By Megan Erbacher
The Message assistant editor
Two Diocese of Evansville Catholic School educators recently received the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Outstanding Educator Award.
Michele Gondi, teacher at St. Matthew School in Mt. Vernon, was named the second recipient of the award, and Randy Hupfer, teacher at Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, was named the third recipient.
To recognize teachers, the Diocese of Evansville Catholic Schools Office this year implemented a monthly teacher recognition initiative named the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Outstanding Educator Award. Each month, deserving teachers are nominated by their fellow colleagues, and a committee selects one winner. Members of the Catholic Schools Office, including Diocesan Superintendent Michelle Priar, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools Kari Ford and School Support Administrator Lynde Anquillare, then make a surprise visit to the teacher’s classroom to present them with a certificate and a small gift. All teachers in the diocese are eligible to receive the award.
On Nov. 1, Gondi was surprised with the award. The Catholic Schools Office felt it was “incredibly fitting” to present the award to the October winner on All Saints Day. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton was known for her outstanding commitment to Catholic education, and the selection committee felt it was apparent by Gondi’s nominator that she exemplifies the same dedication to Catholic education.
Gondi started teaching at St. Matthew in 2002, and she teaches religion, Spanish, music and art.
Her nominator stated, "Mrs. Gondi pours hours of love and preparation into school. Students love coming into her room and know she will have hands-on, engaging lessons whether it be Spanish or music. I have never met an educator who can teach art, music, Spanish and religion, and excel at all four areas.”
The nominator continued, “Mrs. Gondi’s students will tell you, hands down, she is their favorite teacher, and many come back to visit her. Several students credit their success in theater and the performing arts to Mrs. Gondi. Mrs. Gondi loves each student individually and demands the very best from them.”
Hupfer has been teaching at Reitz Memorial for 44 years and is a staple of the Memorial community. On Nov. 28, Hupfer was surprised during one of his classes and named the November winner.
His nominator said, "Much like Elizabeth Ann Seton, Randy cares deeply for the education of his students. More than just teaching them about math, Randy incorporates life lessons into every class, taking into consideration the formation of the entire person - mind, body and spirit. He is a master of his content area, a beloved member of our community, and respected by all that he has taught over the years."
The Catholic Schools Office expressed gratitude to both Gondi and Hupfer for teaching in diocesan Catholic schools.