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By Brandon Mattingly
Landmark News Service
Springfield native Mollie Bystrek got some much-deserved recognition recently, when she was awarded the Catholic Education Foundation’s Ulmer excellence in education award.
Bystrek, who teaches at St. Augustine Catholic School in Lebanon, was one of 38 teachers to receive the honor from the Archdiocese of Louisville this year, and said the distinction caught her by surprise.
“I was shocked,” she said, “but I was very honored to get this award. I have a great bunch of people that I work with who were also very deserving of that award and they were very supportive and very happy for me too, so it was just great.”
After substituting for one year at Washington County High School to start her teaching career, Bystrek took a job at St. A, where she’s been for the last 32 years. Staying in one place for so long hasn’t been much of a challenge, thanks to a positive environment, as shown by her nomination for the award.
“I was really excited and honored when I found out they nominated me,” she said. “There are a lot of great people that have been there as long as I have and it’s been a great place to be.”
Bystrek said receiving the award was “absolutely” the biggest achievement of her teaching career to this point, and said she couldn’t hide the emotion when her name was announced as a recipient.
“The teachers that were there with me said they wished they had a camera on my face when I found out because I was so shocked,” she said with a laugh.
Bystrek and the other winners were announced at a special mass at St. Margaret Mary Church in Louisville on Aug. 10.