Four distinguished leaders to be honored at the annual Light the Way Dinner for Catholic Schools

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This year’s Light the Way Dinner will prove to be quite a celebratory night as the Catholic school community honors four individuals who have devoted their lives to the mission and success of Catholic Schools.  The 5th Annual Catholic Schools Dinner to be held on Jan. 28, 2011 at the Oncenter Complex Ballroom is held to raise funds to provide financial support to families in need of tuition assistance.

The Catholic Schools Office is proud to honor Sister Mary Anne Heenan, CSJ with this year’s Light the Way Award.  This award is given to an individual who has served the Catholic Schools of our diocese with distinction over a period of years.  Sister Mary Anne Heenan served as superintendent of schools in the Syracuse Diocese for 14 years from 1989-2003 and previously served as associate superintendent and director of curriculum.  She is currently a senior education consultant with Meitler Consultants in Hales Corners, Wis.  She has served on multiple state boards for education and health care and has been awarded for her leadership on numerous occasions. Sister Mary Anne has truly devoted her life to the mission of Catholic education and Catholic health care.

Three other individuals will be honored for their role in Catholic education in the diocese:

Peg Brown of Foxwood Terrace, Oneida, is being awarded with the Witness to Faith Award.  Peg has devoted her life to educating children in the Oneida area.  She is currently principal of St. Patrick’s School in Oneida, a position she came out of retirement to accept when the school was in need.

Miss Brown has served as principal of St. Patrick’s School since December of 2002.  Under her leadership, the school has transformed from a school in debt with declining enrollment, to a thriving school, which consistently operates in the black and where new programs and improvements have helped enrollment to grow, even during these challenging economic times.

She has helped St. Patrick’s to earn the prestigious Middle States Association’s accreditation, making it the only elementary school in Madison County to have earned such an honor.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is being presented to Michael D’Avirro, Bishop Grimes Class of 1978. Originally from Lyncourt, Mike attended St. Daniel School and Bishop Grimes High School, Class of 1978.  He has a master’s degree in accounting from Syracuse University and bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego. He has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1984.  His professional activities include: membership in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA); New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA); Tax Division of the AICPA and National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts. He speaks on topics related to taxation and accounting and has held faculty positions at SUNY Oswego and Syracuse University College.  He was instrumental in raising funds for the new gymnasium at Bishop Grimes High School and is the current chair of their Advisory Board.  He currently resides in Brewerton and is the father of two girls.

The Superintendent’s Service Medal is being presented to Mary Ellen Salanger.  The Superintendent’s Service Medal is presented to a member of the school community who has given a significant amount of his/her time and talent through volunteering.  Mary Ellen was nominated by several groups of people involved in the Broome County Catholic Schools.  She has spent countless hours volunteering in the Parent Teacher Organizations of four Broome County Schools, served on the Advisory Council at St. James Middle School and is a member of the Catholic Education Foundation of the Southern Tier Board.  Mary Ellen and her husband Matt have four daughters and are parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Binghamton.

The Light the Way Dinner begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception and basket raffle followed by dinner and awards presentations.  Highlights of the evening will include musical entertainment from students from area Catholic schools and a special raffle of four tickets to a Notre Dame Game, and $500 travelling money.  For more information on the evening, contact Danielle Cummings at (315) 470-1476

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