The CMHS Alumni Spotlight showcases and recognizes outstanding Cardinal Mooney Alumni for their academic and professional achievements, service to their community, and their continuation of Cardinal Mooney’s tradition of “Sanctity, Scholarship, and Discipline”. With the Alumni Spotlight, we will explore and regularly share the diverse accomplishments of our graduates.
February 2023 Alumni Spotlight
We are celebrating Catholic Schools’ Week by spotlighting St. Christine’s second grade teacher and Mooney alumna, Katie Philips.
So many Mooney alumni have chosen to teach in Catholic schools and Katie Phillips, a 2009 CMHS graduate, is one. After graduation, she attended Kent State University where she majored in early childhood education. During her four years at Kent, Katie enjoyed diverse field experiences in various classroom settings. These experiences helped affirm her career decision. She earned her bachelor’s degree in May 2013. That summer, she enrolled in graduate courses at Kent to obtain her Reading endorsement.
Dedication to Catholic Education:
In Katie’s first year of teaching, 2013-2014, she taught first grade at St. Joseph-Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Austintown. Katie owes her very beginnings in Catholic education to a chance conversation with SCS secretary, Mrs. Stana. In 2013, Katie was with her younger brother, a student at SCS, for a “Meet the Teacher” event. There, Mrs. Stana informed her of an opportunity at St. Joe’s: the school needed to hire a first-grade teacher immediately. Katie interviewed that same day and began teaching the very next week!
After St. Joe’s, Katie then spent a few years teaching kindergarten at St. Rose in Girard before heading to teach second grade at St. Christine’s, where Katie has settled in! Her journey came “full circle” since she is a proud 2005 graduate of St. Christine School.
Longtime St. Christine’s teacher, Mrs. Mary Ann Huzicka fondly remembers, “I taught Katie in 5th and 6th at St. Christine School. She was an excellent student; she was kind and respectful.” Katie embodies those same characteristics now as a teacher with her students: “I see her patience and love for her students. She is admired and respected by her fellow teachers. Parents are fortunate to have their child be in Katie’s care”.
The 2022-2023 school year is Katie’s 6th year teaching at St. Christine, and her 10th year teaching overall. To Katie, there is something so special about a Catholic education. When she thinks back to her days at Mooney, she reflects that “Sanctity, Scholarship, and Discipline really encapsulates what the Catholic schools are about”.
Katie’s favorite thing about teaching second grade is preparing her students for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. These are special opportunities for which Katie is so grateful…opportunities she would not have if she were not a Catholic school teacher. She cannot imagine teaching anywhere else.
Mrs. Cara Pribula, St. Christine School Principal shared, “Katie is a strong leader and has been a mentor teacher for several years. She volunteers to help anyway she can for the students of SCS and she is dedicated to being a Catholic school teacher… she wants students to succeed and learn about God”.
Like many others, Katie has fond memories of attending Mooney football games and rallies. She is a self-proclaimed football fanatic and became even more so because of the atmosphere and culture that is Cardinal Mooney football. She also participated in Service and French Clubs during her four years.
During her senior Service Religion class, she began thinking about a career in education. When she visited three different area grade schools, she realized that she really enjoyed helping younger kids with reading and writing. Katie noted, “my volunteer experiences (at Mooney) are what ultimately led me to pursue education as a career.”
Family & Personal Interests:
Catholic Schools have always been important to Katie’s family overall. Her father Jeff graduated from Ursuline in 1978 and her mom Mary Beth is a 1980 graduate of Warren JFK. Katie is the oldest of three. Her sister Krista is a 2011 graduate of Cardinal Mooney, and her younger brother Sean is a 2020 graduate of Ursuline.
Most of her time outside of school is spent with her family–watching football, cooking together, and just enjoying each other’s company. Katie also enjoys spending time with her dog, Willa.
Cardinal Mooney thanks all our alumni dedicated to teaching, working, and volunteering in Catholic schools across our community and beyond. We are grateful that they answered the call to give back and support future generations of our students! YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE!