Women in Serviam 2020 Award

In 2020, due to the pandemic, Ursuline Academy Alumnae Association has chosen to give a special award to take the place of the annual Distinguished Alumna Award and Young Alumna Serviam Award. We have been flooded by the countless acts of Serviam, big and small, and we believe all should be recognized for their service and love that has been shown to our communities, near and far.

The Women in Serviam Pandemic 2020 Award will go to alumnae who have served in various ways through the pandemic (healthcare workers, teachers, essential workers, so many more, etc). They have been nominated by their classmates, friends, and family, for their dedication and work for others during these uncertain times.

Colleen McGovern Allen '12

Nominated by: Mary McGovern 

Donning her PPE; and despite being immunocompromised herself, Colleen enters her patient’s room always with a smile and kind word. As is her way, Colleen has been serving her patients with compassion, kindness and wisdom as an ICU nurse during these times. Recognizing that patients are under extra duress due to limited family visits, Colleen goes even further than her usual extra mile in caring for them, trying to spend extra time with them just to listen and chat. She is truly serving as Christ’s eyes, ears, hands and feet.

Natalie Appelbaum '18

Nominated by: Dan Appelbaum 

Natalie Appelbaum is in her third year in the Nursing program at Maryville University - she has from the outset of her academic career at Maryville, been one of the most outstanding students and has consistently earned a place on the Dean's List of the College Of Health Professions at MU - she is now engaging in her clinical trials and is regularly out in front with other health care professionals. 

Amanda Baebler '12

Nominated by: Dee Baebler

Amanda is working on the front lines as a Physician Assistant in the Emergency Dept at St. Mary’s Hospital. She learned well at Ursuline to serve others. It has been difficult helping families through the COVID crisis, but this is where Amanda’s empathetic and kind nature shines the brightest. 

Sister Susan Barry, osu '59

Nominated by: Joan Parr Ward '57

During this Corona Pandemic Sister has been the joyous provider of encouragement and moral support for each of her Ursuline Sisters in residence as well as expressing encouragement and moral support for the Staff acknowledging gratitude for their dedication that has kept the Facility Covid-free. 


Allyson Bernhard '16

Nominated by: Linda Bernhard

Ally showed true perseverance during 2020 by graduating with her nursing degree, passing the NCLEX, and continuing her employment at Mercy Hospital to accept a Nursing position in the Cardiovascular ICU. Ally did not hesitate to continue her dream in the middle of a pandemic. She has always shown care for others and starting her career during a pandemic truly shows her determination and personality in helping those in need. 

Lori Lange Brandhorst '98

Nominated by: Loreen Brady Davis '98 

Lori planned and guided fun outdoor activities for my children and their cousins. It was like a private camp! My kids were challenged physically and had a lot of fun! Due to many camps being canceled, she put her Physical Education teacher skills to work by organizing outdoor activities for the backyard!

Katherine Cassani '16

Nominated by: Peggy Cassani

During the start of the Pandemic Katherine was working at University Hospital in Columbia Mo. She worked as a nurse tech until the end of July. Katherine has been working at Total Access Urgent Care since the beginning of August. She has been working 40-60 hours a weeks and has been administering Covid tests on a daily basis. It’s been challenging since Katherine has two older grandparents that she sees frequently. She works 12 hour shifts and many days it is a lot longer.


Christina Cejas '12

Nominated by: Mary Elizabeth Herries '12

When school went virtual in the Ft. Zumwalt school district, so did speech therapy. Christina had to change her entire approach to therapy when she could not be in the room with students anyone. How do you get a student to focus on a screen? How do you show them the way your tongue moves when you say a word and make sure the camera stays in focus? I don't know how, but Christina managed to provide her students the support they needed virtually last spring, over the summer, and is now putting herself at risk back in the classroom with her students today (and masks add a whole new challenge to speech therapy)!

Renee Chauvin '89

Nominated by: Anonymous

She is an assistant principal at a Catholic grade school. They have gone back to school in person with roughly 600 people in the school building each day. So many things are out of the ordinary right now, but she keeps a positive attitude, a happy spirit, and serves others with love and genuine concern.


Elizabeth Desits '13

Nominated by: Gabrielle (Desits) Strandell '11

Elizabeth has stepped up to the call of Serviam. She finished her 3rd year of law school at Denver University in May and rose to the challenge of taking the Bar exam in July in the midst of a pandemic. During this time she volunteered her time at Denver’s district attorney offices to help serve her community.


