Maya was homeschooled until 4th grade by our mother. My parents adopted Maya and her sister from an Ethiopian orphanage when she was two. Her birth mom wanted more for her little girls. Mom knew it was time for Maya to spread her wings and go to a traditional school, one where she could explore her African culture and learn things from friends like how to best fix her hair. Additionally, Maya needed to be in a loving and diverse environment that would support her education and learning needs and allow her to make friends. There was no question in our hearts that CUES and Holy Name School were the right place for both of us. You see, I am a first-year teacher and I too found my home at Holy Name. My name is Abbey Bessmer.

I always thought that I would teach in a public school but then I interviewed last spring at Holy Name and I could feel it when I walked in the doors of the building. There is a special energy here. I had found my teaching home, a place with a focus on students with small class sizes, a blended curriculum and a belief that each student has worth and value.

Each morning, Maya and I walk into this unbelievable school and focus on achieving our dreams. Each day I am blessed to help my 2nd graders become all they can be. Maya has integrated well into her classroom work and beyond: building friendships, loving her STEM classwork and participating in Running Club. People ask me why I choose to teach in an inner-city school that supports underprivileged kids. My answer is simple: our kids value education as do their parents and families. There is an eagerness to learn. I get to help make dreams possible.

CUES supports 600 youth at our three schools: Sacred Heart, All Saints and Holy Name. Many of our children experience daily challenges: 91% of our kids are on the free and reduced lunch program, 66% come from single parent households and 81% receive tuition assistance. We fund our schools through generous gifts and donations.

Help make a difference in the lives of students like Maya and for teachers like me. Our kids need the extra love and special focus in our small classrooms. Their parents and families work hard and appreciate being able to send their children to CUES schools. We need your help to lift up our schools so we can continue to provide our kids the special attention they each need and deserve.

Please consider making a gift to help support CUES this holiday season. Any gift, no matter the size, will help us to see that our kids succeed.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!


Abbey Bessmer 2nd Grade Teacher, Holy Name