Friend of Catholic Education Award

Friend of Catholic Education Award Past Winners

2022: The Franciscan Friars 

2022: The Franciscan Friars 

The Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation honors the Franciscan Friars for their indelible impact on Catholic education with the Friends of Catholic Education Award. The Franciscan Friars arrived in Quincy in the late 1850s when the pastor of St. Boniface requested help to begin a school. The pastor and Bishop of Alton (the diocese to which Quincy parishes belonged at the time) went to Germany and recruited Franciscans to come to Quincy. Since their arrival in Quincy, well over 100 Friars served at St. Francis Solanus Parish
and School.

During their time in Quincy, the Friars established and served at Quincy University from 1860 to present, established and served at St. Francis Solanus Church and School from 1860-2020, established and served at St. Anthony Church and School from 1860-2003, served at St. Boniface Church and School from 1929-1932, served at St. Benedict Church from 1939-1941, established St. Dominic School in 1963, served at St. Joseph Church from 1967-1968 and 1972-2010, assisted at St. Peter Church, designed Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, and served many other surrounding parishes and community groups. The Friars’ humble spirit, generosity, love, and hard work built a firm foundation for the high-quality, faith-based education available to students today. 

We are thankful for their presence and impact on previous generations and will work to uphold their legacy to shape the lives of generations to come.

2020: Maureen Schuering 

2020: Maureen Schuering 

The Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation honors Maureen (McLaughlin) Schuering for her years of dedicated service and support for Quincy's Catholic Schools.

Maureen received a Catholic education beginning with St. Francis grade school and graduating from Notre Dame High School in 1962. She continued with receiving a Bachelor of Science in Education from Mt. St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas, and then her Master of Arts in Education from St. Mary College, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Her professional career includes teaching at Ft. Leavenworth, South Bend Public Schools, St. Mary Campus School (South Bend, IN) and at John Wood Community College. She was principal for four years at St. Boniface (1987-1991) and for seven years at St. Dominic (1991-1998). Both Quincy schools experienced a 25% increase in enrollment during her tenure as principal. While at St. Dominic, she implemented inclusion and presented at the Illinois Council for Exceptional Children in 1993 St. Dominic was listed by the University of Dayton as one of 30 Catholic schools in the nation that had developed inclusive Catholic education programs. During her years at St. Dominic, a comprehensive development program was set in place which included a communication effort, an annual fund drive and a planned giving program.

Maureen's experience and vision directed her as a founding member of the Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation as well as a founding member and chair of the Leadership Committee for Quincy Catholic Schools. She was also the chair of the Quincy Area Parochial Principals. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees for Benedictine College and an honorary chair of The Campaign for Quincy Notre Dame.

She has been an avid volunteer in Catholic education as a teacher and director of Sunday School, room mother, mentor, and "Great Books" instructor. Her board and committee memberships are numerous and include the St. Peter School Board, founding member and chair of the Fine Arts Committee at St. Peter, St. Peter Youth Commission, St. Peter Arts in the Park chair, QND Athletic Board, The Future of Catholic Schools Committee (1987-1992), and Quincy Parochial Schools Committee (1992-1998). She was also a member of a six-person team to write a program for gifted and talented students for QCES.

Maureen has been married for 52 years to Don Schuering (1963 Christian Brothers graduate). They have two children Christopher (Pam) and Elizabeth (Ryan) and nine grandchildren: Abdullah, Anna, Olivia, Daniel, Isaac, Jack, Ben, Katie and Maggie.

2019: Jim Waterkotte

2019: Jim Waterkotte

The Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation honors Jim Waterkotte for his years of dedicated service and support for Quincy's Catholic Schools. 

Jim grew up in Quincy's Catholic schools starting with St. John the Baptist Grade School, graduating from Notre Dame High School in 1957 and continuing at Quincy College receiving his degree in 1965. 

Jim married Sharon C. Schildt on September 3, 1966 in St. Mary's Catholic Church in Quincy. They have four children Erik, Amy, Todd, and Katie as well as five grand­children. All four children attended St. Peter School and then Quincy Notre Dame High School. 

Jim served in the United States Army 1960 - 1961 active duty and 1961- 1965 active reserve. He had an extensive 35-year career at Blessing Hospital and then five years at Blessing Foundation retiring in 2006. He has been involved with the Knights of Columbus, Quincy Exchange Club, National Association of Accountants, llospital Financial Management Association, Adams County United Way, Recovery Resources, Transitions of Adams County Association and Foundation, and Catholic Youth Organization. He is a member of St. Francis Solanus Church and currently serves on the Ladies of Charity Investment Committee. 

Jim has volunteered through the years many hours of his time for the Catholic schools. He has been involved with the QND Foundation for 30+ years as a board member, president, campaign chairman and division leader. His vast knowledge and experience assisted him with establish­ing the Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools (QCES) Foundation in 2009. Jim is a strong believer that it's necessary that all children wanting to attend a Catholic school should have the opportunity, even if they don't have the money. He feels that the education he received through Catholic schools in Quincy was very instrumental in the opportunities given to him. 

