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ND students continue education through ACE

| Wednesday, August 27, 2014

While many students in the class of 2014 said goodbye to Notre Dame this summer, students in the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program stayed on campus for more classes and learning.

Barbara Johnston/University of Notre DamePhoto courtesy of Bill Schmitt
Maria Lynch, associate program director and a graduate of ACE, said while it is true that ACE is a two-year program where college graduates teach in underprivileged Catholic schools, the program offers much more to its fellows and participants.

“Current Teaching Fellows, as well as graduates of the program, are an integral component of the Alliance’s greater mission of strengthening Catholic Education across the country,” Lynch said. “ACE programs form school leaders, work to increase Latino enrollment in Catholic schools, train educators of English as Second Language and Exceptional Children, partner with schools to strengthen instruction and school culture and so much more.”

According to recruiting coordinator for ACE teaching fellows Matt Gelchion, there are 178 ACE Teaching Fellows this year, 95 of which are first-year teachers, who will work in 120 different schools in 31 different communities across the country.

Anthony Barrett, senior English major and ACE intern, said the ACE program is unique and different from other teaching programs.

“Because ACE has only about 180 members, they are able to provide members with high-quality support and guidance,” Barrett said. “ACE is a faith-based community that serves Catholic schools. ACE is fully funded and includes a required M.Ed. program. Finally, the summer preparation for ACE is longer and more rigorous.”

The ACE journey begins the summer before the first year of teaching with graduate coursework and student teaching, according to Katie Mullins, a first year ACE teacher and a graduate of the Notre Dame class of 2014. Students return to campus before their second year to continue their coursework.

Mullins said she began teaching third grade at St. Ambrose Catholic School in Tucson, Ariz., two weeks ago. She said teaching has always something she has been interested in, and she is excited for the year.

“I am thrilled to finally be diving head first into this ministry of teaching.  I am excited to learn from my fellow ACErs, the wonderful teachers at my school and, most importantly, my students,” Mullins said.

Gelchion said he hopes the future is bright for the ACE program.

“We distribute postcards that showcase students holding signs that say, ‘My Goals: College & Heaven.’  That’s our mission: to help put students on the path to a life-changing education and a lifetime of happiness with God. That’s how we’ll measure our success,” Gelchion said. “My hope — and certainly it’s an ambitious one — is that every student whose life ACE Teachers touch will be helped on that track.”

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About Emma Borne

Emma Borne started as a news writer for the Observer in Fall 2013. She is a senior majoring in Sociology and Peace Studies. She loves writing for the Observer because it allows her to participate in campus life in a way that she otherwise wouldn't and because she gets to work with some super talented, awesome people!

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