Matching Gift Challenge

Matching Gift Challenge

The Brenda Hoskins and Pete Bushelman High School Scholarship was recently established to support a student throughout their four years of high school.

Since the inception of CISE, Pete Bushelman has been fundraising through the Friends of CISE Raffle, a legacy that endures to this day. His impact extends further, inspiring his late friend Brenda Hoskins to include CISE in her trust.

The Story: Brenda Hoskins, originally from Cheltenham, England, arrived in the US as a war bride with nothing but a dream and a determined spirit to succeed. Similar to the opportunities provided to children through scholarships to Catholic high schools, Brenda herself was given a chance when Pete Bushelman, her banker, demonstrated faith in her by granting her a business loan when all other banks had rejected her. Thanks to Pete’s compassionate gesture, Brenda went on to achieve success as a businesswoman, establishing and expanding several lucrative ventures. Her legacy lives on through a trust that honors the banker who became her cherished friend.

Pete Bushelman was one of the first business executives to accept the invitation of Archbishop Joseph Bernardin to join the CISE Advisory Board established in 1980. When the Advisory Board was formed, Pete was a Vice President at Central Trust Bank (now PNC). Pete never stopped helping CISE. He stayed on the Advisory Board for over two decades and started the first fundraiser for CISE, which was called the “Friends of CISE Raffle.” The raffle has raised over $2 million and is still in existence today. Pete’s relentless efforts have significantly impacted the lives of countless young individuals who received a solid academic and spiritual foundation at Catholic inner-city schools over the past 43 years.

The Brenda Hoskins and Pete Bushelman High School Scholarship was recently established to support a student throughout four years of high school. Brenda’s generous contribution aims to empower a CISE student to graduate with a robust and attainable plan for success.

In addition, Brenda’s trustees issued a matching gift challenge so that others can join in honoring the memories of both Brenda and Pete and contribute to making the dream of a four-year high school scholarship a reality for CISE student.

The need is growing: CISE anticipates over 100 incoming first-year students who will need a high school scholarship starting in the 2024-2025 school year.

Meet Julie & Steve Hellebusch

Meet Julie & Steve Hellebusch

Meet former Cincinnatians Julie and Steve Hellebusch. Julie and Steve have been faithful CISE donors since 2009. For many years, they were monthly donors, and despite moving to Texas for work in 2013, they have continued to donate to CISE regularly. 

Julie and Steve are both products of a great Catholic education. Julie graduated from Mt. Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati and Steve graduated from Covington Catholic High School in northern Kentucky. Both hold degrees from Thomas More University where they met, and Steve received an advanced degree at the University of Notre Dame.  

They learned about CISE when they and their children were parishioners at St. Gertrude. 

When asked why they continue to donate even though they have been residents of Texas for ten years, Steve replied, “We have always thought education is the way to bring about positive change, so we continue to support CISE!”

Thank you, Julie and Steve, for supporting your hometown with your continuous generosity.  

Paying It Forward: A CISE Scholar’s Journey of Gratitude

Paying It Forward
A CISE Scholar’s Journey of Gratitude

Meet Bitanya Derese, a CISE alumna with a remarkable story of resilience and determination. Born in Ethiopia, the Derese family immigrated to the United States in 2007 with dreams of a better life. America was not just a new home, it was a land of opportunities. As an immigrant and a child of non-English-speaking parents, Bitanya faced many challenges. She recalls, “A lot of responsibility was attached to that. I had to serve as a translator for my parents and deal with many things that a kid wouldn’t know what to do with. I think that’s part of what made me so driven and independent today.”

The family settled in Cincinnati and Bitanya’s educational journey began at Holy Family Elementary, a CISE-supported school in Price Hill. Holy Family became a vital support system during the family’s early days in Cincinnati. More than just a school, the staff demonstrated genuine concern for the family’s well-being, including a dedicated secretary who even helped them find affordable housing.

At Holy Family, Bitanya received a CISE high school scholarship that enabled her to attend Seton High School. She thrived both academically and socially; actively participating in Hope Squad, a suicide prevention group, serving as a student ambassador and joining the diversity and inclusion club. Reflecting on her time at Holy Family and Seton, Bitanya expressed gratitude, “I’m really grateful that I got to go to a private school; it definitely set me up for success in life. Private Catholic education was not in my family’s budget at all. I also really appreciated the Catholic aspect of it. I am religious myself and the fact that I could take religion classes helped me to grow stronger in my faith.”

During her sophomore year, the Derese family visited their home village in Ethiopia, and Bitanya was deeply moved by the poverty she saw there. “The kids barely had anything,” she said. “They didn’t even know if they were going to eat the next day, but they were still joyful, happy kids. I realized how much we take for granted here.” This experience motivated Bitayna to take action. She began raising money for the cause, and with the guidance of her high school advocate, Jenny Jenkins, she created The Grateful Foundation, a nonprofit that helps the children of her village receive the basic supplies needed. “She’s a remarkable kid; the family has had some struggles along the way, but she’s very strong,” Jenkins reflects. “When she was at Seton, she organized out-of-uniform days and different fundraisers to collect money for the community in Ethiopia; she continues to work.” Through The Grateful Foundation, Bitanya has been able to raise thousands of dollars for the children in Ethiopia.

