Dinner kicks off Catholic Schools Week in the diocese

By Michele Chan Santos
Correspondent

Catholic educator, author and Jeopardy! champion Sister Carol Cimino will be the guest speaker at the “Celebrating Catholic Schools” dinner and awards ceremony on Jan. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Town Lake in downtown Austin.
Sister Cimino, EdD, is a Sister of St. Joseph of Rochester. Currently she is the Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, and in that position she oversees 60 elementary and high schools in an eight-county area of Western New York State. In her long career, Sister Cimino has served as a teacher, principal, development director and consultant. She is also the author of two books and several articles –– and is the only woman in a religious order to be a three-day champion on the Jeopardy! quiz show. To purchase tickets to “Celebrating Catholic Schools,” or to become a sponsor, go to www.csdatx.org.
In her keynote speech at the “Celebrating Catholic Schools” event, Sister Cimino said she plans to “talk about the very successful past of Catholic schools, take note of where we are now, and suggest some steps we need to take for a successful, effective future.”
The annual Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Austin (CSDA) event “is a fitting way of saying to all involved in Catholic education, ‘Job well done; keep it up,’” Sister Cimino said. The dinner and awards ceremony kicks off National Catholic Schools Week.
Today’s media-driven, secular environment makes parenting difficult, she said. 
“The biggest challenge facing Catholic families today is a culture that does not value the efforts they put into raising faith-filled, moral children,” Sister Cimino said. Parents “are thwarted at all turns by a media milieu that champions cheats, casual immorality and relativism.”
Catholic schools can help parents in this modern media environment, because “Catholic schools work at enforcing the values taught in the Catholic home; we have always done that, and done it well,” Sister Cimino said.
At the Celebrating Catholic Schools event, 22 outstanding volunteers –– “Diocesan School Heroes” –– will be honored. 
“Our teachers and administrators do a fantastic job and receive minimal compensation; that lets us all know that they are dedicated to educating and evangelizing youngsters, and not enriching themselves,” Sister Cimino said. “The same is true of our valiant, generous volunteers, including our graduates whose vision allows them to see the value of Catholic education and to give of their time, talent and treasure to ensure the schools’ viability.”
Proceeds from the “Celebrating Catholic Schools” event are returned to schools for tuition assistance.
For more information about this event, visit http://csdatx.org/celebrating-catholic-schools/ or contact Jean Bondy at jean-bondy@austindiocese.org.

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