The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the Mass, with Msgr. Lewis as homilist and concelebrant. Also concelebrating were Fr. Justin Kerber, C.P., Pastor of St. Peter, and St. Peter’s Parochial Vicar Fr. Edward Wolanski, C.P.
Mr. Hughes has been teaching at St. Peter’s for twenty-three of his twenty-five years of teaching. According to Dr. Joseph Nelson, Principal of St. Peter School, “Mr. Hughes appears to have come into the teaching profession by divine intervention.” Joe Hughes was working in the construction industry in 1990 when he came to the attention of Brother Robert LaFave, O.S.F., who was Principal of St. Peter’s at the time. Brother Robert recognized Mr. Hughes’ talent at relating to students as well as his scholarly interest, especially in History. Over the years, Mr. Hughes’ classes have amassed a large wall of First, Second and Third place award plaques from their participation in local, state and national History Days competitions.Mr. Hughes attended St. John Vianney Preparatory Seminary, Costal Carolina Community College and graduated with a BA in history and philosophy from St. Joseph Seminary College. Before joining the faculty of St. Peter in 1990, Mr. Hughes was a graduate assistant at East Carolina University; taught Religion and PE at St. Pius X Catholic School in Greensboro, NC; and has taught at Pitt Community College in Greenville, NC.
Mr. Hughes resides in Greenville with his wife, Elaine. They are the parents of a son, Joseph, Jr., who is a student at East Carolina University in Greenville.In his homily, Msgr. Lewis spoke of the necessity of including God in a “complete” view of the world and a complete life. Catholic schools and teachers like Mr. Hughes provide that crucial component to education, Msgr. Lewis said, while excelling at teaching the sciences, arts and humanities.
In accepting the award, Mr. Hughes said that family and faith were the most important gifts he had been given in life. He praised his colleagues and the administration of the school, and thanked the students: “Because of you,” he said, “I have the best life I could possibly imagine.”