Assumption Catholic School Overcomes Pandemic Hurdles

March 27, 2021

Pictured above L-R, members of the community at Assumption Catholic School: Dan Anderson (principal), Nick Berard (auctioneer), Jennifer Sheafor & Tiffany Schuman (auction co-chairs)

Assumption Catholic School in Bellingham is celebrating the success of its virtual “Growing Great Kids” auction. The online event continues an incredible year for Assumption and showcases the innovative spirit of Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of Seattle as they overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tara Gilligan Reimer, an Assumption parent and member of the school’s admission and retention committee, attributes some of the school’s success this year to aid from the Fulcrum Foundation, particularly the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund grants.

“I always think of the Fulcrum donors,” Tara said. “I’m so impressed by Fulcrum and the way they allow schools to reach their full potential through their grants. Those donors are helping us build something here. And it’s not just the money—it’s all of the care, and talent, and resources that Fulcrum offers to the schools as well.”

“We’ve been open since September and Fulcrum’s grant made it possible to hire the additional staff we needed to split our classes into two,” said Dan Anderson, Assumption’s principal. “The Fulcrum Foundation donors saw the great and immediate need of Catholic schools in the archdiocese and stepped forward to support us.”

Fulcrum aid helped many Catholic schools launch their in-person and hybrid learning programs at the start of the school year. The incredible dedication of Catholic school staff, students, and families did the rest.

“Catholic schools have been a beacon of light and they have worked hard to preserve the social and emotional well-being of the children they serve,” said Dan. “More importantly, the teachers and staff saw a need and rose to the occasion.”

Assumption’s own community came together to create a fully virtual auction for the first time. Jennifer Shaefor, auction chair and Assumption parent, tackled the challenges of making a whole new event with enthusiasm, hard work, and a deep love for her Catholic school. Some of her ideas included a “take and bake” meal for parents and new raffle and silent auction items that celebrated Bellingham’s outdoor culture.

“I am most proud of pulling this whole thing off!” Jennifer said. “We built it all from scratch. We did everything we could to make it the best event possible and I don’t have any regrets!”

Assumption’s success and the success of other archdiocesan schools during the pandemic once again highlight the incredible resilience and compassion of the Catholic community.

“As a Catholic school, we are focused on serving all of Whatcom County,” said Tara. “This year, so many families are new at our school and so many of them have already said they want to stay. This community is so welcoming to families—whether they are Catholic or not. We look out for each other. We care for each other.”

“I just want the Fulcrum Foundation’s donors to know that it’s not just their dollars that are making a difference here,” Tara added. “It’s the resources and the care. The power of our school and of Catholic education has really become clear because of Dan Anderson and because of Fulcrum’s aid. One day, my son will look back and know that this is the place that taught him what it means to be Catholic.”