St. Teresa of Calcutta was known for exemplifying the seven corporal works of mercy in everyday life. In growing in service to others, students in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Orlando embrace her sense of compassion, undertaking a myriad of service projects throughout the school year.
For the past seven years, the Diocese of Orlando Office of Catholic Schools has recognized the faithful service and dedication in serving God and community of our Catholic schools by annually awarding two schools — one parish school and one high school — with the St. Mother Teresa Award for service projects completed the previous school year.
We are pleased to announce that Good Shepherd Catholic School is the recipient of this prestigious award for elementary/middle schools the 2018–2019 academic year. Melbourne Central Catholic received the high school award. Gloria Del Orbe, principal, and Jayme Hartmann, former principal, graciously accepted the award from Henry Fortier, superintendent, during the Office of Catholic School’s 2019–2020 Educator Kickoff Day, held Aug. 12 at Holy Family Parish.
Good Shepherd was recognized for its “ItMatters” Club. Students crocheted sleeping mats for the homeless out of recycled plastic grocery bags. They cut the plastic bags into strips, then chained the strips together to make plarn (plastic yarn), and finally crocheted the plarn into a 3’x6’ mat. It took 25 hours and 500–700 plastic bags to make one mat.
These mats are beneficial for the homeless because they are very durable, lightweight, water and bug resistant, and provide protection from the hot or cold streets that they may sleep on. Recycling the bags also helps the environment.
“Winning the Mother Theresa Award at the August Kick-Off Day was an honor and a thrill,” said Hartmann, who served as principal at Good Shepherd last year and is now principal at St. James Cathedral School.
“Two years ago, when Annabelle V-R. came to me to explain her interest in participating in a project that made mats from plastic bags for homeless people, I knew it was going to be a special project. At that time, I told Annabelle that such a project was not only honorable but one that could involve students, parents, and the community.
“We began offering the ItMatters club at school, the girls shared their talents with the entire school at an assembly, and they collected materials. The club was a huge hit!
“The three girls that spearheaded the project were determined, responsible, and excited about the project, which translated to others wanted to be involved. Winning the award for GSCS was the ultimate validation for all of their hard work, dedication, an enthusiasm for helping those in need.”
Good Shepherd received a statue of St. Mother Teresa that travels throughout the Diocese for the winning school to display and a plaque that can be displayed permanently in its school building. In addition, Good Shepherd received a check for $1,000 to give to a charity of its choice.
For more than 50 years, Catholic schools in Orlando have been helping children grow to their fullest potential and become leaders within their communities. We offer unique and dynamic learning environments that engage students and encourage them to become confident and responsible adults. To learn more about what makes us different, contact us today.