January 22, 2019 // Schools

Jan. 21 Featured Light of Learning Award Winners!

Each week, Today’s Catholic will be featuring some of our amazing 2019 Light of Learning award winners! To meet other winners, click here


Matthew VanRyn, St. Vincent de Paul, Fort Wayne

School Grade/Subject You Teach     

7-8 Social Studies

How many years have you been a teacher?          

12 years.

Did you attend Catholic school?       

No.

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?

Being able to teach social studies while incorporating the tenets of our Catholic faith into lessons each day.

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?           

I believe the advantage of Catholic schools for students is the ability to practice their faith freely in the daily lives outside of Church, helping them to learn to incorporate their faith in all aspects of their lives. The advantage that I have as a Catholic school teacher is that I am able to do everything any other teacher can, but also openly and freely discuss our faith within the context of social studies, helping my students see how their faith plays an important role in the world today.

Who inspired you to be a teacher? 

My family has 7 current or former teachers. After graduating with my degree in Political Science and deciding the world had too many lawyers already; I knew I had always loved history and government and thought it made sense to get my second degree in education. 

Tell us about a moment when being in a Catholic school environment supported or significantly impacted your work as a teacher.

I think the moment that most impacts be as a Catholic school teacher is when I see my 8th-grade students go through Confirmation. It is such an important event in the formation of our students’ academic and spiritual lives and to witness it is such a blessing. The beauty is that it occurs every year, so it is a continued blessing.

From the Principal 

“Mr. Matt VanRyn is an excellent selection for this year’s Light of Learning Award at St. Vincent de Paul School. Mr. VanRyn is dedicated to his students and their success with his subject. Mr. VanRyn masterfully connects his middle school students with History, Government, and Economics. Recently, Mr. VanRyn’s students have qualified for the state competition of We the People. Mr. VanRyn has high expectations for his students and his students will remark that they learn a lot in his classes. The students appreciate his easy-going manner and passion for his subject. St. Vincent’s is blessed to have Mr. VanRyn as part of our Community in Christ!” -Cheryl Klinker, principal


Lisa Bentley. St. Mary’s, Niles

School Grade/Subject You Teach     

4th/5th

How many years have you been a teacher?          

I am currently in my 23rd year of teaching.

Did you attend Catholic school?       

No. 

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?

I am able to teach my students about God every day in every subject. 

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?           

I love the smaller class sizes.  I am to individualize my instruction to meet the needs of my students. 

Who inspired you to be a teacher? 

My childhood friend, Jan Tuma. She was three years older than me.  I was 5 and she was 8 when we started playing school about every day.  I guess you could say that I wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 years old. 

Tell us about a moment when being in a Catholic school environment supported or significantly impacted your work as a teacher.

As a teacher at St. Mary’s School, I feel like I am part of a family.  Being a part of a family is the true meaning of a Catholic School environment.  I agree with St. Pope John Paul II when he said, “God chose to enter human history through a family.” Family is the core of what God had designed for His people.  When you feel loved and supported by your coworkers and administration, it allows you to do the same with the children you teach.

From the Principal

“Lisa is an excellent nomination for the Light of Learning Award because she embodies the Faith in her daily life. She treats each child that enters her classroom as her own. Lisa goes above and beyond to not only mentor her students, but also the new teachers on staff. I am proud to not only call Lisa a coworker, but also a friend.  Our school family would not be complete without her.” – Leslie Johnson, Principal


Deanna Finfrock, Holy Cross School, South Bend

School Grade/Subject You Teach     

Prekindergarten

How many years have you been a teacher?          

3 years.

Did you attend Catholic school?       

Yes, Holy Cross School and St. Joseph High School.

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?

I love the sense of faith and family.  I always have seen Holy Cross as my home and I love being a teacher here.

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?           

For students and I, I love the fact that we can pray and teach about Jesus.

Who inspired you to be a teacher? 

At first, I never saw myself as a teacher.  While I loved children and my background was in Early Childhood Education, I saw myself taking a different path after graduation from college.  I worked for a few years with at-risk children before taking time off to raise my family.  When my children started attending Holy Cross School, I had a renewed desire to get back into the classroom.  The whole entire Holy Cross staff inspired me to want to be the teacher that I am today.