Alissa Gianino '11

Nominated by: Carla Gianino

Frontline worker - she graduated Goldfarb in August of 2019 and is an RN at Bjc. Five months later the Covid 19 Pandemic spread through our community. Shortages of PPE made working difficult for all our frontline workers.
Alissa persevered, "this is what I was meant to do this is my passion!" She arrives at work with a smile and a positive attitude! Her patients love her bubbly personality. They feel and see her genuine dedication and the caring person she is! This is evident by the numerous excellent reviews from her patients. She is a true example of Serviam!


Sarah Henderson '01

Nominated by: Clare Young

Sarah Henderson is an 8th grade teacher at St. Margaret of Scotland school. She quickly transitioned from in person teaching and learning is distance learning. Sarah worked with students, parents, and coworkers to make distance learning a success for all students. When students fell behind, she worked tirelessly to help. Over the summer of 2020, Sarah volunteered her time and talent to plan for a safe return to learning for the Fall of 2020 and worked to completely revamp all the schedules for 50 teachers and 500 students.  

Marry Elizabeth Herries '12

Nominated by: Lauren Percich

When the pandemic first started, Mary Elizabeth was the only analyst within her company who had access to real-time Covid data. Because our healthcare system has never seen a modern pandemic hit the system with such force, there was no template to look to for tracking this time sensitive and changing information. Mary Elizabeth took on the leadership role of developing reports to calculate the impact of the pandemic amongst the Medicare population. She continues to monitor the number of new cases and hospital admissions daily all while completing her pre-pandemic tasks. This often leads to her working all hours of the day and night to ensure everything gets done in addition to dedicating her time to family, friends and volunteer positions.


Rosalie Pupillo Homire '76

Nominated by: Sally Maguire '76

Rosalie is a 5th grade teacher whose favorite verse is "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." That verse in itself means Serviam. During the spring of 2020, she taught students virtually.


Kalee Huddleston '12

Nominated by: Donna Huddleston

She is currently working at SSM St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Louis College of Pharmacy as a PGY2 pharmacy resident. She provides patient care to those who are apart of an underserved population in the high risk maternal/fetal medicine clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital. She also provides lectures to future pharmacy students at STLCOP.  

Emily Mertens '15

Nominated by: Kelsey Zwick '15

As a brand new nurse, Emily models “I will Serve” each and every day. She was met with the task of being a nurse on the COVID unit at her hospital before she even finished her preceptorship. She handles it with such grace and is dedicated to her patients and her work even when it gets difficult. She is willing to serve others even when it’s hard and she’s helping them through the most difficult times. Even when the waters are uncharted and ever-changing, and each day brings something new, she remains steady and constant for her coworkers and patients. There was no preparation, no warning, and no steps for her to take to 100% know exactly how to care for these patients, but rather than doubting and feeling not good enough, she channeled what UA taught her and serves with an open heart and open hands every single day. Her patients are so lucky to have her!! 

Emily Mulligan '11

Nominated by: Claire Mulligan '14

Emily lives out Serviam in everything she does. She is always willing to lend that helping hand no matter what. Not only was she teaching underprivileged children in the middle of a pandemic, but she was getting call after call letting her know that every art camp she signed up to teach this summer was being canceled because of the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to our daily lives. Still, she kept her head up and worked her absolute hardest to ensure that her students, no matter what their background, had a little light in their lives. She is willing to go above and beyond for her students. Her passion for art shines through when she’s teaching, a skill that was brought forth in her countless classes at Ursuline and cultivated even more so at Southeast Missouri State. She is constantly striving to enrich the lives of her students through art and meticulously creates lesson plans that directly relate to these children.

Lauren Percich '12

Nominated by: Mary Elizabeth Herries '12

When the pandemic first stated, Lauren was one of the first people I knew to break out their sewing machine and make masks to not only protect herself, friends, and family, but also her pharmacy clients. Lauren went above and beyond when her Co-Pharmacist was out for safety precautions and she had to work weeks of long shifts to make sure the pharmacy was covered and her clients could get the treatment they needed. Even today she has incredible patience as she is asked multiple times if she has any PPE back behind the counter (she does not). 

