St. Francis Borgia Regional High School administrators and faculty have received several state and national awards.
Father Kevin Schmittgens, school president, recently received the Outstanding Administrator Award at the Missouri Thespian Conference.
Principal Pam Tholen has been named Administrator of the Year for the South Central District in the Missouri Association of Student Councils. She will be honored at the Missouri Student Council Convention in March.
Andrew Eggert, who has been teaching for nine years, the last eight at Borgia High, received the Emerson Excellence in Teaching award, and teacher Patty Russell, who in her 31st year of teaching, the last 30 at Borgia, will receive the Lead.Learn.Proclaim award at the upcoming NCEA conference in Chicago this spring.
“We are so proud of all of these awards,” Tholen told The Missourian. “It’s always very exciting to have our staff recognized for their hard work.”
Tholen said Father Kevin was recognized for his dedication to the students, faculty and alumni of the Borgia theater department.
“Due to the nature of the job, sometimes school administrators are not always as active and involved with the students, but that’s not case with Father Kevin,” she said. “He supports our students in the classroom and in extracurricular activities which is why it’s so special to see him recognized.”
Tim Buchheit, current theater department director at Borgia, made the presentation at the conference and accepted the award on behalf of Father Kevin, who was unable to attend.
Buchheit credited Father Kevin with establishing a very strong theater program since the days when he served as director and still today, helps direct and perform in several productions.
Father Kevin also serves as theater photographer and has taken thousands of pictures of the shows throughout the years. He also still performs in other local community productions.
Buchheit said Father Kevin was instrumental in raising funds for new lighting and sound equipment through the school’s annual dinner auction “fund a need” program.
The Emerson Excellence in Teaching Awards program, sponsored by Emerson, annually recognizes more than 100 educators in the St. Louis metropolitan area — from kindergarten teachers to college professors — who are examples of excellence in their field.
Recipients are selected by the chief administrators of their school districts or educational institutions. Awards were presented this past November.
Tholen said she nominated Eggert, who teaches freshman English, for his dedication to the school’s mission, contributions to the faith and professional communities, cooperation with all members of the school family, and his professionalism.
“He is a great candidate for this honor to represent the Archdiocese of St. Louis,” she said.
Tholen noted Catholic schools actually submit their nominations first to the St. Louis Archdiocese which then selects five to nominate.
Eggert moderates the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, serves on the School Improvement Team, is a member of the school’s CARE Team, and was the lead teacher on last year’s internal review.
“He fully participates in the Mass and sacraments, and lives as a role model of morality and faithfulness,” Tholen said. “His fellow teachers often seek his input on teaching or behavior management strategies, and he is viewed as a safe person for both colleagues and students to go to in times of need or success.”
Russell, theology and English teacher at Borgia, will receive the Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award which is presented by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) for dedication and commitment to excellence in Catholic education.
Russell was chosen from more than 150,000 teachers and administrators, as well as diocesan leaders and organizations dedicated to the nation’s Catholic schools. She will be recognized in April at the annual NCEA Convention and Expo in Chicago.
The award honors those whose ministry is Catholic school education and who have demonstrated a strong Catholic educational philosophy, as well as exceptional efforts, dedication and achievements.
Tholen said Russell is an active participant in the school, a model teacher and a servant to the Lord.
“For three decades, she has been a mainstay of our educational system at Borgia,” Tholen said. “She came to our school not knowing many people, and has transformed herself into a leader in our learning community.”
Russell serves on the school’s professional development committee, and served on the steering committee for Borgia’s five-year strategic plan, “where she created a road map for where our school is headed,” Tholen said.
“Patty works fervently to help build relationships with our community members, whether this means taking her recreational activities class to the local Y or applying for grants from educational partners to provide for some of the innovative programming she seeks,” said Tholen, who actually had Russell as an English teacher when she attended Borgia High.
“Since then, she’s taken on many teacher roles, ranging from yearbook to PE to theology,” Tholen said. “Regardless of the course title, she lets her love for students and passion for teaching shine through and lead the curriculum . . she makes the content come alive by tying in current events or having the kids relate the topic to their own lives.”
In her second year as principal, Tholen recently learned she will receive the Administrator of the Year award at the Missouri Student Council Convention in March.
Tholen said she’s honored to be recognized, especially by the state student council association, because she is passionate about student leadership and student council.
A 2002 graduate of Borgia High, Tholen was involved in Student Council as both a student and served as a Student Council advisor during her teaching career.