Catholic Central High School Principal Bonnie Scholz speaks during the school’s outstanding scholars breakfast March 10 at Mercantile Hall. (Photo by Karen Mahoney)

During her keynote speech at the Catholic Central High School Outstanding Scholars Breakfast on Thursday, March 10, Becky Pinter described the many ways her faith has led her to the profession she has today.

Raised in a family of quiet faith, the president and CEO of the MACC Fund and her brother always knew God was important despite not discussing it openly.

The fifth annual awards breakfast honored CCHS juniors and seniors who excel academically with a 4.0 GPA or greater throughout their high school career. The catered event took place at Mercantile Hall in Burlington.

“Leaders do their best. But sometimes, we fail. It is important to look at the situation, assess what happened, have faith in God, try again and continue to push forward,” Pinter said.

While she preferred sports, Pinter’s father encouraged her to develop her intellect, citing other children who were not as fortunate to have a quality education due to poverty or illness. After graduating from Cardinal Stritch University with a degree in social work, she began volunteering for the MACC Fund while leading other efforts at Stritch and teaching in an adjunct professor role. Fifteen years later, the MACC Fund hired her as the chief operating officer and, in 2019, as the president and CEO.

Pinter also shared some touching anecdotes regarding her tenure with the MACC Fund, including one about a nine-year-old girl who knew she would be going to heaven soon.

“She lost her fight about a year ago in April,” Pinter said. “She came into my office one day and looked around at pictures of my two dogs. She asked me where they were. I told her we couldn’t bring dogs into the office because they would cause chaos. She walked out of my office and asked her mom to take her to the American Girl store in Chicago because she knew a stuffed chocolate lab was there.

“The next day, the door to my office opened, and lo and behold, she walked in with that stuffed chocolate lab she had bought the day before. She was wise beyond her years, always gave back and wanted to bring smiles to people’s faces. She was very gifted and shouldn’t have to think about things like that. It helps me to know she is looking down and grateful for what we continue to do.”

Pinter encouraged students that as they continue to excel, they also remember others and give back.

“You are bright, inspiring students, and clever, with an amazing future ahead. Please continue to share your talents with everybody. Share the gifts you have been given throughout your life and career. A smile or thank you goes a long way in many people’s lives, especially for children in families going through cancer,” Pinter said.

Students receiving academic achievement awards from Congressman Bryan Steil and CCHS were juniors Stephanie Jabrial, Elsie Kmecak, Kayla Loos, Eva Lynch, Mason Maile, Kelly Pum, Olivia Ricci and Jennifer Rogan; and seniors Evander Craig, Jane Diaz, Kaleigh Lynch, Morgan Ramsey and Makayla Vos.

CCHS Principal Bonnie Scholz said in her five years serving as the school principal, the strength of parents and family relationships and their support of the school has been impressive.

“This breakfast began through the ideas of our academic committee of the board of directors, who felt it was very important to honor the scholars in our school in some of the same ways we honor some of the other talents in our school. For example, athletics or performing arts, or writing or any other competitions and achievements that our students achieve,” she said. “I am personally proud of each and every one of you. What is interesting about Catholic Central to me is that the magic recipe for children to succeed is the constant support and encouragement of their parents to achieve in all aspects of their lives — in academics, extracurriculars, and really just in character building. I believe that the greatest weapon to securing and keeping the safety, freedom and liberty of our country is through the education of our students and support of our families.”

Burlington Mayor Jeannie Hefty offered a welcoming address, and leading the breakfast with prayer was Bruce Varick, assistant superintendent for schools for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.