The School of St. Mary Parents’ Association in Lake Forest will receive one of a total of four of the 2015 Distinguished Home and School Awards from the National Catholic Educational Association for its dedication and commitment to excellence. The SOSM Parents’ Association is being recognized for its new volunteer program.
The Distinguished Home and School Associations will be recognized during the annual NCEA Convention & Expo on April 7 through April in Orlando, Florida. Alongside pastors, principals and teachers who have demonstrated a strong Catholic educational philosophy as well as exceptional ability, dedication and results, parents will be honored during the annual awards ceremony.
SOSM Parents’ Association President Mary Hess and Principal Vinni Biancalana will travel to Orlando to receive the award.
“Collaboration between parents and the school is at the heart of Catholic education,” said Jim King, interim director of the Elementary Schools Department. “These awardees have offered their time, hard work and love to support all the students of the school. They model the heart of a true Catholic community.”
In 2014, the St. Mary Parents’ Association set out to increase the number of volunteers for the school and enhance the quality of support towards fundraising efforts, academic programs, and community building initiatives. They conducted focus groups and surveys to uncover the association’s existing strengths and weaknesses. The result was a complete overhaul. The new structure allows the St. Mary Parents’ Association to discover the depth and breadth of talent in the school community and, in turn, utilize this talent for fundraising and community building. New leadership was also identified through the process as parents signed up for volunteer opportunities that aligned with their skill sets and interests and worked best with their individual schedules.
“It is such an honor to be a part of our Parents’ Association. The new volunteer program has united our school families and set us up for success. Everyone wins – especially our children,” said Mary Hess, president of the Parents’ Association.
About the NCEA Convention
NCEA’s convention, held this year in collaboration with the Diocese of Orlando, is the largest private education association gathering in the country. It draws participants from all facets of Catholic education, including elementary and secondary schools, religious education programs, and colleges and universities. The event features professional development sessions, liturgies and an exhibition of educational products and services. NCEA, founded in 1904, is a professional membership organization that provides leadership, direction and service to fulfill the evangelizing, catechizing and teaching mission of the church. NCEA’s members include elementary schools, high schools, parish religious education programs and seminaries. For more information, visit: www.ncea.org/convention.