At 12th annual St. Ambrose Benefit Dinner on December 8 Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Carolyn Averill, for the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018 -- 12:00 AM
You are invited

Twelfth Annual
St. Ambrose Academy Benefit Dinner

Date: Saturday, Dec. 8
• 5 p.m. — Cocktail hour, cash bar
• 6:30 p.m. — Dinner
Cost: $75/plate, four guests at reduced rate of $250 or table of eight at reduced rate of $500
Location: Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison
RSVP: St. Ambrose Academy, 608-827-5853 or

MADISON -- For one Verona couple, attending the St. Ambrose Benefit Dinner a few years ago was the start of an unexpected journey.

When Ryan Hartberg and his wife Christy accepted an invitation to join a couple from their parish at the dinner, they “were blown away.”

They were impressed

Ryan Hartberg recalls, “The things that stand out were the students who spoke in front of hundreds of people, how articulate and full of joy they were.

“There was also a video that showcased the classroom environment and seeing the joy, the smiles, the laughter, the silliness -- as well as the intelligence of the kids -- is something that you just don’t see every day.”

Such students, those in grades six to 12 who are formed and equipped at St. Ambrose Academy each year, are the inspiration for the joy and hope found at the St. Ambrose Benefit Dinner.

Shaping future leaders

Like the Hartbergs noted, it’s easy to see what makes the St. Ambrose community special -- and you are warmly welcomed to experience this firsthand at the upcoming St. Ambrose Academy Benefit Dinner on Saturday Dec. 8.

Now in its 12th year, the St. Ambrose Academy Benefit Dinner is a highlight of the holiday season. Each year, hundreds of faithful from across the Diocese of Madison, including many new friends, supporters, parents of students, and alumni, gather to celebrate and support the growth of a school community that is shaping leaders within the next generation of Catholics.

Creating young, vibrant, missionary disciples is a vital work of the Church -- and that work is beautifully apparent in the lives of those St. Ambrose is affecting.

The alumni sent out into the world by St. Ambrose Academy are engaged in diverse academic programs at universities across the country, pursuing vocations to married life or the priesthood, and being strong witnesses of virtue and faith in their workplaces and communities.

Classical education

Amidst the holiday cheer and the lively conversation, the evening brings guests into contact with a variety of ways that Catholic classical education can impact young lives.

Thanks to the support received each year during the Benefit Dinner, St. Ambrose Academy is able to continue hiring highly qualified, faithful educators and give tuition support to 50 percent of the students enrolled -- a blessing to families who seek the best possible environment for their children to grow.

The value of a Catholic education is immeasurable, and using the time-tested educational methods of classical education, students at St. Ambrose are being prepared spiritually and intellectually to discern their vocations and what God is calling them to do in their lives.

A strong foundation

For John Carey, a 2008 alumnus, “a house is only as good as its foundation, and St. Ambrose gave me a strong one.”

Being a part of students’ lives during a highly formational time can have many lasting effects. As Carey shared, “The school’s focus on primary sources has instilled in me a deep intellectual curiosity; their integration of Catholicism into all aspects of the curriculum has grounded my own faith in a profound way; and the beautiful witness that the faculty show to their work, families, and faith continue to inspire me today as a husband and as a father.”

Visit drew him in

It’s current students and alumni like John Carey that piqued the curiosity of the Hartbergs three years ago. Within a week of the Benefit Dinner, the Hartbergs visited St. Ambrose and then brought their son Ethan to shadow a sixth grade student.

Picking up their son after his visit, Ryan Hartberg shared, “We’ll never forget the what he said to us: ‘mom and dad, I want to go here -- this is the most welcome I’ve ever felt in my whole life.’ To have your sixth grade son say something like that really caught us -- that there is something different going on here.

“At the time, we weren’t even looking for a new school for Ethan. But what we found at St. Ambrose really drew us in, and we enrolled him beginning that spring semester.”

As the Hartbergs and many others have seen, there truly is something different going on at St. Ambrose Academy -- a sign of hope for the world.

Join with hundreds of other Catholics at the 12th Annual St. Ambrose Academy Benefit Dinner as we look ahead to the future of a mission that will continue to educate young people who will transform our parishes and communities for decades to come!

Carolyn Averill is the advancement director at St. Ambrose Academy in Madison.

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