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Scholarship fund will assist children of fallen firefighters

The children of two of the Wilmington firefighters killed in a house fire last fall are receiving financial support to help them continue attending their Catholic schools. The Delaware Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund, administered by the Delaware Community Foundation, was established in September through an initial gift of $100,000 from Alan and Ellen Levin.

Christopher Leach and Ardythe Hope died as a result of the fire, which was intentionally set. Leach died at the scene on Sept. 24, while Hope succumbed to her injuries on Dec. 1.

Leach has a daughter at Padua Academy and another at St. Ann’s School, while Hope’s two youngest daughters are students at St. Elizabeth High School. They were the first recipients of grants from the fund.

The Delaware Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund has covered the girls’ education expenses and will continue to do so through age 24 if necessary. St. Elizabeth and Padua have agreed to reduce the tuition for their students.

To support the fund, visit www.delcf.org/heroes or mail a gift to the DCF, P.O. Box 1636, Wilmington, DE 19899, with “Fallen Heroes Fund” on the memo line of the check.


St. Elizabeth School names new development director

WILMINGTON – John H. Pierson has joined the staff at St. Elizabeth School in Wilmington as director of advancement. He will coordinate marketing, fundraising and communications for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Pierson comes to St. Elizabeth from the Delaware division of the American Heart Association, and he also has been the development director of the Brandywine YMCA. At the Y, he helped increase the total base of donors giving at the $1,000 level or greater, tripling contributions over six years.

He is a graduate of Virginia Tech University.


Ursuline hosts initial Wilm. youth TEDx conference

WILMINGTON — Seventeen young people and one Ursuline Academy faculty member presented “ideas worth sharing” at the first TEDxYouth@Wilmington conference, which was held April 2 at the school.

The conference, called “Agents of Change,” included students from five schools, including Ursuline, Mount Pleasant, Tatnall, Delcastle and Burlington Township (N.J.). It was organized by the team from TEDxWilmington.

Speakers from Ursuline and their topics included Jane Lyons, “Second Chances to Save Our Community”; Jessica Falasco, “Solve the Cube, Solve Your Life”; Jane Krukiel “The Power of Depression in Shaping Our Lives”; Yara Awad, “Does the American Dream Exist for a Girl Like Me?”;

Grace Nordmeyer, “Beyond the A+”; Molly Clark, “Stand by Your Sisters”; Amy Xu, “The Powr of Each Person’s Story”; Carly Palkon, “The Cost of Silence: Defending Music Education”; Areeba Khan, “Muslim, American, Female: America’s Future”; Abby Larmore, “The Shirtless Man.”

In addition, Ursuline teacher Erin McNichol spoke about “Animal Sounds and Other Tales that Teach,” and graduates Maya Showell and Morgan Taylor Thornton presented a talk was called “The Black Girls that Aren’t Black Enough.”


Sheila DiNardo takes reins as Padua’s new basketball coach

WILMINGTON — Sheila DiNardo, who coached Ursuline to two state championships, has been named the basketball coach at Catholic Conference rival Padua Academy.

In addition to Ursuline, DiNardo has coached at the high school level at Sanford and Archmere. She also had successful tenures at Wilmington University and Harcum College (Pa.).

DiNardo is a 1985 graduate of Mount Pleasant High School, where she was an all-state basketball and softball player.


St. John the Beloved band performs at Catholic festival

The Advanced Band from St. John the Beloved School in Wilmington performed at the National Catholic Band Association Festival at Villanova University on April 1. The band earned the highest rating of superior, the third consecutive year it has attained that status. Twenty-nine bands from the tri-state area performed.

This year’s band consists of all eighth-grade students. They are William Pastro, Thomas King, Leah Do, Abigail Oberempt, Jillian Bale, Keely Hoban, Toni Guariano and Coyle Reice. The band director of Ray DiVirgilio.

The band also performed before the Philadelphia Phillies’ game April 12 at Citizens Bank Park in front of a crowd of more than 28,000.


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2016 in the diocese


Dialog Editor

The future and the past were major themes in the Diocese of Wilmington during an eventful year

Highlights of 2016 in the Diocese of Wilmington included a lot of history and plans to the future.

The future was a theme of Bishop Malooly’s pastoral letter, issued in May on Pentecost Sunday, “Together in the Spirit – A Pastoral Vision.” Read more »

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Why they’re feeling ‘Blue’ at St. John the Beloved




Dialog reporter

School community celebrates first designation as ‘Blue Ribbon School’ by U.S. Dept. of Education


WILMINGTON — Rising test scores, high school acceptances and community service are among the things a group of eighth-grade students at St. John the Beloved said set their school apart and why it has been recognized as a 2016 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

St. John’s is one of five schools in Delaware to receive the designation. Christ the Teacher Catholic School was also honored. No more than 50 nonpublic schools nationwide may be named Blue Ribbon schools in a given year. Read more »

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St. John the Beloved, Christ the Teacher schools receive national honor



Two Catholic schools in the Diocese of Wilmington — St. John the Beloved School in Wilmington and Christ the Teacher Catholic School in Newark —have been honored as National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.

The announcement was made Sept. 28, as this issue of The Dialog went to press. Read more »

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National Catholic education leader visits schools in diocese


Dialog reporter

GLASGOW – In his role as president of the National Catholic Education Association, Tom Burnford visits schools across the United States. On Sept. 1, he was in the Diocese of Wilmington, where his travels took him to four schools, including Christ the Teacher. Read more »

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More student and school news




St. Elizabeth student places in essay contest

WILMINGTON – St. Elizabeth junior Jacob Rice is the second-place winner in this year’s Memphis Belle essay contest, the school has announced. The contest, which began this year, is sponsored by Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tenn. Read more »

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Finding peace of mind after a concussion: Schools in diocese to begin baseline brain function testing


Dialog reporter


What should have been a routine trip to the store and dinner last October turned into a multi-month nightmare for Bella Raytick. She accidentally hit her head on the car door when she opened it. By the time Bella and her mother, Ann Casapulla, reached the store, the signs of a concussion were already evident.

“Instantly I had a headache, and my eyes hurt,” Bella said. “When we got to Staples, it’s so bright in there, it hurt my head so bad.”

Bella, then in seventh grade at All Saints Catholic School in Elsmere, got through dinner, but she couldn’t think straight or complete simple tasks. She went to school the next day, which was Halloween. That proved to be a mistake. Read more »

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Student news


St. Mark’s, St. Thomas More students win art awards

WILMINGTON — Four St. Mark’s High School and seven St. Thomas More students have received Delaware Regional Scholastic Art Awards.

From St. Mark’s, seniors Spencer Shannon and Kara Barbes each were Silver Key winners. Shannon was recognized for mixed media, Barbes for painting. Their work was on display at the Arts Center/Gallery at Delaware State University in Dover until Feb. 11. That evening, all award winners were honored.

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