Dallas ACE Advocates: Spreading the Good News About Catholic Schools
When describing her first year as an ACE teacher, Elizabeth Nava says, “I saw myself as a person with hope to bring.”
Elizabeth, who graduated in the 15th cohort of ACE Teaching Fellows and taught in Atlanta, has remained committed to spreading this hope to Catholic schoolchildren. After her service with ACE, Elizabeth taught at St. Monica Catholic School in Dallas, Texas. While she has since left the classroom, Elizabeth continues to support Catholic education and now leads the Dallas ACE Advocates regional community. This group, comprised of over 100 ACE graduates and friends of ACE in Dallas, strives to “find ways to be the salt and the light and the yeast in the world.”
One way that they are accomplishing this is by partnering with the Diocese of Dallas to produce The Super Hour radio show and podcast. The once-a-month radio hour, hosted by Dr. Matthew Vereecke (ACE Teaching Fellows 11, Tulsa & ACE Reform Leaders Summit) and Dr. Verónica Alonzo (ACE Teaching Fellows 4, Dallas & ACE Reform Leaders Summit), the superintendent and associate superintendent of the Diocese of Dallas Catholic Schools Office, was piloted during the summer of 2017. Each episode of The Super Hour examines a different aspect of Catholic schools in the Diocese and shares the ways Catholic schools are preparing students for college and heaven.
There are currently eight episodes of the podcast available, including discussions of how relationships make our schools special, a look at the role of campus ministry in Catholic schools, and an overview of the national landscape of Catholic education. Each episode features special guests. Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas, Greg Dolan of the USCCB Secretariat for Education, school and diocesan leaders, and many ACE Advocates have been featured so far.
Dallas ACE Advocates are partnering with the Office of Catholic Schools to create and promote The Super Hour. Elizabeth hopes that recorded episodes of The Super Hour can help more people hear the good news about Catholic schools in Dallas and inspire supporters of Catholic education across the country.
Beth Burau (ACE Teaching Fellows 7, Dallas) says, “I’ve been listening to the broadcast since day one. Dallas Catholic Schools is a large network, so I enjoy getting to learn about what’s going on in schools across the diocese. The topics are timely and help give to the many talented and dedicated teachers, administrators, and religious who see Catholic schools as their vocation.”
The Dallas ACE Advocates community also supports Catholic education through direct service to local Catholic schools, often partnering with groups such as the ND Club of Dallas and the Dallas Leadership Investment Partnership. “Recently, we have organized a volunteer fair at Bishop Dunne Catholic School. We want to expose our young people to ways that they can serve, ways that they can help support the community,” says Elizabeth. “During Catholic Schools Week, we host a Twitter contest for our Catholic school teachers throughout the diocese to share their great ideas and fun activities going on in their classrooms.”
The Diocese of Dallas Catholic Schools Office and Dallas ACE Advocates continue to find new ways to share a message of hope with students, parents, teachers, school leaders, and supporters of Catholic education. Their work, and the work of ACE, evokes Archbishop Oscar Romero’s prayer A Step Along the Way:
“This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.”
“Since its founding in 1993, ACE has served in 1 out of every 4 Catholic schools in our country. We’ve impacted close to 200,000 students,” Verónica says in episode 3 of the podcast. “What we want is to plant that seed of hope and to form our students so that they can show others social justice.”
Interested in learning more about the Dallas ACE Advocates community? Visit their Facebook page.
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