Holy Redeemer religion teacher seeks to build foundation of faith in her students
May 3, 2017
When Elizabeth Scribner teaches religion to the students at Holy Redeemer School in College Park, her knowledge comes from more than textbooks – it comes from her own relationship with Christ.
Father Mark Smith, the pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish, said Scribner has a great impact on the spirit of the school, because she “knows the person of Christ and is able to receive that grace that shines through.”
“She has a very deep faith,” he added. “The kind of faith that really inspires everything she does.”
On April 5, students filed into Holy Redeemer Church for what they thought was going to be a talk about Lent, but what turned out to be the announcement that their teacher, Mrs. Scribner, was receiving a Golden Apple Award.
“One of the greatest ways to serve is through teaching the faith,” Father Smith told the students. And in school, “we learn about [God] and get to know Him,” he added, before inviting up the associate superintendent for Archdiocese of Washington Catholic schools, Wendy Anderson.
When Anderson began speaking, she announced that Scribner is one of 10 teachers in the archdiocese to receive a Golden Apple Award this year. The awards, which are given out annually, were established in the archdiocese through the support of the Donahue Family Foundation to recognize teachers who provide students in Catholic schools with quality academic and faithful education.
The teacher’s husband of 30 years, Lee Scribner, was there to surprise her as she received the award. The couple has two adult children who both went to Holy Redeemer School.
“I’m overwhelmed. I didn’t expect this,” Scribner said to the students. “From my heart, I want to be able to teach you all about our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.”
Jaedon Scott, an eighth grader in Scribner’s class who was preparing to become Catholic, said he will always remember the projects from Mrs. Scribner’s class where the students acted out stories from Scripture.
“Mrs. Scribner is very faithful,” he said. “She talks about Jesus all the time.”
Maria Bovich, the principal of Holy Redeemer, described Scribner as “the epitome of what we want in a religion teacher in our Catholic school” because she has “never apologized or hesitated teaching the true values of the Catholic Church.”
Scribner started teaching at Holy Redeemer in 2005, and at first was “overwhelmed with the thought of being responsible for teaching the faith,” she said. But before long, she found out “it came so naturally to me.”
“It is important to teach [students] to keep their faith even if they are challenged,” she said.
She also places a special emphasis on teaching students about the Hebrew roots of the Catholic faith.
“Students will not often put the New Testament and Old Testament together to realize it’s all God’s saving plan,” she said.
Scribner teaches the faith inside and outside of the classroom. She puts in the extra time to her teaching, said Bovich, and always does her homework to make sure she is informed about what she will be telling the students. Beyond her religion classes, she also coordinates testing, plans Masses, and helps with the sacrament of Confirmation.
In the classroom, she seeks to “guide [students] the right way, so that when they go out and start their own lives, at least they have that foundation to come back to,” she said. “Even if they stray a bit, they have that as a solid core.”
On April 5, Scribner taught the eighth graders preparing for Confirmation about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which she said God gave them to use “for the betterment of everyone.”
“God has spent a lot of time designing you exactly as you should be,” she told the students.
Bovich calls upon Scribner to lead meetings in prayer, particularly if she knows it is going to be a difficult topic. Through her prayer, Scribner will “start bringing Jesus Christ into the center of the conference,” Bovich said.
Many faculty members in Catholic schools still sometimes struggle with their faith, Bovich noted, but the faculty retreats that Scribner plans help address their questions and strengthens their faith. The way she models living a life of faith, in addition to the conversations she facilitates, helps the teachers, Bovich said.
“I try to live what I teach,” Scribner said. “I try to do that every day.”
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