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placeholder World Day of the Sick

At 100, John Muir volunteer continues
to give back

Spirit of old cathedral fills the new

Stars will shine at benefit for St. Martin
de Porres School

Pittsburg free clinic helps 750 in first year

A year as a consecrated virgin

Conference on spirituality, identity inspires students at Holy Names HS

New altar for St. Agnes

Twenty couples win 50th anniversary drawing

Lillian Black Arts festival scheduled
for Febuary 26

Albert the Great topic of lecture at DSPT

100 scouts earn awards for faith

Experts help families 'senior safety-proof' homes

Improving bond between generations

Get the facts about cataracts, eye surgery

placeholder  February 21, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 4   •   Oakland, CA
Stars will shine at benefit
for St. Martin de Porres School

Sister Barbara Dawson, RSCJ

When friends and supporters of St. Martin de Porres School gather for their seventh-annual spring fundraiser, the stars will be shining in the room.

Frederica von Stade, world-renowned mezzo-soprano and generous friend of the school, will perform, along with Melody Moore and Sydney Wagland. Tiny violinists first- and second-graders at the school will also take to the stage.

But the honored guest at this year's event may have to be coaxed into the limelight. Sister Barbara Dawson, RSCJ, whose eight-year tenure at the school ended with her departure for Indonesia last fall, is the honoree at this year's "Memories on Broadway."

The major fundraiser for the school includes not just world-class entertainment, but food and auctions to help support the school, which has two campuses in Oakland.

When Sister Barbara became president of the school in 2003, 80 students were enrolled; today, says Ann Magovern, the new president, 205 are enrolled.

"This event is a way to thank and appreciate donors who are very close to the school," she said. "And it's a really significant way to thank Sister Barbara."

on Broadway

In honor of Sister
Barbara Dawson, RSCJ

When: March 11, 2-5 p.m.

Where: Flood Mansion, Schools of the Sacred Heart, 2222 Broadway, San Francisco

Tickets: $100; sponsorships available

Benefits: St. Martin de Porres Fund for Educational Excellence

Information: St. Martin de Porres School, 675 41st St., Oakland 94609; www.stmdp.org
After a year in Indonesia, Sister Barbara will return to the United States this summer to become the provincial of the U.S. Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Magovern said she hoped Sister Barbara will always have a connection with St. Martin de Porres School, which she guided through a perilous financial time, developing partnerships that continue to this day bringing volunteers and support from places such as Children's Hospital Oakland, the University of California at Berkeley and Saint Mary's College of California.

"There's no other school like this in the diocese," Magovern said. Functioning as a regional school, its board includes three pastors.

As the school was preparing for its WCEA and WASC accreditations earlier this month, Magovern noted the gains students, particularly the second-graders, have made in test scores, particularly in reading. "Our investments in very early primary have big returns," she said, looking forward to students who graduate with skills at and beyond grade level.

Magovern said she felt grateful for Sister Barbara's work. She pointed to a filing cabinet filled with information on foundations. "The funding portfolio for the school was strong, she said. But, still, she said, "We have to fight for every dollar, year after year."

All families at St. Martin de Porres School pay tuition, but not many can afford the full $4,000 cost. Grants from FACE and the BASIC Fund assist many families, but the robust fundraising, from events such as the March event, help make up the difference, Magovern said.

The families have shown a commitment to continue with Catholic education; 21 members of the Class of 2011 went on to Catholic high schools.

Among Sister Barbara's accomplishments was the purchase of two vans to transport students between the two campuses. Without the vans, many of the West Oakland children would not be able to get to the campus at Sacred Heart Church. She also drove the vans when necessary.

Magovern said she, too, has taken a turn in the driver's seat. She also noted that one van, the 1996 model, has 112,000 miles on it and needs to be replaced. That's on her wish list, along with the ongoing need for tuition assistance and new textbooks. "Textbooks are expensive," she said.

As the young violinists prepare for their part in the benefit, Magovern noted the positive effect of the lessons on the young students.

"You can see the effect in the classroom," she said. "Attention span, following directions and being quiet to hear the instructions."

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