A devoted teacher and a valuable Catholic education can have such a positive impact on a student’s life. I know this firsthand; my Catholic education left an indelible impression on me. I will never forget the importance of loving thy neighbor while appreciating friendships, diversity, and community. The commitment of those involved in our Catholic school education has been known for years. Recognizing the exceptional work of our educators, in 2010, Bishop Cote established the Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, D.D. Award for Contributions to Catholic Education in the Diocese of Norwich. Three individuals who have made significant contributions to Catholic education in the Diocese of Norwich will be honored this year. The award ceremony will take place at the 13th annual Seton Scholarship Dinner. The proceeds from the Seton Scholarship Dinner will provide our diocesan elementary school students with tuition assistance. This year’s honorees are:
• Sister Mary Cabrini, S.C.M.C.
Sacred Heart School, Taftville
• LTC (RET) Larry Fitzgerald
Sacred Heart School, Groton/St. John Paul II
Regional School, Middletown
• Jayne Anne Vitale
Xavier High School, Middletown
Sister Mary Cabrini Ulaskiewicz was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and earned her bachelor’s degree in upper elementary education and junior high general science at Eastern Connecticut State University. She has been a teacher for more than 42 years in the Diocese of Norwich and has been teaching at Sacred Heart, Taftville since 1985, as well as serving as vice principal since 1995. Sister Mary Cabrini has been a Sister of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church for 44 years. When she began teaching, Sister taught all of the subjects in a self-contained classroom. Later, Sister began to concentrate on specific subjects, which were science and health for grades 5-8 and religion for students in grades 6-8. Sister’s greatest joy in addition to teaching and being a religious sister has been the charitable activities she and her eighth graders have been involved with over the past four decades. One of her favorites is the mission jar in her classroom, into which students make donations when they are able, all of which go to assisting a child in Kenya with his education, food and other needs.
Mr. Larry Fitzgerald is a retired lieutenant colonel of the U. S. Army. He has served 11 years as a Catholic school principal in the Diocese of Norwich. Larry served as principal of Sacred Heart School in Groton from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2017, and as principal of St. John Paul II Regional Catholic School in Middletown, from July 1, 2017, until his retirement in June 2022. During this time, Larry served on many committees under the Diocesan School Office, including the Curriculum Committee, Professional Development Committee and the Report Card Committee. Larry also served as the principal liaison to the Diocesan School Board for one year. Mr. Fitzgerald holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education and health from Southern Connecticut State University and a sixth-year certificate in educational administration from Sacred Heart University. Larry is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Larry resides in Prospect with his wife Carey. They have raised three adult children and have two wonderful grandchildren.
Miss Jayne Anne Vitale comes from a family of teachers. She has been teaching for 43 years, and at Xavier High School since 1986. Jayne has always loved school and pursued a variety of academic disciplines. Jayne holds a degree in secondary education with certification in Spanish and French, as well as a master’s degree in history and social studies.Jayne continued with more academic pursuits at Wesleyan University, earning a certificate of advanced studies (sixth year) in visual arts and art history. Jayne, a landscape artist and fine arts instructor, continues to teach both visual arts and art history at Xavier High School. After retiring for a period of one year, Jayne returned for a second career at Xavier on a part-time basis. While Jayne has enjoyed teaching a variety of academic subjects, she now focuses her efforts on art education. An avid traveler and foreign language instructor, Jayne still offers educational trips for students whenever possible.
The 13th annual Seton Scholarship Dinner will be held on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, at the Riverhouse at 55 Bridge Rd., Haddam, CT 06438. Sponsorship opportunities, program book ads and tickets are available for purchase by contacting Gina Foster, stewardship coordinator, Diocese of Norwich, at email@example.com or by calling the Office of Development at 860.886.1928, ext. 115. Tickets will also be available at www.norwichdiocesedevelopment.org on/or around Aug. 22, 2023. Our event sold out last year. I really appreciate your generous support throughout the past 13 years and hope you can join us in celebrating Sister Mary Cabrini, Larry Fitzgerald and Jayne Anne Vitale.
By Gina Foster