Catholic Schools Kick Off Year With Opening Mass, Awards

August 18, 2005

Nearly 3,000 school principals, teachers and staff from the 112 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington will open the new school year with a Mass and an awards ceremony to honor two outstanding teachers, including one who has taught at DeMatha High School for 50 years, as well as other special anniversaries:

Monday, August 29, 2005
10:00 a.m.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
4th St. and Michigan Ave., NE, Washington, DC

The celebrant will be Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, auxiliary bishop of Washington. At the end of Mass, Dr. Charles E. “Buck” Offutt, who has taught English at DeMatha Catholic High School, Hyattsville, for 50 years, and Ms. Elizabeth Watson, a middle school math teacher for 24 years at St. Peter School, Waldorf, and will receive the Sister Mary Lucille, RSM Outstanding Teacher Award.

The award was created nearly 10 years ago through a donation by NBC Washington bureau chief and moderator of Meet the Press Tim Russert and is named in honor of one of his favorite teachers. The $1,500 award recognizes teachers from the Archdiocese who exemplify many of the attributes Mr. Russert admired in Sister Mary Lucille. Educators must have five years experience in Catholic schools and be nominated by their principals. This year, through the generosity of Mr. Russert and contributions from the Elementary School Principals’ Association and High School Principals’ Association, two educators are being recognized for the first time. In past years, only one has been.

In addition, 14 Catholic elementary school principals and teachers marking 25, 30 and 35 years of service to Catholic education will be recognized. Five schools marking special anniversaries will be honored: 80 years: Nativity Catholic Academy, Washington, DC (NW); St. Martin of Tours School, Gaithersburg; St. Mary of the Assumption School, Upper Marlboro; 75 years: Sacred Heart School, Washington, DC (NW); and 50 years: Our Lady of Victory School, Washington, DC (NW).

The first day of classes for Archdiocesan Catholic schools will be Tuesday, August 30. The Archdiocese includes 113 elementary and secondary schools, and early learning centers educating nearly 33,500 students in the District of Columbia and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland. Catholic school information is online at

Jennifer Reed
Assistant Director of Communications for Schools
[email protected]