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…

Brother Michel Bettigole, OSF

2006 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Lifetime Achievement in Catholic Education

Brother Michel Bettigole, OSFThen and now: Brother Michel was the Principal of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh from, 1994 through 2006. He is now retired and lives at the Franciscan Friary in Brooklyn, New York. He spends time volunteering at the local soup kitchen.

The proudest moment for Brother Michel was “building the new Cardinal Gibbons High School.”

Brother Michel wants teachers striving for excellence to know that “Teaching is the most noble of professions. Put your heart and soul into it.”


Maria Iniquen-Gomez

2006-2007 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching

Maria Iniquen-GomezThen and now: When she received the Award Mrs. Gomez was teaching Middle School Science and Social Studies at Blessed Sacrament Catholic School in Burlington. Mrs. Gomez began teaching at Blessed Sacrament in 1986. Since 2006 she has served as Principal of Blessed Sacrament.

“My vision of Catholic education is to cultivate the spirituality of each child. As educators, we must teach the students that God Is the center of our lives. We must help develop their trust, dignity and respect for one another so they accept differences in others. We must help the children learn that since we are all made in the image of God, everyone brings value and uniqueness to the world.”

“…It is my personal belief that any child who walks into my classroom walks into my life. I will love them and educate them to the best of my ability. I believe that, through teaching children, I touch the future.”

Maria Iniquen-Gomez

Mrs. Gomez and Monsignor Lewis


Jo-Ann Colopy

2007-2008 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching

Jo-Ann ColopyThen and now: Mrs. Colopy was teaching Second Grade at St. Raphael Catholic School in Raleigh when she received the Award. She is now semi-retired and continues to teach part time at All Saints Academy in Wake Forest and tutors for the Hill Center in Durham.

Mrs. Colopy shares a memorable teaching lesson.

“One year I had my second graders do a book study in conjunction with a science lesson on the life cycle of a butterfly. The life cycle was part of the curriculum and they all really know the stages already. So the Holy Spirit guided me to look for authors who told this life cycle in words and pictures. I found many fiction and nonfiction examples to bring to the class. We read all the books, compared author’s purpose, and looked at the illustrations. I probably could have created many graphic organizers and anchor charts but we just enjoyed the literature. Then the students were turned loose to create their own book about the life cycle of the butterfly. Their creations were amazing. They were so engaged in the process that I never had an attention issue or behavior problem during Writer’s Workshop. AND the result blew me away! No two were alike. You could see Eric Carle’s style captured on student as his book had pages that grew in size with his caterpillar much like The Very Hungry Caterpillar. One student was impressed with Jan Brett’s style of putting information in the center of the page and framing the whole page with little details. Gail Gibbons found the fancy of one young student who layered important information with full illustrations. I probably should have kept the books, I did show them to anyone who would look and, eventually, sent them home for parents to be amazed too.”

Teachers striving for excellence should…

“Be open to students’ ideas. Their suggestions may make you think about new ways to present your content. Also, provide a variety of ways for your students to show you what they know.”

A teacher striving for excellence must

“Be an active learner! I am semi-retired but I still read articles on comprehension for the students I tutor. I still take online classes to renew my license and my mind. When it was time to renew my license last time, I had more entries than lines on the page. I love to learn. I don’t think I know much. I need more input. I need to hear what others are doing. I need to know.”

Mrs. Colopy shared her thoughts on teaching in a Catholic school.

“I know it has been my food fortune to teach in a Catholic school. My faith life has been able to grow and mature. Maybe it would have happened elsewhere, I have always been faith filled, but I just sense that I learned more about being God’s chosen person being in the Catholic School. No, it was not always peaceful, or without conflict among peers or parents, but it was the best it could be for me.”

Jo-Ann Colopy

Monsignor Lewis, Jo-Ann Colopy, Anne Stahel, Bishop Burbidge


Interesting Tidbit

Patrick Francis Healy

Patrick Francis HealyPatrick Francis Healy (1830-1910) was born in Georgia to a slave mother and an Irish Catholic immigrant. According to Wikipedia, Patrick was the first person of African American descent to obtain a PhD. He was also the first to become a Jesuit priest, and to become the 29th president of Georgetown University (the oldest Catholic and Jesuit College in the country). Patrick is sometimes referred to as the “second founder” of Georgetown due to his modernization of the curriculum to require more of the sciences and to the improvements made in the medical and law schools. Next month we will meet Patrick’s brother James, another Healy to thrive after receiving a Catholic school education.

