Derek Teeter is Chair of the Catholic Education Foundation's Board of Directors and a partner at Husch Blackwell.
This August, my wife and I sent the youngest of our three boys to join his brothers at our parish Catholic school. We feel truly blessed to be able to provide the gift of Catholic education to all three of our children. Not only will they receive outstanding academic instruction, they will be formed in their Catholic faith in a loving and supportive community.
There are thousands of parents in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas who share the same dream for their children to attend Catholic school. Yet, many of these parents lack the financial resources to cover the cost of tuition. As a Catholic community, we have an obligation to help; we cannot allow Catholic education to become accessible only to those with means.
Fortunately, the Catholic Education Foundation exists to help these families by providing scholarships to children in need to attend Catholic schools in the Archdiocese. With the support of many donors and a dedicated staff, CEF provided $2.4 million in scholarships last academic year, helping 1,500 students attend 24 different Catholic schools in our community. 98.7% of these CEF students will graduate from high school, compared to 77% of their peers!
The students who receive CEF scholarships are extraordinarily grateful. We receive cards and letters from them throughout the year explaining just how important Catholic school is to them and their families. One of our eighth grade students wrote:
Thank you very much for your donation. My family may not live in the best house, or drive the best cars, but my sister and I can go to a school we love. Not everyone has this opportunity. So thank you!
The last two years at Gaudeamus, we’ve had the privilege of hearing directly from CEF high school seniors who are going on to elite colleges and professional programs. Their success would not be possible without the support of CEF and thousands of generous contributors who fund its scholarships.
As the new Chair of CEF’s Board, I am excited for what the future holds for our organization and for Catholic education in our Archdiocese. This year, we are planning for the biggest and best Gaudeamus gala ever (October 26 at the Overland Park Convention Center). We have already awarded thousands of dollars in “Guardian Angel Fund” gifts to keep kids in school when their families face a personal or financial tragedy. And we will roll out an exciting event this spring to showcase our CEF schools and Catholic education in the Archdiocese. Follow the Catholic Education Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. Support our mission. And help send kids in need to Catholic schools!