Janine M Lis, Marketing and Communications Manager
    410.634.2115 x1134, janine.lis@benschool.org


    Celebration included honoring of three exemplary women

    (Ridgely, MD – June 10, 2022) – After a 3-year hiatus, Benedictine staff, families, board and community members and the developmentally disabled and autistic children and adults that Benedictine serves, held its spring gala weekend. Held at the Tidewater Inn in Easton, this event allows for a celebration of the organization’s accomplishments of the past year and to also raise funds to support the needs of Benedictine and those they serve.

    “It was great to get back to Benedictine’s Spring Gala tradition,” stated Scott Evans, Benedictine Executive Director. “Friday night we focused on the backbone of Benedictine – our employees. It was an opportunity to thank them for everything they do to support our mission, students and adults in our programs. The energy and excitement flowed into Saturday night where we gathered to honor those that support Benedictine in various ways and to premier the “Everyday Miracles” video which moved everyone in the room. It was great to be back in person to celebrate the mission of Benedictine!”

    Over the course of the 2-day event, three women were celebrated for the work they have done to contribute to the success of Benedictine. The first was Blanche Ell, a group home house counselor that received the Sister Jeannette award. This award is given out each year to a staff member that exemplifies Benedictine’s mission and values of hospitality, dignity of work and compassionate caring. The Award was presented by Pfizer executive Maggi Madden, Benedictine’s new Board President and relative to a Benedictine supported person. “Blanche has dedicated her life to helping children and adults with disabilities and is a fierce advocate for those she serves,” stated Maggi Madden. “It was an honor to present this award to Blanche during our Welcome Reception with family and friends in attendance to applaud her dedication.”

    The Cornerstone Award is an award given to those that go above and beyond in supporting Benedictine. With only 5 awards ever given, this year proved time to present it to Bette Kenzie. As the inscription reads, “Like a steadfast cornerstone, your loyalty is a firm foundation and powerful example…,” truly reflects her 17 years of dedication to Benedictine especially most recently in supporting staffing needs during the pandemic.

    “It was incredibly special to be honored with the Cornerstone Award and have my family with me at the gala to share in this moment.  Benedictine has been such a blessing to my grandson and, because of the love and support of the staff, he achieves his greatest potential every day. I consider it a privilege to be able to help Benedictine and the amazing good work they do.”

    A very special dedication was also announced at the gala. Sister Mary Agnes Dugan, who has been with the Benedictine school in Ridgely since 1975, was tearful as she heard the announcement of a new award called “The Heart of Benedictine,” dedicated in her honor. This award celebrates the entire community that supports Benedictine and will be given out each year to a volunteer, parent, donor, community or staff member.

    Another highlight of the evening was the debut of the newly produced “Everyday Miracles” video that captured the stories of a student and an adult served by Benedictine. It also provided an insider’s glimpse of Benedictine’s Easton Office vocational training program. Attendees were deeply touched and grateful for the heart-felt and honest sharing of the families that Benedictine serves.

     Gratitude is extended to the Benedictine families and staff that supported Benedictine during the gala weekend along with the gala sponsors that included The Tidewater Inn; Mullen, Sondberg, Wimbish and Stone; Celadon Design; Cox, Graae and Spack Architects; and Chris Dorr Photography. 

    For more information on Benedictine’s services and ways to support, please contact Claudia Cunningham, Chief Advancement Officer at claudia.cunningham@benschool.org or call 410 634 2292. Visit Benedictine at www.benschool.org.

    To view the “Everyday Miracles” video and other Benedictine news, go to https://benschool.org/about-us/event-directory/.

    About Benedictine:
    Benedictine is a non-sectarian nonprofit organization helping more than 200 children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities and autism achieve their greatest potential. Benedictine’s year-round educational program is one of only 26 nationwide to earn a two-year accreditation from the National Commission for Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES). This program includes home-like living and learning options on the Ridgely, Maryland campus, for children ages 5 to 21 who come from Maryland and surrounding states. Benedictine’s Adult Services program offers employment and vocational services for transitional youth and adults, ages 22 to 70+, in the community and those who live in Benedictine’s group homes in Caroline, Talbot and Anne Arundel counties. The Easton Community Services & Training Center prepares the adults it serves to enter the workforce and collaborates with the Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Caroline and Dorchester County public schools to provide services to their students through the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) Program. For more information, visit www.benschool.org.

    Benedictine Spring Gala weekend honors 3 exemplary women for their dedication and service to Benedictine.


    Bette Kenzie showed surprise as she is honored with the Cornerstone Award.


    Blanche Ell pictured with Maggi Madden upon receiving the Sister Jeannette award.


    Sister Mary Agnes is overwhelmed as she is presented with the new “Heart of Benedictine” award by Tom Collamore, past Board president. 

    Janine M Lis
    Marketing and Communications Manager
    D: 410-364-9600
    O: 410-634-2115 x1134
    F: 410-634-1855


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