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Nine Schools Win Chris Lary Award

Image of Rev. John Jenkins presenting Sydni Brooks with the Lary Award certificate.

Nine schools were given Chris Lary Awards by the Alliance for Catholic Education at Wednesday’s Grotto Mass. 

Chris Lary was a magnetic and energetic member of the ACE 3 Teaching Fellows class. Shortly after saying “yes” to ACE, he was diagnosed with leukemia, and after nearly two years courageously battling the disease, Chris died in July 1998.
To honor the profound impact Chris had on Notre Dame and ACE, Chris’s family, friends, and classmates established a fund to benefit deserving ACE schools and classrooms. The selected applications echo Chris’s zeal and joyful spirit he always shared so generously with the ACE community. Thanks to the generous support of Chris’s family and friends, this year nine schools received Chris Lary Awards. 

St. Gertrude the Great Catholic School outside of Los Angeles will receive funding for the development of an after-school robotics program. St. Gertrude, which serves one of the largest Latino populations in Los Angeles County, believes in the power of hands-on learning and robotics to reach students traditionally underrepresented in STEM. The Lary award will allow the school to expand the robotics program to include students in lower grades. The grant was submitted by and presented to Ruth Villaneda, a member of the 20th cohort of the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program.

All Hallows High School in the Bronx will purchase quality instruments for their after-school Jam Band club. Since its inception, Jam Band promotes camaraderie, creativity and school spirit with students across grade levels through music – and no one loved music more than Chris Lary. Currently, students who are part of the club have to take turns playing instruments because many students do not own or cannot transport their instruments to school. ACE 29 and All Hallows teacher Matthew Kellenbergl received the award on behalf of the school.

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Modesto, California, will use their Lary Grant to purchase art supplies and creative learning manipulatives for their transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms. Our Lady of Fatima, which believes that creativity and exploration are important for young students, wants their students to strengthen the muscles in their brains through hand-on activities. With a new transitional kindergarten, or TK, class this year, the Lary award will help the school to build up resources for the newest school students. ACE 28’s Michael Botsch received the award on behalf of Our Lady of Fatima.

Image of Rev. John Jenkins presenting Emma Mangels with the Lary Award certificate.

Presentation Academy in Louisville, Kentucky will receive funding toward leadership conference scholarships for their students. An all-girls high school, Presentation believes that an education is an investment in a female leader. These scholarships will ensure that students are afforded equitable leadership opportunities, including at the Kentucky United Nations Assembly. Colleen O’Leary, a member of ACE 28, received the award on behalf of her students and the school. 

Holy Angels Catholic School in Indianapolis received funding to purchase two religious paintings for the school. An all-Black Catholic school, Holy Angels provides a quality education for students as they are called to grow as saints and scholars. With student questions such as “Does God really love all of us?” and “What does Jesus look like?” ACE 28 teacher Matt Staley, will purchase paintings of Jesus and Mary to represent his students’ understanding that they are wonderfully made and profoundly loved. Staley received the award on behalf of Holy Angels.

Sacred Heart School will receive funding for increased play resources and outdoor seating. Sacred Heart, the only fully bilingual school in the Archdiocese of Washington, has limited outdoor space due to their location in Northwest DC. While students find creative and innovative ways to eat and play outdoors, the purchase of balls, nets, goals, tables, and benches will transform their outdoor time into a more playful and joyous experience. Emma Mangels, member of ACE 28, received the award on behalf of Sacred Heart.

Little Flower Catholic School in Mobile, Alabama, will receive funding for the development of their drama club. Over the past several years, students have gathered informally to learn improv skills, play drama games, and create stories and characters together. With funding, Little Flower’s Drama Club will grow into an opportunity for more students to explore the truth and beauty that the dramatic stage can reveal and to hone their gifts and talents. ACE 29’s Sydni Brooks received the award on behalf of the school.

Saint Catherine School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will use their Lary award to purchase supplies for their school’s athletics team. With rising extracurricular involvement, banners with the school’s mission for the hallways and activity center as well as drawstring bags will help to foster a sense of school pride throughout the school and beyond. The grant was submitted by and presented to Sam Naab, a member of ACE 28.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Oklahoma City received a Lary Grant to create a preschool atelier art studio. With the addition of a new Pre-K3 program, a preschool atelier will provide children in the program with a designated space to create process art rather than product-focused art because the children will have access to a variety of materials that they can explore. Ateliers are environments promoting knowledge and creativity, with the belief that beauty produces knowledge and vice versa. Emily Markley, a member of ACE 29, accepted the award for St. Charles Borromeo.

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