2018: Western Catholic Union

2018: Western Catholic Union

This year the QCES Foundation honors Western Catholic Union for its years of dedicated service and support for Quincy's Catholic Schools. 

Faith, Hope, and Charity are featured in the design of the logo for Western Catholic Union. Those three words are important today and were also important to the pioneers who formed WCU. 

It was just after the centennial celebration of the country, and patriotism was felt within the hearts of all Americans. On October 6, 1877, 13 men gathered to create the foundation of the organization. They were a reflection of their community and of the times. One was a city councilman, but others were grocers, cigar manufacturers, shoemakers, tailors, barbers, a blacksmith and a druggist. 

Within two weeks, their goal was clear, "We have resolved to establish this union, in which and through which, Catholics, regardless of nationality or political opinions, may obtain mutual aid in time of need." 

From those words, Western Catholic Union began. From the beginning, it was the branch structure which differentiated it from other "old line" companies, as they called them back then. Their first by-laws proclaimed, "To protect all classes and branches of industry, to elevate the social standing of its members, and to cultivate fraternal love and affection."

Still today Western Catholic Union hopes to provide strong financial products to its mem­bers, opportunities for its members to enjoy social gatherings, and encourages members to volunteer time to help others. 

Last year WCU's branches in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin raised $787,390.07 for local charities, and have raised more than $5.2 million for local charities in the past nine years. 

For many years, WCU has provided 20 $500 grade school grants, five $1,000 high school scholarships, five $1,000 vocation scholarships, and this year created a program to offer five $2,000 Quincy University scholarships. In the last 10 years, the WCU "Golf For Schol­arships" event has been able to award 138 $500 scholarships to Quincy-area students. In addition, up to 1,000 students, each year participate in their "Catholic Schools Week Poster Contest." Winners are awarded in nearly 25 schools annually. 

As the organization grows, it continues to reach deeper into its branch communities. That hasn't changed in 140 years, and won't anytime soon. 

For generations, Western Catholic Union members have learned to rely on the security they've found with the organization. Those members have passed along a tradition of help­ing others "in time of need" as the founders described. 

WCU has learned that that tradition never goes out of style. 

2017: JoAnn Witte

2017: JoAnn Witte

The Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation honors JoAnn Witte, founder and president of the "Gene Grawe Fund," for her years of dedication to help families afford the cost of Catholic elementary and secondary education. JoAnn estab­lished the "Gene Grawe Fund" in 2005 as a tribute to her late father, Gene Grawe, a strong supporter of Catholic education. Her gift card program has awarded $1.1 million in tuition assis­tance to participating Quincy Catholic schools' families with children enrolled at one of the four Catholic elementary schools and Quincy Notre Dame High School. 

JoAnn Witte is the ninth child out of 11 of the late Gene and Mary Ann (Mast) Grawe. She graduated from St. Anthony grade school in 1977 and from Quincy Notre Dame in 1981. She attended John Wood Community College, Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State) and graduated from Quincy College (now Quincy University) with a degree in social work in 1985. 

On October 28, 1989, JoAnn married Fred Witte in St. Anthony Catholic Church. They have three children, Matthew, Hannah and Andrew. All three attended St. Anthony grade school and graduated from St. Dominic grade school and QND.

JoAnn's parents were lifelong St. Anthony parishioners and both, as well as all her siblings, attended St. Anthony grade school. They were very involved with the parish and school. JoAnn started selling local and national gift cards as a fund­raiser at St. Anthony. The merchants give a rebate for selling their cards and the people buying the cards get their full value. Since Catholic education was so important to her family, she decided to continue selling the gift cards and start the Gene Grawe Fund with the help from Holy Name Society of St. Anthony and the Western Catholic Union. The Gene Grawe Fund is a non-profit organization and also accepts donations. The fund originally helped families from St. Anthony pay for their Catholic education after. the school consolidations in 2005. In 2006-07 school year, the first year to distribute funds, $8,750 was given to the schools to help St. Anthony parishioners pay for their Catholic education. In 2008 the program was expanded city-wide. This 2016-17 school year, the Gene Grawe Fund gave over $230,000 to help all participating families at Blessed Sacrament, St. Dominic, St. Francis, St. Peter, and Quincy Notre Dame schools. The Gene Grawe Fund has given over $1.1 million to help families pay for Catholic education in the past 11 years. 

People ask JoAnn why she runs the Gene Grawe Fund. Her response, "In Ephesians 2:10 it says 'It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.' We are all called to help each other, in what­ever capacity God calls you. The Gene Grawe Funds motto is 'Serving God by helping Each Other.' God planted it on my heart to do this, so why wouldn't I do it? God continues to bless the Gene Grawe Fund. He blesses what He wants you to do. He blesses it with generous merchants. He blesses it with a perfect location at St. Peter Church. He blesses it with wonderful volunteers. And He continues to bless it with generous supporters. Why wouldn't I do it? Until God calls me to something else, this is where I will be!" 