Margaret O’Brien ‘11

Nominated by: Jessica Schulze '11


Amy O’Neill '01

Nominated by: Kelly O’Neill Gale '04

Amy’s birthday was right at the start of the “lockdown” orders back in March and she was in the lobby of her Chicago condo building awaiting a drop-off birthday treat from a friend when she crossed paths with a couple of elderly women who were also residents in her building. They were panicked about not being able to find poise pads in stock anywhere and other essential items and expressed concern over venturing out too much, as they were high risk. Amy had never met them before, but immediately put her birthday aside and engaged the women in conversation, assured them she was happy to help, and collected a shopping list of their items. Not to mention, her genuine demeanor put them at ease during a scary time. Off she went the next day to track everything down at multiple stores. 

After this initial meeting; she formed a real bond with one of the women, and they continued to check on each other in the weeks to come. Amy would continue to buy her groceries and sometimes her new elderly friend Ellen would thank her by whipping up enough dinner for two with said groceries and leave it at Amy’s doorstep. Sometimes They would meet for “happy hour” after Amy had wrapped up a workday and hang out six feet apart on their building’s patio or have a zoom call. In addition to the grocery help and checking in; the greatest gift Amy gives this woman is her time and genuine friendship. Ellen hasn’t been able to venture out much at all, and Amy was a real bright spot for her during everything. Such a dignified relationship that perhaps may have never transpired if it weren’t for the pandemic.

Caitlin O’Toole '09

Nominated by: Erin O'Tolle Bennett '03

Caitlin is a teacher at St. Margaret of Scotland where she not only teaches in person but also has to teach virtually to her students who are learning remotely. This, of course, is much more demanding and stressful. Caitlin also has to make sure her classroom is properly sanitized to mitigate the risk of any potential infection spreading. Even though the way school is functioning this year and there are a lot of last-minute changes, Caitlin handles it all with a big smile on her face (even though you might not always be able to see it because of her mask). I am so proud of my sister and the way she is serving these children during the pandemic. 

Emily May Rosener '16

Nominated by: Lisa and Pete Rosener

Emily is a front-line healthcare worker.


Laura Krieger Sample '02

Nominated by: Sarah Henderson '01

Laura is a teacher/instructor in the Criminal Justice Department at SEMO. She guided and supported her students through the Spring semester of Distance Learning and continues to do so in this Fall semester as learning is currently in-person, but additional online classes have been implemented, and full virtual learning will take place at Thanksgiving Break. While this isn’t easy for teachers, this is very challenging for students. Having support and guidance from their teachers is extra important during these challenging times, and Laura was/is able to provide this to her students.


Theresa Winkeler Schmidt '96

Nominated by: Maggie Wingron Fuhr '01

As a grade-school teacher, wife, and mother of 3, Theresa goes above and beyond for her students and their families. She has worked tirelessly since March to make sure her students felt safe, loved, and on track with their school work - many times talking with overwhelmed parents late into the evenings and on weekends to help put their minds at ease as best she could during the difficult period of distance learning. She continues to bring her bright smile and cheery disposition to everything she does as she serves the school community at St. Raphael. She is a true example of the Ursuline charism as she approaches each day with courage and deep faith to ensure the children have a safe place to learn and grow in these challenging times.

Johanna Sulze Shipley '79

Nominated by: Jane Venneman Sulze '54

Johanna has been working at events to honor and support veterans. She has also been donating jewelry that she handmade in her studio to an auction whose proceeds go to veteran's care. 


Jane Venneman Sulze '54

Nominated by: Johanna Sulze Shipley '79 

Jane knits Prayer Shawls for people who are ill or are going through a difficult time in their lives. She has given away over 100 so far.

Isabella Torregrossa '20

Nominated by: Sherry Torregrossa

Bella has two grandmothers who live alone and have serious medical conditions that prevent them from going out or having visitors during the pandemic. From the beginning of the pandemic, Bella has taken it upon herself to face time each of her grandmothers every day, without fail, to check in on them, to make sure that they are ok and spend time conversing with them so that they have some social connection and entertainment so as to not feel so isolated and lonely at this time. She also checks on their health as no one can stop by their homes to check on them due to fear of the pandemic. 

Gabrielle Visconti '13

Nominated by: Monica Wilson '75

Gabby is part of Most Sacred Heart's Task Force and was instrumental in setting protocol to re-open our school. Gabby teaches 20 Kindergarteners in person and also teaches 2 Kindergarteners online each and every day! Her positive attitude is contagious!

