TEACHER OF THE YEAR: BR. PHILIP OSWALD
The Diocese of El Paso awarded Br. Philip Oswald, a Religion teacher at St. Joseph School with the Teacher of the Year Award at the 17th Annual SEED Awards on Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 5:30 PM at the El Paso Museum of Art.
The SEED Awards is an annual event where each of the Catholic schools honors an outstanding faculty/staff member, benefactor, and volunteer. This year, the SEED Awards Committee decided to begin awarding the Teacher of the Year award to honor one of the 300 Catholic school teachers in the Diocese for his or her outstanding work.
Br. Philip Oswald is the first teacher in the Diocese of El Paso to receive this prestigious award. When asked how he felt about receiving it, he said it was something unexpected. “I never dreamed in all the years I’ve taught that I would be honored with such an award. I am honored.”
Br. Philip teaches Religion at St. Joseph School to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. A teacher since 1961, he has taught in New Jersey, Ohio, Arkansas, and Texas. He has been at St. Joseph School, along with Br. Edwin Gallagher and Br. Richard Fish, since 1989. He has served on numerous accreditation committees and religious curriculum committees.
Many students will come back to Br. Philip years after graduating from St. Joseph and recite definitions to him they learned in 6th grade. Br. Philip says many students remember 6th grade Religion lessons because of a game called “Bible Basketball”. St. Joseph 6th graders play “Bible Basketball” each year during Catholic Schools Week. It is a game in which students are given questions worth two and three points on what they have learned. Just like in the real game of basketball, students are allowed to “rebound” questions and ask for a “three-point question”, or a more difficult question.
Br. Edwin Gallagher, principal of St. Joseph School, has known Br. Philip since 1958. “Every detail of his preparation and execution is fulfilled meticulously. Not only are the academics prepared faithfully on a daily basis, but he absolutely devotes his time and energies to the maintenance of his classroom,” says Br. Edwin. “Twice daily he polishes all student desks and dry mops the classroom floor and cleans the blackboard to perfection. No detail is overlooked or considered menial when they are done on behalf of God’s children. Their total well-being is what motivates him on a daily basis. He is truly the master Catholic teacher.”