Founded in Los Angeles in 1982, The Association of Catholic Student Councils (TACSC), a nationwide leadership training program for elementary through high school students attending Catholic schools, celebrated its 30th anniversary with a gala dinner at Loyola Marymount University in Westchester Oct. 20.
Nearly 200 people attended the gala, which raised funds for the association’s continued operations. More than 17,000 elementary, junior high and high school students from throughout California and across the U.S. have participated in the association’s leadership training programs.
During the gala, three awards were presented: the Founder’s Award to the William H. Hannon Foundation; the Lifetime Achievement Award to TACSC’s founder Marilyn Thickett; and the Partners’ Award to the LMU School of Education’s Center for Catholic Education.
Locally, students at St. Anastasia Catholic School and St. Jerome Catholic School in Westchester as well as students at St. Anthony Catholic School in El Segundo participate in TACSC.
The Catholic student group’s programs include student leadership days, parent/educator evenings, moderator and administrator programs and summer leadership conferences. Students are taught life leadership skills including public speaking, meeting management, collaboration and teamwork, project planning and problem-solving. They also learn the importance of public service and community volunteerism and how to strengthen their Catholic faith as a leader.
For the last three years, TACSC is turning its attention from serving not just student council leaders, but all students who have leadership potential in other areas of life, including sports teams and clubs.
“We grow leaders. TACSC has been making profound, permanent and positive change in the lives of Catholic youth for 30 years,” said Gene Detre, TACSC’s executive director. “The best part is that these young people carry the ‘TACSC toolkit’ with them for life. Our alumni make giving back to their communities central to their lives and careers,”
The gala saw a number of association alumni speak, including New York City Deputy Mayor Caswell Holloway; Tim McOsker, immediate past chair of the Central City Association of Los Angeles; James Hannon, chair of the Board of Regents at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, as well as Jaclyn Jimenez, vice president of POM POM at Home, and Catherine Mifsud, director of campus ministry and service learning at Ursuline Academy of New Orleans.
GOLD MEDALIST SPEAKS TO ROTARY
Five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode will speak to the Rotary Club of Westchester at its regular lunch meeting at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Airport, 5985 W. Century Blvd. in Westchester.
Rhode has won a medal in skeet shooting in each of the last five Olympic Games, including earning her third Olympic gold medal at the 2012 London Games by hitting an astounding 99 out of 100 (moving) targets.
Rhode’s Olympic career began by winning gold in 1996 at just 17 years old, and in London she became the first American in history to win medals in any individual sport in five consecutive Olympic Games. Rhode said she expects to compete “for another four or five Olympics.”
She is a member of the Safari Club International and an honorary lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. Rhode keeps busy with training, public speaking, shooting demonstrations, skiing and hunting, and is an avid builder and restorer of antique and muscle cars. She also collects first edition children’s books from the 1800s and 1900s, her favorite being “The Wizard of Oz” series.
Admission for the Rotary Club lunch event is $20 per person, and includes free parking.
Thirteen seventh and eighth graders will represent St. Anastasia Catholic School in the 2013 California Catholic Schools Academic Junior High Decathlon. The annual event hosts over 100 Catholic schools in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The top two schools from Los Angeles will advance to the statewide competition against the top single teams from each diocese across California.
Mike Muir, St. Anastasia’s newly appointed principal, is heading the team as a coach alongside St. Anastasia’s middle school science teacher, Sister Kathleen Dullea. Training will include preparation for the 10- event competition, which begins with two collaborative team events – 20 rigorous thinking problems and a 50 multiple-choice super quiz based on five broad academic themes.
Eight individual knowledge tests give individual team members a chance to excel on subjects including Roman Catholic doctrine, English, Literature, Science, Mathematics, Current Events, Social Studies and Fine Arts (Art and Music). Muir says his favorite subjects are the fine arts and the history sections.
Muir has been involved with academic decathlon since 1995. He signed on to coach students at Incarnation Parish School in Glendale when he was principal and the following year he joined the planning committee.
Muir believes introducing St. Anastasia’s students to the academic decathlon will be an enjoyable and an exciting opportunity.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with academic decathlon and I believe that it is a good fit for the students at Saint Anastasia,” he said. “Celebrating knowledge and study is the cornerstone of Academic Decathlon and I have seen firsthand the positive impact that it can have on learning.”
The competition will take place March 2, 2013 at the L.A. Sports Arena. The St. Anastasia team began weekly practices in September and is currently working on logic problems as well as understanding the finer points of Jack London’s novel “White Fang,” one of the novels they may be tested on. Specific subjects students will be quizzed on are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.
When asked what it takes to do well in the competition, Muir responded by saying, “the bottom line for academic decathlon success is a great deal of studying. Participants need to be organized and committed to putting in the hard work that leads to success. An involved and supportive team of parents studying with their children is also a key factor.”
ROTARY RAISES FUNDS FOR YMCA
On Oct. 24, Cindy Williams, president of the Rotary Club of Westchester, presented Karen Bradley Follette, executive director of the Westchester Family YMCA, with a check for $11,000 benefiting the Y’s Youth and Government program.
The funds were raised by proceeds from the Progressive Dinner, chaired by Gateway to Los Angeles Executive Director Laurie Hughes.