For Immediate Release: April 30, 2021
Catholic Diocese of Richmond Office of Catholic Schools Holds Virtual 2021 Excellence in Catholic Education Awards
Honors Include Regional Excellence and Elizabeth Ann Seton Awards
(RICHMOND, Va.) – The Diocese of Richmond’s Office of Catholic Schools hosted the fourth annual Excellence in Catholic Education Awards virtually on April 29, 2021. Teachers representing each of the diocese’s 23 schools were nominated by their colleagues based on their commitment to Catholic education through their leadership and service to students, parents, colleagues, parishes and school. Together, these educators have a combined 354 years of teaching experience in Catholic education.
During the evening celebration, Bishop Barry C. Knestout thanked the honorees and all Catholic educators for their dedication despite the challenges and uncertainties the pandemic presented. “With all the adjustments that had to be made, all of the uncertainty, the disruptions to the routine of life and adjustments that had to be made at schools, through it all, each of you have been ensuring through creativity, through perseverance, through your flexibility, through your persistence, to make sure that the work of Catholic education was furthered and kept moving forward.”
Bishop Knestout continued, “In the midst of a world where, in many cases, education had to be either stopped or limited, all of you, educators [in the diocese] should be proud of the work we have done, together, in forming the whole child.”
The Elizabeth Ann Seton Award for overall excellence was presented to Bettina Robertson of St. Gregory the Great Catholic School, Virginia Beach. As recipient of the award, Ms. Robertson explained, “My Catholic faith has been my rock the one thing I know that will always be there and I want nothing more than to share it with as many people as I can. Being a Catholic educator gives me meaning and purpose to teaching. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to follow the Great Commission, to make disciples of the tiny nation I call my classroom.”
The Elizabeth Ann Seton Award is presented to one teacher in the diocese whose instruction, support and service demonstrates a positive impact on Catholic education. The honoree is selected based on their selfless work in service of the Gospel in both word and deed, their dedication to Catholic education, their instructional expertise, and their witness to their faith to help transform the lives of Catholic school students. The award is named for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton for her lifelong dedication to teaching and children.
The three educators selected as regional winners are:
Joseph Bousquet, Catholic High School, Virginia Beach. “I feel a personal vocation to teach at a Catholic school,” he said. “Students need role models. I always try to demonstrate to my students the virtues I’ve been taught. Even the seemingly opposite fields of theology and mathematics do reveal God’s truth. My faith and my logic can be, and are, in fact, reconciled. As a math teacher in a Catholic school, I strive to help my students come to that same realization.”
Elizabeth Kassel, St. Joseph Catholic School, Petersburg. “My job as a catechist is really only a facilitator, giving students the tools to approach the Lord on their own. I want my students to come away with the knowledge that they are a gift made in God’s image and likeness, and they are loved no matter what. There is always more to learn, and when students see teachers who are in love with the Lord, they will be inspired to take the next step.”
Linda Mercier, St. Matthew’s Catholic School, Virginia Beach. “Each day, I am given the privilege of nurturing my students as each develops a strong moral compass and his or her uniqueness as a child of God. I am so grateful and blessed to be where I am, in a vocation I find peace and joy in, at a school that I was called to, with students and parents and colleagues that I love, surrounded by a Christ-centered environment. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
The Local 2021 Excellence in Education Award winners are: Richard Barnett, All Saints Catholic School, Richmond; Annelise Shelton, Blessed Sacrament Huguenot Catholic School, Powhatan; Joseph Bousquet, Catholic High School, Virginia Beach; Christi Martin, Charlottesville Catholic School; Rebecca Anthony, Christ the King Catholic School, Norfolk; Wendy Sellers, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, Henrico; Theresa Barrett, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School, Newport News; Jessica Kovalcik, Peninsula Catholic High School, Newport News; Kathy Noblin, Portsmouth Catholic School; Paul Begeman, Roanoke Catholic School; Sara Gauldin, Sacred Heart Catholic School, Danville; Scott Thiers, St. Anne Catholic School, Bristol; Marylou Carter, St. Benedict Catholic School, Richmond; Eric De Boer, St. Bridget Catholic School, Richmond; Amy Young, St. Edward-Epiphany Catholic School, Richmond; Bettina Robertson, St. Gregory the Great Catholic School, Virginia Beach; Ryan Balsly, St. John the Apostle Catholic School, Virginia Beach; Elizabeth Kassel, St. Joseph Catholic School, Petersburg; Leeann Klein, St. Mary’s Catholic School, Henrico; Jamie Green, St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic School, Hampton; Linda Mercier, St. Matthew’s Catholic School, Virginia Beach; Shelley Lomogda, St. Pius X Catholic School, Norfolk; Joanne Selig, Star of the Sea Catholic School, Virginia Beach.
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