Pat Hinson, the founder of the RISE program at Marquette Catholic School, is the 2017 nominee from the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma for the Lumen Christi Award, which Catholic Extension gives every year to honor an individual or group working in one of America's mission dioceses who demonstrates how the power of faith can transform lives and communities. As the diocesan nominee, Mrs. Hinson will receive a $1,000 award from Catholic Extension for her ministry.
Twelve years ago, Pat Hinson started the RISE program at Marquette Catholic School in Tulsa. RISE stands for Religious Inclusive Student Education and offers children with special needs the opportunity for an inclusive Catholic education in their home parish school. As such, the students are placed in a regular classroom with the assistance of a teacher’s aide. Mrs. Hinson supervises the program.
“We don’t expect them to learn the same as everyone, but tailor the education to that particular student based on their level. They progress with their peers. They go to every class and work at their level. The teachers have done a great job of learning how to include them in every lesson and make them part of the classroom environment in a natural way,” explained Mrs. Hinson.
“Students in the program learn appropriate behavior by modeling their peers, which we all know is more influential than our parents. It provides real life and consistent practice of socially appropriate life skills. Students learn classroom procedures and appropriate Mass behavior. Most families attend Mass on the weekends with their children, but being independent and attending with peers allows students to self regulate,” she continued.
In a letter announcing her as the diocesan nominee, Bishop Konderla wrote, “I am personally grateful for your many years of service to Christ the King Catholic Church, Marquette Catholic School and the RISE Program. I thank God for your generosity and for sharing the gift of your time, talent and treasure with all those you encounter.”
Previous diocesan nominees for the prestigious Catholic Extension Lumen Christi Award include Sr. Mary Therese Gottschalk (2014), Andy and Mary Bidasio (2015), and Deacon Kenny Longbrake (2016).
If you would like more information about the RISE program, please visit their webpage at
. For more information about the national Lumen Christi Award please visit their webpage at
Story and second photo by Mason Beecroft - Eastern Oklahoma Catholic. First photo by Dave Crenshaw - Eastern Oklahoma Catholic.