St. Jude’s Cathedral School
Sponsored by Chick-fil-A
Gulf Coast Family is pleased to honor Karen Chase as our March Teacher of the Month. Karen is the picture of care and dedication. Her 22 years of teaching at St. Jude’s Cathedral School – most of those years as a 2nd grade teacher – speak highly of her commitment. And everyone who knows her speaks highly of her caring spirit.
Karen was surprised when Chick-fil-A and GCF – the cow and all! – showed up at her classroom for a special lunch and presentation. The rest of the staff as well as her own students and their parents all knew. After all, they are the ones who nominated her – knowing that she deserves this recognition!
“Karen is such a wonderful example of someone who shows genuine compassion and is very thoughtful to others,” said Kelly Statzer, one of her fellow teachers.
Karen sees that description as a reflection of the people she works with. She attributes the reason she has kept on for these 22 years to be her fellow teachers and school families. They are an extension of her own family. “This community is so warm and inviting. We play and pray together, and we celebrate and mourn together – just as families do.”
That “family attitude” is one reason Karen is so appreciated by her comrades and her families. Several commented on Mrs. Chase’s own family spirit:
“Mrs. Chase treats every child as if they were her own,” says parent Chris Holzwart. “She is one of the most exceptional teachers I have ever met; kind, caring, and patient are only a few of the words that describe her.”
Others agree. “She treats each and every student as if they were her own child,” said Mrs. Daughtry, a fellow teacher.
Susan Schultz recognizes Karen as a model of the Christian spirit. “Daily, she promotes kindness in her classroom,” this co-worker shared with us. “She is always concerned about the well-being of others.”
Karen appreciates the supportive attitude they all have for each other in every aspect of life. “This school and parish have truly been a blessing in my life.”
And Karen is a blessing to her students. Kelly and Cassidy like the way their teacher explains math, and then lets them practice on the board. “She is so nice to me and all my friends too!” Kelly exclaimed. Cassidy explained how their teacher makes them all feel special: “She listens and cares about us.”
Karen’s desire to teach began many years ago. Even during her teenage years, she enjoyed working with children. After graduating from USF, she worked her first 6 years with her mother-in-law. “She was a terrific mentor to me,” Karen said. We think she must have been a caring mentor – for almost every comment about Karen – whether from a student, a parent, or fellow teacher – has the word “care” at its core.
Terry Jordan thinks that Mrs. Chase is the kind of teacher every student should have at least once in their lifetime because she “genuinely cares for her students, not only while they are in her classroom, but in the years beyond.”
It’s true; she never stops caring. In fact, one of her favorite yearly activities is the St. Jude’s annual festival because it gives opportunity to connect with students from times past. “It’s a yearly reunion for me,” Karen said, “because I get the chance to see families that I taught many years ago. It is awesome!”
“Karen is nurturing, caring, and kind – JoAnn Fabrizio, Guidance Counselor
“Few teachers care more about their students than Mrs. Chase.” – Jeff Kent, fellow teacher
“Mrs. Chase Rocks! She really cares about us. She knows our birthdays, what we like and don’t like. She is the best teacher ever! – a student
Karen Chase’s favorite thing about teaching is “to see the innocence of my students and how special and unique each child is.” That’s just what her fellow teacher Karen Whitehurst had already noted! She had told us that “Mrs. Chase is a special teacher because she sees the good in each child and nurtures their talents.”
But Karen says that she is the lucky one. Inspired by each child and their special and unique gifts, she sees the students as a blessing to her. Her plan for the rest of the school year? To enjoy each day to the fullest, and to celebrate the small victories. That’s the voice of dedication and care. Congratulations to Karen Chase for your successful teaching.
Know a Great Teacher?
To recommend a teacher to be featured as our “Teacher of the Month” email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.