“Walk on any school campus and you’ll see a deep commitment to students,” said Angeline Trudell, president at St Junipero Serra Catholic School in Rancho Santa Margarita. Her words opened a television commercial that you may have seen running on local cable stations during Catholic Schools Week in January.
She’s right. The teachers in the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Orange are genuinely committed to students. But so are thousands of others who support Catholic education in the diocese in a different way.
Many of them were present last month at the 14th annual Conference on Business & Ethics, the annual event hosted by the Orange Catholic Foundation that brings together business and community leaders for networking, inspiring keynote speakers, and a chance to show their commitment to Catholic education.
This year, nearly 1,000 attended the breakfast event at the Hotel Irvine. (Another 500 watched the live stream.) Father Dave Dwyer, host of Sirius XM’s “The Busted Halo” program, shared his takeaways from interviewing dozens of business leaders on integrating faith principles in the workplace. Attendees also celebrated this year’s Bishop’s Award for Exemplary Business Integrity honorees: Tim Buckley, CEO, Vintage Design and Tim Strader, chairman of Starpointe Ventures – both products of Catholic schools. Those attending heard from Mater Dei Head Football Coach Bruce Rollinson, who was given the Farmers & Merchants Lifetime Achievement Award. They listened to New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who spoke about how to use money for good. And they had a chance to practice that directive and to show their individual support by donating to the tuition assistance program of the Orange Catholic Foundation. At the end of the day, more than $550,000 was raised to help send children to Catholic Schools.
In doing so, more children who might not otherwise be able to afford the tuition are now attending one of our Catholic schools. These students will eventually be part of the population from which many of these same business and community leaders may hire. They are doing their part, with every donation, to help develop the next generation of our workforce. These students may one day go on to careers in business, government, education and the nonprofit world. And their foundation will have been rooted in the loving, nurturing and inspiring environment of our Catholic schools, thanks to both the teachers in the schools and the generous donors who helped them attend.