WELLAND – Eileen McCarthy, a long-time teacher, counsellor and social justice advocate at Notre Dame College School and Peter Ferren, President of the Niagara Foundation for Catholic Education and former Director of Education for one of Niagara Catholic’s predecessor Boards, have been selected as the 2018 recipients of the Niagara Catholic Education Award of Distinction.
McCarthy spent 36 years as a teacher at Notre Dame College School, and embraced the principles of the school’s founding Holy Cross Fathers, teaching the virtues of education in faith, academic excellence and commitment to social justice. She recognized that a teacher’s personal faith journey had a profound impact on students and sought to ensure all teachers had the opportunity to continue to grow in faith, and sought ways to bring social justice to life for her students.
She passed away in December 2011 at the age of 70.
Ferren was the founding President of the Niagara Foundation for Catholic Education, serving in that capacity since the Foundation was incorporated in 1996. In addition to his more than 20 years of service to the Foundation, Ferren left an indelible mark on Catholic education in Niagara and throughout Ontario as Director of Education for the Welland County Roman Catholic Separate School Board.
He was the driving force behind a number of innovations in Catholic education in Ontario, including leading the only transfer of three schools from a public board to a Catholic board, which allowed Catholic high school students to be able to receive a Catholic secondary school education in their communities.
Under his directorship, the Spiritual Centre and Outdoor Education Program (SCOEP), now known as Journey Retreat, was formed.
Niagara Catholic Board chair Father Paul MacNeil credited both McCarthy and Ferren for their long-standing contribution to Catholic education in Niagara.
“Catholic educators are at the very heart and soul of Catholic education, and in both Eileen McCarthy and Peter Ferren, we see people who dedicated their lives to ensuring outstanding Catholic educational opportunities across Niagara Catholic,” said MacNeil. “Their servant-leadership is truly an example to those of us who are actively involved in Catholic education today. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I thank Peter and Eileen – through her family – for being two of the pillars of Catholic education in Niagara.”
(Source: Niagara Catholic news release)