SAN BERNARDINO—The first annual State of Catholic Schools breakfast event was held at the Diocesan Pastoral Center on January 31, drawing leaders from the three Catholic schools in the San Bernardino along with civic and business officials.
The event was coordinated by Delila Vasquez, President of San Bernardino Catholic Elementary Schools (SBCES). It was a follow-up event to the first annual Guardian Angel Gala, held in October 2016.
The State of Catholic Schools offered a summary of a strategic plan to raise the profile of San Bernardino’s Catholic schools that is being carried out by Vasquez and her volunteer board of community and business leaders. There were also remarks from Aquinas High School President Jim Brennan and Austin Conley, Director of Advancement for the Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools.
Students from the two Catholic elementary schools in San Bernardino - Holy Rosary Academy (HRA) and Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA) - provided an opening chorus of song. A handful of students from the two schools were recognized as winners of an SBCES essay contest that earned them a scholarship toward tuition. Three students read their essays aloud to those in attendance. The essay categories were Star of Hope, examining the meaning of hope, and What Would Jesus Do, examining the Christian response in situations of modern life.
The students honored for their winning essays were sixth grader Vivica Vega (OLA), seventh grader Sabrina Baca (OLA), sixth grader Natalie Brazfield (HRA) and seventh grader Ellie Paez (HRA).
The SBCES strategic plan is driven by a series of initiatives to promote the importance and value of Catholic education. They include:
• Profile and build a stellar and active board
• Create and implement an aggressive, long term fund development campaign
• Build a solid financial structure
• Strengthen scholastic solidarity that will attract families and future students
• Work as a team for our schools’ common good
• Improve presence in the community through outreach
The SBCES Board is Carla Ford-Brunner (Chair), Phillip Valdes-Serret (Vice Chair), Noemi Harnen-Corona (Secretary), D. Bing Turner, Niko Houston, Maria Serret, Henry Gonzalez, Maria Echeverria and Hector Murrieta.
Upcoming SBCES events include “Catholic Schools Experience” on March 20. Families considering Catholic education will be invited to spend a week at one of the San Bernardino campuses to experience the learning environment. “Catholic Schools Expo” on March 28: Catholic school students learn about different careers and parents receive workshops. “Parent Forum” on May 17 at the Holy Rosary Community Room, featuring facilitated discussions on summer planning, teen guidance and parenting during vacation time.