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ACE Advocates Host Annual Leaders Summit

on Monday, 24 October 2011.

Champions for K-12 Catholic education recently gathered at the University of Notre Dame from around the country to share skills and ideas at the annual ACE Advocates Regional Leaders Summit. The advocates, active year-round in 25 regional groups from Washington, DC to Los Angeles and from South Bend to Dallas, returned to the home of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) to advance their goal of building a movement in service to Catholic schools.

Every annual summit provides ongoing leadership formation for the national network of ACE graduates, who represent an important pool of talent for the Church. Through their regions, these leaders—a majority of whom are still Catholic school educators themselves—perform a range of services to schools, parents, and children. Communities have raised funds for schools, assisted individual students' families facing emergencies, and taken supportive stands on statewide parental choice policy initiatives. Regions also provide spiritual nourishment and an encouraging community for local Catholic school supporters.

From the Field: The Duffey Family

on Thursday, 20 October 2011.

Duffey FamilyDr. Richard and Susan Duffey and their seven children testify to the power of Catholic school teachers to touch the lives of whole families—and the ability of families to nurture the value and vocation of teaching.

The Duffeys live in Mobile, Alabama, where ACE teachers have served for 18 years. "Susan and I and our children have watched them make a tangible difference in the Mobile schools as they bring youth, faith, energy, and solid teaching to their classrooms," says Dick, noting that ACE teachers' enthusiasm spreads "to their students, students' parents, and fellow faculty and staff members."

The Duffeys know this first-hand. All seven children attended Catholic grade school and high school, and they came to know many ACE teachers personally. Dick and Susan's generosity was a contributing factor; the Duffeys have welcomed Mobile ACE teachers to their home and dinner table on many occasions. As Dick and Susan learned more about ACE, they began to see the program's national scope, observing that ACE teachers were "transforming the landscape of Catholic education, not just in Mobile, but throughout the country," Susan recalls. The next step was not surprising: Upon graduation from college, the Duffeys' oldest children, Kati and David, became ACE teachers themselves.

The story is just beginning for the Duffey family and the ACE family. Kati is married to Mike Macaluso, another ACE graduate, and both are pursuing doctoral studies in education. David has moved on from ACE to law school. Their younger siblings are "watching attentively," the Duffeys report, and considering ACE participation among the opportunities to "initiate a lifelong journey of giving back to God." Meanwhile, ACE teachers continue to serve in Mobile, building the future in various ways and blessed to find community members who, like the Duffeys, share their enthusiasm. "Susan and I could not be more pleased for the experience ACE has brought to
the lives of our whole family."

ND ACE Academies Receive Target's Support

on Monday, 17 October 2011.

The University of Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) today launched the "ACE Readers" program, a state-of-the-art childhood literacy program designed to combat the achievement gap that plagues at-risk communities. The program will be implemented in the Notre Dame ACE Academies in Tucson, Ariz., and was made possible by a $118,000 grant from Target as part of the retailer's campaign to improve education and reading.
              "With Target's support, we are able to significantly strengthen literacy instruction in our partner schools," said Dr. Christian Dallavis, director of the Notre Dame ACE Academies initiative, noting that strong reading skills will bolster the students' future achievement. "The development of early childhood literacy is critical because children need to learn to read before they can read to learn. This grant provides the tools teachers need to ensure that the at-risk kids we serve can defy the odds by being on the path to college from a very young age."

From the Field: Noah Franske

on Thursday, 13 October 2011.

How would you answer this question? At its core, teaching is about _____. Fr. Tim Scully, CSC, co-founder of ACE answers the question this way: "Teaching is ultimately a sacrament of friendship." And Noah Franske, ACE STT second year teacher and our From the Field focus this week, agrees. "I don't think I ever realized how much I could care for another person," he says."You have to reach deep down to find that kind of a relationship, and teaching creates that experience."

The native Minnesotan is learning this valuable lesson in St. Petersburg, FL, where he teaches math at St. Petersburg Catholic High School. "I had so many great math teachers in high school," he says. "I really wanted to give back." He goes on, "Most of my math students have never had a math teacher anywhere near their age. Bringing energy, enthusiasm, and a true love for math to the classroom makes them realize that math really can be fun and hip. Bringing my faith and life experiences into the mix also provides them with a solid role model, something several of my students need."