Tell us about a moment when being in a Catholic school environment supported or significantly impacted your work as a teacher.

When my children were young and as I was volunteering at Holy Cross School, I saw great role models in the teachers who were at the school.  This is what made me want to get back into the classroom and when I did have the chance to teacher here, I jumped at the opportunity.  These same teachers have been supporting me from day one and I draw my inspiration from them.

From the Principal  

“Deanna Finfrock is an excellent nomination for the Light of Learning Award because she is a tireless advocate for our youngest learns at Holy Cross School.” -Angela Budzinski, principal


Chad Hormann, St. Therese School, Fort Wayne

School Grade/Subject You Teach     

I teach 6th, 7th, & 8th grade science and social studies.

How many years have you been a teacher?          

This is my 22nd year of teaching and my 5th year with St. Therese.

Did you attend Catholic school?       

I did not attend a Catholic school in FWSB.

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?

The most rewarding part of teaching in a Catholic School is witnessing the students being able to practice their faith on a daily basis and grow academically.

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?           

I feel that the Catholic school advantage for students and teachers is that you are immersed in your faith every day.  Throughout the week students and staff are able to become stronger Christians, pray the rosary daily, attend mass twice a week, in addition to attaining an education that is based on high academic standards.

Who inspired you to be a teacher? 

I was inspired to become a teacher because of other teachers and coaches that I have had in my life.

From the Principal 

“Chad is a dedicated teacher with 20 years of teaching experience (4 years in our diocese).  He is a dedicated teacher that works hard to help students succeed. His strength is in building relationships and teaching his students to have mutual respect in and out of the classroom.  His passion for Catholic Education is evident, and he serves as a model of Christ-like action for the school community.  Chad is an excellent teacher that pushes our students to succeed. He always has a positive attitude and is willing to do what it takes to get the job done.” -Mr. Bobay, principal        


Joscilyn Acosta, St. John the Evangelist Catholic School, Goshen

School Grade/Subject You Teach     

5th grade 

How many years have you been a teacher?          

I am in my fourth-year teaching.

Did you attend Catholic school?       

I did! I attended two catholic schools in the area: St, John the Evangelist in Goshen, IN (the school where I currently teach) and St. Thomas the Apostle in Elkhart, IN.

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?

The most rewarding part of teaching in a catholic school is being able to build strong faith-based relationships with my students and their families. I also love teaching about our faith. I find that my students really long to understand more about our Catholic faith and they love spending time learning about it in school. I was even blessed enough to be a sponsor for one of my fifth graders last year who became Catholic; it was truly a rewarding experience.

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?           

In my undergrad, we discussed the three parts of a person being the mind, body and soul.  As teachers, we are called to facilitate growth in all three parts of our students. We are not simply called to teach their minds. My students are given the opportunity, at our Catholic school, to grow in mind, body, and spirit. At Catholic schools, we teach the whole child. We want our students to leave us being ready for their next phase of life and that includes the Catholic morals and faith practices that are instilled in them as children in our school. As a teacher, I feel teaching at a Catholic school has also brought those three parts of my life into balance. I have learned more about my faith in the last three years than I ever knew before and that is because of the environment in which I work. An environment that encourages growth of the whole person.

Who inspired you to be a teacher? 

I have known for most of my life that I loved learning and loved school. I was inspired by my eighth-grade social studies teacher at St. Thomas the Apostle, Chad Burnt (spelling may be off), to become a teacher. I loved social studies in his class because I was challenged to become a better learner. He taught social studies in a way that made me want to learn more in and out of his class. I decided then that I wanted to be the kind of teacher that makes her students want to learn more about a subject, in and out of the classroom. I wanted to be the kind of teacher that fostered a love of learning like his lessons did for me as an eighth grader.

