SAGINAW — On Monday, first-grade teacher Katie Mocny of Auburn Area Catholic School was presented with the Diocese of Saginaw Catholic Schools’ inaugural Excellence in Teaching Award.
Superintendent Cormac Lynn, who oversees the diocese’s 13 Catholic schools, presented Mocny with the award during a surprise school assembly.
“I am so overwhelmed!” said Mocny. “I did not expect this.”
Her fellow teachers, however, were not surprised. “Katie Mocny is a selfless person to anyone who enters our building," said Jessica Spencer, who teaches kindergarten. "She makes ‘it’ happen every day for our students and families. She is a blessing to all of us!” The nomination letters shared similar praise.
“Going above and beyond is an understatement for all the things that Mrs. Mocny does for AACS,” one read.
“Mrs. Mocny’s Catholic faith is present in everything she does. The children see her at Mass. She attends all First Communion and Confirmation Masses for children she has taught and she keeps the Lord in her classroom,” said another.
The letters also comment on her dedication to helping students excel in the classroom:
“She has found ways to push each student academically to ensure they are reaching their maximum learning potential,” a letter said, while another commented on the time she spends tutoring students after school.
“Teaching, to me, is truly who I am. I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Mocny said. “It amazes me that my parents think so highly of me.”
The term “my parents,” she clarified, refers to the parents of students, who she views as “her kids.”
Students remember her fondly as well.
“She was the teacher who taught me the most,” said Julia Clare, a fifth grader. “If someone didn’t know something, she would explain it in depth. She would make sure everyone understood.”
“Mrs. Mocny is one of the best teachers,” said fourth-grader Carlie Wright. “She’s really fun and nice. She teaches everyone about God and she understands things that Jesus did and all the saints did.”
The Excellence in Teaching Award includes a $1,000 prize. Each finalist is awarded $500 in appreciation for the difference they have made in the lives of Catholic school students. The finalists are Mary Beth Neetz of All Saints Central Elementary School, Bay City; Meredith Adelman of Nouvel Catholic Central High School, Saginaw; and Amanda Montini of Nouvel Catholic Central Elementary School, Saginaw.
“Our Catholic schools are filled with excellent teachers,” said Lynn. “To have this opportunity to highlight and recognize a few of the outstanding teachers through this award is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job as superintendent. The fact that nearly 40 teachers from across the Diocese were nominated is a testament to the impact that our teachers are making everyday inside and outside of their respective classrooms.”