Stritch says farewell to three longtime, award-winning teachers

Press Staff Writer

        Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School & Academy said goodbye to a set of triple Golden Apple Award-winning teachers – Angela Young, of Toledo and Brenda Pahl and Sharon Velliquette, of Northwood.
        Not only has each of the teachers won a Golden Apple – a prestigious award in Catholic education awarded by the Diocese of Toledo – but collectively, they have close to 125 years of teaching experience.
        With ever-changing education, the teachers have had to adapt to new initiatives and reforms for over their four decades in the classroom. From a textbook-driven, isolated passive learning, and facts and memorization philosophy of educating, the teachers say they have seen the progression to research-driven, collaborative, active hands-on learning, and the implementation of critical thinking being utilized in the classroom. Even grading has changed from using a calculator and grade book to calculate grades to the use of powerful and time-saving software.
        As methodologies of educating change, and develop, these educators have morphed and changed as well, according to Kelly O’Loughlin, marketing and community relations director at Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School and Academy. “From learning tools to the importance of classroom colors and decor and how it affects students’ learning, they have taken these changes in stride and even adjusted to teaching virtually during a global pandemic that no one was prepared for.”
        “The pandemic made us change the way we taught,” Young said. “We suddenly needed to know how to navigate Zoom and keep our students’ attention with the many distractions they had at home. There were many challenges, but we learned about ourselves in the process.”
        Angela Young has been in education for 39 years – 38 of those years were at Cardinal Stritch teaching ninth- through 12th-grade English, journalism, and yearbook. She graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and later with a Master of Arts in English.
        She retires certified in English for grades seven to 12, Library and Educational Media, Journalism, and K-12 Reading for the State of Ohio, as well as her National Board Certificate for English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood.
        Educating has been a major focus in Young’s entire life, as her mother was a teacher and her two older cousins became teachers. “Growing up, I really looked up to them,” she said. “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. As a teacher myself, I wanted to instill a love for reading and writing in my students.”
        Young loves to cook, bake and sew and hopes to use her extra time in the future to explore rocking babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. She also plans to catch up on her reading, sleeping in, and volunteering with her therapy dog, Cooper, at various events.
        Completing her 42nd year as a veteran educator, Brenda Pahl’s vast experience in working with students in grades three to eight, teaching Ohio history, English language arts, math, religion, science, social studies, art, music, technology and physical education. She has spent her entire career in Catholic education, beginning at St. Jerome Elementary School and then moving to Cardinal Stritch.
        She recalls a special time during her teaching years when she and fellow teacher Sharon Velliquette received a grant to create a St. Jerome Children’s Garden. Parishioners were invited to pick, and take home, any fruit or vegetables. All extra fruit and vegetables were taken and delivered to Helping Hands of St. Louis Soup Kitchen to help feed those in need. “It was a huge success and fed many people,” she said. “Sharon and I won a Stewardship Award due to how successful this garden was and how many people it helped.
         “Our current second-grade teacher, Jennifer Trumbull (‘14) was a student at St. Jerome and helped work the garden. It is wonderful when you see students grow up and then you meet them again as adults.”
        She also said she’ll remember the her students’ kindness when her father passed away. “My fourth-grade class kept me lifted and shared so much love and compassion,” she said. “I still have the angels, paintings, cards, letters, and drawings they made for me. God is so good.”
        Pahl, who has lived in Bangkok, Thailand, and Bahmholder, Germany during her lifetime, is looking forward to her next adventure, which will include dogs and books.
        Sharon Velliquette says she always knew she wanted to be a teacher from the time she was a little girl. “I loved playing school,” she said. Forty-three years later, this second- and third-grade teacher is retiring from her beloved career.
        While she says that she will terribly miss interacting with her students, and their excitement for learning, she is definitely excited to turn off that 4:30 a.m. alarm permanently. “I can wake when I want and will be able to do whatever my heart desires for the day,” she said. “I am excited to explore more of nature and our metroparks.
        “There will definitely be more pool time this summer,” She added.
        Velliquette taught at St. Jerome Elementary School for 30 years and at Cardinal Stritch for the past 13 years.
        This Golden Apple awardee was in the inaugural group of winners in 2006, the first year Golden Apples were awarded. “I can never thank the families, the students, my peers, my administrators, and all the staff that I have met over the years for being such an important part of my life and shaping me into the person that I am today,” she said. “What a wonderful ride it has been.”


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