The 2023 Celebrating Catholic Education Dinner – a special evening to recognize and celebrate teachers and administrators from schools within the Diocese of Orange for all they do for our students – was held on Friday, Feb. 3 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Anaheim.
The Servite Guitar Ensemble performed during the pre-ceremony reception, before Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Dr. Erin Barisano, welcomed guests.
The evening included a prayer by the Most Rev. Bishop Kevin Vann and an address by the night’s keynote speaker, John Galvin, the new NCEA Director of Catechetic Assessments.
Dr. Barisano presented this year’s Bishop Vann Award – an award that was created for the very first Celebrating Catholic Educators Dinner which took place in 2014 and honors individuals for their outstanding service to Catholic education.
SUPERINTENDENT OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS DR. ERIN BARISANO, APPLAUDS DURING THE 2023 CELEBRATING CATHOLIC EDUCATION DINNER ON FEB. 3.
This year, the award went to Sr. Cecilia Duran, ODN, principal of St. Jeanne De Lestonnac School in Tustin. In 1970, she professed into the Company of Mary consecrated life. Her education began at St. Mary Parish School, then Mater Dei High School and on to the universities of Cal State L.A., Loyola Marymount, and University of San Francisco. She has served as teacher, Religious Education director, administrator, mentor and committee collaborator in parish and Catholic schools within the Diocese of Orange and in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
“Sr. Cecilia creates pleasant, yet demanding working conditions with her leadership and teamwork skills,” said Dr. Barisano. “Her gifts are evident in the implementation of high standards and realistic expectations of educational goals.”
Dr. Denis Valadez, associate superintendent of Catholic Schools, recognized anniversary award recipients. Honorees celebrated anniversaries from 10 years all the way to 40 years in Catholic education.
The inaugural Elizabeth Ann Seton Teacher of the Year Award was also presented during the special evening.
Recipients were Mark Evans of Christ Cathedral Academy in Garden Grove and Ben De Los Reyes of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana.
BEN DE LOS REYES, A TEACHER AT MATER DEI HIGH SCHOOL, ACCEPTS THE INAUGURAL ELIZABETH ANN SETON TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD. MARK EVANS OF CHRIST CATHEDRAL ACADEMY ALSO WON THE AWARD.
“These educators have been nominated and advocated for by their peers and school community,” said Dr. Barisano. “It has truly been an honor to read the nominations and see the day-to-day impact our teachers are having on the lives of our students and in our schools.”
Dr. Barisano’s closing remarks included thanking educators and staff for their commitment and dedication to Catholic schools and students.
THE VERY REV. ANGELOS SEBASTIAN ADDRESSES ATTENDEES AT THE 2023 CELEBRATING CATHOLIC EDUCATION DINNER ON FEB. 3.
The Very Rev. Angelos Sebastian, vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese, concluded the evening with a closing prayer.