First Place Award for General Excellence, Catholic Press Association, 2013-2016

40th Inner-City Scholarship Fund Friends Gala Raises $1.3 Million
By JULIANN DosSSANTOS
Maria R. Bastone
Students from St. Raymond Elementary School in the Bronx take center stage at the Inner-City Scholarship Fund Friends Gala at Cipriani restaurant in Manhattan May 10. They entertained the 450 guests by performing hits from decades gone by. Joining them were students from Cardinal Hayes and St. Barnabas High Schools as well as middle schoolers from St. Barnabas.

At the annual Inner-City Scholarship Fund Friends Gala at Cipriani’s in Manhattan, guests were able to see and hear how well the fund works thanks to the speech by a woman who was given a scholarship 20 years ago

Glorivee Ramirez once again addressed the Inner-City Scholarship Fund (ICSF) gala crowd, this time about the key role her Catholic school education played in getting her where she is today.

She graduated from St. Anselm’s School in the Bronx and went on to become valedictorian at Aquinas High School, also in the Bronx. She credits this formative Catholic education to the assistance her mother received from ICSF.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Cornell University, and is a co-founder and chief executive officer of SENSCO, a technology company in Austin, Texas.

“I was expected to do well in school,” she said proudly. “I walked in every day to an environment full of teachers that expected more of me than sometimes I even thought I could do.”

She gave a heartfelt thanks to ICSF for all it does for students, who are much like she once was.

Cardinal Dolan, in remarks at the May 10 dinner, said, “Our kids and our families love our schools.”

He noted that the previous Thursday was the Feast of the Ascension when Jesus said, “Go, teach all nations.”

He recalled that during his trip to Iraqi Kurdistan last month, an Iraqi official, who is Muslim, praised Catholic schools for their first-class education and the message of peace, stability, hope and love that they impart.

Inner-city Catholic schools in New York are loved for many reasons, the cardinal said, listing a number in a litany of praise. “Sure for our curriculum, but also for character. Yeah for the three Rs—reading writing and ‘rithmetic, but also for that fourth one—religion. Yes, for science, but also for safety and security; for high graduation rates, but also for discipline and values. For computers, yes, but also for the Catechism; for geography, but also for an interior moral map.”

Continuing, he said that Catholic schools earn accolades for “teachers who consider their duty as a vocation, not a job; principals that are more family than bureaucrats. An atmosphere more like home than a holding room. A place for God, where God dwells, where God is spoken of and to daily, and not ignored and denied. Schools with the goal of not just getting a decent job for the kids, but getting into heaven.”

The cardinal told the 450 guests who enabled the Friends Gala to raise $1.3 million that Catholic schools “would be but memories if not for you.”

Gala chairs were Lisa and Dick Cashin, longtime ICSF supporters. CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Mo Rocca was master of ceremonies.

Students from St. Barnabas High School, St. Barnabas Middle School, St. Raymond Elementary School and Cardinal Hayes High School, all in the Bronx, performed music from past decades.

“I am humbled at the amount of support we have received this year from our attendees—many of whom have been donating for several years,” said Susan George, executive director of ICSF. “Because of their continued support, we are able to provide students with the gift of a quality Catholic school education which sets them up for an amazing future.”

Cardinal Terence Cooke and a group of executives of varying religious beliefs founded the ICSF in 1971. The fund provides tuition assistance to nearly 8,000 students, 92 percent of whom are minority and 33 percent are non-Catholic. Ninety-nine percent of seniors at inner-city Catholic high schools in the archdiocese graduate, and 98 percent go to college.

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