San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders will preside over a ceremony today as the Blickenstaff family makes a $1.5 million gift to Blessed Sacrament Parish School. The family has created the Brian’s Scholars Foundation in honor of Dr. Brian Bennett, former principal of Blessed Sacrament Parish School and a well-known Catholic education advocate.
The foundation will offer scholarships to help make Catholic education a reality for 75 to 100 students each year. The gift comes in two parts – a founding grant of $750,000 and an additional $750,000 over the next five years to make scholarships immediately available to students.
“We are awestruck by this incredible gift from the Blickenstaff family,” said Theodora Furtado, principal of the Mid City School celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. “Their generosity honors Brian’s legacy by helping families in our inner city give their children a Catholic education.”
The Brian’s Scholars Foundation pays tribute to Dr. Bennett, a well-known education advocate, who is credited with boosting enrollment at Blessed Sacrament Parish School during his tenure as principal from 1979 to 1997.
In May 2006, Dr. Bennett was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Dr. Bennett and Kim D. Blickenstaff, co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Biosite Incorporated, are working closely with the school through an extensive outreach program to raise funds totaling $3 million to support the Brian’s Scholars Foundation. Rita and Kim Blickenstaff’s three grown children – David, Paul and Katie – graduated from Blessed Sacrament Parish School, and Rita Blickenstaff has taught there since 1994.
“Every family should have the right to choose the education that is best for their children, and thanks to the Blickenstaff family this dream is becoming a reality,” said Dr. Bennett, who attended Catholic schools all his life. “The Blickenstaff family understands the importance of a values-centered education in the Catholic tradition of service to families and children. I hope that their amazing and unselfish commitment will be a source of inspiration for others.”
For 60 years, Blessed Sacrament Parish School has served the East San Diego, City Heights, Rolando, College Area neighborhoods and beyond. Its more than 2,000 graduates include champion golfer Phil Mickelson and member of the basketball Hall of Fame, Bill Walton, along with teachers, firefighters, nurses, physicians and researchers – people who make a difference every day.
Blessed Sacrament Parish School is a Catholic family of parents, educators, clergy, and parishioners united to educate our children while promoting a Catholic values-centered education, spiritual growth, academic excellence and physical development and supporting the learning styles of each student. The school also celebrates diversity and shares talents in support of one another, their parish and community. Blessed Sacrament Parish School has nearly 300 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, along with its pre-kindergarten and preschool programs. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Western Catholic Education Association.
For more information, please visit www.bsps-sd.org.