Emily Williams '17

Nominated by: Cheryl Williams

Emily built a website and business offering free deliveries to all elders and those that were immunocompromised during the pandemic. Within 24 hours she built the website and recruited a group of volunteers and began deliveries. Throughout the pandemic, they helped hundreds who were in need through the website, " Come Together". She was featured on the Charlie Brennan KMOX radio show and even discussed her days at Ursuline Academy. Everyone is so very proud of her!

Anna Wilson '08

Nominated by: Clare Young

Anna Wilson is a fourth grade teacher at St. Margaret of Scotland. Anna seamlessly transitioned from in person learning to distance learning and teaching with only one weekend to prepare. Anna worked with students, teachers, and parents to ensure that every student was successful. Anna created engaging lessons to keep students learning, interested, and happy throughout distance learning. Anna made sure to keep the continuity of learning going throughout the pandemic, and also nurtured her students emotionally, socially, and spiritually through endless google meet calls. Anna volunteered her time and talent over the summer of 2020 to plan for a safe return to learn plan for the fall of 2020.  


Jessica Woodward '18

Nominated by: Jean Woodward

Jessica has been serving on the front lines as a tech in the emergency room at Missouri Baptist Hospital. She has provided support for Covid-19 patients as well as other patients who were forced to face their illness alone due to the visitation restrictions in place due to the pandemic. I am an EMT-B with BJC, I currently work in the ED at Missouri Baptist MedCenter where I have been for the past two years as an EMT. I’ve been working on the front lines working COVID at Missouri Baptist as well as a pulled employee that could be asked to work at other BJC facilities in their Emergency Departments. Due to COVID, visitors were restricted throughout the hospital and staff members have become the helping hand to those fighting battles alone. No one fights alone.

Kylie Wright '16

Nominated by: Christine Wright

Kylie has continued her education by pursuing a master's degree at Vanderbilt University in special education. She works primarily with students with Emotional Behavior Disturbance and Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has been tutoring and volunteering in the Nashville community to help families access eLearning. In December, Kylie will graduate with her Master's degree and will also be ready to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. 

Haley Baer '12

Nominated: Mary Elizabeth Herries '12

As a nurse, Haley treated patients at Children's on the COVID floor working on the frontlines wearing a mask the equivalent of a spacesuit (or so she described it). As the curve flattened, she pushed herself beyond her comfort zone and training and went to work at Barnes when her experience is in pediatrics. Somehow she still found the time to make entertaining Snapchats that put a smile on many people's faces. 

Kaila Barnes '16

Nominated by: Leah Barnes 

Kaila is a 1st grade teacher at Premier Charter School. She is one of the in person teachers for 1st grade. She is always working on trying to make class fun for the kids even though they have to be distanced, and they have gone through a lot of change. She is very passionate about teaching and has a really good relationship with all of her students.


Katie Geraghty Boland '80

Nominated by: Anne Geraghty-Rathert

Dr. Boland is an optometrist--she works with low vision clients through the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impirment, St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and through UMSL College of Optometry Low Vision Clinics, helping all ages of people with vision impairment, regardless of their ability of pay, to function with their remaining vision. Throughout the pandemic, Katie has continued to see her patients with all of the CDC guidelins to make sure their healthcare is a priority..  

Megan Cassani '10

Nominated by: Peggy Cassani

Megan works as a patient and family engagement liaison at Ranken Jordan Hospital. During Covid-19 many of the patients were not allowed to have family members visit. Megan worked hard to connect families with their sick children and support their siblings through video chats. She provided the children with fun activities and supported them during a difficult period without family. Megan also volunteered for an organization and conducted webinar sessions by supporting children and teens through Covid-19 grief. 

Sarah Oathout Castallano '07

Nominated by: Clare Abkemeier Young '07

Sarah served as a nurse during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Jessica Chapman '14

Nominated by: Lisa Chapman

As a nurse in the emergency room Jess sees all types of patients, including COVID patients. She provides both medical and emotional support to sick and injured people and their families.

