By Kathy Gaito
Our Catholic schools certainly know the meaning of this year’s Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) theme, “Hand in Hand with All God’s Children.” The education of each student involves various school personnel working together, putting the child’s best interests first and making the school experience the best it can be. Similarly, the ACA works with donors, pastors and ACA leadership throughout the Diocese so that our ministries and programs are able to have the biggest impact possible.
Recognizing the exemplary 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. This annual award is presented to well-deserving recipients who have made significant contributions to Catholic education in the Diocese of Norwich.
The award ceremony takes place at the annual Seton Scholarship Dinner and this year’s honorees are: • Sister Mary Patrick Mulready, S.C.M.C., Principal, St. Joseph School, Baltic • Ann C. Derbacher, Campus Minister and Theology Department Chair, Mercy High School, Middletown • Barbara Hamanaka, Ph.D., Advanced Mathematics and Computer Teacher, Sacred Heart School, Groton.
Sister Mary Patrick firmly believes, “that being with young people helps to keep one young and I am most grateful that I am part of their lives. Helping to form our youth into responsible Catholic Christians is both a challenge and a privilege as they are the future of the Church and of society.”
Ann C. Derbacher has been an educator at Mercy High School for 38 years. Ann said, “It is truly a blessing to work with the awesome girls at Mercy. I like to think that I am ministering not only to the girls but to the entire Mercy community. I am never too busy to be present to anyone who walks through my door.”
Dr. Barbara Hamanaka has been with Sacred Heart School, Groton for 27 years. She began her tenure at Sacred Heart as a volunteer and then became part of their faculty. Dr. Hamanaka said, “I like being a teacher because you can never stop learning yourself. This might mean learning a new approach to teaching your subject, learning a whole new area related to your subject, or perhaps a totally new but interesting area. Another enjoyable aspect of teaching is dealing with young people…it keeps you young in spirit.”
This year marks the 10th annual Seton Scholarship Dinner, to be held on Nov. 3 at 4 p.m. at St. Clements Castle & Marina, 1931 Portland-Cobalt Road, Portland. Sponsorship opportunities, program book ads and tickets ($150 each) are available for purchase by contacting the Office of Development at (860) 886-1928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All proceeds from the Seton Scholarship Dinner support Catholic elementary school students and are distributed by the Catholic Foundation in the form of tuition assistance grants.
We hope many of you will join us in celebrating Sister Mary Patrick, Ann C. Derbacher and Dr. Barbara Hamanaka. Come enjoy an evening out and join hand in hand with others from our Diocese celebrating our honorees and supporting our Catholic schools. It’s a cause that helps provide our youth with a brighter future both spiritually and academically.