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Cardinal Mahony Visits ACE's New Home

on Friday, 04 November 2011.

His Eminence Cardinal Roger Mahony, recently retired leader of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, celebrated Mass with the ACE community in Carole Sandner Hall on Monday, October 31, 2011.

Cardinal Mahony, a long-time friend of ACE who has welcomed ACE teachers and ACE's Catholic School Advantage campaign into his archdiocese, spoke in his homily about Jesus' remarks in the day's Gospel reading.

In Chapter 14 of Luke, Jesus attends a dinner and gives this instruction: "When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Cardinal Mahony reminded the ACE congregation that "all are welcome at the table of the Lord," and he has seen how joyful the poor can be because "they sense the providence of God in their lives."

He said ACE teachers "bring great hope" to the schools serving the disadvantaged. Thanking ACE, he said, "The work that you're doing is basically setting up more tables."

Gift of an Extraordinary Cross

on Thursday, 03 November 2011.

"Nanovic Cross" Blessed in ACE's New Home

ACE’s new home is blessed with an inspiring piece of religious art sculpted by a Maine artist and made possible by two very generous friends of the University of Notre Dame. The piece of art is a stunning cross fabricated from nails.

  The artwork itself, which can be seen outside the Warner Retreat meeting room in Carole Sandner Hall, was blessed by Rev. Timothy Scully, C.S.C., director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives, on Oct. 22, 2011. The blessing took place as part of a celebratory event that welcomed the artist, John Bisbee, and the benefactors, Bob and Liz Nanovic.

Catholic School Champion: Priscilla Bussari

on Wednesday, 02 November 2011.

priscillabussariteaserimageThe power of prayer brought Priscilla Bussari to her involvement with Notre Dame ACE Academies.

With her husband, Rey, the mother of five has sent each of their children to Catholic schools. Currently their three youngest attend St. John the Evangelist, A Notre Dame ACE Academy. The school, she reports, is thriving now, but it hasn't always been so. "St. John's was on the brink of closure," Mrs. Bussari says. "It had gone through five different principals in five years and enrollment was rapidly declining. There was no unified direction for the school." So she and several others committed to praying for St. John's. "This is not just the school my children attend," she explains. "This is our community."

Their prayers were answered. "St. John's was one of the 3 schools chosen to become the first Notre Dame ACE Academies. This partnership would give our school the resources it had been lacking for so many years. This renewed sense of direction gave me hope, and I wanted to be part of it."

Today Mrs. Bussari serves on the Notre Dame ACE Academies school board and, she adds, "in any capacity needed. I will be the voice of our school's parents, working on behalf of our children to ensure that they have the opportunities to get an excellent education and to continue to grow in their faith."

And indeed, they are making gains. "The expectations both academically and in their faith are at a higher level; this partnership has opened up a new world for them. The school culture has made such a positive change in just the last year."

About her service to St. John's, this Catholic School Champion concludes, "I know we have a lot of work ahead of us, but I am confident that with this partnership, the future is a bright one."

Catholic Education as a Field of Research

on Monday, 31 October 2011.

ACE is Active in This Distinct Field

A nationwide cadre of scholars and practitioners has entered its second year of efforts to build up Catholic K-12 education as a distinct field of research and inquiry. This Catholic Education Special Interest Group (SIG) within the American Educational Research Association (AERA) is moving ahead with a leadership team that includes two ACE directors—Rev. Ronald Nuzzi, senior director of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, and Christian Dallavis, director of the Notre Dame ACE Academy initiative.

The approximately 100 participants in AERA's Catholic Education SIG, who represent more than 50 different institutions from around the world, are served by Father Nuzzi as program chair and Dallavis as secretary/treasurer. These scholars are collecting a body of knowledge about, and promoting further study of, Catholic schools.

From the Field: Christie Hjerpe

on Friday, 28 October 2011.

As a young girl, when ACE 17's Christie Hjerpe heard her grandfather sing, "It's a great day to be alive," little did she know that years later, it would become a kind of theme song in her classroom!

Christie teaches third grade at Santa Cruz Catholic School, a Notre Dame ACE Academy in Tucson, Arizona. True to the upbeat nature of that song, the Rhode Island native is an enthusiastic ACEr, who says that "ACE had my heart" from her earliest days as an ND undergrad. Christie is also an enthusiastic Notre Dame ACE Academies teacher, saying, "I feel so blessed to have the support at Notre Dame ACE Academies that I do; [it] has definitely made the transition into teaching easier and more enjoyable."

Christie H student praiseChristie is especially enthusiastic about literacy: "It's almost become an obsession. I want all of my kids to read at grade level or above, no excuses." It can be a challenge for any classroom, but Christie Hjerpe remains undaunted. "With Notre Dame ACE Academies we're developing a stronger school culture, with shared beliefs that all of our kids can make it to college and heaven."

So, whenever her students are tired, Christie cheers them on with, "Work hard, get smart...no excuses." And whenever she gets tired, her students start to sing, "It's a great day to be alive!" With the semester just half over, Christie reports that she has seen tremendous growth in her readers.

"If Notre Dame ACE Academies teachers and staff can really make kids feel like it's a great day to be alive, and help them to see God in all things, we will achieve our goals of sending these kids to college and heaven." She continues, "I feel so blessed that I can wake up happy to go to work in the morning, knowing that I'll have 24 smiling faces at my door waiting to say 'Good morning!' 'I love you!' and 'Miss H., we're ready to learn!' Now, what could be better than that?"

Listen to Travis Tritt sing "It's a great day to be alive!"

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