Eleanor Rose Battersby Clark ‘13

Nominated by: Ellen Sharp Clark

Our daughter, Eleanor is serving in a way that I don’t know if I could! She is a special education teacher on Annette Island, Alaska! This is a very remote island which is also a reservation for native Alaskans. She serves - with such joy - the children of the island with her signature warmth and tenderness. It is very isolating - and most days on the island feel like a quarantine day! There are no restaurants, movie theaters, shopping centers, so Eleanor has filled her time with teaching, coaching cross country, running, hiking. Their school has opened for the year, and Eleanor is delighted to be spending her days with children who need her the most. She sees so much ability in disabilities, and her confidence in the children she serves is remarkable and inspiring. She educates parents and caregivers on how to help their children reach their full potential. Above all else, Eleanor serves with the intrinsic belief that every child is valuable and precious. She has signed up for another year on Annette Island, this year teaching the young children, many with profound needs. She loves it. We are so proud of our daughter, and how she spreads love and joy wherever she goes. She truly serves others and sees Christ in all she meets. 

Audrey Cova '10

Nominated by: Molly Cova '16

Audrey currently works for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. When the pandemic first started she was asked to work the COVID hotline to help people who had questions or concerns related to COVID. This was not an easy task considering some people were not friendly on the phone, but all she wanted to do was make people feel safe and at ease during these scary times and she did all she could to help those people. She recently shifted responsibilities and is now in works with positive case investigations and contact tracing. So her main job is to contact those individuals who have been exposed to positive cases in the Springfield area. With schools back in session down here in Springfield the cases have been on the rise. Audrey and the Health Department have been working tremendously hard to try and keep the Springfield community safe and up to date with all pandemic information.

Jessica Davis '19

Nominated by: Stephanie Davis

During the pandemic most volunteer facilities were shut down so Jessie asked her grandma if she could help out at the organization where she volunteers, Mary Queen of Angels in O'Fallon, MO. Obeying the social distancing rules the two of them went one morning a week by themselves and worked side by side sorting and folding clothes and organizing diapers and baby items. They did this for several weeks during the summer of Covid.


Cynthia Durbin '88

Nominated by: Robert Beyer

After 25 years as a Catholic Grade School Teacher meeting and exceeding society's standards to help our children learn the way to heaven according to Jesus Christ, Cindy is keeping our kids healthy, happy, and holy while preparing two grade levels for the sacraments of reconciliation and first communion.

Rachel Essmyer '14

Nominated by: Denise Essmyer / Ashley McCaffrey

Rachel works tirelessly, especially since March serving the community at The Boulevard Senior Living in St Charles. The isolation proves difficult for the residents, so Rachel brings her smile and enthusiasm to work every day. She creates a fun, caring environment for all who live and work there. She goes above and beyond to bring joy to everyone around her. She is non-stop! She is passionate! She is strong! She is living out Ursuline's motto of Serviam every day. 

Sarah Haenchen '12

Nominated by: Megan Haenchen '12 

 Sarah has "put on many hats" during this time. She volunteered as a screener at a medical building during lock-down. She and her co-workers collaborated to provide workouts for athletes during lock-down to prepare for return to sports. However, Sarah went the extra mile; she continued to research the best exercises to ensure safety and wellness of her athletes. Additionally, she contributed to a local Athletic Training blog furthering the crucial role Athletic Trainers play during this unprecedented time. She educated and stressed the importance of proper protocols for Coaches and Athletic Directors at the school she works at. Throughout the Pandemic, she has stayed strong and willing to serve others. She is now back to her previous role as an Athletic Trainer and continues to foster safe environment for Athletes and Coaches.

Joan Puetz Hannegan '82

Nominated by: Mike Hannegan

I would like to nominate Joan (Puetz) Hannegan ’82 for the Women in Serviam Pandemic 2020 Award. Joan has long been a model of Serviam, so it was no surprise that she found a way to help others during the pandemic. Though not a frontline worker, she has been supporting those in need of protective equipment by organizing a team of volunteers in making masks and providing those masks to nursing homes, schools, and other organizations. To date the team has sewn over 3000 masks and donated them to care facilities such as the St. Agnes Home, Dolan Homes, Mother of Good Counsel Home, Marie de Ville as well as Catholic Charities. In addition, masks have been provided to area schools such as St. Louis Catholic Academy and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The work of Joan and the team of volunteers is ongoing and provides a tremendous example of the spirit of Serviam. Joan said, "I had about 50 people volunteer to sew, cut material, or track down elastic somewhere in the US. I don't even know how to sew well enough to make masks but was just the organizer and kit maker. It did feel like an Amazon distribution center with people coming and going with drop offs at front porch all day long for months. These ladies were amazing!!! They just wouldn't stop sewing as long as there was a need. I stopped counting at 3500 donated sewn masks."


