A Cardinal Gibbons High School educator received the 2016-2017 Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Mark DeLaRosa, a master catechist who teaches Theology at the school, received the honor during a special Mass on campus April 4.
The Mass was celebrated by Monsignor Lewis, for whom the award is named, and concelebrated by Father Tom Duggan, the school’s assistant principal for Spiritual Life.
During his homily, Monsignor Lewis talked about how faith makes a school special and how Mr. DeLaRosa exemplifies how teachers are the coaches of life.
“Faith demands action. For a high school student, this means study, respect for fellow students and teachers … sportsmanship … joining an outreach program,” Monsignor Lewis said. “Teachers like Mr. DeLaRosa help us to have the moral background to do all of this. I really believe that our faculty are teachers of life in the fullest sense.”
Before presenting the award, Anne Stahel, chair of the Lewis Award Committee and the award’s founder, spoke about a day she visited Mr. DeLaRosa’s classroom earlier this year.
“It was my intention to slip in a corner and just watch,” she said. “However … the class as a whole went outside, and we walked the stations of the cross.”
Mrs. Stahel described the weather: bright and sunny, but 29 degrees with a wind chill factor of 19.
“Until this experience, I had never been to a stations of the cross that wasn’t in a warm, cozy church,” she said. “I was so cold … I had to work to stay on task with what we were doing. What a learning experience that was for me because, for the first time in my life, I had some very small … idea of what suffering Jesus must have known carrying his cross.”
Through the experience of being a “student” in his class that day, Mrs. Stahel said she learned both intellectually and emotionally.
When Mr. DeLaRosa accepted the award, he thanked God, his family and others, including colleagues and students, who joined him for the Mass. He also thanked those who nominated him for the award.
“To my students past, present and in the future: Sometimes students are annoying,” he said, after which many students laughed. “Other times they are hilarious and fun to be with. And then there are those unexpected moments in which they display keen insight, genuine curiosity and intellectual integrity. They are sources of blessing. They are the faces of God. It is to you that I dedicate this award. Thank you.”
Photos courtesy of Cardinal Gibbons High School.