MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—Students, teachers, benefactors and leaders in Catholic education from across West Virginia will convene for the 24th annual Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools April 22 at the Morgantown Event Center in Morgantown, W.Va. Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, will present the Bishop’s Cross to three lay women, this year’s honorees. Bishop Bransfield will also present the Aquinas Medal, the highest honor a student can receive from the diocese, to 26 students, one from each of its schools and Wheeling Jesuit University. As well, the St. Sebastian Medal will be awarded to 14 high-achieving student athletes, one female and one male from each Catholic high school and from Wheeling Jesuit University. The Golden Apple Award will also be presented to one high school teacher and one elementary school teacher for innovative teaching and 22 teachers will receive the Silver Apple Award.
“Catholic schools make a wonderful difference in the life of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston,” Bransfield said. “In West Virginia, there is a strong enthusiasm for Catholic education, and we recognize and celebrate the educational and spiritual growth of our students.”
“Our Catholic schools work diligently to provide an education of intense academic rigor within the context and practice of our Catholic faith,” said Richard Barnabei, superintendent of Catholic Schools.
“We work hard to develop the next generation of Catholics in West Virginia. As Catholic faith communities, we make every effort to educate the whole person through numerous initiatives, tuition assistance and an active faith life. Those honored at the Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools show the importance of living Gospel values and the strong impact that it has on those around them. Each of these individuals is the epitome of what we strive to instill in each and every student.”
The Bishop’s Cross is presented to individuals who, through their lives and works, have demonstrated, in extraordinary ways, their commitment to the mission of Catholic education in West Virginia. Bransfield will present each recipient with a replica of the late Bishop Bernard W. Schmitt’s pectoral cross, representing his role and responsibility as teacher. Schmitt began this annual event in 1995.
The following individuals will receive the Bishop’s Cross:
Stephanie Diedericks has been a volunteer at St. Joseph School in Martinsburg, W.Va., for more than 10 years. Diedericks has been a homeroom parent, homeroom parent coordinator and member of the Seeds of Hope Annual Fundraiser Committee where she was the chairman for two years. She has served as the middle school musical theatre assistant for three years and has assisted with the elementary school musical programs as needed. She has volunteered for numerous school events and has assisted the school administration with programs and various committees. Diedericks is a parishioner at St. James the Greater Parish in Charlestown, W.Va. She has volunteered for the Meals of Love Ministry, is a benefactor of the Webster Springs Ministry, and hosted the America World Adoption Agency presentation. Diedericks has been a member of the Robert W. McCormick Scholarship Committee for the local public high school for 10 years. She and her husband Werner have two children, Natalie and Leah.
Anne Garvin has been a teacher at Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School and High School for 31 years. She is an alumna of Parkersburg Catholic Schools and a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. Garvin has been a member of the Social Committee, Parent Volunteer Association and Parkersburg Catholic Athletic Association. She has assisted with the Christmas play, spring play, Catholic Schools Week activities and sixth grade graduation reception. Garvin is a member of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Parkersburg, W.Va. She participates with the Children’s Liturgy and sacramental preparation of Reconciliation and First Communion. Garvin and her husband Greg have four children, David, Andrew, Mary and Stephen.
Renee Schneid has been a teacher in the Catholic schools for almost 33 years, most recently at Our Lady of Peace School in Wheeling, W.Va., where she has taught for 18 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio University. Schneid is the director of theology/religion, middle school teacher for English, spelling and religion and the director of special religious programs. She is also the coordinator of the Blessed Mother ceremonies for Our Lady of Peace School and Parish. Schneid is a parishioner at Our Lady of Peace Parish where she serves as a member on the parish council, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, a lector and the director of the Infant of Prague Novena. She has also served as a member of the Central Catholic High School Board. Schneid and her husband Craig have two children, Aaron and Adeline.
The day will begin with a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Bransfield at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Morgantown at 10 a.m. Reservations for the dinner are required and may still be made by contacting Donna Clark at (304) 233-0880, ext. 315. The cost is $50 per ticket.
The West Virginia Knights of Columbus are sponsoring the Aquinas Medal presentation at this year’s event. Over the past 23 years, the Knights have contributed $228,750 in support of the Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools. This year, Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration will sponsor the St. Sebastian Medal presentation.
This is the fifth year that Highmark West Virginia is sponsoring the Bishop’s Cross presentation. Catholic school officials said this partnership will continue to benefit the students of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Catholic schools for years to come.