2016 Champions of Catholic Education!

Pamela Leseman

St. Rose of Lima School
Ephrata, WA

Saint Thomas Aquinas Award

Pamela is honored for her 22 years of work and philanthropy at St. Rose of Lima School in Ephrata. Pamela’s involvement ranges from the Parent-Teacher Organization to financial assistance to fundraising and volunteering.

“Catholic Schools focuses on the values that many seek in a quality education: superior academic results; faith formation and the building of character; and a safe, caring community where all children are accepted and respected.”

Emily Appert

St. Joseph Marquette School
Yakima, WA

Saint John the Baptist Award

Emily is honored for teaching and inspiring students for the past 9 years at St. Joseph/Marquette School in Yakima. She has completely revamped the middle school religion program, involved her students in service projects, taught Irish dancing, and coached the track team distance runners and cross country team.

“Catholic education is important to me because not only do I get to work with the next generation of thinkers, creators, and leaders, but I also get to work with our next generation of saints.”

Mike & Anne Concienne

Blessed Sacrament Parish
Grandview, WA

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award

Mike and Ann are honored for 33 years of dedicated teaching in the religious education program at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Grandview. Their confirmation program has grown from a handful in their living room to encompass 50 to 80 youth each year. They really make a difference in the lives of the teenagers they work with and their families.

“The importance of Catholic education is for our youth to understand and embrace "The Truth" in Jesus, in His love, His teachings, and His sacraments. It is a critical step toward becoming a saint.”

Sylvia Billing

St. Joseph School
Kennewick, WA

Saint John the Baptist Award

Sylvia is honored for 37 years of dedication to teaching multiple grades at St. Joseph School in Kennewick. As she participates in all of the school’s events, Sylvia seeks new ways to share our faith with the students so that they are always eager to learn about Jesus.

“Teaching at St. Joseph’s Catholic School is not just a job. It is my vocation.”

Belia Sanchez Torres

Holy Apostles Parish
East Wenatchee, WA

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award

Belia is honored for her work with the religious education program at Holy Apostles Parish in East Wenatchee. In addition to working with the children, Belia helps prepare the retreat for the Catechists so that they can have a successful religious education program each year.

“I listened to the words of Lord, Jesus, who sent us to be collaborators (educators) of this great mission, and who gave us his promise: Go, therefore, *  and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. *  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
Matthew 28, 19-20

The St. Thomas Aquinas Award is presented to an individual/couple who has been a major benefactor of Catholic education in Central Washington.

The St. John Baptist De La Salle Award is presented to those who have excelled as educators in our Catholic schools.

The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award is presented to those who have dedicated their time, talent and treasure to religious education, faith formation and RCIA programs in their parishes.

These awards were presented at the fifth annual Celebration of Faith event at the Yakima Convention Center on October 8, 2016.