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Cathy Poninsky

St. John the Evangelist Regional Catholic School, Uniontown

A first-grade teacher, Cathy Poninsky said she loves teaching at a Catholic school for many reasons, one being that she can share her faith with students and families.

A teacher for 36 years at St. John the Evangelist Regional Catholic School, Uniontown, Poninsky said she is honored to be one of the three teachers selected for a Golden Apple Award.

“Faith is a big part of my day. Not only do I begin at home with prayers for my students and their families, I also pray throughout the day for patience and strength,” Poninsky said. “Prayer and faith are a big part of any Catholic school teacher.”

Her lesson plans reflect her faith. Many lessons have to do with how Jesus interacted with others and how we should treat one another, she said.

“I always teach my students the Golden Rule, how to treat others the way you want to be treated,” Poninsky says.

“People entrust their children into our hands. We are their parents while they are at school,” Poninsky said of teachers in the diocese. “So it is definitely a very important job, and I strive to do my best.”

She loves the atmosphere St. John provides because it’s a family, and she gets to know the families, said Poninsky, who has taught the parents and, in some cases, grandparents of her students.

The students uplift her, she said.

“They give me energy, and I enjoy working and interacting with the students. They have a special place in my heart.”

— Robin Mull