By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — Regina Catholic Education Center was well-represented at the Iowa City Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education awards banquet last month. Two of its 10 awards were presented to Regina personnel. Elementary school parent Missy Aitchison won the Volunteer Excellence award and Patrick Moeller, a junior and senior high business teacher, won the Teacher Excellence award.
Aitchison was selected primarily due to her creation and implementation of a school recycling program in 2011, said her nominator April Rouner, executive director of the Regina Foundation.
Aitchison’s recycling program includes the collection of organics, as well as non-compostable items such as glue sticks and old pens. After successfully implementing Regina’s program — which funds itself through a reduction in trash volume — she helped other schools in the Iowa City area commence similar programs.
Even though she is “just a volunteer,” Rouner said Aitchison has taught students “to respect and preserve God’s creation through various recycle and reuse programs.”
In addition to the recycling program, she volunteers twice a week at the Regina Foundation, and has participated in a number of other projects. Rouner said Aitchison’s best quality is leading by example, and “getting others to take up the torch of volunteerism as well.”
Barb Reilly, a longtime teacher at Regina who nominated Moeller, said she was thrilled with his selection. “He is such a great addition to our faculty and it is important he knows his efforts are appreciated. He is a good, Catholic young person who is an outstanding role model to our students.”
In her nomination letter, Reilly described Moeller as always being available for the students, and being well respected by the faculty, staff and students. “He teaches business and he means business,” she wrote. He works to bring real-world examples into the classroom, and has helped Regina add more technology courses to its schedule. “He is an integral part of the Regina community,” Reilly wrote.
School President Lee Iben credited his staff’s ability to “go above and beyond the normal expectation of teaching” for their representation at the awards ceremony, as well as the faith aspect of education. “Working (and volunteering) in a Catholic school is a calling to something greater,” he said.