CEF Announces the 2020 School of Excellence Award Winner

Posted on August 7, 2020 in News

The Catholic Education Foundation is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2020 Archbishop Naumann School of Excellence Award - Christ the King Catholic School in Kansas City, KS

Read about the award presentation at this year's Gaudeamus in The Leaven!

Each summer, CEF-supported schools throughout Northeast Kansas apply for the award, submitting stories of faith, community, and academic growth. The comprehensive applications are evaluated by leadership from CEF and the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese based on five main criteria: Joyfully Catholic, Diligently Achieving, Intentionally Self-Giving, Prudently Managed, and Forwardly Thinking.

"This might have been the closest year yet in scoring our schools' applications, because they all had fantastic years," said CEF's Executive Director Vincent Anch. "There were so many stories of resilience and triumph this year. We are so proud of how our schools delivered high quality education and faith formation despite the many obstacles they faced this spring." 

St. Patrick's Catholic School in Kansas City, KS was selected as first finalist, followed closely by the second finalist, Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic School in Topeka. Both schools have worked hard to support families and students this spring, and the recognition is a testament to their commitment to growth, innovation, and Catholicity throughout the 2019-20 school year. 

The winners, said Anch, excelled in all five pillars the award was founded upon. From their outstanding year-over-year academic improvement, to their holistic, liberal arts curriculum, Christ the King embodies the excellence in education Catholic schools in our Archdiocese are known for. But what truly sets Christ the King apart is the faith-filled, family-focused community the school has fostered, empowering students to take initiative on service projects ranging from greeting cards to homebound parishioners during the pandemic, to student-led fundraisers for community members in need.

“It’s our duty to be Christ to people,” said Christ the King principal, Cathy Fithian, in her recent social media announcement to school families, “and I couldn’t be more honored to work with such an amazing community. I congratulate all the teachers, faculty, and staff. This couldn’t be done without every person who works at Christ the King and who dedicates their time, love, and care to our school community - all the people that work here and make our school the excellent place it is.”

Christ the King was officially recognized with this year’s award during Gaudeamus, CEF’s annual benefit gala. Gaudeamus, which is Latin for “let us rejoice”, is CEF’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds from the annual celebration support need-based scholarships for at-risk students throughout the Archdiocese. Last year alone, CEF provided $2.5 million in K-12 scholarships to more than 1,500 students throughout Northeast Kansas. 

“This summer, we’ve received a record amount of new scholarship requests,” said Libby Knox, Director of Development for CEF. “Times are challenging for many in our school communities, and as we celebrate the excellence of our Catholic schools, it’s important to remember the individual students' lives these schools are changing. With so many families struggling, donor support is more important than ever in opening that door for one more child in need.”


Since 2007, CEF has provided more than $20 million in scholarships to students throughout the Archdiocese. Thank you to all who joined us in making this year's Gaudeamus a success! You can still support the mission of CEF and give the gift to Catholic education to a child in need by making a gift today. Click here to donate, and to see highlights from this year's event - including our feature video highlighting a family of CEF scholars attending Christ the King!

Considering Catholic education for your family? Scholarships for the 2020-21 school year are still available. Contact admissions at your local Catholic school to learn more!

Put Catholic education within reach of every student.


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