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St. Gregory the Great named ‘School of Excellence’ by the Catholic Education Foundation

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann enjoys a laugh with Jackie Fragel’s kindergarten class at St. Gregory the Great School in Marysville. The archbishop visited the school on Sept. 13 with representatives of the Catholic Education Foundation. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

MARYSVILLE  — Catholic schools throughout the archdiocese have begun a new school year with great optimism. At St. Gregory the Great School here, things feel much different this year, and that’s a good thing.

“COVID put us in a survival mode for so long,” said Karen Farrell, St. Gregory’s principal. “We’ve started this year focused on rest, resting in Jesus and integrating our faith into everything we do. It’s created a calm that we all needed.”

Father Quentin Schmitz, left, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and representatives of the Catholic Education Foundation are all smiles during a performance by students of St. Gregory School. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

That faith-focused approach has earned them this year’s Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann School of Excellence Award from the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) and was on display recently when the archbishop and visitors from CEF and the Catholic schools office visited St. Gregory.

“All of our Catholic schools are doing amazing work,” said Vince Anch, CEF executive director, “but St. Gregory really rose to the top this year. They’ve shown a strong increase in enrollment and their commitment to faith, community and academics is tremendous.”

Father Quentin Schmitz, pastor of St. Gregory the Great Parish in Marysville, celebrates Mass for students at the parish school. The school was recently chosen as the Catholic Education Foundation’s School of Excellence. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

From their Saints in Training program to schoolwide service projects, students, families and teachers play an active role at St. Gregory Parish and in Marysville, a community of 3,400 residents in northeast Kansas. These efforts have helped the K-6 school attract and retain new families. With scholarship support from CEF and a thriving preschool program, enrollment has increased by more than 20% over the past two years.

“CEF scholarships help us welcome students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend our school,” said Farrell. “Once families get a feel for our school and school community, both Catholic and non-Catholic families see the benefits that our school has to offer.”

Archbishop Naumann waves goodbye to a group of preschool students heading home from St. Gregory School for the day. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Now in its 18th year, the Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann School of Excellence Award is presented annually by CEF to a K-8 Catholic school in the archdiocese receiving tuition assistance from the foundation’s traditional scholarship program. Each school is evaluated based on five main criteria: Joyfully Catholic, Diligently Achieving, Intentionally Self-Giving, Prudently Managed and Forwardly Thinking.

This year, St. Paul School in Olathe was selected as the first finalist, followed by the second finalist, St. Benedict School in Atchison.

In addition to bragging rights and additional funding from CEF, St. Gregory will be recognized at Gaudeamus, CEF’s annual benefit gala, on Oct. 29 at the Overland Park Convention Center. “Gaudeamus,” which is Latin for “Let us rejoice,” is CEF’s annual fundraiser, and proceeds from the event support scholarships for students in need.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann visited St. Gregory School on Sept. 13 with representatives of the Catholic Education Foundation. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Catholic Education Foundation has transformed the lives of children and families by providing access to a K-12 Catholic education at schools in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. For the 2022-23 school year, CEF is providing nearly $4 million in scholarships to support more than 1,800 students at 27 Catholic schools in northeast Kansas, with the highest percentage of students living at or below the poverty level.

“What the CEF founders envisioned is reaping greater rewards than ever,” said Vince Cascone, superintendent of archdiocesan Catholic schools.

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The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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