True to the give-and-take of relationship, Franske also emphasizes what he has learned from his students. "I've learned incredible patience, gratitude, and humility through my students' struggles. I've learned that nothing in life should be taken for granted. And I'm thankful for every day I have to learn from my students." Teaching is, he says, "truly life-changing."

Noah Franske will graduate the ACE program in July.

Rudy Awards for High School Athletes Have Support from Play Like a Champion Today

on Wednesday, 12 October 2011.

News from Play Like a Champion and the Trusted Sports Foundation

Bend, OR – September 2011 – During the third year of the successful High School Football Rudy Awards more amazing stories will be told of the power of sports to develop moral strength. This 'feel good' program searches for nominees from around the nation, and honors them for their commitment to excellence, oftentimes in the face of personal challenges. The awards are based on the inspirational story of Daniel 'Rudy' Ruettiger, who overcame personal challenges with great moral strength and unrelenting persistence to make the Notre Dame Football Team. His real-life story is featured in the classic football film RUDY and serves as the original example of character, courage, commitment and contribution that this award is based on.

$25,000 in academic scholarships will be awarded by the Trusted Sports Foundation to 12 young football players based on the size of their heart rather than performance or statistics. The emphasis on personal growth through sports resonates with both Play Like a Champion Today® and the High School Football Rudy Awards. Play Like A Champion Today® encourages the development of young athletes whose "Rudy-esque" actions serve to motivate other young athletes to 'dream big and never give up'.

Since the program's launch in 2009, the awards have placed the spotlight on over 700 players and has generated over 5 million votes. Drew Bledsoe, former New England Patriots star and four-time Pro Bowl quarterback is the Chairman of the national Selection Committee that also includes Dallas Cowboys quarterback legend Troy Aikman and former New England Patriots linebacker, Tedy Bruschi, both three-time Super Bowl Champions. Other notable selection committee members include Leigh Anne Tuohy, mother of Baltimore Ravens player Michael Oher and inspirational figure of the film The Blind Side and Shaun Alexander, former Seattle Seahawks running back and NFL MVP.

Trusted Sports Founder John Ballantine likens the awards to their inspirational leader's famous journey. "Rudy always followed his dreams despite overwhelming challenges," said Ballantine. "Many of our nominees turn up and give everything to their team even when times are tough and it becomes painful to continue. Their commitment shows the emotional strength of a true winner. We're excited to partner with Play Like a Champion Today® to reassert sports as a tool for personal development and to highlight nominees as examples of how supportive teams, coaches, and programs can foster effective members of society."

"These awards reflect the powerful life lessons that we see young people learning from sports every day," said Kristin Sheehan, program director for Play Like a Champion Today® in the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame. "We celebrate not only the inspirational football players, but also the culture of integrity, perseverance, and moral leadership that is passed to these athletes by coaches and parents. The Rudy Awards help to nurture the bold vision that we associate with the story of Rudy and with Notre Dame's famous call to be a champion."

The Trusted Sports Foundation has granted $50,000 in college academic scholarships to high school football players. Twelve finalists will share $25,000 in academic scholarships, with the winner receiving a $7,500 scholarship. Anyone can nominate the 'Rudy' on their team at

About Trusted Sports Foundation
Trusted Sports Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on inspiring kids to thrive in life through sports. Our goal is to empower underserved youth to live up to their full potential through positive sports experiences that form active, healthy habits for a lifetime. Through our national inspirational youth sports awards programs, we reward perseverance, character and leadership with academic scholarships for athletes who inspire their teams, schools, and communities. Our Kids In The Game giving program connects donors with youth sports programs in need of support, creating more opportunities for low-income, underserved youth to play sports.

About Play Like A Champion Today
Play Like A Champion Today® is an innovative coach and parent education organization that is transforming the culture of youth sports. Based at the University of Notre Dame as part of its ACE initiative to strengthen K-12 education, Play Like A Champion Today® offers a child-centered, research-based approach to coaching and sport parenting.

For information: /
Video, 2010 Winner, Chance Anthony:
Press Contact: Sandy Henderson

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