From the Principal  

“Miss Acosta models Christ-like behaviors by showing all of her student’s respect and listening and learning from her colleagues. She participants as a member of the staff and provides great insight into how students learn. She motivates students to do their best, and she works with students for them to see their potential. She utilizes her resources well, and she loves to use the iPads in meaningful ways. Miss Acosta regularly volunteers to help with school committees and special events. She also volunteers to work with the parish middle school youth group. Miss Acosta is a beautiful example of someone who gives of herself for her students. She wants her students to not just learn about math or reading, but she wants them to know and love their faith.” -Mattie Willerton, principal


Tracy Miller, Saint Aloysius

School Grade/Subject You Teach     

Grades 2 and 3

How many years have you been a teacher?          

I have been a licensed teacher for three years, and taught pre-school for 18 years.

Did you attend Catholic school?       

No, I attended public school.

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?

Living the faith every day is a challenge for all of us, but teaching in an Catholic environment provides support and direction for doing so more consistently than I might be able to were I not blessed by this opportunity.

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?           

Every subject is grounded in the faith.  For example, when students get excited about discovering a new pattern in math, I can point out that the way numbers work together is all part of our Creator’s plan.  When students need help making good decisions or discipline is needed, I can refer to the Commandments and the teaching of Christ to help them understand how to make choices as a follower of Jesus.

Who inspired you to be a teacher? 

I had some excellent teachers, but my choice to become a teacher may be a result of not having great school experiences.  I attended large public schools, where I did not feel like I mattered much.  The last thing I wanted to do upon graduation from high school was to be a teacher.  I loved working with young children, so I became a pre-school teacher.  The children I worked with were my inspiration to go back to school and qualify for a teaching license.  Teaching in a Catholic school helped me see an opportunity to teach in a way that values every student, every child of God.

From the Principal 

Tracy Miller, our 2nd and 3rd grade teacher, is that light for her students and the faculty.  Content knowledge is a given, but it takes a special gift to impart knowledge and skills into young people.  Mrs. Miller has such a gift for this vocation, because she has cultivated trust and built relationship with students that allow for their learning and growth.  Mrs. Miller shares her gift in light of the Catholic faith, and this is a blessing to all of us.” -Mrs. Tina Voors, Principal


Elaine Smith, St. Louis Academy

School Grade/Subject You Teach     

6th-8th Language Arts/Literature

How many years have you been a teacher?          

I have been teaching 19 years.

Did you attend Catholic school?       

I attended St. Louis Academy from K-6th grade.

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?

The most rewarding thing about teaching in the Catholic School is being able to attend Mass daily and being able to incorporate our Catholic faith into all subject areas.  I also love to see the students learn and persevere through difficult topics and content.

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?           

The Catholic School advantage for the students is the ability to live out their faith in a supportive and fostering environment.  Another advantage, especially for our school, is the small class sizes.  These are advantages for the students as well as for me as a teacher. 

Who inspired you to be a teacher? 

Many of my former teachers inspired me to a be a teacher.  I would not say it was just one person; I had many amazing teachers throughout my grade school and high school education.

Tell us about a moment when being in a Catholic school environment supported or significantly impacted your work as a teacher.

When I graduated from college 19 years ago, I never imagined I would teach at a Catholic school.  I thought I would get some experience teaching and move on.  As the years passed, I found that not only was I helping the students grow in their faith, I was myself also being deeply impacted by working in a Catholic school.  I love to see the students grow in faith and knowledge but the biggest impact has been on my spiritual life.  I have had the privilege to work with so many virtuous models of the Catholic faith, and for that I will be forever grateful.  I have learned that my plan is not always God’s plan; and when you think you are impacting others, you are really the one being impacted.

From the Principal

“Mrs. Smith is an exceptional teacher. She does an excellent job of preparing students for high school. She is very involved in the school and goes beyond her duties. Mrs. Smith is a model of fortitude and zeal as she works hard teaching all day and then volunteers to coach volleyball and coordinate extra-curricular activities like the speech contest. She is kind, loving and patient. She differentiates instruction for students at all levels. She is knowledgeable of her class content and teaches the material well. She understands junior high students, both in the classroom as well as when they talk about their personal struggles. She is very active with the children and truly interested in their growth academically, socially and spiritually. Mrs. Smith maintains excellent classroom management, and the students and her colleagues highly respect her. She is such a welcome addition to school staff and we are blessed to have her as St. Louis Academy.“- Vanessa Diller principal


Andrew Oross, Saint Joseph High School

School Grade/Subject You Teach     

I teach Theology to 10th and 12th graders.

