Golden Apple Teachers

Leaving an apple on a teacher’s desk is an enduring sign of thanks for the difference he or she makes in a child’s life. This evening, we will show our own appreciation to ten outstanding teachers from Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of Washington by awarding each of them a Golden Apple for their teaching excellence and commitment to Catholic education.

The Golden Apple Awards were originally created by the Pittsburgh-based Donahue Family Foundation whose founders, Jack and Rhodora Donahue, sent their 13 children to Catholic schools. Growing out of this family’s gratitude for teachers at Catholic schools, these awards are now given out in a number of dioceses around the country.

At this evening’s eighth annual Golden Apple Awards dinner at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, we will be saying “thank-you” to this year’s honored teachers, who were nominated by their colleagues, students and school parents. Each will receive a golden apple and certificate, as well as a $5,000 gift check. We will also express thanks to the Donahue family for their witness of faith and continued generosity in supporting Catholic education and these awards.

At this celebration, I will personally congratulate the following 2016 Golden Apple Award winning teachers for providing a quality academic and faith-filled education to the children in their classes:

  • Maureen Mullen Detrick, middle school religion teacher, Father Andrew White, S.J. School, Leonardtown, Md.
  • Marianne Green, religion teacher, Holy Trinity School, Washington, D.C.
  • Mark Hammett, middle school religion teacher, Saint Pius X Regional School, Bowie, Md.
  • Christina Harrington, fourth grade teacher, Holy Redeemer School, College Park, Md.
  • Gretchen Hochhausler, seventh grade math teacher, Our Lady of Victory School, Washington, D.C.
  • Julia Kelly, art teacher, Academy of Saint Matthias the Apostle, Lanham, Md.
  • Kathy Miller, middle school language arts teacher, Saint Jude Regional Catholic School, Rockville, Md.
  • Erin Morris Bright, theology teacher, DeMatha Catholic High School, Hyattsville, Md.
  • Tricia Morrison, first grade teacher, Saint Mary’s School, Bryantown, Md.

John Olon, theology teacher, Saint Mary’s Ryken High School, Leonardtown, Md.

The whole idea of the Golden Apple Awards was to do something we all learned we should do from our earliest days in Catholic schools, and that is to say, “Thank you.” To our teachers and to everyone involved in Catholic schools – our pastors, principals, educators, parents, benefactors and everyone else who is part of this wonderful enterprise that is Catholic education – thank you, thank you very much!

In his new apostolic exhortation on the joy of love in the family, Pope Francis wrote, “Catholic schools should be encouraged in their mission to help pupils grow into mature adults who can view the world with the love of Jesus and who can understand life as a call to serve God” (Amoris Laetitia, 279).

We recognize that our Catholic schools bring our children something no other school can. In a nurturing environment, we share the story of Jesus and the truths of our Catholic faith. We help form children’s hearts so they can be the leaders of tomorrow and bring the Lord’s love and mercy to their homes, workplaces, communities and their world. As just one sign of the fruits of our Catholic school teachers’ efforts to inspire students to know, love and follow the Risen Christ, last fall thousands of these young people joined in the “Walk with Francis” initiative to love and serve those in need.

Jesus’ disciples called him “Teacher,” and he taught the crowds on city streets and on a mountainside, in the Temple and in synagogues, from a boat and in people’s homes, from the Cross and in his risen glory. Then before ascending to heaven, he commissioned his disciples in that age and in all succeeding generations to teach his Good News to people wherever they are. That is the work that our teachers in our Catholic schools do every day as they support the teaching mission of parents, who are children’s first and most important teachers.

Today we honor our Golden Apple Award winning teachers. But in doing so, we recognize and thank all Catholic school teachers for teaching children the life-changing lesson of Christ’s transformative love and truth each and every day in their classrooms, as they continue the work of our holy and eternal Teacher.

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