From the Superintendent: Catholic school environment is enriched by the presence of the Holy Spirit

September 22, 2022 was the 45th Annual Archbishop’s Dinner for Education. Eight outstanding educators were honored for their dedication to Catholic education.

A crowd of nearly 900 supporters got to hear from Archbishop Lucas, Superintendent Vickie Kauffold and Andrew Bauer, Metro Educator of the Year in the Inner-City and Under Served category.

Below are excerpts from the superintendent’s speech:

The church is clear, parents are the first educators of their children.  Sadly, many parents experience roadblocks that inhibit them from providing the education they desire for their children.  Parents who desire a faith-based education will benefit from School Choice Legislation.

They long for the opportunity to send their children to a school that will best meet their child’s needs without the financial worry.  A school that teaches children important lessons about the Catholic faith and God’s merciful love.

Our communities need the Opportunity Scholarship Legislation to pass this year.  It is time for Nebraska to join the other 48 states who have adopted some type school choice legislation. Legislation that will put the power of school choice where it belongs,  in the hands of parents.

This summer my husband and I visited the coastal inlets of South Carolina –a memorable image from that trip is the vision of live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. These majestic trees stand sentry around well kept stately homes, lining both sides of country lanes.

Driving down an avenue of live oak trees, seeing the canopy of branches reaching out to provide shade and protection from the hot sun, reminded me of walking the hallways of a Catholic school.

Imagine tonight’s honorees standing sentry in the hallways of their school, with open arms as they welcome students into their classroom, providing them a safe environment to learn important lessons.

An environment enriched by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

This canopy of educators throughout the school building offers all students the protection and support that allows them to thrive and grow into holy and vibrant adults. Adults whose faith will grow as strong and as sturdy as oak trees.

Catholic schools provide a vast canopy of care and concern for the formation of the whole child;  Socially, Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally, and most importantly Spiritually. That is the essence of our Catholic school communities.

The unseen beauty of these magnificent live oaks trees is that they can grow in large, dense groups.  Their interconnected root system allows the trees to share nutrients with one another when a tree within the system is in need.

Like the root system of these live oak trees, teachers provide support and encouragement to one another.  It is common for teachers to share ideas or materials; to provide emotional support and collegial encouragement to a fellow teacher who may be struggling.  The strength of a school is rooted in teachers working together to support one another and care for the needs of all the children in the school.

Whether it is educating students, influencing legislation or providing financial support – our roots and our canopy – provide an interconnected layer of support that nurtures the students who are in our schools.

In closing, I’d like to encourage you to stretch the reach of your branches and deepen the depth of your roots.  Let’s expand the canopy of support we provide students and schools.  Let’s make it possible for a few more students to have the opportunity to attend a Catholic school.

Thank you for your support.


There is still time to pay tribute to this year’s honorees and Catholic education in general. Make a gift at

Thanks to the success of the 2021 Dinner, 27 students were named Archbishop’s Scholars and received tuition assistance to attend a Catholic high school.  Over 250 children received scholarships from the Children’s Scholarship Fund to attend a Catholic elementary school.