These days, you can find Bitanya attending the University of Cincinnati, where she is a 2nd-year honors student at Lindner Business School, studying marketing. She received the prestigious Cincinnatus Presidential Scholarship, awarded to only 10 students per year, covering full tuition, room and board, and books. “If you had told me in 7th grade at Holy Family that I would get a full-ride scholarship to college and have all of this, I would’ve been like ‘no way!’” Bitanya shares, “I think God placed this in my life on purpose. I think utilizing what falls in your lap and being appreciative is the thing that gets you far in life.” While marketing is her academic focus, Bitanya’s commitment to The Grateful Foundation remains a priority as she continues to raise money for the children of Ethiopia today.

When asked what drives her, Bitanya responds, “It’s my parents. I don’t know if I’d have the courage to sacrifice my whole life, getting up and moving to another country where you don’t even know the language. Just knowing that I’m making these milestones, getting scholarships, and really working for myself, I think it’s worth it for them. Their sacrifice is meaningful, I am actually utilizing what they came here to give me.”

Bitanya’s story embodies the spirit of paying it forward. From humble beginnings in Ethiopia to multiple-scholarship recipient to creating opportunities for others, her journey demonstrates the transformative power of education, faith, and working to make a difference. It reminds us that the greatest blessings come from being a source of blessings to others.

Meet Principal Jen Long

Today We Celebrate Mrs. Jen Long, principal of St. Lawrence in Price Hill.

Mrs. Long believes that the greatest responsibility we have to the children who are entrusted to our care is to provide the tools that they need to become faith-filled, lifelong learners. 

About Principal Long:
This is my 3rd year as principal of St Lawrence. I am blessed to be a part of the Eagle Family! I have been in education for 26 years- 9 of those years at St Lawrence. I graduated from Seton High School and received my undergraduate degree in Education from NKU. My Masters and Principal’s licensure were completed at Wright State University. I am a Westsider (Seton girl married an Elder guy!) My husband Greg and I have 3 boys: Justin (22), studying to be a Chemical Engineer at the University of Cincinnati (UC), Kyle (20), studying to be a Mechanical Engineer at UC, and Ryan (17), a junior at Elder High School. (Guess what? He wants to be an engineer, too!)

Bucket List: Hike in every National Park 
Fun Fact about Mrs. Long: I have run in 5 half-marathons.
Favorite Quote: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

CISE Feasibility Study

CISE Feasibility Study
Building Business & Education Partnerships

CISE is six months into the one-year feasibility study, led by Dr. Mari Thomas, to explore and identify alternative pathways for our graduates. One critical development in this work is the launch of a Business Advisory Council, BAC. All Ohio public school districts and Educational Service Centers are required, by law, to have a BAC. Currently, Ohio has 110 Business Advisory Councils. BACs serve as focused platforms where education and business leaders come together to engage in dialogue about regional economic drivers, build understanding of work-based learning opportunities, and identify strategies that will transform the traditional student learning experience.

CISE is excited to have representatives from the following businesses/industries on the BAC: 

  • Archdiocese of Cincinnati 
  • Business 
  • CISE 
  • Construction 
  • Health Care 
  • IT 
  • K-12 Education 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Ohio Department of Education and Workforce 
  • Post-Secondary Education 

The first meeting is set for March 19, 2024, and will take place at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. The meeting will focus on understanding the workforce landscape and showcasing career and technical growth opportunities within Catholic schools. 

Build Understanding – Develop and increase collaborative relationships among businesses, labor, and education personnel.  

Develop Professional Skills for Future Careers – Work together to delineate key professional skills needed for the future job market.  

Coordinate Experiences – Create environments that allow students to demonstrate proficiency in critical professional and specialized skills that will aid in future employment. 

As we work to explore and build alternative pathways for CISE-supported High School graduates, the BAC will be instrumental in identifying and validating promising practices that will have a positive impact on shaping the future of education for our students. 

2023 Campaign Wrap Party

2023 Campaign Wrap Party

The Hyde Park Country Club was buzzing with excitement as campaign co-chairs, Liz Niehaus and Don Mellott, board members, staff and supporters gathered to celebrate the success of the annual campaign. The highlight of the evening was the inspiring speeches given by two CISE students from Roger Bacon High School, who shared how CISE has helped them achieve their goals. We were also delighted to have CISE alumna, Tyra Jones, join us for the evening. It was a great reminder of the impact that CISE has on the lives of students and the community. We are grateful for the continued support of our donors and look forward to another successful year.