How many years have you been a teacher?          

28 total years.  I taught 11 years at Bishop Dwenger in Fort Wayne.  This is my 17th year at Saint Joseph High School.

Did you attend Catholic school?       

Yes.  I went to Christ the King through 8th grade and Saint Joseph High School.

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?

I get to teach theology, which I love, to students whom I love. 

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?           

Catholic schools can teach the whole person, body, mind, and soul.  We can invite students to see this world according to the challenge and invitation of the Gospel.  It gives students an eternal perspective on life, not simply getting on in this world by worldly standards.  The motivation to learn, work hard, and to be virtuous stem from our love of Christ. I get to be a part of a school community where the faith is central to what we do.  That is more than I can ever want as a teacher.

Who inspired you to be a teacher? 

God spoke to me through many of the great teachers that I had from grade school, high school, and college.  At first, I just wanted to try it.  Then I fell in love with it.

Tell us about a moment when being in a Catholic school environment supported or significantly impacted your work as a teacher.

There have been so many small moments that impacted my work as a teacher.  I was never a natural teacher, neither do I think anyone really is.  As a theology teacher, I did not have the benefit of the training that teachers get when they study education in college.  So many administrators and teachers mentored me along the way.  I would like to mention former principals at Dwenger, John Gaughan and Fred Tone.  At Saint Joseph, Susan Richter and Marilyn Gibbs worked very hard to help teachers grow in the art and science of teaching.  At Dwenger, I especially am thankful for Charlotte Ball for being a mentor.  I do not think I would have continued to teach without her.  She taught for a long time at Bishop Leurs.

From the Principal 

“Andy is most deserving of this Light of Learning Award. First and foremost, he cares deeply about our school and about each student – praying both with and for them daily. He is dedicated to teaching the Catholic Faith in a way that resonates with students, respects individual thought, and stays true to the teachings of the Faith. Always a model of integrity for our students, Andy also finds time to be a continuous learner and supports colleagues in their professional growth. He furthers our mission daily and is a true asset to Saint Joseph High School.” – John Kennedy, principal


Donald Cochran, Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne

School Grade/Subject You Teach     

Instrumental Music / I also assist with 5th – 8th grade bands at Queen of Angels, Saint Vincent, and Saint Jude.

How many years have you been a teacher?          

17 years

Did you attend Catholic school?       

I attended Southwest Allen County Schools, graduating from Homestead High School in 1989.  I received my CCD education at Saint Patricks Catholic Church in Arcola.

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?

Being able to both encounter our faith through our staff and students as well as openly express our faith within our school family.  Our staff, students, and parents genuinely care for each other.  It really is a faith filled family at Bishop Dwenger.  Having spent the majority of my career teaching in public schools, this has been a dream come true.  When somebody tells you that they will pray for you, they really mean it.  Our students are so genuine and loving.  I can’t help but feel as though these kids truly are living as Christ would want them to live.  I am so fortunate to be around a group of people like the family of Bishop Dwenger.  There really is something special about being in Catholic Schools.  I can’t necessarily express it in words, but I can feel it.

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?           

Catholic school students have so many advantages.  The obvious deals with the higher achievement rates compared to many public schools, the higher wages that Catholic school students earn in their careers compared to their public-school counterparts, as well as the higher level of engagement in civic activities compared to public school students.  Our students engage with each other, in ways that cannot be achieved in a public-school setting.   Just like anyone else, we as teachers desire to be with like-minded people.  Sometimes, personalities are vastly different, but when there is not only a tolerance to Catholic teaching, but an emphasis, we as Catholic school teachers find a great sense of being “home”.  Our school becomes a family, because we really do care about each other.  We find comfort in being able to venture deeper in our content area and express our faith with our students. Classes tend to be mirror images of the teachers in front of them.  When we are excited, they are excited.  When they see our excitement for faith, they in turn, express their excitement for faith with us as a class as well.  This is our energy.  This is our love for what we do. 

Who inspired you to be a teacher?             

