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Ormond Beach Observer Friday, Aug. 27, 2021 1 month ago

St. Brendan Catholic School wins award for service

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Last year, students rallied around beloved teacher who was battling cancer.
by: Guest Writer

from: Dawn Mechler

Diocese of Orlando

St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic School was recently honored by the Diocese of Orlando with the St. Teresa of Calcutta Award for service in the 2020-2021 school year after the entire student body rallied around a long-time teacher battling cancer. 

St. Brendan won the award, which is given annually to two schools in the diocese that demonstrate the compassion and corporal works of mercy exemplified by St. Teresa, for its care of the sick.

In a year marked by COVID-19, the St. Brendan community faced an additional struggle as their teacher, Donna Waldron, suffered from cancer. Waldron had been an educator at the school for over three decades, inspiring a love of learning and a passion for technology in generations of students.

The student body put all their energy into showing their love and gratitude to Waldron by organizing a parade for her in April. The students paraded past her home as she waved to them. Each class had something special to share with her, be it a cheer, a card, a song, bouquets of balloons or handmade signs. Unfortunately, she succumbed to her illness two weeks later.

“Visiting the sick was the mission of St. Teresa of Calcutta and was certainly practiced by every student that day,” said Henry Fortier, secretary of education and superintendent of schools at the Diocese of Orlando. “I would like to congratulate St. Brendan Catholic School for the compassion and love that they shared with Mrs. Waldron in her last hours.”

Fortier personally presented the award to St. Brendan’s principal, Philip Gorrasi, and pastor, Friar Thomas Barrett.

“I am honored for our school to have been awarded the St. Teresa of Calcutta Award,” Gorrasi said. “As Catholic schools, we are charged to live the works of mercy and to have been recognized for doing that in a special way is humbling. This award spurs us on to be sure that we are always trying harder to be Christ to the world and to share His love as Mother Teresa did when she walked this earth.”

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