Looking Back…

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

Corazon Bilano

1999 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Lifetime Achievement in Catholic Education

BilanoThen & Now:
Ms. Bilano was the first recipient of the Award for Lifetime Achievement. At the time she received the Award Ms. Bilano was teaching First Grade at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Raleigh. She is now retired from teaching and but continues to be very active in the Diocese through her volunteer work at Sacred Heart Cathedral. She is a member of the Hispanic Choir, as well as a member of the Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Ramón ministry which supports the “Preescolar Sagrado Corazón de Jesus” in San Ramón Nicaragua through education and providing meals for the children. The ministry also supports the church’s projects by raising funds and visiting the sister parish as often as they are able. When not volunteering Ms. Bilano enjoys travelling with friends and catching up on reading.

Ms. Bilano expressed that “the Lewis Award confirmed my belief that children all over the world are alike. Deep down inside they respond to love. Teaching the little ones both in the Philippines and here in the USA gave me much joy. Now with the children in Nicaragua whom Cathedral School is helping, it is always a pleasure to visit them and rejoice in their accomplishments. It is with gratitude that we have been instrumental in their spiritual and educational growth.”

She would like teachers striving for excellence to recognize that “love works wonders with children — give them love and everything else will follow.”

Bilano and Msg. Lewis

When asked about the most memorable experience in the classroom Ms. Bilano shared that “when I was teaching First Grade, most of the children did not know how to read. No words could express the feelings I get when I saw the eyes and faces of the little ones as they realized that they could read.”

“The Lewis Award is a great means to recognize and acknowledge the hard work teachers do. To teach in a Catholic School is a blessing and a privilege. Together the school and families work towards the same goal and, that is, guiding each child to grow in faith and become a valuable member of society.”

Amazing Teachers in the Diocese of Raleigh

WagnerPatti Wagner, Second Grade teacher at St. Thomas More Catholic School, Chapel Hill, was recognized in the Raleigh News and Observer for her commendable efforts to collect and deliver gifts to Appalachia.

“Every year I look forward to bringing the joy of Christmas to needy children living deep in the Appalachian Mountains. For the past 10 years I have organized “Appalachian Shoebox Christmas”; this is a hands-on, child-appropriate opportunity in which the children of St. Thomas More can share Christ with needy children by using a simple shoebox. The project has grown every year; we now take not only a shoebox filled with small gifts, but clothing, and food gift cards. After collecting these items, we drive to Dingess, W. Va. where every child receives a shoebox at a Christmas party given just for them. It is a great joy and pleasure to provide this experience for the STM children who give so generously to children in such great need.”

The complete article can be found at the following link:

Interesting Tidbit

Notable North Carolinians Who Received a Catholic School Education

Ralph CampbellRalph Campbell was the first African American to be elected to a state wide office in North Carolina. He served three terms as state auditor and was praised for his integrity. He also was a member of the Raleigh City Council and served as the first African American member of the Council of State. Mr. Campbell attended St. Monica’s Catholic School in Raleigh during his formative years.