St. Catherine Catholic School announced that the National
Catholic Education Association (NCEA) named Paul Cigan a 2003 NCEA
Catholic School Distinguished Graduate.
St. Catherine Catholic School announced that the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) named Paul Cigan a 2003 NCEA Catholic School Distinguished Graduate.

Cigan graduated from St.. Catherine’s in 1980 and is currently the second clarinetist with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Live Oak High School, he attended San Francisco Conservatory of Music and graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia with a bachelor of arts degree.

Cigan receives the award, sponsored by the NCEA’s Department of Elementary Schools in cooperation with St. Catherine School, for outstanding personal and professional achievements. Throughout his life he has consistently pursued the highest possible professional and personal standards and is an example of how Catholic schools educate people to take leadership roles in their community and beyond.

“It is with great pleasure that we recognize distinguished graduates from our Catholic elementary schools.” said Robert Kealey, executive director of NCEA’s Department of Elementary Schools, the award’s sponsor. “The education they received in the elementary years has provided a firm basis for growth and achievement in their adult lives.”

NCEA established the Distinguished Graduate Award out of recognition that the significant accomplishments of Catholic elementary school alumni are a hallmark of Catholic education.

The awards highlight “people who as adults put into practice the values and ideals they learned in their Catholic elementary schools,” added Dr. Kealey.

The first Distinguished Graduate Awards were made in 1991. As an award winner, Cigan joins an elite group of hundreds of Catholic school alumni across the country. They include an FBI director, a governor, a missionary, a circuit court judge, a TV news producer and Air Force combat training division chief, a senator, a mayor, a corporate president and a state representative.

Now living in Springfield, V.A., Cigan said he credits St. Catherine School for preparing him in a special way to meet the responsibilities of adult life. He attributes his success to the values of self-discipline, determination and goal setting he learned at St. Catherine School which spurred him on to win the Diablo Valley Symphony Concerto Competition and a seat in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra while still in high school.

Study skills developed at an early age, he said, enabled him to receive scholarships for attendance at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Temple University in Philadelphia. Faith and self-confidence instilled early in his life carried Cigan through many auditions. He competed for an won a succession of positions in the Norfolk Symphony, the Colorado Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony and most recently the National Symphony Orchestra.

Cigan said he appreciates the privilege of having attended a Catholic school. He looks forward to giving his children the same Christian atmosphere that he grew up with at St. Catherine.

The National Catholic Education Association is the largest private, professional education association in the world. Founded in 1904, the association’s membership represents more than 200,000 educators serving 7.6 million students in Catholic education at all levels, including preschools, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, seminaries and religious education programs.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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