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Ceremony Marks Name Change for Grammar and Prep School

 The signs were changed earlier this week. Today, at a dedication ceremony, the K-12 school in Ave Maria was officially designated as The Rhodora J. Donahue Academy of Ave Maria.

donahuesThe name change recognizes a multi-million dollar gift from Catholic philanthropist Jack Donahue and the school was named to honor his wife, Rhodora. Both were at the ceremony today (pictured at right with Headmaster Dan Guernsey) in the school gym, along with one of their 13 children, Patricia Dolan who serves on the AMU Board of Trustees with her father, Mr. Donahue.

"I believe this will be treasured by our family," Mr. Donahue told the audience of students, parents and members of the AMU Board of Trustees. He said that he knew some people had reservations about the change.

"In our family, we have a great love of the Blessed Mother," hea said, "and there are some who say we're replacing her. Not in our minds and not in our hearts."

curtwrightThe event opened with short talks about what they like about the school by two students representing the grammar school and high school levels. First was Marina Curtwright (left), a grade 2 student, followed by Michelle Williams.

Dr. Guernsey and Tom Monaghan, in their remarks, both referred to the fact that the original intent of the Donahue family's donation to Ave Maria University -- which Mr. Monaghan said was the largest single donation the school has received -- was to name the school's athletic center after the family. But when it became apparent that the athletic facility would take some time, the family decided to take advantage of the opportunity to name the K-12 school.

flowers"Few college students would remember exercising in the Donahue athletic center," Dr. Guernsey said, but generations of students will remember that they attended the Rhodora Donahue Academy."

The Donahues were presented with a number of gifts by the school. At right, Mrs. Donahue receives a bouquet of flowers. Below, at left, Sister Mary Margaret presented a basket of cards made by each of the grades at the school.
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