This award honors teachers who follow the example set by St. Leonine Aviat in her dedication to education and spirit of service to others. Her main focus for those that teach was the fusing together of their dedication to teach and of their love of faith as inseparable. The Aviat Awards are funded by the Young Teachers Fund. To contribute go to Give to the School.
This year vying to be selected, 13 teachers took time in their busy lives to write 3 short essays answering in their own words these 3 questions:
- Why do you teach in a Catholic School?
- What does the community theme “Transforming the ordinary with great love” mean to you?
- What does this award mean to you – in honor and financial support?
The first awardee, Samantha Forbes, first experienced Catholic School as an Americorp worker assigned to a Catholic School in Indiana. There she had the opportunity to meet a 1st grader that had lost a parent. She said the opportunity to look out for his whole person - emotional, physical and spiritual - was unlike anything she could do in a public school. She says “I am excited to teach in Catholic School. We can pray in thanksgiving, we can redirect all our hard work back to our Creator and we can minister to our students in specific ways.”
The next awardee Maria Vivanco is no stranger to Catholic Schools because she is an OLGC graduate. She has returned to join some of her teachers, who are now her peers. When asked why she doesn’t teach at public school she says, “No salary could give me the sense of purpose and community that working at OLGC does! She says that “guiding children to be kind human beings is the main reason I believe GOD put me right here where I need to be.” On the subject of great love she shares, “One morning I felt inspired to greet the class as a whole by saying ‘good morning my lovely students.’“ To her surprise she was greeted with the most heartfelt “good morning lovely teacher!”
The 3rd awardee, Anthony Zambito, went to both catholic & public school and recognized the support system that was in place for him in the Catholic setting. He says, “The Catholic fundamentals that were the foundation of my school were always backing me up and steered me in the right direction. Now I get to be that support for other children.” On great love he says, “We teachers are creatures of habit and routine, but we love what we do, it is our obligation to show that love. We can change a student’s day by putting a little extra love in what we do.”
There have been teachers here for 60 years. There have been those special ones that have shown their intense dedication to education and shared their deep love of faith. These 3 Aviat awardees are today’s shining example. We thank all you teachers for your dedication and for sharing your great love.