Passing the Gavel

Dr. Colleen O’Connor Grochowski

Colleen O’Connor Grochowski, PhD

This past year the Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching was celebrated for 25 years of recognizing the excellent teachers in the Diocese of Raleigh Catholic Schools. Anne Stahel, the founder of the Award and Chair of the Committee since it’s inception in 1992, has decided to “pass the gavel” but will continue her extraordinary commitment to the Award as Chair Emeritus and invaluable mentor.

Anne and the Committee are delighted that Dr. Colleen O’Connor Grochowski (pronounced ‘Grow-husky’) has accepted the position of Chairperson. Colleen has served on the Lewis Award Committee since 2005, and as vice-chair from 2010. Her ‘day job’ is associate dean for Curricular Affairs, Duke University School of Medicine. She and her husband, Chris reside in Durham, have two adult sons, and recently became grandparents for the first time. Colleen shared her thoughts and experience with the Lewis Award.

“First, let me tell you that I have a deep appreciation for Catholic education. I am a product of Catholic education. Our children went to Catholic schools. Our younger son is a Catholic high school teacher. It is such a joy for me to have the opportunity to be “involved” in Catholic education through my work with the Lewis Award. I should also tell you that I’m an educator, but my focus is on adult learning. The Lewis Award has allowed me the opportunity to go back to primary and secondary schools to witness the wonder of children learning.

The Lewis Award allows us to acknowledge and celebrate Catholic school educators. I can’t tell you what an honor it is to be allowed into teachers’ classrooms to observe them. I’m touched by their commitment to their students, their energy, and their creativity. Their love for their students is palpable. These educators are in it for the love of our children and our God. We formally celebrate them once a year through the selection of the Recipient of the Lewis Award, but we on the Lewis Award Committee are ever grateful for all these educators do for our children and their commitment to our children’s future.”

Monsignor Lewis, Anne, and Colleen

Monsignor Lewis, Anne, and Colleen

Looking Back…

As we look forward to the 25th Anniversary of the Award in 2016-2017, each month the website will highlight past recipients.

Betty Pat Goddard

1992-1993 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching

Betty Pat GoddardThen & Now:
When she received the Award Mrs. Goddard was teaching Second Grade at Annunciation Catholic School in Havelock. She now resides in Oklahoma.

Mrs. Goddard reflects on teaching in a Catholic School.

“Teaching is a profession of hope. Every day is a clean slate. I like beginnings and teaching is one hundred seventy nine beginnings and one ending.”

“I believe the mission of Catholic schools is to teach as Jesus did. ‘Within such communities of faith, teachers and pupils experience together what it means to live a life of prayer, personal responsibility and freedom reflective of Gospel values. Their fellowship helps them to grow in their commitment to service of God, one another, the church, and the general community.’ Teach as Jesus Did.”

Sister Lisa Ann Golden, I.H.M.

1993-1994 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching

Sister Lisa Ann GoldenThen & Now:
When she received the Award Sister Lisa was teaching Second Grade at Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Raleigh. She is currently the principal of St. James Catholic School in Savannah, Georgia.

“What makes… an outstanding teacher… is the balance… of being firm and loving, challenging and supportive. My hope for each child… is that they know God’s deep love for them and that they maintain a self-confidence to always try their best.

The mission of Catholic Schools is to build strong Christian leaders, law-abiding citizens and service oriented people. Through a structured curriculum, the Catholic School System seeks to educate a responsible and resourceful person who is loyal to both Church and community, a person who is comfortable in spreading the Gospel message through their words and actions to all whom they meet in everyday life.”

Anne Stahel and Sister Lisa (2012)

Anne Stahel and Sister Lisa (2012)

Interesting Tidbit

Monsignor Gerald Lewis grew up Methodist in Biloxi, Mississippi. He had many Catholic friends and he converted to Catholicism as a young adult.

Msg Lewis, The Lewis AwardMsgr. Lewis was a corpsman in the U.S. Navy serving on the USS Deuel. He knew he was getting out of the navy soon and prayed that the Lord would tell him what his next mission in life should be. He made a pilgrimage to Lourdes with his chaplain. While there Msgr. Lewis prayed that the Blessed Mother would help him decide what to do. When he arrived back at the ship, mail was waiting for him. In his mail was a pamphlet titled Caring To Be A Priest. Young Jerry Lewis read the pamphlet thoroughly and the rest is history!