Cassy Herrin '12

Nominated by: Mary Elizabeth Herries '12

The unfortunate reality is that child endangerment does not stop because of a pandemic. As a caseworker for the Children's Division of the City of St. Louis, Cassy continues to ensure the safety of the children on her cases through the pandemic. She has taken extra precautions so that she does not put the children and families she meets with at further risk, putting their safety before her own. While some of her job was able to go virtual, she does still see children and families face to face ensuring that the children on her caseload can safely see their family members. 

Kathryn Elaine Holley '04

Nominated by: Patrick Holley

Katie has served as a Kindergarten teacher at St. Mary Magdalen in Brentwood for the past ten years. This year she is teaching a class of twenty-four kindergarten students in person during the pandemic. She has completely pivoted the way she has traditionally taught kindergarten in order to serve her class of diverse learners. She continues to be an extremely caring and competent educator.  

Anne Kuethe Houghland '88

Nominated by: Jen Myers Ramsey '88

Anne is a middle school teacher in the Parkway School District. She impacts the lives of her students everyday by being there for them and caring about their well-being. She worked hard to transition her students to virtual learning in the spring, and transformed her dining room into a cool virtual classroom. She has worked harder than ever to keep her students engaged and moving forward in their education. 

Susie Mohan Jennison '04

Nominated by: Jenny Mohan '02

Susie is living out "Serviam" throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic both professionally and personally. As a PICU Assistant Nurse Manager, Susie shows up to every shift to support nurses and parents of very sick children in already unknown and uncertain times that are now amplified with the Pandemic. She goes out of her way to ensure each nurse is competent, confident, and providing the highest quality of care. In addition, Susie is an unwavering advocate for patient care. Her intellect, knowledge, attention to detail, and listening skills bring an intuitive approach to the care teams for the patients on her floor. She doesn't miss a beat allowing for the highest quality care to be delivered. When best practices and procedures were pushed to the seams by the Pandemic, Susie showed up ready to hold space for brand new nurses, senior nurses, doctors, moms, dad, and family members while leading and supervising the care of Pediatric ICU patients. In addition to living out Servium in her career, Susie also is a wife and mother who would return home to serve her family after shifts at the hospital. Early on in the Pandemic, Susie helped create a sense of safety, trust, and hope amongst her co-workers and families and continues to do as a PICU Assistant Nurse Manager, Wife, and Mother.

Claire Kraemer '11

Nominated by: Laura King '10

Claire is a nurse at BJC and worked on COVID floors throughout the pandemic.

Katie Komos '83

Nominated by: Clare Young

Katie Komos is a fifth grade teacher at St. Margaret of Scotland School. Katie transitioned from in person learning to distance learning with very little notice. Katie worked with her partner teacher to ensure students were thriving academically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially while learning from home. Katie adapted all her lesson plans to an online format, keeping a much needed sense of routine and consistency her students needed, and helped them adjust to learning at home. Katie volunteered her time and talent over the summer of 2020 by co chairing teaching and learning committees, to help plan for a safe return to learning in the fall of 2020.

Sally Maguire '76

Nominated by: Karen Wellons

She is caring for Mrs. Hartnett, she also has cared for me in the past. She is a kind and so patient soul. Sally is humble, she serves as we were all taught, and is someone we all can look up to! Love sally - she is a true friend - may god give her strength, an patience in this bizaro world now- grant her rest. 

Elinor Master '15

Nominated by: Kathleen Stinehart

Elinor is a nurse. She has weathered the pandemic with grace and compassion, caring for the sick and bringing warmth and caring to those who need it most.

Caroline McCarthy '08

Nominated by: Jamie Schuette Ebel '08

Caroline had just begun her first year as principal of Christ the King Catholic School when the pandemic wrecked its havoc. Since then she has spent many 12 plus hour days and tireless weekends working to keep her staff and students safe during unprecedented times and has handled obstacles many seasoned leaders have never had to encounter. She serves her students, co-workers, and parents each day when she puts all of their needs first and has done a wonderful job tackling each challenge as they arise.

