August 29, 2012

In My Opinion: St. Mary's a tribute to Catholic caring


---- — In all the media attention focused on the closing of St. Mary’s Academy in Champlain, a big piece was missing. What people may not know is St. Mary’s remained open because there were so many people who strongly believed in Catholic education and who truly loved that school.

Every year, we would go to the area businesses and ask for help with the many fundraisers that were vital to our survival. Every time, they would say, what do you need? I was and am always amazed at how generous this community has been. Thank you to all the businesses that supported St. Mary’s over the years.

We also had a huge number of volunteers from the community and our parish who responded in the same manner, whether it was for money, time or talents. They were there in good times and in bad, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

To all those who served as a faculty or staff at St. Mary’s over the many years, your dedication and love of education was so greatly appreciated. Your sacrifice in pay is unprecedented in today’s world, and I, for one, am very grateful.

To all the parents who sacrificed for your child to get a Catholic education, I know that it is not easy, but it was well worth it. I also thank you for the many fundraisers you were asked to do and work; the school would not have made it 106 years without you.

Thank you to all the volunteers who came into our school to help with reading and academic supports, especially Sister Mary Paul, who has volunteered her services for several years, including creating beautiful yearbooks.

Of course, to all the children, thank you for being you. Know that Jesus loves you and will always be there for you. Remember you are a big piece of what made St. Mary’s so special. Your bright smiles and wonderful hugs made every day special.

My biggest thanks goes to Sister Cordata,  who was our glue and the foundation to our beautiful little school. She brought such joy to the school day. Her love and compassion for our Lord Jesus Christ showed through in everything she did, from playing tag with the kids in the morning, to morning prayer, to lovingly disciplining when necessary.

Her service to our many Catholic schools for more than 50 years is truly amazing. Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all of you for your many years of support. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to be a part of something so wonderful for the past 14 years.

St. Mary’s will always remain a huge part of my heart. I will miss all of you dearly.

God bless you all.

Amy Gehrig served as director of development for St. Mary’s School in Champlain.