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April 17, 2000


Principal of St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia

Sister Constance Marie, IHM, principal of St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia will receive the 2000 Catherine T. McNamee Award from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). Sr. Constance will accept the award during the NCEA's Annual Convention in Baltimore on April 25th.

The McNamee Award was established in 1996 in honor of former NCEA president, Catherine T. McNamee, in recognition of her leadership in promoting a vision of Catholic education that welcomes and serves cultural and economic diversity.

Sr. Constance became principal of St. Francis de Sales in 1984 and has worked diligently to bring spiritual and educational excellence to the diverse student body. The students are from 23 countries, and speak 16 languages. Sixty percent of the student body is non-Catholic and sixty-five percent fall below the federally-established poverty line. Sister and her staff share many achievements: increasing enrollment; starting a development program that has raised over $1 million; and initiating the St. Francis de Sales Peace Program to address violence in the surrounding neighborhood. The "Peace Program" began in 1992 and teaches conflict resolution and peer mediation, empowering the students to solve problems peacefully. The center is the "Peace Table" where students with disputes of any nature are asked to come to mediate their differences. The program has received local and national recognition, and this past November was awarded the Philadelphia Bar Foundation Apothaker Award.

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Marie Kelly
Associate Director

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