Impact of Lewis Award

Reflections of Recipients

The first Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented in October, 1992. The Award is in recognition of exemplary teaching and dedication to Catholic education in the Diocese of Raleigh. In 1999 the first of six Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Lifetime Achievement in Catholic Education was presented. This Award is presented to individuals who, over an extended period of time, have made a significant commitment and contribution to the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Raleigh and to their church and civic communities. The Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award may be in administration, faculty or staff. The Lifetime Achievement Award is a special honor bestowed by the Lewis Award Committee at its initiative and timing, and only when the Committee deems circumstances warrant.

As we look forward to the 25th anniversary of the Award several Recipients will be highlighted on the website each month for the coming year. Recipients will share what they are doing now, memorable moments in the classroom and reflections on excellence in teaching. Since this is the time in the school year nominations are submitted to the Lewis Award Committee, it seems most appropriate to begin by looking at the impact this Award had on Recipients.

2012 Lewis Award, Raleigh Catholic Schools

(L to R) Anne Stahel, Maria Gomez, Cora Bilano, Jo-Anne Colopy, Mary Jane Davis, Diane McGrady, Sister Lisa Golden, Lesley Ferguson, Monsignor Lewis, Maisha Mayfield, Laura Gallimore, Becky Dason, Jack Viorel, Michelle Silva, Joan Troy, Rozanne Farrell (2012)

“The Lewis Award impacted me and my teaching by encouraging me to continue to work hard for my students to help them strive for excellence.”
— Becky Dason, Art Department Chair, Cardinal Gibbons High School, Raleigh
The Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching 1996

“It was wonderful to be confirmed and to lift up an inner-city school like Immaculata.”
— Mary Anne Jackson, retired Fourth Grade teacher, Immaculata Catholic School, Durham
The Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching 1999

“It is always rewarding to realize that people recognize your achievements. I think this award boosted my self-confidence — all the nominees were exceptional so for me to be the recipient, it was a true inspiration.”
— Debbie Haggerty, former Kindergarten teacher, current Interim Principal, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, Rocky Mount
The Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching 2000

“Receiving the Lewis Award was the proudest moment of my teaching career, for it celebrated my many years of commitment and dedication… I felt very appreciated for all of my years (over 30) of teaching in a Catholic School. It was such a tremendous honor to have received such an award for a career to which I devoted my life. To this day, I am still in disbelief that I received such prestigious recognition!”
— Marilyn Misa Ferguson, former Third Grade teacher, St. Thomas More Catholic School, Chapel Hill, now residing in Oregon
The Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching 2001

“Receiving the award was a humbling experience. It was a time to reflect on my journey as a Catholic school teacher, to recognize the impact I could have on others through teaching, and the importance of continuing to have high expectations, not only for my students, but for myself as well.”
— Rozanne Farrell, retired Sixth Grade Language Arts teacher, St. Michael the Archangel Catholic School, Cary, now a private tutor
The Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching 2002

2005 Lewis Award, Raleigh Catholic Schools

(L to R) Marilyn Misa Ferguson, Mary Jane Davis, Lesley Ferguson, Rozanne Farrell, Cora Bilano, Debbie Haggerty, Monsignor Lewis, Mary Anne Jackson, Maisha Mayfield, Sue Hoying, Michelle Silva, Becky Dason (2005)

“I have had the good fortune of meeting so many lovely people from our diocese. I would not necessarily have had the opportunity, if I had not received the award. Additionally, it has offered new avenues of growth for me. I have been presenter now several times at our diocese conference in the fall.”
— Michelle Silva, Kindergarten teacher, St. Thomas More Catholic School, Chapel Hill
The Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching 2005

“I teach because God calls me to use my skills. I am fortunate that I truly enjoy being used in this manner. It was very rewarding to have received this award but I would do what I do anyway. The thing is there are many moments when I doubt my abilities and myself. I questioned, ‘What do I really know?’ It is at those times I would mentally call up the notion that there was this group of amazing educators from various levels of education that thought ‘She’s a special teacher.’ This may sound odd but there are so many things coming at you in education — new methods, technology, curriculum — that you are overwhelmed and wonder how to do it all and can you do it and are you doing it well for the students. I was validated by this award and for me that is huge.”
— Jo-Ann Colopy, Second Grade teacher semi-retired, St. Raphael Catholic School, Raleigh, currently teaching & tutoring part time
The Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching 2008

2009 Lewis Award, Raleigh Catholic Schools

(L to R) Anne Stahel, Laura Gallimore, Susan Goethals, Sarah Almon, Mary Jane Davis, Cora Bilano, Rozanne Farrell, Monsignor Lewis (2009)

“I began my teaching career in high school science, but before 2001 I had not been teaching science in high school. After more than 17 years in K to 8 administration I was very nervous about renewing my high school teaching career. The first few years were difficult. Biology had greatly changed in all those years. Luckily, the Gibbons faculty and staff were very welcoming and supportive. I think it was the Lewis award that validated my choice to return to high school science.”
— Susan Goethals, AP Science teacher, Cardinal Gibbons High School
The Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching 2009

“While it was quite an honor to win, the greatest impact has been to make me want to be a better teacher. Many kind things were stated and I want to try to live up to them.”
— Joe Hughes, Middle School Social Studies, St. Peter Catholic School, Greenville
The Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching 2013

“It was a great honor as I completed my term at Cardinal Gibbons High School.”
— Brother Michel Bettigole, OSF, former principal, Cardinal Gibbons High School
The Lewis Award for Lifetime Achievement 2006

“It made me stop and really reflect on my years as a deep appreciation to all the students, families and coworkers who touched my life so beautifully while I was at Lourdes. Teaching is certainly a major responsibility and to receive the Lewis (Lifetime Achievement) Award made me realize that maybe I really did make a positive difference in the lives of students — what a powerful humbling experience — definitely an emotional moment in my life.”
— Sarah Almon, retired Seventh-Eighth Grade Math and Religion teacher, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, Raleigh
The Lewis Award for Lifetime Achievement 2008

“Receiving this honor totally took me by surprise. I was humbled as well as honored. To this day I strive to prove to myself that I can live up to the standards this honor implies.”
— Diane McGrady, Director of Curriculum/Instruction, Cathedral Elementary School, Raleigh
The Lewis Award for Lifetime Achievement 2011