Elizabeth Buncher Miller '00

Nominated by: Judi Hoernschemeyer Buncher '78

Liz was looking for a way to bring hope and happiness children this Easter. She planned the “Hunt for Hope” Socially distant Easter Egg hunt for the children of Crestwood and Sunset Hills. Homes, churches and businesses were asked to create themed Easter displays for families to drive by and enjoy from the safely of their cars. The families were emailed maps and children’s activity sheets to go along with the hunt from the safety of their cars. It was a huge success and brought some joy during the early day of the pandemic. More information can be found online about the event! There were 175 families that participated, and the part that I was most proud of was that we worked with Churches to get Easter Service Schedules out to all participants in the hope that someone might reconnect with their church communities during the loneliness and uncertainty of the pandemic.

Nicole Mueller '12

Nominated by: Maureen Bannister Mueller '81

Health care worker.


Molly Rathert '12

Nominated by: Anne Geraghty-Rathert 

Molly is an Occupational Therapist at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital, where she continues to work in person with young patients, some of whom are immunocompromised, in adjusting to their needs in their daily lives. In addition, she has created videos and therapy plans for parents to do with their children at home so that they do not have to potentially expose them but they can keep up with their therapy routines. It is a lot of work, but she is doing it with her usual unstoppable enthusiasm!


Kelly Fischer Scheibe '88

Nominated by: Jen Myers Ramsey '88

She has worked throughout the pandemic, putting herself and her family potentially in harms way, so that we can continue to get the food we need for our own families. Every time I see her, she says hello, and always asks how things are at Ursuline.

Teri Steck Scheipeter '97

Nominated by: Tina Steck 

Teri is the lead physical therapist at Green Park Senior Living Community, a nursing home and rehabilitation center in south county. She has served on the front line throughout the pandemic treating both healthy and covid-positive patients, donning PPE and biohazard gear all day every day. Teri has not missed a day. She not only performs her therapy duties but also provides care and attention to the patients neglected by other staff, going so far as to cover the dead when necessary. She has risked her own physical and emotional health for her patients as well as the other residents. I have seen no one live out Serviam like Teri has during the past six months. She is truly a healthcare hero.


Heather Hoechst Shelton '88

Nominated by: Jen Myers Ramsey '88

She is the ICONIC first grade teacher at Sacred Heart -Valley Park. She is a loving, caring professional who cares so much for her little ones - she taught my 3 kids in grade school. She went above and beyond to get her students through the spring, and is now back in the classroom 5 days a week, certainly with a little bit of risk. She's AMAZING!

Elizabeth Laschober Willett '11

Nominated by: Anne Laschober '13 

Beth has been working multiple jobs as an Occupational Therapist throughout the pandemic. The majority of her work is focused on geriatric patients who have recently been released from the hospital and need occupational therapy as part of their recovery. The geriatric population has been extremely affected by this pandemic, as many are unable to leave their homes to avoid contracting COVID. I cannot begin to imagine what that isolation must feel like. I can imagine that Beth's sunny disposition and friendly smile during her visits provide some relief from the anxiety of the pandemic for her patients. Beth does this at great personal risk to herself. When the pandemic started, Beth's son was not even a year old. Every day, she entrusted him to the care of family members as she put on full PPE to go and serve her patients. She changed out of her work clothes in the garage, so as to avoid spreading the virus to her family. 


Monica Pace Wilson '75 

Nominated by: Anna Wilson '08

Monica is the principal at Most Sacred Heart in Eureka. She helped her school community tremendously through distance learning last spring. Monica supported and guided her teachers through teaching virtually. She is always willing to go the extra mile for not only her teachers but her school community. In addition to supporting teachers during virtual learning last spring, she prepared to open on August 19th for five day in person learning in Eureka, Missouri. With the help of a MSHS Task Force, composed of parents and teachers we set protocols and guidelines for our school community to open safely and have continued to offer in person learning this school year. Our staff and school families have been supportive and willing to work collaboratively through these unusual days.

Clare Abkemeier Young '07

Nominated by: Kara Abkemeier '11

Clare Abkemeier Young, class of 2007, is the Principal of St. Margaret of Scotland School. I’m the spring of 2020, Clare led her school in the transition to distance learning due to the pandemic. Over the summer of 2020, Clare led a team of over 90 teachers and parents to create a plan to safely return to learning in the fall of 2020. Clare did all this while pregnant with her first child. Clare welcomed her daughter, Hannah, on August 3, 2020.

The Class of 1983

Nominated by: Jill Casey Gainer '83

I’m nominating the class of 1983 in its entirety. We have rallied together for support of our class of '83 sister, Julie Stein. We have supported her with prayer, food trains and general support. We are women from all walks of life who do great things in small ways.