Attendees sometimes find themselves standing in the hallway outside Sister Carol Cimino’s, S.S.J., meeting room as she delivers engaging sessions to packed audiences during the annual National Catholic Educational Association convention.
The Clifton Park, N.Y., educational consultant “always draws a huge crowd,” said Brian Gray, editor of NCEA’s Momentum Magazine and part of the communication department at NCEA headquarters in Washington, D.C. “She’s on target and very entertaining.”
Also reeling in a number of listeners is lawyer Sister Mary Angela Shaughnessy, S.C.N., head of the Education Law Institute at St. Catharine College, Springfield, Ky., whose sessions on education-related law are very popular.
Some speakers seem to draw well year after year, said Mr. Gray, as he described some of the 400 NCEA sessions, which attendees, delegates in convention lingo, can attend during the three-and-a-half-day convention.
Delegates choose from a huge selection of sessions on every level of Catholic education (elementary, secondary, seminary) in specified subtopics such as religious education and boards of education, to name a few.
Sports and values, urban education, leadership, curriculum and arts are a few examples of general headings topping the list of workshops. Under each are many individual workshops, such as Saints in the Making: The Process of Canonization; Creative Ways to Share Faith; Dont be Afrade Too Spel; Restructuring Your School Around Social Justice and Service; Meet the Parents; and Technology: Tool, Toy, or Torture?
Basically, “the conference is delivered by its own members,” said Mr. Gray, who explained that the volunteer speakers must submit proposals and resumes to be accepted as leaders of sessions. “They are pretty much experts in their field.”
Delegates are not required to register prior to attending the sessions held from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. “If they find something interesting in another track,” said Mr. Gray, “they are free to go wherever they want.”