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Awards for Distinguished Service to Catholic Education

Event Date: Nov 24, 2020

Three individuals have been selected to receive the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board’s highest honour, the Award of Merit for Distinguished Service to Catholic Education. The award honours individuals and groups who have contributed to Catholic education in a significant and special way.

This year’s recipients of the Award for Distinguished Service to Catholic Education are:

Andy Burns, Religion and Family Life Education Consultant, who willingly gives of his time, talents and skills to enhance Catholic education and culture. In addition to in-servicing teachers on the “Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ” Religion Education program, he has developed a resource bank of informational and instructional videos and curriculum resources for educators, promotes and coordinates Christian Meditation programs in our schools, manages the “Our Catholic Community – the HWCDSB online Sacred Space,” and has taken a leadership role in organizing prayer liturgies – including virtual activities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – for the Board’s central administration staff.

Teresa Hartnett, who, as Director of Family Ministry for the Diocese of Hamilton and through her many volunteer activities, has been an exemplary force for good. As a founding member of the Joint Educational Parent Advisory Group and HWCDSB School Council Implementation Committee, she has not only been instrumental in establishing present school council guidelines, but has been a strong advocate for parental involvement in education. As Diocesan Director, Teresa has been a tireless resource and support to the HWCDSB in implementing the “Fully Alive” curriculum, establishing Culture of Life groups in our secondary schools, and organizing the annual March for Life pilgrimage in Ottawa.

Paola Pace-Gubekjian, Associate Director of Corporate Services, whose exemplary service has made a significant and lasting positive difference to Catholic Education. For over 20 years, she has worked tirelessly to ensure that the HWCDSB not only remains on a strong financial foundation, but that crucially important programs, including student and adult faith formation, religious education and Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Services, are supported and sufficiently funded. Her leadership and commitment to mission has ensured that priority continues to be placed on the students and schools that benefit from our Board’s Special Education philosophy of ‘Each Belongs’ and our system’s Equal Opportunities initiative.

“Each of these remarkable individuals has served Catholic education in immeasurable ways,” says Chairperson Pat Daly. “This awards ceremony is an opportunity for us, as a Catholic community, to acknowledge their significant achievements and thank them for their dedication and commitment to our Catholic school system.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the awards will be presented at a private awards liturgy and presentation ceremony on November 24, 2020 at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King. Attendance is by invitation only.





Awards for Distinguished Service to Catholic Education
Teresa Hartnett
Teresa Hartnett

Paola Pace-Gubekjian
Paola Pace-Gubekjian

Andy Burns
Andy Burns