Lalanne - First Fruits

By Jacinta Mergler, Director of Lalanne

Exodus 23:15 tells us to “celebrate the Festival of the Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your field.”  I have been meditating quite often on this quote since mid-September as I traveled to the different cities in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan where our Lalanne teachers live and teach.  Colors of the season, cooler temperatures, and the sound of combines in the field help to celebrate the harvest along with the roadside stands of apples, pumpkins, and squash which offer me the chance to stop the car, stretch my legs and sample the fruits of the earth. But celebrating the harvest with the first fruits of the crops has an even deeper meaning this year in Lalanne as I visit the classrooms of our 21 new Lalanne teachers to observe them hard at work with their students

How blessed Peggy and I felt at the start of the summer to be bringing into Lalanne 21 faith-filled and gifted teachers. As the summer weeks progressed and we came to know them, we recognized God’s handiwork – for each one would contribute much to living in community and serving as Catholic school teachers.  And now, having observed one of them, we are in awe of their daily effort to be the best teacher they can be! Their willingness to discuss frustrations as first year teachers and accept suggestions from mentors, colleagues, principals and community members show their dedication to helping students learn.

Many principals have complimented on their professionalism, energy and caring spirits. Living in a community faith, they work daily to build their personal relationships with God and with each other.

Here are the names of our “first fruits”, our 21 new teachers, and where they serve:

  • In the Cleveland Community:
    Tonica Johnson – Villa Angela/St. Joseph High School;
    Audrey Lawless and Elizabeth Karpus – St. Martin de Porres High School; and
    Caitlin Kelly – Cleveland Central Catholic High School.
  • In the Dayton Community:
    Maria Fischer – Ascension Catholic School;
    Lauren Haner – Springfield Catholic Elementary;
    Jessie Hanley – Chaminade-Julienne High School; and
    Jenny Holzmer and Hannah Manion – St. Patrick’s in Troy.
  • In the Indianapolis Community:
    Alyssa Fligge – Cardinal Ritter High School;
    Sheila Heaton and Michael Troutman – St. Michael-St. Gabriel School; and
    Samantha Buckner – Lumen Christi School.
  • In the Cincinnati Community:
    Jaynie Taylor – St. Clement School.
  • In the Flint Community:
    Megan Huml – St. Robert’s;
    Maggie Johnson – St. John the Evangelist;
    Janice Matlon – St. John Vianney; and
    Jason Rader – Power’s Catholic High School.
  • In the Lansing Community:
    Carrie Altick and Will Marsh – Resurrection School; and
    Carolyn Ventricelli – St. Mary’s School.

Please remember each of our new teachers and our second year teachers in your prayers. May God bless and protect them and their students this school year.