine of SienaHaidee Todora, the principal of St. Catherine, attended ACE’s Latino Enrollment Institute and serves as a mentor principal for the Institute. The school suffered extensive flooding, a severely damaged roof, and a wrecked HVAC system – and that's just the top of the list. Despite all this, Todora says just four families have left the school, and the school community is focused on making it through the year – though many families are displaced from their homes and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

Todora is in her seventh year as principal of St. Catherine; in 2017, she received the Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award from the National Catholic Educational Association. She attended and graduated from the school, and sent her son to St. Catherine as well. Hurricane Harvey left 12 inches of water and extensive damage in its wake.

“Through the devastation of the hurricane, the support from ACE and the Institute have been a major factor in bringing us back,” she said. “I am so honored and privileged to be a part of ACE and the Latino Enrollment Institute.”

St. Catherine of Siena Hurricane Harvey

ACE started the Institute in 2012 with Fr. Joe Corpora, CSC, in response to national data showing that Latinos to be both the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. Catholic Church and the most underserved by Catholic Schools. The Institute helps principals transform their schools to attract and serve Latino students more effectively. The Institute is part of the Catholic School Advantage, which is ACE's set of initiatives to embrace, educate, and empower culturally and linguistically diverse students.

“It’s been a blessing to work with Fr. Joe and the Institute,” Todora said. “It has broadened our awareness of strong Catholic identity, strengthened my spiritual leadership, and opened our eyes to serving different cultures.

“What we teach students about living like Jesus, making the right choices – that is felt on Notre Dame’s campus. This is what we want our children to feel.”

Notre Dame will play Holy Cross at 7 p.m. Friday in Purcell Pavilion. Admission is free, and fans can donate at the game.

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