2016: Mac & Margie McClain Family

2016: Mac & Margie McClain Family

Mac McClain was the first coach at Christian Brothers High School. Margie taught at St. Peter Grade School for 14 years. Their eight children all graduated from St. Peter School, and either Christian Brothers, Notre Dame or Quincy Notre Dame High Schools. Margie and Mac were both veterans of World War II, and their strong belief in Catholic education was a major influence on their family life and their contributions in the community. Mac was part of the group that rallied to keep Christian Brothers open and thriving when the Christian Brothers announced they would be leaving at the end of the 1969-1970 school year. It was a dark time indeed when the Quincy community believed they would have no Catholic secondary education option for their sons.

2015: School Sisters of Notre Dame

2015: School Sisters of Notre Dame

Back Row: Sr. Mary Helen Bender, Sr. Marie Celine Schumacher, Sr. Jo Ann Volk, Sr. Mildred Marie Glosemeyer, Sr. Claret Feldhake, Sr. Margaret Mary Schmidt, Sr. Mary Ruth Wand (Sr. Josephus), Sr. Jane Frances Wand (Sr. Rosella), Sr. Ann Geise (Sr. Ann William)

Middle Row Right: Sr. Linda Kremer (Sr. Stephanie Marie) and Sr. Ann Scholz

Front Row: Sr. Jeanette Feldott, Sr. Jackie Sellmeyer (Sr. Ann Maureen), Sr. Roseanne Marie Mock, Sr. Mary Ann Huelsing (Sr. Paul Francis), St. Joan Frey

On November 1, 1859, Mother Caroline Friess, a School Sister of Notre Dame, arrived in Quincy via steamboat. Upon leaving the church the next morning, she was greeted with a guard of honor and the ardent plea of the people, “Give us teachers for our children! Send us Sisters – soon! Soon!” Within a few weeks, a school/convent was ready for the sisters. On December 27, 1859, two sisters and a candidate arrived to teach the 400 students. SSNDs would teach at St. Boniface for the next 119 years.

In 2009, SSND celebrated a special liturgy commemorating their 150 years of ministry in Quincy. During the past 155 years, more than 100 young women from Quincy have entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame and more than 1,040 SSNDs have served as principals and teachers and in a variety of parish ministries and outreach within Quincy.

2014: Sam & Pat Rinella

2014: Sam & Pat Rinella

While Pat was responsible for spearheading a group of mothers who founded, staffed and operated the newly organized St. Peter School Library in the mid-1960s; and while Sam was responsible for organizing/mobilizing a group of Quincy business leaders to financially support the establishment of Catholic Boys High School, when it was announced Christian Brothers High School would close after the 1969-70 school year, most of what Sam and Pat have done to support Catholic education has been “behind the scenes” and with little fanfare. Before retiring in 1998, Sam and Pat owned and operated The Rinella Company, the local Anheuser-Busch, Inc. distributorship, which their son, Jim, now owns and operates.

2013: Ray Heilmann

2013: Ray Heilmann

Ray Heilmann was chosen in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to Quincy Notre Dame, and his many years of support for Quincy’s Catholic Elementary Schools. Before retiring from Quincy Notre Dame in June 2012 after 39 years of service, Heilmann had served as an English teacher and assistant football coach for nine years and as the assistant principal for 13 years.  In 1995, Heilmann was named as the first lay principal in the 128-year history of Quincy Notre Dame High School, a position he held until his retirement in June 2012.

2012: Pam Potter & Dan Sherman

2012: Pam Potter & Dan Sherman

Pam Potter and Dan Sherman were chosen in recognition of their many years of dedicated service to the Parochial Music Organization (PMO).  Before retiring from their positions with the Parochial Music Organization in May 2011, Potter and Sherman, together, provided more than 80 years of dedicated service to the PMO Band Program.

2011: The Tracy Family Foundation

2011: The Tracy Family Foundation

Connie & Rich Niemann were chosen for their many anonymous and “behind the scenes” contributions to Quincy’s Catholic schools for more than 50 years.  Connie & Rich also have a long record of service to St. Peter School, where all of their eight children attended, and where all of the 24 grandchildren living in Quincy attended as well.

2010: Connie & Rich Niemann

2010: Connie & Rich Niemann

The Tracy Family Foundation was chosen for their many contributions in support of Catholic education in Quincy and West Central Illinois.  The Tracy Family Foundation was responsible for underwriting the Long-Range Strategic Planning process in which Quincy’s five Catholic schools, as well as five additional Catholic schools in the Tracy Family Foundation service region, have been engaged in since 2009.  This major initiative in support of Catholic education was facilitated by the Institute of School & Parish Development located in Metairie, Louisiana.

2009: Charles A. “Charlie” Scholz

2009: Charles A. “Charlie” Scholz

Charles A. “Charlie” Scholz was chosen for his many contributions in support of Catholic education in Quincy, including serving as a Co-Founder of the Parochial Music Organization and Life Director and founding member of the Quincy Notre Dame Foundation.