Cardinal Seán O'Malley and Superintendent for Catholic Schools Kathy Mears pose with recipients of the Archdiocese of Boston Excellence in Teaching Award on May 8. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe
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Sister Charlene Favreau, CSJ, a fifth grade teacher at Immaculate Conception School in Lowell, couldn't believe it when, weeks ago, she was told she was one of ten recipients of the first-ever Archdiocese of Boston Excellence in Education Award.
Superintendent for Catholic Schools Kathy Mears "called me and I said, 'really?'", said Sister Charlene, chuckling. "Unbelievable, to get an award for something that I love to do every day."
It must have seemed humorous, recalling the conversation just minutes after formally receiving the award May 8 at the Pastoral Center from Mears and Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley in front of friends and colleagues. Sister Charlene had a part of the prize in her hand, a book of Psalms. A small crystal statue, the second part, lay on the table in front of her.
Receiving the award was "nice," she said, then, seemingly in contrast with the actual meaning of the award, added "and it's a day off from school!" She laughed.
Sister Charlene was one of ten educators who were honored at the Pastoral Center during a luncheon with Cardinal O'Malley and a small award ceremony. Friends, family, and coworkers of each of the recipients attended the event, clapping when their loved one's name and accomplishments were read out as they collected their award and posed for pictures with Mears and the cardinal.
Given to five elementary school teachers and five secondary school teachers, the award honors the educators' "commitment to developing saints and scholars in the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston."
Awardees have "demonstrated their strong leadership qualities, model a faith-filled life, promote academic excellence and are committed to their students and school. Every day, they inspire students from all backgrounds and abilities to learn and they actively collaborate with their peers, students, and families to create a welcoming environment and culture of success."
The award was created by the archdiocese's Catholic Schools Office, with support from the Catholic Schools Foundation.
The recipients of the inaugural award were: Andrea Alberti, St. Mary's Jr./Sr. High School, Lynn; Michael Clancy, Boston College High School, Dorchester; Sheila Deitsch, St. Paul School, Hingham; Beverly Ekstrom, Archbishop Williams High School, Braintree; Sister Charlene Favreau, Immaculate Conception School, Lowell; Mark Flint, St. Mary of the Annunciation School, Melrose; Anne Krane, St. Columbkille Partnership School, Brighton; Angela Lee, Malden Catholic High School, Malden; Jane Richard, Presentation of Mary Academy, Methuen; and Sharon Rozzi, East Boston Central Catholic School, East Boston.
"I think that we just honored the Tom Brady and the Larry Bird and the Bill Belichick of Boston in terms of teaching," said Mears to The Pilot following the luncheon event. "They're great people, they're testimonies to what it means to be a faith-filled individual. Teaching children and bringing them to Christ is so evidenced."
In addition to the statue and book, a monetary prize of $1,500 was also given to each recipient. Recipients were chosen out of a pool of 160 nominees.
Honoree Anne Krane, a pre-k teacher at St. Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton, said at the event "I am honored to be among these amazing teachers. It was so cool to hear a little bit about all of them."
Fairly new to the profession of teaching, Krane has taught the past three years at St. Columbkille. Passionate about theater, she also regularly teaches improv workshops at theaters, prisons, and schools.
She said she felt "especially honored as a pre-k teacher; I think a lot of times pre-k teachers get overlooked for the work that they do. It's a lot of work, and I really just feel that I'm among a lot of great people here."