By Colleen Rowan WEST VIRGINIA—

“You can make a difference” for the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. This is the mes- sage of the One Mission One Day (OMOD) campaign, which is now underway.

The annual giving event kicked off April 27 and runs through May 4.

“One Mission One Day is an important event that helps our Catholic schools raise funding for tuition assistance, school renovations, and classroom upgrades,” said Heidi Sforza, director of Annual Giving

for the diocese. “It is a chance for school families, alumni, supporters and friends to come together to build a stronger tomorrow across West Virginia and beyond.”

The campaign’s website states that the Catholic school communities of the diocese are committed to providing quality education in the Catholic tradition for all students in a nurturing, Christ-centered environment. Gifts will help challenge children to recognize, develop and share their God-given gifts and talents.

Visitors to OneMissionOne will find they are just a click away from making a donation to their chosen school. By selecting “Click Here to Find Your School,” donors can view a list of participating schools. There, they can click on their school’s profile which will offer information about the school and how to donate.

Principals of diocesan Catholic schools said this special day brings many great opportunities for school communities.

Dr. Carol Templeton, principal of St. Joseph Catholic School and St. Joseph Central Catholic High School, both in Huntington, said One Mission One Day provides the school communities the opportunity to come together as one family “to show our support, dedication, and appreciation of our Catholic schools. Through the generosity of our par- ents, faculty, staff, grandparents, alumni, and community members, the day of giving has an amazing ability to not only contribute to a need but also significantly enhance the learning experience for all our students enrolled within Catholic schools throughout the state.”

One Mission One Day is an opportunity to come together as a Christian community to support programs and other initiatives for students to grow in knowledge and faith, said Fairmont Catholic School Principal Diane Burnside.

“We appreciate the support of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in their efforts to help our school with the tools students need to become productive citizens and servants of GOD,” she said.

St. Vincent de Paul Parish School in Wheeling is using One Mission One Day to build a strong legacy for the future, said Advancement Director John Yelenic. He noted that the St. Vincent de Paul Parish Education Fund was re- cently launched building a $4 mil- lion endowment fund.

As for the actual day of the giving event, St. Vincent’s has plans for a celebration for students to enjoy.

“Since the national OMOD appeal is scheduled for May 4… our school community is focusing on the epic Star Wars line… ‘May the 4th (Force) be with you!’” Yelenic said.

“Several celebration parties (The Gathering) are planned for the parking lot ‘as a rite of passage’ for our SVS students! ’DJ Yelenix will create the atmosphere as students and families are safely surrounded by Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Andy the Aardvark from the Roadhouse and plenty more sights and sounds of Star Wars.

“All money raised will build our legacy!” Yelenic said.

Through last year’s event, more than $40,000 was raised for St. Vincent’s.

“Our goal this year is $75,000!” Yelenic said. “WE ARE STAR WARiorS!”

Catholic schools across the dio- cese have been preparing for One Mission One Day and generating excitement online, Sforza said. She emphasized that there are a number of ways people can get involved and help their school.

“You can share your school’s photos and videos promoting the day, you can visit the OMOD website and make a gift, and you can post about your giving on social media using the hashtag #OneMissionOne Day to encourage others to do the same!” she said.

Sforza also encouraged all to visit the campaign website on May 4 to watch as the donations roll in, and numbers change on the leader- board. There will also be a hashtag generator that will share all social media posts that include #One MissionOneDay.

“It’s definitely going to be an exciting day for Catholic schools ac- ross the state!” said Sforza, who went on to express her gratitude to everyone for their support of One Mission One Day.

“Your gifts,” she said, “will help our Catholic schools continue to provide exceptional academics in a safe and nurturing environment.”