Pope Francis high school to host award dinner, golf tourney

April 6, 2017 | Debbie Gardner

GREATER SPRINGFIELD – Pope Francis High School is hosting a pair of events this spring designed to bring together friends and alumni from its two legacy schools while raising funds to support the new, combined student body.

“These are both new events,” Kevin White, chief advancement officer for Pope Francis High School, told Reminder Publications. “The first one being our Spirit of Community Award [this May], which we created to really recognize individuals currently from our legacy schools, Cathedral and Holyoke Catholic  – hopefully in the future from Pope Francis HIgh School – [for] taking the values that we believe differentiate us from other schools, those Catholic values of service to others, and honoring individuals who take [those values] out into their careers and community.”

The second event, White said, will be the school’s inaugural golf tournament, the Cardinal Classic, planned for early summer.

Honoring their roots

The initial Spirit of Community Award, White said, is being awarded to the Sisters of St. Joseph, whose members have spent countless hours instilling the Catholic value of service into generations of students from Pope Francis’ legacy schools, and continue to work at the high school today.

“They share a commonality among Cathedral and Holyoke Catholic and the founding schools of Holyoke Catholic, and we thought it was just and right that we honor the sisters who have taught thousands of student and helped instill those values of service,” White said, He added that the Sisters of St. Joseph were the backbone of Catholic education throughout the Diocese of Springfield, and as such, touched the lives of students at many grade levels over the years.

The award will take place during a dinner on May 12 at the Castle of Knights Banquet Hall on Memorial Drive in Chicopee. White said the evening will begin at 6 p.m. with hors d’ oeuvres and a cash bar, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and an award presentation  – with “some surprises” – at 8 p.m.

“I think everyone will be happy with what we are continuing to do to honor the sisters, not just on that night, but in the future,” White said.

Tickets to the first Spirit of Community Award dinner are $50 per person for adults, $20 per person for children 10 years of age or younger. For tickets contact Anne Pellan-Shea by email at Apellan-shea@popefrancishigh.org or by phone at 413-331-2480 ext. 1136. The deadline to reserve tickets is May 1.

Because this is a new event, White said the real goal is “bringing the community together,” and that there is no set fundraising target for this inaugural event. Monies raised though this celebration would first be put toward the operating expenses of Pope Francis, where it would benefit the most students, he said. Depending upon the amount of funds raised, the school may also eventually “look to establish a Sister of St. Joseph scholarship” at Pope Francis, he added.

White said future plans are to have the “Spirit of Community Award” become a biannual event, something that will hopefully,  become a hallmark of Pope Francis High School.

“[Students at Pope Francis] perform thousands of hours of community service every year. We want to honor [that] when they leave here and go out into the community, no matter whether it is [working] at a homework house or their local soup kitchen or they are a volunteer for their local Knights of Columbus. However they impact their community, those are the individuals we want to recognize with the Spirit of Community Award” in the future, he said.

Teeing up for students

The second fundraising event on the Pope Francis calendar this year is the inaugural Cardinal Classic golf tournament, slated for June 12 at the Springfield Country Club.

White said while this tourney is new, as Pope Francis is new; it builds on a legacy of past fundraising efforts.

“Cathedral always had an alumni golf tournament, but this isn’t focused just on alumni, its focus is on the Catholic community and the Dioceses of Springfield,” he said.

Still, “We’d love to have alumni from both [legacy] schools join us,” he added.

The tourney already has sponsorship support from Fontaine Bros., builders of the new Pope Francis High School on Surrey Road in Springfield, and Gagliarducci Construction, which has done some of the new school’s site work.

Entry fee for the Cardinal Classic is $150 per golfer, which includes greens fee, golf cart, use of practice facility, barbecue lunch, on-course competitions, hors d’oeuvres and dinner. Tickets to the dinner only are $50.

Registration begins at 11 a.m. day of play, with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m., cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and diner, a silent auction and awards slated for 6:30 p.m.

Again, White said the golf tourney proceeds would be placed in the school’s operating fund, where it could be use to support myriad educational initiatives from new technology and programming for students to professional development for educators.

Read on TheReminder.com