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CEF scholarships will follow CTK kids to other Catholic schools

The Catholic Education Foundation presented a check to help students in underserved areas attend CEF schools. The presentation took place at Our Lady of Unity, a CEF school in Kansas City, Kansas. Students from Our Lady of Unity joined (back row, from left) principal Cally Dahlstrom, Our Lady Of Unity pastor Father Oswaldo Sandoval, Catholic Schools superintendent Vince Cascone; (center) Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and (far right) CEF executive director Vince Anch. LEAVEN POHOTO BY JILL RAGAR ESFELD

by Jill Ragar Esfeld

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — May 6 was a mighty big day that brought a mighty big check to the archdiocese from Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) executive director Vince Anch.

The funds, contributed by supportive donors around the community, will provide scholarships to CEF archdiocesan schools for families who could not otherwise afford to send their children to a Catholic school.

“On behalf of the board members of the Catholic Education Foundation and all of our generous donors,” said Anch, “we want to present this check for scholarships in this amount — $4,594,605 — with a promise to do even more next school year.”

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann talks with students at Our Lady of Unity School in Kansas City, Kansas, during a visit to the school with CEF leaders. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JILL RAGAR ESFELD

The presentation took place in the library of Our Lady of Unity School in Kansas City, Kansas. The school was chosen because of its record of progress.

“This is one of our favorite schools,” said Anch. “And probably one of the most improved.

“We’re proud of Cally [Dahlstrom] and what her team has done over the years.”

Our Lady of Unity principal Cally Dahlstrom took the opportunity to tell CEF that its support made dreams come true.

 “I hear this from many families,” she said. “They dream of the opportunity to get a Catholic education and they can’t afford it.

“But then, they come here and they find CEF.”

 As Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann accepted the check, he asked how many students at Our Lady of Unity were there thanks to CEF.

“All of them,” responded Dahlstrom.

Cally Dahlstrom, principal at Our Lady of Unity School in Kansas City, Kansas, talks about the impact CEF scholarships have on her students. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JILL RAGAR ESFELD

Pastor Father Oswaldo Sandoval joined Dahlstrom in expressing gratitude for CEF’s support.

“I just want to thank everyone for everything you do for us and for Catholic education in the archdiocese,” he said. “There are a lot of families that benefit from all the sacrifices that are made.

“Without you, our children wouldn’t have a school, so we appreciate the support.”

The presentation was bittersweet in view of the recent closure of CEF school Christ the King in Kansas City, Kansas.

The good news is Christ the King students will continue to be supported by CEF as their families seek other opportunities to continue their children’s Catholic education.

“The school office and Catholic Education Foundation have worked closely together to ensure that families have an opportunity to stay within a Catholic school if they choose to,” said Debbie Herman, CEF director of scholarships.

Father Oswaldo Sandoval, pastor of Our Lady of Unity Parish in Kansas City, Kansas, thanked CEF for its dedication to making Catholic education accessible to students in the archdiocese. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JILL RAGAR ESFELD

Parents have been given information about other Catholic schools and scholarships to facilitate that choice.

“They’ve been welcomed to explore all schools to see what might work best for the families,” said Herman. “Scholarships can definitely flow with them to another (CEF) school.”

As of April, approximately 120 Christ the King students were transferring to other Catholic schools, most to St. Patrick in Kansas City, Kansas.

“We also have students going to Our Lady of Unity,  Holy Name and Resurrection, as well as John Paul II in Overland Park and Sacred Heart in Shawnee,” said Herman.

After accepting the scholarship check on behalf of the archdiocese, Archbishop Naumann expressed his gratitude for the generous donors who make it possible for children to attend Catholic school regardless of their economic status. 

 “We’re also grateful to the parishes and leadership that make our schools transformative for our young people and for their families,” he said. “I’m grateful for CEF, I’m grateful for our Catholic schools and all that they do.

“It’s easy to be a cheerleader.”

Give hope to students in need

To give more students the opportunity of a Catholic education, go to: https://www.cefks.org.

About the author

Jill Esfeld

Jill Ragar Esfeld received a degree in Writing from Missouri State University and started her profession as a magazine feature writer, but quickly transitioned to technical/instructional writing where she had a successful career spanning more than 20 years. She returned to feature writing when she began freelancing for The Leaven in 2004. Her articles have won several awards from the Catholic Press Association. Jill grew up in Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri; and has been a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, Kansas, for 35 years.

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