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