Bishop Mulvey helps celebrate Catholic schools

By Michele Chan Santos
Senior Correspondent

The Celebrating Catholic Schools Dinner and Awards Presentation honors the unsung heroes of Catholic education in the Diocese of Austin. It also raises tuition assistance funds for each of the 22 Catholic schools in the diocese.
The seventh annual event will be held Jan. 24 at the Hyatt Town Lake in downtown Austin. The Khaki and Plaid reception begins at 6 p.m. with dinner and awards presentation beginning at 7 p.m. At the conclusion of dinner, the “After School Party” begins with live music provided by The Bravados.
Since 2009, more than 2,750 people have attended Celebrating Catholic Schools. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and attendees, the event has returned $343,000 to schools in support of tuition assistance, expecting the lives of more than 8,000 students.  
To date the event has honored 155 individuals for their service and support of our schools, said Jean Bondy, the associate director of Catholic school development and marketing at Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Austin. 
“Every school selects an honoree from within their school community. It could be a parent, faculty or staff member, a benefactor or anyone who has given their time, talent and treasure to help support our schools,” Bondy said.
This year’s keynote speaker is Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey of the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Bishop Mulvey has deep roots at the Diocese of Austin, as he formerly served as the chancellor and vicar general. In addition, he has close ties with Catholic education here, as he served as chaplain at Reicher Catholic High School in Waco from 1984 to 1986, and helped found St. Helen Catholic School in Georgetown.
Suzanne Leggett, admissions and development director at St. Theresa’s Catholic School in Austin, is one of the honorees at this year’s dinner.
Leggett began her association with St. Theresa as a parent in 1999 and all three of her children attended the school: Emily Frances is now a senior at Texas A&M University, majoring in English and earning her teaching certificate; Ryan is a junior, also at A&M, majoring in communication and business; Annie Rose is a sophomore at Westwood High School in Round Rock.
At first, Leggett worked as a classroom aide, and then in the school office. Ten years ago she was offered the position as admissions and development director, which matched well with her background in marketing and public relations.
Leggett said “it’s very humbling and just a huge honor” to be chosen as one of this year’s award winners.  
St. Theresa Catholic School is a place she treasures with all her heart.
“We have families that truly value Catholic education and who will do whatever it takes to get the school where it needs to be. That allows us to get and keep great teachers. It’s so beautiful to see families who roll up their sleeves and help out wherever they can,” Leggett said.
“There’s such a pride when we go. I feel this every time. Like when I go to diocesan events and see many movers and shakers in our community that are Catholic,” Leggett said. “It’s wonderful to feel that in the room. We are vocal and energetic showing our support and we genuinely enjoy coming together.”
She encourages people to attend the Celebrating Catholic Schools event.
Table sponsorships and individual tickets are available for the Celebrating Catholic Schools event at www.csdatx.org/celebrating-catholic-schools. For more information about Catholic Schools, visit www.csdatx.org or contact Jean Bondy at 
jean-bondy@austindiocese.org or (512) 949-2439.