Digital Exclusive: Bishop Heelan teacher celebrates half a century of educating students

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – One Siouxland teacher is celebrating 50 years of educating students.

Bishop Heelan teacher Pat Sitzman received recognition on Monday morning during a faculty and staff meeting in the Heelan gym.

“Pat [Sitzman] was honored because this next fall will start her 50th year in Catholic education in Sioux City. It’s just a tremendous accomplishment for someone and to be so wonderful as a teacher still and so effecting of students. She has not lost it, her touch at all when working with students,” said John Flanery, President of Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools.

Sitzman said she hates the attention being on her for the many years in education but…

“It’s kind of nice to be acknowledged…I love it more when the kids say something…you know, like ‘Wow, you’re still teaching. My mom had you,” said Pat Sitzman, a Bishop Heelan English Teacher.

Sitzman is an English teacher at the high school and holds the position of being the chair of the English Department.

She has taught for 30 years at the high school and almost 20 years at the middle school in the Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools.

“She’s a faith-filled woman who understands students. She understands the English that she teaches, the different subjects that she teaches. She continues to adapt and morph [the] curriculum based on the needs of what’s going on in the English classroom. Truly, is just a remarkable teacher that we couldn’t be more proud of,” said President Flanery.

Sitzman said she likes to think that she has made an impact on the thousands of students she has taught.

“They go off to college and, you know, they’ll send me emails or texts and say ‘I can’t believe there are some kids that have never written a paper. I have to teach my dorm partner how to write a paper.’ You know, and they’ll thank me for what I’ve done for them,” said Sitzman.

She’s now only one of two teachers to join Heelan’s “Half Century Club.” The other teacher is Brenda Burchard.

Sitzman adds that she originally planned to retire this school year but that plan is on hold for now.

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