Two Women Find Joy in Catholic Schools

The quote that jumped off the page for me in this lovely article about two friends who have taught for many decades in Catholic schools was this one, comparing their experience to those of some of their public-school colleagues: "They love what they do and are offended by politicians who call themselves education reformers while bashing public school teachers. It’s a reason they’ve stayed in Catholic schools despite the lower pay. 'Never in all my years at two all-girls Catholic schools,' Ms. Doria said, 'have I ever been made to feel that my dedication, talent and love for my students count for nothing.'"  The article begins:

In 1999, when Our Lady of Perpetual Help High School closed, Margaret Doria and Anita Dente feared it would be the end of them. For 33 years, Ms. Dente, the school’s Italian teacher, and Ms. Doria, an English teacher, had worked together, car-pooled together to the school in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, finished each other’s sentences.  

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“We couldn’t envision being split up,” Ms. Doria said. “People talk about us like we’re a hyphenated pair, Ms. Doria-Dente.”

Both had job offers, but at different Catholic schools. The two are quite religious, and handled the crisis as they had handled many before it. “I suppose some people would have gone to church and prayed,” Ms. Doria said. “We went to our favorite Japanese restaurant,” Ms. Dente said. “Whenever we have a problem, we go eat.”

At the restaurant, the women happened to see the assistant principal of Fontbonne Hall Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. The assistant principal told Ms. Dente there was an opening for a language teacher. “I said, ‘We’re a team, we don’t want to split up,’ ” Ms. Dente said. “She said she might have an opening for an English teacher, too,” Ms. Doria said.

And so it came to pass, Ms. Doria-Dente continued on, the bond intact. This is their 45th year working together. “Some people would say God answered our prayers,” Ms. Doria said. “Or,” Ms. Dente said, “we might have just picked the right restaurant.”

Read the rest here.

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