Saint Gregory the Great named “School of Excellence” by the Catholic Education Foundation

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Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann plays with Jackie Fragel’s kindergarten class at St. Gregory the Great School in Marysville. The Archbishop visited the school Sept. 13 with representatives from the Catholic Education Foundation. LEVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

MARYSVILLE — Catholic schools across the archdiocese have started a new school year with great optimism. At St. Gregory the Great School here, things look very different this year, and that’s a good thing.

“COVID has put us in survival mode for so long,” said Karen Farrell, director of St. Gregory. “We started this year focusing on rest, resting in Jesus and integrating our faith into everything we do. It 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 from St. Gregory School. LEVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

This faith-centered approach earned them the Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann School of Excellence Award from the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) and was on display recently when the Archbishop and visitors to CEF and the Catholic Schools Office visited St. Gregory.

“All of our Catholic schools are doing an amazing job,” said Vince Anch, executive director of CEF, “but St. Gregory has really risen to the top this year. They have shown a strong increase in enrollment and their commitment to faith, community and scholars is tremendous.

Father Quentin Schmitz, parish priest of St. Gregory the Great in Marysville, celebrates mass for the students of the parish school. The school was recently chosen as a School of Excellence by the Catholic Education Foundation. LEVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

From their Saints in Training program to school-wide service projects, students, families and teachers play an active role at St. Gregory Parish and Marysville, a community of 3,400 in the north -eastern Kansas. These efforts have helped the K-6 school attract and retain new families. Thanks to CEF scholarships 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 would not be able to attend our school,” said Farrell. “Once families become familiar with our school and our school community, Catholic and non-Catholic families see the benefits our school has to offer.

Archbishop Naumann says goodbye to a group of preschoolers returning from St. Gregory’s School for the day. LEVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Now in its 18th year, the Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann School of Excellence Award is given annually by CEF to a K-8 Catholic school in the Archdiocese receiving tuition assistance from the traditional scholarship program of the foundation. Each school is evaluated on the basis of five main criteria: cheerfully Catholic, diligently accomplished, intentionally generous, prudently managed and forward-thinking.

This year, St. Paul’s School in Olathe was selected as the first runner-up, followed by second runner-up, St. Benedict’s 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 October 29 at the Overland Park Convention Center. “Gaudeamus”, which in Latin means “Let’s rejoice”, is the annual fundraiser of the FEC and comes from the scholarships in support of the event for students in need.

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

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

“What the founders of CEF envisioned is reaping more rewards than ever before,” said Vince Cascone, superintendent of Catholic schools in the archdiocese.

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