Archbishop Alex J. Brunett, center, and superintendent Sister Barbara Bray, SNJM, right, talk with Chris Baca, a member of the Moreau High School Class of 2012, who spoke at the Funding Hopes and Dreams luncheon.
CHRISTINE KOSMICKI/MOREAU CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL
Funding Catholic education:
Donors dig deep for Moreau Catholic
It's fitting that the signature event for tuition assistance at Moreau Catholic High School is called "Funding Hopes and Dreams."
Twenty-seven percent of the student body receives tuition assistance. That amounts to $1.5 million annually.
Five years ago, 18 percent of the students received tuition assistance totaling $600,000.
Even with the generous increase in assistance, there is "much, much more" unfunded need, school President Terry Lee told friends of the school at the fourth annual luncheon at the Hilton Newark.
The luncheon was served in a festive atmosphere highlighted with performances by the school's talented young musicians. The luncheon was hosted by a donor; guests were invited to make a contribution as they departed.
The first $50,000 raised would be matched by a donor.
The afternoon's speakers gave them ample opportunity to consider the value of making a gift.
Chris Baca, a 2012 graduate of the Hayward school, recounted the importance of tuition assistance in allowing him to attend the school. He is studying at De Anza College in Cupertino, where he plays football in addition to maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average.
He told the gathering that he wanted to attend Moreau Catholic because he knew "how strongly they promote and work with their student-athletes." He was also pleased to attend the school from which his father and other relatives had graduated.
But the economy played havoc with his dreams. At the beginning of his sophomore year, a family member lost a job.
"It was hard for my family," he said. "We had so much to pay for and not enough money to pay for it."
Baca said he took a part-time job to pay for his sports equipment and books.
Tuition assistance helped him stay in the school he looked to prepare him "for my college experience and life."
He became a leader in campus programs, and was captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams, and maintained a schedule he described as "beyond hectic."
"My motivation and drive came from my dream of having a better life and excelling in every aspect of it," he said.
The payoff has come early. Upon enrolling in college, "I could tell I was better prepared than my fellow classmates," he said. "I excelled in all my classes, and was asked to be a tutor."
In thanking the donors who made it possible for him to attend Moreau Catholic, Baca also expressed his determination to join their ranks. "I look forward to giving back continuously in my future," he said.
Archbishop Alex J. Brunett, the luncheon's keynote speaker, echoed the importance of making Catholic education available to students and their families.
"You have a wonderful school," he told the gathering. "We have to keep it that way. That's up to you today."
The archbishop, the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Oakland, spoke about the Fulcrum Foundation, which he established when he was archbishop of Seattle, to provide tuition assistance.
Within four years, it had an endowment of $50 million.
"I didn't do that myself," he said. "I was able to accomplish that because of support from people like you."
In addition, he did not close any Catholic schools, but opened new ones.
He quoted Louis Pasteur: "The future belongs to those who care."
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