Article from our 2021 Winter Fulcrum News
They were the right people in the right place.
Tom and Jan O’Callahan will be given the Archbishop’s Award at the 2021 Celebration of Light for their work in IT modernization. In 2013, the Office for Catholic Schools (OCS) wanted to implement an online assessment test for all students in the Archdiocese of Seattle, but most schools didn’t have the necessary internet bandwidth or technology for a project of this scope.
Tom and Jan O’Callahan stepped up to help. At the time, Tom was a retired Boeing IT engineer and OCS volunteer, while Jan was a Fulcrum trustee. Together, they became the primary driving force behind Fulcrum’s IT Network Modernization Fund.
When the IT Fund started in 2015, less than 5% of archdiocesan schools had adequate wireless internet access. Today, every school meets the minimum industry standard for internet speed. Through the IT Fund, Fulcrum met grant requests from 43 different schools, installed 12 miles of network cable, and provided 700 classrooms with high-performance wireless access points.
Tom and Jan’s hard work had unforeseen benefits: the technology upgrades provided by the IT Fund helped all 72 archdiocesan schools to meet the challenges of teaching remotely during the pandemic without missing a single day of instruction.
“In our schools, we teach our students that each of us have been given a unique gift to share with the world,” said Kristin Dixon, the superintendent for Catholic schools. “Tom and Jan model this ability and desire to give from their best selves to our schools at a time when we needed them most! Without them, we simply would not have been prepared to leap into the demands that the pandemic presented to us. We are so grateful for our wise technology angels, Tom and Jan!”