At a September 26, 2017 awards banquet in New York City – Manhattan, Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools was one of just two schools in the United States to be recognized by the Catholic Education Foundation, a national, non-profit association dedicated to the advancement of Catholic education in the United States. According to the Foundation’s executive director, Father Peter Stravinskas, “this is a wonderful opportunity to honor the all-too-often unsung heroes of Catholic education today…”
“We are thrilled to have received this award,” says Michael R. Buell, Superintendent of Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools. He continued, “The Foundation’s mission aligns well with our Schools’ purpose: to provide unrivaled education in both secular knowledge and the glories of the Catholic faith.” Fr. Greg McCallum, President of the school system, says, “We seek to fortify these students, especially with regard to their faith. This award helps to reassure us that we are being true to our calling.”
Other award recipients are Rev. Msgr. Sabato Pilato of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville; and Dr. Wikliam Thierfelder, president of Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, North Carolina; and the other school being honored, Atonement Academy in San Antonio.
The Catholic Education Foundation is a non-profit organization guided by distinguished Catholic education leaders of our day including: Cardinal Séan Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston; and Frank J. Hanna, CEO, Hanna Capital, LTD; Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Philadelphia; and Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.
Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools (GTACS) is a parochial school system serving more than 1,000 students in Traverse City, Michigan. It is comprised of Holy Angels Preschool & Elementary (preschool – grade 3), Immaculate Conception Elementary School (grades 4-5), St Elizabeth Ann Seton Middle School (grades 6-8), and St. Francis High School (grades 9-12). GTACS is a ministry of five local parishes – Christ the King, Immaculate Conception, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Joseph – Mapleton and St. Patrick – and the Diocese of Gaylord.
St. Francis High School was named a Top 50 Catholic High School/Catholic Education Honor Roll member in 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13 and 2014. The Class of 2017 had a composite average ACT score of 26.4 versus the national average of 21.0.
The awards evening will began with a Solemn Mass at the Church of the Holy Innocents on 37th Street and Broadway at 6:00 pm, and was followed by a banquet at Arno’s Restaurant on 38th Street. The dinner speaker was Judge Andrew Napolitano, a distinguished judge and professor of law, who spoke on the importance of Catholic schools for the Church and society at-large.