Founders' Day 2018 Celebrates Partnership

Founders' Day 2018
Posted on 11/11/2018
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Founders’ Day 2018 took on special meaning this year at Cristo Rey Kansas City. Annually on November 11, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth mark the arrival of the first Sisters in Leavenworth, Kansas. This year, the community celebrates its 160th anniversary of doing whatever they can with whatever they have to fulfill their calling to serve those living on the margins of society.

To establish their ministries in the early days, they walked into smoky saloons to solicit contributions from cowboys and miners. They carried rocks from the riverbanks to build hospital foundations. In 2005, when shutters were appearing on urban schools throughout the nation, they said, “Yes,” to sponsoring Cristo Rey Kansas City, a school exclusively dedicated to serving families that cannot afford private school education.

In all that the Sisters do, they inspire partnerships with the community to expand and strengthen the mission. Each year on Founders’ Day, Cristo Rey Kansas City honors people who have partnered with the Sisters and the school to ensure the existence of a private, Catholic, college-prep school for the students of Kansas City’s urban neighborhoods.

This year’s honorees included Dr. Joan Caulfield, Dr. Alan Warne, Susanna Ozaeta
Elizarraraz, Melody McSparran and Carol Rauckman.

If Dr. Joan Caulfield’s accomplishments read as if from Who’s Who in American Education, it’s because she and her many accomplishments are listed. Dr. Caulfield is a noted urban educator, teacher of teachers, and thought leader. Bringing her knowledge of urban education, she guided a small cadre of teachers in the development of the instructional strategies and curriculum that became daily practice at Cristo Rey Kansas City when the school opened. Dr. Caulfield believes in education at the cell level.  She was founding principal of Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, serves on the boards of numerous charter schools, and consults with school leaders locally, regionally and nationally. Dr. Caulfield has remained steadfast in her service to Cristo Rey’s Academic Affairs Committee.
With more than 50 years in education, Dr. Alan Warne has dedicated his life to elevating each student’s educational experience – particularly international students. After all, education at its finest is about the particular needs of each student. At the university level, he has been a foreign student advisor and director of international services. In all that he does, he seeks to build bridges of understanding among races, ethnicities and national groups. He has worked with the National Council of International Visitors, People to People International, and the Entrepreneurial Education Foundation. In the midst of all of these commitments, Dr. Warne is a proud member of Rotary International and was instrumental in bringing Rotary InterAct to Cristo Rey Kansas City. He also makes the time to contribute to the Cristo Rey Academic Affairs Committee at Cristo Rey. 

Susana Ozaeta Elizarraraz is no stranger to Cristo Rey. As a member of the second class of graduates, she frequently told her teachers, “I want to go back to my neighborhood as a teacher and help young people just like me.”  In 2015, she graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from UMKC’s Urban Education Institute and made good on her promise.  The very next fall, she was on the job at Gladstone Elementary in Northeast Kansas City.  Susana kept honing her craft and now proudly displays her Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language as an indispensable credential at her multi-lingual, multi-ethnic school. In the midst of all of her commitments, she takes the time to help out her high school - speaking at Dancing with the Kansas City Stars and training incoming freshmen in the Summer Training Institute. She is proud to serve the next generation that are a reflection of her family and background.
In the Christian tradition, solidarity is more than a “feeling of vague compassion or distress at the misfortunes of others.”  On the contrary, true solidarity is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good. Our next honoree, Melody McSparran, has lived this value. Through her faith community, Christ Community Church, Melody became acquainted with the mission of Cristo Rey. She has mentored students, meeting with them regularly and encouraging them to go the distance. She has helped marshal resources so that college-bound graduates have what they need to begin college. And, she inspired her family to offer scholarship support for students at Cristo Rey.  If, as they say, “Education is the movement from darkness to light” Melody is a point of light for students at Cristo Rey. 

A hallmark of every faith community is the hour that they gather each week to hear and reflect on the words of the Gospel. At Christ Community Church, members are inspired to go out and “do the Gospel” within their community and the world.  In all that she does, Carol Rauckman has found a secret to happiness by finding a need and filling it, seeing a hurt and healing it, and walking with others to help them discover solutions to problems.  She has been the conduit through which so many academic tutors and mentors at Cristo Rey found their way to their ministry to our students. She toiled over College Send-Off Night so that our recent grads walk onto campuses confident, and, she has labored over our annual gala for more years than anyone could count. 

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