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Inside Education and Health Sciences

Faculty, alumna, teachers honored during celebration of Catholic education

From appreciating student art to honoring Catholic teachers and professors, the School of Education and Health Sciences celebrated the many aspects of Catholic education within and beyond the walls of the University.

"Being a Catholic teacher is also an opportunity to invite the students, faculty, anybody into a closer relationship with God, and getting to do that every day is such a blessing," said Linda Dintaman, a local Catholic teacher honored during the event.

"I wake up every day excited to do this. The kids are great, they so want to be known and be loved, and we get to do both as teachers. It's a great job."

Dintaman, a theology teacher of 39 years at Alter High School in Kettering, received the inaugural Lumen Fidei award for outstanding Catholic teaching in the state of Ohio.

Dintaman was presented with a framed painting from a sixth grade Catholic school student from St. Patrick School in London, Ohio. The artwork, which depicts crosses on a hill during sunset, was inspired by emotions the student felt when looking out her window while reading a book. She felt peace while making it, and hoped to bring the same feeling of peace to the award recipient.

"I'm so honored," Dintaman said. "There are so many amazing and deserving teachers. This is such an affirmation. You never really know, but you always hope you're making a difference. It's Mother Teresa's saying, do small things with great love. And I hope I do everything with great love."

The three finalists for the Lumen Fidei award also were honored at the event—Catherine La Plante from Bishop Rosecrans High School in Zanesville, Jennifer Meiners from St. James School in Cincinnati and Jill Romano from Mary Queen of Peace School in Cleveland.

UD's School of Education and Health Sciences and Center for Catholic Education named the award Lumen Fidei after Pope Francis' first encyclical, which translates to "the light of faith" and calls on devotion to God and social action. It's believed to be the first statewide award honoring Catholic teachers.

"We're really proud and excited about this inaugural award," said Ali Carr-Chellman, dean of UD's School of Education and Health Sciences. "We looked across the field in the state of Ohio and found a number of awards for outstanding teachers at the state level and Catholic teachers at the diocese level, but not for a Catholic teacher at the state level. It felt like a perfect opportunity for the University of Dayton to step in and do something that would celebrate the impact of Catholic schools and teachers across the state."

According to Carr-Chellman, more than 130,000 students are served in about 400 private Catholic schools in Ohio, and two thirds of the students are not Catholic, bringing the Catholic faith to a large group of people who haven't been exposed to the religion before.

Lumen Fidei wasn't the only inaugural award presented at the event. The school honored Anne Crecelius, a professor in UD's Department of Health and Sport Science who died in February, with the school's first health and sport science alumni award.

While most of the attendees knew Crecelius through work, they learned little details about the impression she left on campus as an undergrad student, including sleeping in a tree on campus at the end of her senior year and her resume still being used more than 10 years later as an example for current students.

The School of Education and Health Sciences also recognized several faculty:

"I come from a long line of teachers," Carr-Chellman said. "My mother, my sisters, my brother, my dad, my grandparents, everybody — we're all teachers. My mother taught in Catholic schools and she was instrumental in establishing a Catholic school in Columbus, raising much needed funds to establish it. It would make her so happy to know we are celebrating Catholic school teachers. This was a really good opportunity to extend what my mom gave me — a love for education and teaching."

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