“An inspiration to all who know her”
Humble as she is, Sister Dorothy Sayers is reaching a career milestone, and Holy Family Catholic School is making sure she is recognized for her 50 years of devotion.
Sayers, the school principal, is celebrating 50 years of service to God — and 21 of those at Holy Family, which she opened in 1996 with Monsignor William Ennis.
When she moved to Florida and started Holy Family Catholic School more than two decades ago, she did it with a promise to teach children the values that come from a top-rated Catholic education, she said.
Sayers has influenced generations of students and families through the years, and she considers them all “her children.” Her love for them is evident in her daily interactions and is matched only by their affection for her in return.
One former student, Niki Little, called Sayers a positive light.
“She showed us what it means to be a compassionate leader,” Little said. “Every time I saw Sister Dorothy in the hall, she constantly had a smile on her face and genuinely cared when she asked me how my day was going. She had such an impact on my HFCS experience and in my life.”
Two current students, fourth-grader Nicky Galloway and third-grader Logan Murphy, both commented on the quality of her hugs and her ability to make their day better.
Dr. Jackie Flanigan, associate superintendent of the Diocese of Orlando, Office of Schools, has worked both for and with Sayers, and said she has always been amazed at her complete commitment to the children.
“She genuinely loves the children that have been entrusted to her care,” Flanigan said. “Her dedication to their faith formation and to education is unsurpassed.”
Assistant Principal Tom Hamm has worked under Sayers for four years and says her commitment to creating a Christ-centered school community is what drew him to Holy Family.
“Her devotion to the Blessed Mother, Catholic education and the evangelization of the Gospel inspires me and many in the Holy Family community,” Hamm said.
A TEACHER'S PERSPECTIVE
Tami Murphy is a Holy Family parent and teacher and had nothing but praise for Sayers.
“Sister Dorothy is the type of leader that empowers, guides, loves and pushes you to be the very best you can be,” she said. “Her complete love and dedication to our students is beyond comprehension. She takes the time to meet with all of her teachers every month to discuss the progress of each student.
“Our students are her children, her faculty and staff her family,” Murphy said. “She exudes the Catholic faith in every action, word and deed. My life has been changed for the better knowing and working for her.”
Another teacher, Therese Cibotti, who has known Sayers for 21 years, echoed that sentiment.
“I feel Sister Dorothy has a profound faith (that) propels her to lead, guide, mentor and love the faculty, parents and students of Holy Family Catholic School,” she said. “She is a strong witness to our Catholic faith and sweetens each day with her warm smile. Sister Dorothy aligns her will with that of God to enkindle a powerful spirit of evangelization under the auspice of school principal.”
Fourth-grade teacher Brynn True said the principal inspires students through her words and actions.
“She brings a sense of warmth and love to everyone she meets, along with a wonderful — and wicked — sense of humor,” True said.
Taylor Cattoor is a former student at Holy Family Catholic School and now serves as a guidance counselor at the school. She said it was an honor to have learned from Sayers as a student and is a blessing to continue to learn from her as an employee.
“Sister Dorothy provided a learning environment that has allowed us all to go forth and be successful, but most importantly, she instilled in all of us the Catholic morals and values that make us true Holy Family Lions,” Cattoor said.
Holy Family parents have been equally impressed with Sayers's leadership through the years.
Melissa Gacek said she is one of the best human beings anyone will meet. Melissa Wolsonovich, who is also PSA president, calls Sayers a wonderful example of how to live a Christian life, and former PSA vice president Priscilla Fallon said she is “the most kind, thoughtful, gentle, warm-hearted … person you will ever know.”
Another parent, Melissa Scoma, called Sayers, simply, “an inspiration to all who know her.”
Contact Amy Quesinberry at AmyQ@orangeobserver.com.