Volunteers help Catholic schools with their mission


“Catholic Schools Raise the Standards” is the theme for National Catholic Schools Week 2013.
According to the U.S. bishops, Catholic schools “serve both the faith community and society by educating children, young people and adults to contribute to the common good” and develop “the whole person through spiritual and academic formation.”
Like staff, students, parents, pastors and parishioners, volunteers contribute to that mission.
To commemorate National Catholic Schools Week, The Catholic Messenger asked all schools in the Diocese of Davenport to share names of excellent volunteers. Here, individuals from the first six schools that responded to the Messenger share their stories.

To read these profiles in full, subscribe to The Catholic Messenger’s e-edition.

God’s way of calling me to help others


Name: Karen Burke
School: St. Joseph Catholic School, DeWitt
Parish: St. Joseph, DeWitt
Years volunteering: Nine years
Volunteer duties: For St Joe’s Athletic Boosters, I help raise money by doing clothing orders, concessions at home games and fundraising to help our St. Joe’s athletics. We keep the gym updated, replace uniforms and update all sports equipment. For the teachers, I do photocopying or whatever a teacher may need me to do. In the library I do anything that needs to be done, from processing new books and repairing books to checking in and re-shelving books. I also volunteer to help with my children’s classroom parties and field trips. Each fall I chair the pop walk at our parish festival. For Home & School, I help with the magazine fundraiser and the pizza and cookie dough fundraiser….


Volunteering helps build character


Name: Nick Dirth
School: Notre Dame, Burlington
Parish: Ss. John & Paul, Burlington
Years volunteering at the school: 20 years
Volunteer duties: Cleaning, cooking, fund­raising, building improvements, demolition, Athletic Board, Athletic Boosters, Music Boosters, concessions, anything that needed to be done or whatever the school asked me to help out on.
Why did you begin volunteering? I wanted to be involved with the school because it has been a part of my life for close to 50 years….

Making a difference is most rewarding


Name: Kathy Peterson
School: John F. Kennedy Catholic, Davenport
Parish: Our Lady of Victory, Davenport
Years volunteering: 14 years
Volunteer duties:  I have been involved in a variety of volunteer positions over the years and usually multiple activities at the same time. I have been a member of the JFK Band Boosters for nine years, and an officer for eight years and president for seven. I have been a grant writer since 2004. For several years I worked on the Gala Fundraiser Committee and, along with my husband, established and ran a car raffle for three years. I was a member of the school improvement advisory committee for five years. I designed/organized the haunted house for seven years. My husband and I co-chaired with another couple the Grow­ing our Faith … Shaping Generations Capital Campaign for the church and school….

Meeting people is amazing


Name: Missy Aitchison
School: Regina Cath­olic Schools, Iowa City
Parish: St. Thomas More, Coralville
Years volunteering: Three
Volunteer duties: Home and School Asso­ciation, recycling program
What’s most rewarding about volunteering? Meeting so many amazing people. It’s great to get to know the staff, students and families that our children are going to be around for the next 10-plus years. It’s also just really fun to be in such a positive environment….


Friendships developed while volunteering
Name: Cynthia Kaczinski
School: Prince of Peace Catholic School, Clinton
Parish: Jesus Christ Prince of Peace, Clinton
Years volunteering at the school: 14 years
Volunteer duties: Over the years I have been a room mom and chaperone, volunteered with float building and baking/cooking for many activities, helped plan and work the Irish Auction, worked gates and concessions at sporting events, and most recently helped coordinate and administer the Scrip gift card program in the school.  Duties for this program include maintaining the Scrip card inventory, preparing Mass boxes for Scrip sales, filling special orders and marketing….

Watching students grow is rewarding


Name:  Mari Schwanke
School:  Holy Trinity Catholic Elementary, West Point
Parish:  St. Mary of the Assumption, West Point
Years volunteering at the school:  2007 – Present
Volunteer duties: First-grade tutoring (90 percent reading, 10 percent math)
Why did you begin volunteering? I love to teach. And when I became disabled, I could no longer work….

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