MORGANTOWN—Students, benefactors and leaders in Catholic education from across West Virginia will convene for the 22nd annual Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools April 17 at the Morgantown Event Center in Morgantown. Bishop Michael J. Bransfield will present the Bishop’s Cross to six lay people, the Aquinas Medal, the highest honor a student can receive from the diocese, to 28 students and the St. Sebastian Medal to 16 high-achieving student athletes.
“Catholic schools make a wonderful difference in the life of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston,” Bishop Bransfield said. “In West Virginia, there is a strong demand and enthusiasm for Catholic education, and we recognize and celebrate the educational and spiritual growth of our students.”
“What makes our Catholic schools different from other types of educational institutions are the experiences that go along with the learning of math, science, reading and such. Our Catholic schools have Gospel values alive in every subject that we teach and in each relationship that we cultivate,” said Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. “The experience of a Catholic school is more than bricks and mortar or pens and pencils. Our Catholic schools develop the whole child to live as Christ taught us and in his light, and these truths are infused in every moment of the day in a Catholic school. The people that we honor today are a reflection of lived Gospel values in Catholic education.”
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. Bishop 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. Bishop Schmitt began this annual event in 1995.
The following individuals will receive the Bishop’s Cross:
Thomas (Tom) and Kathy Burgoyne have served Central Catholic High School (CCHS) in Wheeling in various roles since 1985. They have assisted with fundraisers, concession stands and football dinners. They were members of the CCHS 150th Anniversary Committee and athletics boosters, co-chairmen of the reverse raffle for six years and student enrollment volunteers. Tom is a CCHS School Board member and the Development Committee chairman. Tom and Kathy are members of St. Michael Parish in Wheeling.
Kathy is a former school board president at St. Michael Parish School in Wheeling. She is a member of the Christian Mothers and Christian Women group, the Funeral Luncheon Committee and the Irish Evening Committee. She is a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph Auxiliary, Drug Free Clubs of America board, Wheeling Sternwheel Festival Scholarship Committee and the Democratic Executive Committee. She is a 20-year volunteer at Wheeling Hospital and is a Wheeling Hospital Auxiliary member and volunteer.
Tom is a member of the Youth Services Emeritus Board, the Greater Wheeling Homeless Coalition Board, the Wheeling Hospital Board and the West Virginia Supreme Court Judicial Investigation Commission. He formerly served as sheriff of Ohio County. Tom and Kathy have three children, Erin Reisenweber, Thomas Burgoyne and Elizabeth Amico and seven grandchildren.
Jill Kee has been employed at St. Joseph School in Martinsburg as the secretary for the past 29 years. She is also a member of the social committee, a Eucharistic minister and oversees the Christmas family project and collecting gifts for the poor. Kee is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Martinsburg where she has sponsored two parishioners through the RCIA program. She is a member of Catholic Daughters and Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. She is a graduate of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown with a degree in secretarial science. Kee and her late husband, David, have two children, Jennifer Donaldson and Jamin (Jay) Kee and one granddaughter.
Barbara Little has been a teacher at St. Francis de Sales School in Beckley for 14 years. She is the yearbook chair and is a member of the student council, social studies fair and Raleigh County Camp Committee. She is also a 4-H leader and sponsor of the Junior Library Guild. Little is a member of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Beckley. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Radford University in Virginia. Little and her husband, Mark, have three children, Katie, Maggie and Drew.
Dr. Carroll Kelly Morrison has served Notre Dame High School in Clarksbur for 21 years. She began as a teacher in 1981 and has been serving as principal since 1998. Morrison is the senior trip coordinator, high school and middle school cheerleading coach, middle school track coach, basketball scorekeeper and spirit leader. She is a member of the board of directors for the YMCA, past president of HOPE, Inc. (a domestic violence shelter), a member of the board of trustees for Waynesburg University and a board member for Healthy Harrison. She is a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Stonewood, where she serves as a reader and substitute teacher for parish school of religion class. Morrison received a bachelor’s in psychology and teaching mathematics from Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky. She received a master’s in guidance and counseling and a doctorate in counseling psychology from West Virginia University in Morgantown. Morrison and her husband, David, have three children, Elizabeth Thomas, Kelly Light and Chad Morrison.
Susan Popp has been a teacher at St. Joseph Central Catholic High School in Huntington for 27 years. Popp is a diocesan target teacher, a member of the technology committee, AdvancEd chairperson, senior internship chairperson, CASE Curriculum advisor, calendar/activity coordinator, teacher coverage coordinator, co-chaperone for student international trips, yearbook advisor, student council advisor and graduation coordinator. She is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Huntington. Popp is a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington and has been a member of Beta Sigma Phi since 1967. Popp and her late husband, Larry, have two children, Kristina Webb and Kimberly Wellman and four grandchildren.
Bishop Bransfield will celebrate Mass at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Morgantown at 10 a.m. The West Virginia Knights of Columbus are sponsoring the Aquinas Medal presentation at this year’s event. Over the past 21 years, the Knights have contributed nearly $206,750 to the Catholic schools program.
This is the third 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 schools for years to come.