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LOCAL BRIEFS - November 19, 2004


Pat Johns, a teacher at St. Margaret Mary School in Omaha, is surrounded by students after being honored for her 40 years of teaching.
Teacher honored
for 40 years of service

Pat Johns of St. Margaret Mary School was honored Nov. 3 for 40 years of teaching at the Omaha school.

St. Margaret Mary students, parents from the Home and School Association, Principal Peggy Grennan, Senior Associate Father Gerald Melchior and Father Melvin Merwald all surprised Johns with a rendition of "For she's a jolly good teacher."

Johns was presented with cards from all the students, a money bouquet of roses, a substitute teacher for the day, lunch with the principal and pastor, and a trip to the National Catholic Education Association's convention in Philadelphia in March 2005.

Johns said the 40 years of teaching "have just flown."

Along the way, she has taught the children of many former students and enjoys visiting with them at parent-teacher conferences.

Johns taught second, fourth and fifth grades, worked with five pastors and was nominated for the NCEA Miram Ferrell Distinguished Teacher Award and the Archdiocesan Teacher of the Year Award by her fellow teachers.

Prep Science Club
holds Olympics

Athens, Greece, wasn't the only site of Olympics games this year.

More than 100 eighth-grade students from 11 area schools gathered at Creighton Prep Oct. 13 for Prep's 25th annual Science Olympics.

Top participants for boys were: James Rangel, Luke Weitkemper, Matt Carnazzo and Brian Nevole, all of Mary Our Queen, and Jacob Campbell of St. Cecilia.

Top girl participants were: Monica Krause from St. Stephen the Martyr, Kristin Vankat of St. Vincent de Paul, Allie Mergens of St. Stephen the Martyr, Brittany Bruner of Mary Our Queen and Hannah Doyle of St. Cecilia.

In individual events, Rangel was first in toothpick bridge competition, and Campbell won the quiz bowl, while Vankat took top honors in the egg drop, and Mergens had the top rubber-band vehicle.

Other individual event winners were: Josh Pazderka of St. Vincent de Paul, paper airplane; and Alex Wermers of St. Margaret Mary, water balloon launch.

Top school honors went to Mary Our Queen, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Cecilia, St. Stephen the Martyr, St. Joan of Arc, and St. Gerald.

Roncalli cheerleaders
headed to nationals

Members of the Roncalli Catholic High School cheerleading team soon will be on their way to nationals.

The team earned the national bid after receiving the top team honor last summer at the National Cheerleading Association Camp in Okoboji, Iowa. The national competition is scheduled for Dec. 27-29 in Dallas.

Team members include captain Jenny Wiley, co-captain Char'donnai Holts, Samantha Edmonds, Kristin Ensor, Megan Iwen, Brittany Joseph, Ashley Phillips and Kerra Quartoroli. Kim Cariano coaches the team.

As a group, they received five superior first place ribbons and won the "Herkie Team Award" for the best demonstration of teamwork at the Okoboji competition.

Quartoroli was one of five Roncalli cheerleaders honored individually at the NCA camp with an All-American nomination and earned a chance to perform at the Hula Bowl.

Other team members earning the All-American nomination were Joseph, Holts, Wiley and Iwen.

Brother professes vows
at Mount Michael Abbey

Brother Robert Faulhaber, OSB, professed his solemn vows Oct. 30 during a ceremony at the Mount Michael Chapel in Elkhorn.

Originally from the Quad Cities area in Iowa, Brother Faulhaber is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Faulhaber. He came to monastic life through St. Gabriel's Priory in Des Moines, the daughter house of Mount Michael.

Brother Faulhaber is an accomplished artist, whose work – focusing on iconology and wildlife art – has been on display at the Mount Michael Fall Festival for four years. Abbott Theodore Wolff hopes to one day have Brother Faulhaber's artwork available in the abbey's gift shop.

In addition to devoting time to his art, Brother Faulhaber assists as a minister at the care center and helps with maintenance.

His interests include the study of the lives and culture of the Mesquakie Native Americans.

Papillion teacher earns national honor

Mary Lou Alfieri, earth and life science teacher at St. Columbkille School in Papillion, is among 37 teachers in the United States named a distinguished teacher by the National Council for Geographic Education.

Alfieri received the award at the council's annual meeting last month in Kansas City, Mo. The honor also included a year's membership in the council.

A teacher in the Catholic school for more than 15 years, she is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she studied geography and geology while earning her certification as a middle school science teacher.

In addition to her National Council for Geographic Education membership, Alfieri is a member of the Nebraska Association of Science Teachers and the Nebraska Geography Teachers Association and serves as the National Geographic Nebraska coordinator for geography and earth science outreach.

She has received honors for numerous papers presented on earth science teaching at national meetings over the past eight years, and serves on the science standards and assessment committee for Eastern Nebraska.

Serra clubs honor
station and member

An Omaha television station and a Serra Club member were honored Nov. 8 during the two Omaha Serra Clubs' annual priests appreciation dinner.

WOWT television received the Spirit of Serra Award for producing and broadcasting the Serra Mass for Shut-ins for 40 years, and Bonnie Pryor was named Serran of the Year by the Serra Club of West Omaha.

Archbishop Elden Francis Curtiss and Mark Bonkiewicz, president of the Serra Club of Omaha, presented the Spirit of Serra Award to Frank Jonas, WOWT general manager.

Bonkiewicz said the Serra ministry for the homebound is one of the organization's most important and popular programs.

Jim Monaghan, president of the Serra Club of West Omaha, said the Serran of the Year Award recognizes Pryor's efforts in advancing the mission of Serra International and her extensive service to the Serra Club of West Omaha.

Pryor taught at St. Cecilia School before beginning duties as principal more than 30 years ago.

Omaha seminarian catches winner

Omaha seminarian James Weeder of Albion caught the winning pass in the Annual Mud Bowl at the Pontifical College Josephinum this year. Weeder led his College Team to a 7-6 overtime victory.

The score had been tied 0-0, forcing the overtime. The Theology Team scored first in overtime, but failed to make the extra point. The College Team answered with a running touchdown, and Weeder then caught the extra point pass for the victory.

It had been six years since the College Team won the Mud Bowl, hosted for decades at the Pontifical College Josephinum. The annual game pits the graduate school students against the college students.

The seminarians, while all brothers, have a powerful devotion to their respective houses (college and theology). But competition is fierce in the Mud Bowl, which is usually won by the Theology Team, so this year's victory by the College Team will be remembered for many years.

Columbus group fights pornography
Members of Catholic Daughters Court Little Flower #988 of Columbus did their part in promoting Protection From Pornography Week and the "White Ribbon Against Pornography" (WRAP) campaign earlier this month. Members and volunteer teens glued white ribbons and pinned them to more than 3,000 prayer cards, which were distributed the weekend of Oct. 30-31 in Columbus. In addition to a prayer, the cards included an explanation of the WRAP campaign. Working with volunteer teens were (standing from left) Linda Smith, a member of the Christian Mothers that worked with the Catholic Daughters; Lois Kuta, regent of the Catholic Daughters Court Little Flower #988; and Joyce Niedbalski, financial secretary of Court Little Flower #988 and coordinator of WRAP in the Columbus area. Teens included (seated left to right) Paige Kelly, Cassandra Spulak, Kristin Wrubel, Jennifer Fisher and Scott Ackman.

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