The signs and the stickers were preludes to a special event on April 25th: An all-school Mass held to formally award Troy with the Monsignor Gerald L. Lewis Excellence in Teaching Award. The Mass also celebrated the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Lewis Award, considered one of the most prestigious honors given to a teacher in Catholic education in the Diocese of Raleigh. Mrs. Troy is the third Gibbons teacher to receive the award. She joins colleagues Susan Goethals and Rebecca Dason.
The Most Rev. Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, was the main celebrant at the Mass. He was joined by Fr. Romen Acero, assistant principal for Spiritual Life at Gibbons, Fr. Mark Reamer, OFM, a Gibbons Board of Trustees member and Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Fr. Scott McCue, Pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, and Monsignor Gerald L. Lewis, for whom the award is named.
In his homily, Msgr. Lewis talked about St. Mark, who became a teacher, and how fortunate the Raleigh Diocese is to have dedicated and committed teachers, like Troy. He said the Lewis Award was created by Anne Williams Stahel to recognize those teachers.
Following Mass Stahel and Msgr. Lewis presented Troy with the Lewis Award. In her remarks before the presentation Stahel said: “It what seems to me to be a blink of an eye, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Lewis Award. And what an awesome teacher we celebrate in this anniversary year in the person of Joan Elizabeth Troy.”
She also said that the “mutual respect” Troy has for her students and they, in turn, have for her, is obvious whether she is teaching a math class or directing the choir.
In accepting the award, Troy, clearly overcome with emotion, said she is “blessed to stand here today surrounded by so many people who are so special to me… and am humbled to join the ranks of the previous Lewis Award recipients.”
She went on to thank the teachers and staff at Gibbons, her husband, and her students. To her students, she added: “You challenge me, you bring me such joy, you make me laugh, and yes, sometimes you make me cry, and without a doubt, you always inspire me.”
The audience responded with not one, but two standing ovations.
The Cardinal Gibbons choir, along with Troy’s husband, Bob, added a special ending to the event. They sang Troy’s favorite song, “Why We Sing.”
When asked what makes Mrs. Troy distinct as a teacher, here’s how some students responded:
“The fact that Mrs. Troy is such a strong teacher in not only one, but two subjects really makes her stand out among other teachers… She puts so much time and effort into so many different classes and activities at Gibbons. Not only does she teach math and chorus, but she spends countless hours organizing all-school Masses, directing the school musical, and also takes a huge part of her summer to direct the children’s musical theatre camp. Because of this she has touched many more lives than any teacher I know.”
— Maddie Ballengee ’12
“Mrs. Troy is always very accepting of the students in chorus, no matter how their voices sound. She is very open to different ideas (in this case, songs) that other students have. Also, when she starts teaching a lesson (again, in this case, song) she is very excited about it.”
— Anthony Cortina ’15
“Mrs. Troy truly cares about each one of her students. She’s always willing to help no matter what the case, in any way she can. When she asks how your day is doing, she actually listens to the answer. If someone in chorus tells her they are struggling with their part, she patiently takes the time to teach that individual student until they succeed. She truly loves what she does and it reflects in the way her students love her in return.”
— Melissa Walsh ’13
“As a teacher and musical director, Mrs. Troy has been a huge part of my life at Gibbons. One important memory of Mrs. Troy was her willingness to put her students before herself. Although she was not my math teacher, she took breaks at rehearsal and free time in chorus to explain things to me, a time when she could have been doing other things for her own classes. This year, Mrs. Troy spent extra time with me at rehearsals for ‘Once Upon a Mattress,’ going over notes I had difficulty with and even rewriting harmonies to make the songs easier for my voice. Mrs. Troy is an extremely kind person who brings positivity and passion into everything she does.”
— Catherine Currin ’12
Article courtesy of Cardinal Gibbons High School