Jean Vanier Canadian humanitarian and founder of L'Arche made an appearance at the 2016 Fogarty Dinner in the form of a pre-recorded video message. Photo courtesy of CEFO

Students past and present honoured at Fogarty Dinner

  • November 3, 2016

For 40 years, the Catholic Education Foundation of Ontario (CEFO) has worked as an ally and advocate for one of the most valuable assets of the Church community – its young people.

It is only fitting that CEFO celebrates this anniversary during its annual Fr. Patrick Fogarty Dinner. More than 500 educators, trustees, family and friends attended the dinner on Oct. 30 to honour students that represented 160 Catholic school boards in Ontario.

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, CEFO not only honoured outstanding Catholic students of today, but also of the past.Throughout the evening, Catholic school alumni spoke about how their education has shaped them.

Luke Stocking is an animator in central Ontario for Development and Peace, the international development and outreach organization for the Catholic Church in Canada. He shared how his experience at St. Mary's High School in Pickering helped shape his passion for activism.

"They were very formative years of my life, especially in being formed as a young Catholic activist," said Stocking. "There is great suffering, great hurt in the world and I truly believe that Catholic education has a role to play in producing young leaders who will help to respond to that suffering and hurt in the world."

Toronto Cardinal Thomas Collins, NDP spokesperson Kathleen Monk and Neil McCarthy, communications director for the Archdiocese of Toronto, were also among the alumni that were featured during the event.

A special surprise for the evening was a video message from Jean Vanier, Canadian humanitarian and founder of L'Arche, to congratulate the Catholic students being honoured that evening.

"Your leadership, your compassion, your caring witness in your school communities and among your friends and family help to make our world a better place," he said. "Please continue to bring these strong qualities to all those you meet and study and work with you in the coming years."

More than 100 Catholic school students were honoured as Catholic Students of the Year for their achievements in exemplifying Catholic values in their school community.

This year's CEFO Medal of Honour was awarded to Sr. Evanne Hunter, Loretto Sisters provincial superior. Nine schools were also awarded with the Michael Carty award and the McCarthy award to support work that "improve, develop and enhance aspects of Catholic education."

The annual Fogarty Dinner is named in honour of Fr. Patrick Fogarty. Fogarty was known as a defender of public Catholic education in Ontario. Before his death in 1985, he worked as executive secretary and treasurer of CEFO and the Canadian Catholic School Trustees' Association.

CEFO was established in 1976 with the mission to raise funds and to support support Catholic educators and the development of the Catholic curriculum in Ontario.

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