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…

Susan Hoying

2003-2004 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching

Sue HoyingMrs. Hoying was teaching Kindergarten at St. Raphael Catholic School in Raleigh when she received the Award. In 2007 she passed away at the age of 58. She will always be remembered as the consummate educator and for her unending love, patience and understanding of students and parents.

The following comments were taken from Mrs. Hoying’s nomination form for this Award.

“The prime mission in a Catholic education is living discipleship — not just studying or memorizing our Catholic faith but walking in the Word of God in our daily thoughts and actions. Individual academic excellence germinates, blooms and grows in a Christ-filled environment.”

“For nine years I taught in a public school with wonderful children and families. Working in the Catholic school allows me the glorious freedom of teaching the real truth about where all the guidelines for ‘character education’ are based — GOD’S WORD! Working as a co-partner with God teaching our children in the faith is spiritually edifying.”

Joe and Sue Hoying

Joe and Sue Hoying


Michelle Silva

2004-2005 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching

Michelle SilvaThen and now: Mrs. Silva was teaching Kindergarten at St. Thomas More Catholic School in Chapel Hill when she received the Award. She started teaching Kindergarten in 1997 and is currently in her 20th year at St. Thomas More.

When asked the proudest or most memorable experience in the classroom, Mrs. Silva noted

“… that seeing the children enter the classroom in the fall, fresh and unaware of so much. Then as their teacher, I am able to take them on the glorious journey of learning confidence, independence, building their self-esteem, while at the same time, providing etiquette so that one day they will become true disciples of Jesus.”

Mrs. Silva encourages teachers striving for excellence to

“… believe strongly in setting high expectations for one’s self, first. Following that, it is imperative to set the bar high (with expectations) for your students and their parents, alike. Teaching is challenging each day; yet it can be so rewarding when you have parents, colleagues and students all knowing the expectations as the school year begins. Once they are established, it becomes the teacher’s objective to provide the right mix of love, nurturing and joy to help maintain and reach those expectations. Happiness will be had by all and the school year will become a fabulous place to learn, laugh and play every day! Therefore, shoot for the stars and enjoy the journey!”

Mrs. Silva believes that

“teaching in a Catholic school is special because one has the opportunity to interject God into every aspect of learning without hesitation! I have been blessed with beautiful people who have been ‘bucket-fillers’, daily sharing God’s love for one another. It has also been exciting to meet so many talented teachers in our diocese over the past ten years. I am grateful to Monsignor Lewis and Anne Stahel for their commitment in recognizing many teachers for their important role in education, sharing their true gifts with children and their families. Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me’; indeed, I am grateful for the gift of children in my life every day!”

Monsignor Lewis, Michelle Silva, Anne Stahel

Monsignor Lewis, Michelle Silva, Anne Stahel


Laura Gallimore

2005-2006 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching

Laura GallimoreThen and now: When she received the Award Mrs. Gallimore was teaching First Grade at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School in Wake Forest. Mrs. Gallimore began teaching at St. Catherine’s in 1999 and is currently in her 18th year at the school.

“My vision of Catholic education is to instill our Catholic faith into each child. Show each child that he or she can make their faith come alive in their everyday lives by what they say and do.”

“… in order to achieve success and confidence (children) need to feel good about themselves.”

Laura Gallimore and Monsignor Lewis

Laura Gallimore and Monsignor Lewis


Did You Know?

Did you know that there was a family living in Georgia in the early 1800s that raised 3 sons who became priests with very noteworthy careers? From this same family were 3 daughters who became nuns! Needless to say, all of the children received a Catholic education! For the next 3 months you will hear about the amazing accomplishments of three of these children.

An interesting fact about the parents of these noteworthy citizens is that the father, Michael Morris Healey, was an Irish Catholic immigrant who became a wealthy cotton farmer in Georgia and his common law wife, Mary Eliza Smith, was a mulatto slave. Mixed race children were not allowed to be educated in Georgia at that time, so they were sent to the North to receive their Catholic Education. Next month you will learn about their son, Patrick.