I had three great inspirations to become a teacher. First, was one of my middle school CCD teachers from St. Patricks of Arcola, Grover Schinbeckler.  I didn’t even catch on to how wonderful of an instructor he was at the time.  But he was excited about his faith and was so eager to share his faith with others around him.  Many years after I had him for a middle school CCD teacher, he showed up to my wife and I’s wedding when I was 30 years old in Paoli, IN.  It absolutely shocked me that he thought enough about me to do that.  I remember asking him if he needed a place to stay.  He responded by telling me that he wanted to go to St. Meinrad and stay with the monks in the ArchAbbey.  Just this past year, at age 48, I took the Bishop Dwenger Band to visit the ArchAbbey that Grover told me about many years ago.  I did this in part of a summer retreat program for our band.  I realized on that visit this past year just how special it was to experience the ArchAbbey.  Grover has since passed away.  I was given many of his writings upon his death.  I found out he was a war hero.  I read about how he would lead the rosary on the boats before they landed to go into battle.  It was very touching.

The second inspiration for me to become a teacher was my high school band director, Steve Barber.  Mr. Barber shared his love of music and his demand for excellence with all of his students.  He constantly encouraged me to continue my desire to study music and become a band director.  Mr. Barber taught me that once you are part of his band, you are always a part of the band.  You are a family.  He always told us that if we ever needed him he would be there.  I recall in 2012, Mr. Barber and his wife, Nancy, contacted me following an outbreak of tornados that devastated his former school of Henryville as well as Jefferson Co., where I lived at the time.  He was going to have the Homestead Band fill the band semi with supplies for his former home of Henryville.  He wanted me to meet him and guide the truck a back way into Henryville since we couldn’t access the town off of the main interstate due to devastation.  I will never forget seeing his former students from the late 70’s and early 80’s crying as they saw their band director physically unloading the semi for them.  This taught me I needed to achieve something bigger than just teaching music.  I had to make sure that my students knew that I would always be there for them.  Every one of my students would know that they are wanted, needed, and loved.

My third inspiration was Dr. Jim Ator.  I started studying with Doc Ator in high school on saxophone.  He was strict.  If I wasn’t prepared, he didn’t waste his time.  He would would tell me to leave and come back when I wanted to do something other than practice in front of him.  He wanted a performance.  He wanted excellence.  He wanted me to succeed.  When he would see I was struggling, he knew when to encourage me and tell me how I was succeeding.  He took chances by putting me on parts that he knew I would struggle achieving.  But he didn’t give up.  He made sure I got through and I could play the saxophone at a high level.  He was amazing, and I will forever love him for all he taught me.

Tell us about a moment when being in a Catholic school environment supported or significantly impacted your work as a teacher.

Being in a Catholic school environment impacts my work in all of my classes every day.  Every class starts with intentions and prayer.  When I hear the student’s intentions, I hear true, real, and current needs of the students.  These few moments have a profound impact on me.  We conclude with prayer and get started.  We are praying for needs, from hopes, and for love.  When you do this, you put yourself in a fresh and rejuvenated mindset.  You are ready to get to work and really feel so grounded and ready to motivate.  It is such a wonderful way to start every single class.

From the Principal    

“Mr. Cochran’s mantra is for every student to feel “wanted, needed, and loved.” He has rebuilt the music program at Bishop Dwenger by using his unique style, fun spirit and faith-filled guidance. Mr. Cochran is described as a “father-figure” and “ever-present mentor.” He travels to feeder schools to help develop their music programs and create life-changing connections. He doesn’t only teach music, most importantly; Mr. Cochran builds relationships and confidence in every student. He is at school late, and on the weekends. He attends athletic events and even lends a hand with crowd control. He is a great witness of our Catholic faith by being a foster parent for many years before adopting two children. Mr. Cochran always makes sure the color guard, drumline and marching band attend Mass as a team before competitions, and if they are traveling to competitions over the weekend. “We pray and play as a family!”

Mr. Cochran is always trying to help the school and the music program financially. He’s successfully written grants and has been able to secure donations, so the teams can be competitive. Mr. Cochran’s care and compassion can be felt by the parents and students and that is how he is able to get much done. Countless parents,  volunteers and friends of the program have given much of their time to help rebuild the program. They want to help the students and be a part of what Mr. Cochran has touched.” -Jason Schiffli, principal 


Angela Penn, Mishawaka Catholic School

School Grade/Subject You Teach     

1st grade

How many years have you been a teacher?          

