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CHICAGO, IL (April 2, 2013) - The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools will be honored this week with four national awards from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) at their annual convention in Houston.  Each year the NCEA selects teachers, principals, pastors, administrators, and parent associations to receive awards that recognize excellence and outstanding contributions to Catholic education.

The Chicago Catholic awardees are Queen of All Saints Parents Association, Nancy Cullinan Nasko, St. Pius V, Rev. Lawrence R. Dowling, St. Agatha, and Sue Bordenaro, Office of Catholic Schools.

Queen of All Saints Parents Association, 6230 North Lemont Avenue in Chicago, will be presented with the NCEA Distinguished Home and School Association Award. This is the fifth consecutive year that a Chicago Catholic School parent group has received this award.  The Queen of All Saints Parents Association was recognized by NCEA for their Grade Level Mass Program. The Program involved Sunday Masses twice a year for each grade level where students and parents were both encouraged to participate.  Students were given the opportunity to act as ushers, present the offertory gifts, do the readings and present the petitions.  Family discussions of the passages in the Sunday Gospel were encouraged by distributing copies to parents prior to the Mass.  Impressive results show that the program increased Mass attendance on those Sundays by 34 to 43%.  The Parent Association was honored for bringing a deeper sense of community among the families at Queen of All Saints, and for inspiring the creation of social events for families of the parish’s Religious Education program and school families.

Nancy Cullinan Nasko, principal of St. Pius V School, 1919 South Ashland Avenue in Chicago, will be presented with the NCEA Distinguished Principal Award.  Twelve principals from across the country were chosen for this honor based on their outstanding leadership, their role as primary faith leader at the school, and academic excellence among their students.  Nasko has been at St. Pius V School for over twenty-five years and has served as the principal for seventeen years. She also serves as the President of the Archdiocesan Principal Association, an elected position she has held for the past two years.

The pastor of St. Agatha Catholic Academy, 3151 West Douglas Boulevard in Chicago, Rev. Lawrence R. Dowling, will receive the Distinguished Pastor Award for his contributions to both St. Agatha and Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Chicago. This is the sixth consecutive year a pastor from the Archdiocese of Chicago has been  awarded by NCEA. As one of the original members of the Archdiocesan School Board, Fr. Dowling has served as a member of both the Catholic Identity and Marketing subcommittees. As the pastor of the only parish in Chicago’s North Lawndale, Fr. Dowling also represents his community on the Board of the Augustus Tolton Academic Program, which encourages church leadership among the African-American community. Providing catechetical classes for the staff, presiding over weekly school Masses, and writing original prayers to start the school day are only a few of the ways in which Fr. Dowling has provided for the spiritual needs of the school. Fr. Dowling also played a key role in the creation of the St. Agatha Board of Specified Jurisdiction and has provided continued support for the Parent Ambassadors initiative at St. Agatha.

Sue Bordenaro, the Office of Catholic Schools’ Consultant for Legislative Action/Family & School Association, has been named the 2013 recipient of the Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award by the NCEA. Bordenaro has shared her passion for Catholic education with the Archdiocese of Chicago through her thirty years of service in the Office of Catholic Schools. A longtime advocate for parental choice in education, Sue works with the OCS by monitoring and providing updates to the administration regarding legislative action for the State of Illinois. She has also worked to ensure that each school has a Legislative Action Representative who can identify and promote legislative action beneficial to the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools. Sue’s primary focus has remained the realization of the Church’s belief that parents hold the place as primary educator of their children with the schools partnering in this mission.

The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools serve over 85,000 students in 250 schools across the City of Chicago and Cook and Lake counties. In each of the past three years elementary school enrollment has increased in the City of Chicago, and over half of all schools are stabilizing and growing their student enrollment. It is the United States' largest private school system and the recipient of more U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards than any other system. Parents or guardians seeking faith, focus and achievement for their children are encouraged to visit

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