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ACE to highlight program expansion by hosting first-ever event at Saint Mary’s

| Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) will host its first-ever informational event at Saint Mary’s at 7:30 p.m. in Holy Cross Hall. Called “Cookies and Conversation,” the occasion will involve a discussion about opportunities available through ACE.

“This is the first time we have done an event like this at Saint Mary’s,” ACE Chaplain Fr. Joe Carey said in an email. “Some Saint Mary’s students who graduated and are part of the ACE program have asked me to bring it to Saint Mary’s.” 

The ACE program is an initiative through Notre Dame that provides graduate students with opportunities to teach in Catholic schools in communities across the world. ACE teachers pursue a master’s degree in education, which includes two summers of study at Notre Dame and online courses.

The program has developed extensively since its inception 26 years ago. Now, it is expanding to the tri-campus community.

Saint Mary’s senior Colleen Murphy said she is considering ACE to pursue a graduate degree in education because of communal benefits.

“I think that ACE has a lot of positives,” Murphy said. “I’ve been thinking about doing it for a couple of years because I think the program is not just about going to school in the straightforward way that I’ve been used to. It’s about teaching and getting experience at the same time which I think enhances the experience.” 

Murphy’s desire to maintain the Notre Dame community has inspired her interest in the program. 

“I know I’m not good at just going somewhere completely new, so I think being able to have this community is really helpful,” she said. “I’ve heard many stories about how ACE students will go to their respective schools in the morning, and then at the end of the day, come home and have a community dinner. Having people there to support you through that is really nice.”

Graduates participating in the ACE program agree the experience has many benefits, both inside and outside the classroom. 

“The summer courses and student teaching opportunities taught me knowledge and skills that I use every day in the classroom, and they have helped me to work towards my goal of being the best teacher I can be for my students,” Notre Dame alumna Katie Ward (’19) said in an email.

Ward said the program helps students become more well-rounded educators for the communities they serve.

“ACE gives people the opportunity to be formed professionally, personally and spiritually to become educators that serve their students with their whole heart and mind,” Ward said. “The passion and zeal that I see in my ACE classmates for their students and for Catholic education shows me that they will continue to serve others throughout their lives.”

Fr. Carey hopes ACE will continue to grow and that these events will raise awareness and interest in students from a variety of backgrounds.

“My hopes for the event is to create community and to bring students together to learn more about ACE,” he said. “We are inviting students from all four years to come and learn about the program.”

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