This is my 6th year teaching. 

Did you attend Catholic school?       

Yes I attended Catholic school in FWSB.  I went to Christ the King Catholic School from K-8th, then I attended St. Joseph High School from 9th-12th grade.  I also went to Saint Mary’s College in South Bend. 

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?

The most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School is the overall loving environment of the both the students and teachers I work with.  We have a very strong community based on common beliefs.  The parents and the teachers have such amazing relationships and work together for the good of the children.  I love how we are able to celebrate mass each week together and bring our faith into our lessons each and every day.

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?           

I feel that Catholic Schools create a special bond among the students, the home, the school, and the church, which enables a strong sense of community for the students.  Students are able explore their faith through classes and attending mass with their peers.  They are also able to use their faith to help grow as a class and as individuals. As a teacher, I love how I am able to share my faith with my students.  I can incorporate my values and beliefs in the Catholic Church and help my students to better themselves. 

Who inspired you to be a teacher? 

My second-grade teacher at Christ the King, Mrs. Mackowiak, inspired me to become a teacher.  She was always so charismatic and made the classroom a fun learning environment. 

Tell us about a moment when being in a Catholic school environment supported or significantly impacted your work as a teacher.

I am always able to reflect on my Catholic school environment when I have parent/teacher conferences each year.  I have the most loving and supportive parents at Mishawaka Catholic.  All of our parents and teachers do their part to help make each student successful.  I love when I hear from a parent, “What can I do at home to help my child be successful in your classroom?” This question always encourages me to want to go above and beyond for each and every one of my students.

From the Principal  

“Angie Penn has taught first grade at Mishawaka Catholic School for six years. You cannot find a more compassionate, dedicated and fun teacher to inspire our kids. She has created a loving environment amongst the children in her class where they are all welcomed. As one parent said, “It takes a special person to be a teacher and a truly special teacher to ignite a love of learning in a young child.”” Because of Mrs. Penn “”my daughter is excited to talk about God and God’s love. I am so thankful for the faith in God that she is already starting to show.” – Karen Salvador, principal


Anita Hunckler, St. Matthew Cathedral 

How many years have you been a teacher?         

This year will complete my 17th year of teaching.

Did you attend Catholic school?    

I did not attend Catholic schools here in this diocese. I am from Indianapolis and so attended St. Ann’s. 

What is the most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School?         

The most rewarding thing about teaching in a Catholic School is the freedom I have to mention God, Jesus and values of our faith especially when dealing with students. I am able to share the faith I treasure through words and actions. I think a rewarding aspect of teaching in the Catholic Schools is when a student really wants to become Catholic, and they have not had any faith life, and you are able to share and minister to them.

What do you feel is the Catholic school advantage for students? For you as a teacher?       

The Catholic school advantage for students is that they get to worship, practice and learn about their faith. They get to learn about service through a Catholic, Christian-based morality and value system. They get to solve problems based on how Jesus wants them to respond or behave rather than society’s views being the basis for discernment.

Being a teacher in a Catholic School allows me the advantage of praying with my students. This creates a closeness, a trust, a quiet evangelizing of our faith. As a teacher in this setting, all of my subjects I teach are oriented around God and his divinity and his mercy. 

Who inspired you to be a teacher?

I was inspired by my teachers in grade school, high school and college. One professor who inspired me immensely shared two major ideas that I hold dear to my teaching: She said, “Treat your students the way you would want to be treated.” Her second statement was, “ Make your classroom a place where your students are happy to come into and a place they don’t want to leave.” 

Tell us about a moment when being in a Catholic school environment supported or significantly impacted your work as a teacher.

I had been teaching a young man who had never been catechized, and he loved religion class. He said, “I love this Jesus stuff.” I remember answering many questions he had, and I bought him a small crucifix. Every day before class began in my science, math and religion classes, he would pull out his crucifix and place it on his desk and said, “ We can begin.” He became Catholic the following year.

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