St. Mary’s Catholic School


Verso L’Alto Endowment Fund


Karen and Patrick Marks are cradle Catholics with a strong desire to give back to their community. “After Karen’s mother passed away, we realized we needed to begin making plans so family and friends would know the organizations we support,” Patrick shared.


With Karen’s background in education, they knew they wanted to support children and learning. After reaching out to St. Mary’s Catholic School in Rome, Georgia, they established a meeting with the school principal and development staff to brainstorm ideas. Karen shared what she had discovered from countless students who talked about a meaningful experiences rather than a specific class or a test — from that point forward the meeting turned to “the experience.” Principal Jenny Rittgers suggested the name Verso L’Alto, meaning “to the heights,” for the fund. This is a Latin phrase popularized by Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who inspired youth not to settle, but to go the heights and reach his or her full potential. The Marks loved the phrase as it conveyed the purpose to help students reach beyond the classroom.


The fund is flexible and could provide for enrichment speakers, field trips, or other unique learning opportunities. It is a funding opportunity the school can tailor for the students every year. This supports the expansion of students’ understanding of Catholic values and principles through experiential learning experiences at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Rome, GA.


Give to the Verso L’ Alto Endowment Fund