Happy Catholic Schools Week

Happy Catholic Schools Week and thank you teachers and staff for your service to Catholic education in the Diocese of Raleigh!

Interesting Tidbit

As we celebrate our current Catholic schools it is interesting to note that in the 1950s North Carolina had 56 Catholic elementary schools, 11 Catholic high schools or academies, and 3 Catholic colleges and resident schools including a school of nursing! So there were 70 vibrant Catholic educational institutions in a state at a time when only 1% of the population was Catholic!

Looking Back…

As we look forward to the 25th Anniversary of the Award this school year of 2016-2017, we will continue looking back at past recipients…

Sarah G. Almon

2008 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Lifetime Achievement in Catholic Education

Sarah G. AlmonThen and now: When she received the Award Ms. Almon was teaching Seventh and Eighth Grade Mathematics and Pre-Algebra, and Eighth Grade Religion at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Raleigh. She taught at OLL from 1972 to 2008. Ms. Almon is now retired as a classroom teacher and “enjoying life to the fullest… daily workouts, long walks, camping, kayaking, traveling far and near, lots of lunches with friends, [and] being available 24/7 for friends who need help with anything!”

“[My] proudest moment was when kids were kind to each other — visible faith in action! Memorable moments [included] daily interactions with adolescents — always a surprise; graduation and Kinder-buddies; Passion Play and Class Trip; light shining in a students’ eyes when he/she grasped a concept; laughing with kids and them sharing with me.”

Teachers striving for excellence should…

“Be honest and love your students; set reasonable guidelines; laugh and enjoy each day; treat students with respect and expect respect from them; have a passion for what you do; be flexible and seize any opportunity that is a teachable moment. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake and practice what you preach!”

Ms. Almon shared her comments on Catholic school.

“My years at Lourdes were wonderful and even though I’ve been retired for years, those days in the Lourdes community will always hold a special place in my heart. Working with a faith community on a daily basis was especially important to me, to be able to put the Gospel in action. In do many ways, the Lourdes family certainly exemplified the message ‘To teach as Jesus did’.”


Susan Goethals

2008-2009 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching

Susan GoethalsThen and now: Mrs. Goethals was teaching Biology and Advanced Placement Biology at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh. Mrs. Goethals has worked in the Diocese since 1997. She served as Principal of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School until 2001 when she decided to return to her passion of classroom teaching. She began teaching at Cardinal Gibbons in 2001 where she continues to teach.

“One very memorable moment was the day I realized, after 2 years that I was finally getting comfortable with the pace and material required for an advance placement class. When you are a teacher you never know when a student or parent will remark on your teaching. Last year I received a note from the mother of a freshman girl. This very kind mother wanted me to know that I had a part in giving her daughter self-assurance and the courage to try new experiences. Her note reminded me that we are not teaching subject matter, we are teaching people. There is a lot more to learning than mastering concepts and vocabulary. Every now and then you are reminded that you have a part in the development of remarkable young people.”

Mrs. Goethals shared her thoughts on excellence in teaching.

“A very wise teacher once told me that teachers need to remember that the efforts you invest today may take years to bear results. Patience with yourself will lead to patience with your students. Seemly small and insignificant events and words often have lasting effects, most of which, we will never know about.”

Anne Stahel, Laura Gallimore, Susan Goethals, Sarah Almon, Mary Jane Davis, Cora Bilano, Rose Anne Farrell, Monsignor Lewis

Anne Stahel, Laura Gallimore, Susan Goethals, Sarah Almon, Mary Jane Davis, Cora Bilano, Rose Anne Farrell, Monsignor Lewis


Donna Frazelle

2009-2010 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching

Donna FrazelleThen and now: Mrs. Frazelle was teaching Middle School Science at St. Mark Catholic School in Wilmington. She taught at Infant of Prague Catholic School in Fayetteville from 1999 to 2004. In 2004 Mrs. Frazelle assumed her position in Wilmington where she continues to teach Middle School Science at St. Mark.

“Catholic education is a vital tool for the development of any child. The shared belief in God, the strong sense of community and fostering of social justice, the safe environment, the structure, and of course the high academic standards, are all very strong aspects of Catholic education…”

“Each child is capable of excellence and I challenge my students, daily, to give me their best so they can achieve their excellence. Be it a class discussion on Punnett squares, or a detailed Science Fair project, I compel students to always give their best effort. The more they invest, the greater the return.”

Bishop Michael Burbidge, Donna and Allan Frazelle, Monsignor Lewis

Bishop Michael Burbidge, Donna and Allan Frazelle, Monsignor Lewis


Interesting Tidbit

Our First Black Bishop

James Augustine HealyJames Augustine Healy was born in 1836 in Macon, Georgia. He was considered a slave by law since his mother was a black woman. His Irish father moved the family to New York when James was 7 so his children could be educated. James and his brothers attended Holy Cross College in Massachusetts. In 1854 James became America’s first black priest and was later named the first black bishop in the United States for Maine and New Hampshire. He was called the “Children’s Bishop” due to his opposition to child labor laws and his construction of orphanages and schools. He purchased half an island off of Portland for an orphanage and was said to visit the children often with goodies in his pocket. Under Bishop Healy 60 new churches were built and the Catholic population in that area doubled.