Monsignor Lewis Excellence in Teaching Award

The Excellence in Teaching Award honors superlative classroom teachers, grades K-12, who have illustrated strong commitment to their students, colleagues and schools and to their family, church and civic communities. The Recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award is an exceptionally skillful, dedicated full-time teacher. The Excellence in Teaching Award is presented on an annual basis and carries a monetary award to the Recipient and to the Recipient’s school. Read more about this award

Cardinal Gibbons is proud to have 5 Lewis award winners, Rebecca Dason, Brother Michel Bettigole, Mark DeLaRosa, Susan Goethals and Joan Troy.

Mark DeLaRosa 2017 Lewis Award Winner

Mr. Mark DeLaRosa is the 2017 recipient of the Monsignor Gerald L. Lewis Award for Excellence in Teaching. After hearing the announcement during one of his Theology classes, students cheered and Mr. DeLaRosa, choking back tears of joy and feeling overcome with emotion, hugged his wife Carol, who carrying a bouquet of balloons, joined in the surprise.

"Thank you," Mr. DeLaRosa said to his students and colleagues gathered in Room 115. "I love my classes, all of them. I love being here at Gibbons. I love teaching."

Mr. DeLaRosa, who is known among his students as Mr. D, is the first theology educator to receive the award, which was initiated in 1992 to honor outstanding educators in Catholic schools of the Diocese of Raleigh. He has been an educator in the theology department at Gibbons for the last 12 years and an educator in the Diocese for 15 years.

Mr. DeLaRosa, who holds a master's in theology from Duke University, is involved in many, many activities at Gibbons, including being a moderator of Franciscan Youth International or FYI. He is also a frequent educator leader at many of the school-sponsored retreats, he participates in our choir at all-school Masses and is active with a student music ministry. Indeed, he can be spotted playing the guitar at Mass in the school chapel every Thursday with the all-volunteer student music group.

Mr. DeLaRosa is the fourth Gibbons educator to receive the award. He joins colleagues, Rebecca Dason, chair of the Fine Arts Department; Susan Goethals, Science educator, and Joan Troy, chair of the math department.

According to information from the Diocese the two most important qualities a candidate should possess are the ability to form positive relationships and to inspire students to learn... DeLaRosa has those qualities and more, colleagues and students alike said. Asked what she thought of Mr. DeLaRosa receiving the award freshman Gabriella Ercolino said, "it is very suiting. Mr. DeLaRosa does so much for the school. He deserves it." In his classroom, she added, "everyone is loved."

Principal Jason Curtis added: "We are so excited for Mr. DeLaRosa, and are grateful to the Diocese of Raleigh and Lewis Award Committee for recognizing his outstanding commitment to Catholic education. We have always been inspired by his love of his students, care of his colleagues, and his leadership of our school, and it will be a tremendous joy to celebrate this award with Mark and his family!"

After all the excitement faded, it was time to start class. Not to break tradition, Mr. DeLaRosa began his class with a group prayer, with all students and educators present locking arms. One by one each person in the circle said they were thankful that Mr. DeLaRosa was their teacher, their colleague, their friend.

Joan Troy
2012 Lewis Award Winner

The Lewis Award Committee announced Mrs. Troy as the winner on March 9, 2012. She has been teaching at Cardinal Gibbons for 15 of her 26 years as an educator. High school Principal Jason D. Curtis said Mrs. Troy has had a significant impact in the school community. During her tenure, she has served as chair of the Math Department, encouraged students to start a musical theater club and played a major role in the growth of the school’s spiritual life program.

A graduate of Greensboro College with a B.S. in mathematics and a M.Ed. in mathematics from Campbell University, Mrs. Troy has been recognized as a Distinguished Educator and Mentor by the NCSU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and as a Woodrow Wilson Master Teacher by Princeton University.

In accepting the award, Mrs. Troy expressed profound gratitude and love to her students, to her husband and to the teachers and staff of Cardinal Gibbons.

Brother Michel Bettigole
2006 Lewis Award Winner

Brother Michel Bettigole, OSF, retired principal of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, was awarded the Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Lewis Award for Lifetime Achievement in Catholic Education during the Gibbons Graduation Ceremony on May 28, 2006.

Brother Michel, of the Franciscan Brothers of New York, arrived in Raleigh in 1994 to become principal of Cardinal Gibbons High School and was responsible for transforming Cardinal Gibbons into the thriving high school in its state-of-the-art facility it is today. Not only was he known for his administrative skills, Brother Michel also was a teacher, playwright, editor, and mentor. He was best known as “a friend”.

Jason Curtis, current principal of Cardinal Gibbons, said in a retirement article on Brother Michel in ‘North Carolina Catholics’, “For anyone who has worked in schools, you hope that some of the things you do will have a lasting impact. After he leaves, we’ll continue to be affected by him. He’s left a remarkable legacy in this school – some of it in bricks and mortar and some of it in spirituality”.

Susan Goethals
2009 Lewis Award Winner

Mrs.Goethals currently teaches Biology and Advanced Placement Biology. She has worked in the Diocese since 1997. She served as Principal of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School until 2001 when she decided to return to her passion of classroom teaching. She began teaching at Cardinal Gibbons in 2001.

“One very memorable moment was the day I realized, after 2 years that I was finally getting comfortable with the pace and material required for an advance placement class. When you are a teacher you never know when a student or parent will remark on your teaching. Last year I received a note from the mother of a freshman girl. This very kind mother wanted me to know that I had a part in giving her daughter self-assurance and the courage to try new experiences. Her note reminded me that we are not teaching subject matter, we are teaching people. There is a lot more to learning than mastering concepts and vocabulary. Every now and then you are reminded that you have a part in the development of remarkable young people.”

Mrs. Goethals shared her thoughts on excellence in teaching:

“A very wise teacher once told me that teachers need to remember that the efforts you invest today may take years to bear results. Patience with yourself will lead to patience with your students. Seemly small and insignificant events and words often have lasting effects, most of which, we will never know about.”

Rebecca Dason
1995 Lewis Award Winner

Mrs. Dason began teaching at Cardinal Gibbons High School in 1982 and she continues to teach Art and serve as the Fine Arts Department Chair.

“Every day is memorable in the classroom. That may sound cliché but it is true and each year students continue to amaze me with their creativity and help me become a better person. I leave the classroom exhausted and invigorated all at the same time. I am proud of this year’s senior class because of all they have achieved (two National Scholastic Art Award winners, six students accepted into the NCSU College of Design, SCAD Merit Scholarship award winner, Meredith College Art Award, and more) but I am prouder to know that they have matured into young adult artists that can share their personal artistic voice and understand that they are valuable members of a community that cares about who they are now, who they will become and how they will serve others.

I would suggest to teachers striving for excellence that teaching takes every ounce of energy, requires patience, and most importantly demands quality caring, listening and observation.

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