Dear Friends, 

As we enjoy the holiday season, we remember that the very first gift of Christmas was a child. Today, God’s gift continues to remind us of the beauty and importance of our children.  

Since Connecticut Center for Educational Excellence’s (CTCEE) launch in March, I have seen firsthand just how much our state’s children need educational opportunities.  

In just a few months, we received 930 qualified applications for scholarships from parents residing in 78 Connecticut cities. Parents are seeking CTCEE scholarships to send their child to a private K-8 accredited school that would fit the individual needs of the child and honor the cherished values of their family. Schools chosen by current CTCEE scholars’ families range from Country Day Schools, Hebrew, Catholic, Christian Academies and Montessori Schools across our state.

It is my privilege to visit the schools, the parents and children — and there could not be a more exciting or fulfilling gift than learning about the success of these precious children who are receiving an excellent education and love for their community of learning.

Will you help provide educational access and opportunity to Connecticut’s low-income children? Please make a year-end gift now!

Two events highlighted the impact of what we’ve accomplished together.

On Dec. 9, the St. Joseph’s School (K-8) in Baltic presented a concert that included CTCEE scholars. The audience laughed, applauded and enjoyed every moment, while over 200 family and community members cheered the performance of their children. The students played everything from “Jingle Bells” (see below) to a Mozart Christmas Canon performed by the Girl’s Choir of the Academy of the Holy Family. It was a joyous time.

Then, at the end of the night, all the children took the stage. As the lights dimmed and the audience became silent the students performed their final holiday message — “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” The powerful song continues to echo in my heart.

As the song’s lyrics highlight, much of the good to be achieved on earth must, indeed, “begin with me” — and with all of us. Our precious children deserve an education and environment that allows them to become the future leaders they are capable of becoming. If we are to impact the next generation and forge a brighter, more hopeful future, it starts with our children. And the responsibility of preparing them for the trials ahead — begins with you and me.

On December 14, 50 students (many of whom were CTCEE Scholars) presented a wonderful concert at Praise Power and Prayer School in Windsor. During the presentation, the song “Who Could Imagine a King?” was announced, intended to be sung by the entire choir.

A beautiful kindergarten student, a new CTCEE Scholar, unexpectedly walked to the front of the choir and took the microphone. She announced that she knew the song and would sing both verses. The solo was a surprise to everyone, including the director and principal who was accompanying the children on the piano. The director stood back and let her sing.

After two verses, the choir joined her for the third verse. Our little soloist accepted the overwhelming applause, took a small, but shy bow and returned to her seat.

We have attached a video of the Saint Joseph presentation and Praise Power and Prayer presentation. So many inspirational, special moments from a group of very special children.

Right now, we see too many children and too many families — vulnerable, in need — waiting for an opportunity. In some ways, they remind me of the child in the manger, and the family surrounding Him, more than 2,000 years ago.

Together, we can give the gift of an opportunity to prosper to our children and families! Please visit our website to learn more about our CTCEE Scholars, our family of supporters and our relationships with Yankee Institute as we work to seek to provide educational access and opportunity for all the children of our state.

Please consider a gift today — every gift helps transform a child’s life!

To the current generous sponsors of our CTCEE Scholars, we say a heartfelt “thank you!”. To those of you just learning about this educational opportunity for K-8 children across Connecticut — we ask you to join the CTCEE family by sponsoring scholarships for the many hopeful families/children still on the wait list.

We gladly welcome you to the CTCEE family and thank you on behalf of our CTCEE Scholars.

Happy Holidays,

Carolanne Marquis
Chief Executive Officer
Connecticut Center for Educational Excellence