RSM's Vicki Heeren receives award
Vicki Heeren was among three across the Diocese of Sioux City who received an Excellence in Education Award at the Bishop's Dinner of Catholic Education on Saturday, September 24. Fifty-one RSM supporters attended the dinner. The Today Show weatherman, Al Roker, a product of Catholic education, gave the keynote address. Vicki is in year thirty-one as a teacher in the St. Catherine-St. Mary's School System. Mrs. Heeren's first and only interview was at RSM in the summer of 1986 and she was hired on the spot! She taught 7th and 8th grade her first year and then taught 5th grade for nine years. In her eleventh year she was asked to initiate a kindergarten program. Since kindergarten had been absent from RSM Schools for decades, there was no curriculum, so she developed her own, which was sought after by other diocesan teachers and administrator when they wanted to start their own all-day kindergarten. Her teaching is very much faith-based with emphasis on Jesus Christ. The focus of holidays like Christmas and Easter is on Jesus, rather than the Easter bunny and Santa Claus. The All Saints prayer service in fall and St. Patrick's Day prayer service in the spring are favorites of the students. These occasions are much loved by parents and grandparents who enjoy being guests at an open house that follows the prayer services. Guests are invited into the classrooms for participation in educational activities, as well as beverages and treats. Mrs. Heeren keeps parents informed with a weekly newsletter as well as posts on her webpage and Facebook page. Mrs. Heeren is organized, motivated, and dedicated, and has made teaching at St. Catherine-St. Mary's her ministry. Along with her award, colleagues presented Vicki a memory book consisting of pictures of each of her present kindergarten students along with their text of their favorite kindergarten adventure. Included were pictures and text from former students presently in first through eighth grade at RSM telling of their favorite kindergarten memory. Mrs. Heeren's teaching and service on numerous committees has made Remsen St. Mary's Schools a better place to teach and learn. Mrs. Heeren receives the support of her husband, Doug, who is currently in deaconate training. Both are dedicated to St. Mary's Parish, serving as Family Faith Formation teachers and Extraordinary Communion Ministers. Both of their daughters are graduates of St. Mary's, and their oldest daughter is in religious life formation while their younger daughter is finishing a master's degree and working in Catholic education in a Sioux City Diocesan school.