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Archdiocese recognizes St. Mary Catholic School teacher for excellence

April 20, 2010|By JANET HEIM
  • Ann Marshall recently teaches her sixth-grade social studies class at St. Mary Catholic School in Hagerstown. Marshall is also the recipient of a teaching excellence award from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer,

HAGERSTOWN -- Ann Marshall wasn't in the mood for the long drive to Baltimore on a weekday after work, but the St. Mary Catholic School teacher followed through on her commitment.

She had promised her principal to go to an annual awards banquet, thinking she was going to support the Catholic schools that would be closing their doors this year.

Marshall rode down with several other staff members, only to discover that her husband and some fellow teachers already were seated at a large table. That's when Marshall knew something was up.

"They surprised me. I had absolutely no idea," Marshall said.

Marshall's love for teaching was recognized March 25 when she received a Teaching Excellence Award from the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Marshall said she felt honored by the recognition, but also was uncomfortable.

"I must say I felt uncomfortable being singled out," she said. "We have such wonderful teachers at this school and we work as such a team. We're always there for each other."

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It was an honor for a woman who hadn't exactly planned to be teaching at this point in her life.

"It's fun every single day. I can't imagine what else I would do. I love telling the kids stories of history," said Marshall, 65, who said she signed on to teach next school year.

Marshall first taught for three years in her hometown of Chicago, after graduating from Saint Louis University, where she studied to be a social studies teacher.

She admitted that she disliked history in high school, especially the memorization of dates. It was a college professor who made history come alive for Marshall, steering her career path.

Marshall then taught for two years in Washington, D.C., where she met her husband of almost 40 years, James Marshall.

He was in the U.S. Army and the couple found themselves living in many different places -- including three years in Germany -- as their family grew to include five children. Ann Marshall said she was traditional in wanting to stay home to raise their children.

The family settled in Hagerstown about 25 years ago when James Marshall was stationed at Fort Ritchie. Their two oldest children were in seventh and eighth grade at the time.

All five children -- three sons and two daughters -- attended St. Mary Catholic School and graduated from St. Maria Goretti High School. The Marshalls have five grandchildren, who are scattered around the country.

When Ann Marshall found herself with an empty nest, she headed to St. Mary School to volunteer.

Her duties included being milk mom and cafeteria mom, among other things. When the principal discovered Marshall was a teacher, she started substitute teaching.

And when the social studies teacher moved away, Marshall was offered the position. That was 16 years ago.

"I was kind of flabbergasted. I hadn't planned to go back to work," Marshall said. "I can't call it work. I love every moment."

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