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…
2002 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Lifetime Achievement in Catholic Education
Then and now:
When she received the Award Mrs. Ferguson was the Principal of St. Egbert Catholic School in Morehead City. Mrs. Ferguson served as the Principal from 1978 through 2009. She is now retired and among her many interests continues to impart her love and commitment to Catholic education as a member of the Lewis Award Committee.
Mrs. Ferguson shares her reflections on the impact of the Lifetime Achievement Award as well as perceptions of Excellence in Teaching.
“Being entrusted by my church to serve as principal of St. Egbert Catholic School and help fulfill the Catholic School mission was a great honor and responsibility to me. To be so honored (by the Lewis Award for Lifetime Achievement) was totally overwhelming to me. The following rush of support and congratulations I received from colleagues and later from family friends and parishioners was more than I ever could have imagined, making me feel grateful, joyful and humbled. The whole experience affirmed my efforts and inspired my continued service. In my heart I always knew that my service as principal was not my gift to God but His gift to me. I knew I served on Holy ground and it was His work that I did, not my own.
Excellence in teaching in Catholic schools thrives in the spiritual and physical environment provided by our church and its schools. Teachers, the heart of instruction in our schools, hold their vocation in high regard and know that the children have been entrusted into their care. They help students appreciated their self-worth as children of God by inspiring them to do their best and to discover their God-given gifts.”
Marilyn Misa Ferguson
2000-2001 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching
Then and now:
Mrs. Ferguson was teaching Third Grade at St. Thomas More Catholic School in Chapel Hill “where I taught at that Grade level… for a total of 23 years which were the most rewarding years of my life.” Mrs. Ferguson taught at St. Thomas More from 1987 to 2010 and now lives in Oregon. “No matter where this life takes me, I will always be a teacher at heart.”
“There were many wonderful and cherished moments during all of my years of teaching but I think that the most memorable was the following experience… You can imagine the shock when the mom of one of my third graders was suddenly killed in a car accident on her way to pick Anna up from school. I took that little girl under my wing that year and did all that I possibly could to fill in the gap of the loss of her mom, doing such things as staying after school to help her with her homework and taking on the task of ordering her lunch each month (with her dad’s permission), among other things. From my early years as a teacher, my primary goal was to make a difference in the lives of as many students as possible. I know for sure that I achieved my goal in this one particular case.”
“The most valuable advice that I could pass on to upcoming teachers is to try to connect with each student. Try to find something in common so that you can relate to each of them. This personal touch will help you to form a close bond with each child. They will want to behave for you simply because they like you. This is a great tip for discipline. There is no need for punishment or threats, just show them that you love them and care about them!”
Mrs. Ferguson shared her thoughts on teaching in a Catholic school and the Lewis Award.
“This award recognizes the hard work, love, and devotion that is required of a good and effective teacher. Teachers are so deserving of such an honor! I absolutely loved teaching in a Catholic School where I was free to talk about values and Jesus and the importance of religion in our lives. My favorite moment during the week was going to mass every Friday morning with my students. Sharing the Eucharist with these children was such a special moment for me! During those times, I felt like more than an instructor but rather a role model who was in a position to inspire these young children during their most formative years. What a daunting but very special role is that of a teacher!”
Sister Jane Hardison, IHM
Washington, NC and Catholic Schools Bring About Another Star
Sister Jane Hardison (1939-2015) grew up in Washington, NC and was said to be proud of being a southerner. She attended Catholic school and at age eleven became Catholic. She entered the IHM Novitiate after high school and became Sister Timothy Marie. She began her teaching degree, earned three college degrees, and had forty-three years of ministry assignments. She was referred to as “ninja nun” because of her karate skills, but also had talents in music and outdoor pursuits. Jane was a masterful teacher and well loved by children and adults.