Bacsik offers words of love, thanks to OLS School
By Mary Stadnyk | News Editor
Donna Bacsik never imagined that Tuesday, April 12, 2011, would have been her last day as principal of Our Lady of Sorrows School, Mercerville. And thoughts of retirement were not on the horizon.
But God, on the other hand, had another plan for her life, “and I had to move to plan B.”
This life-changing day for Bacsik, her family and the school community was brought about by a massive heart attack. She was at school, not feeling well, and her colleagues became concerned when she began coughing and experienced shortness of breath.
“I went to the emergency room and it was a good thing I did,” said Bacsik. “I was in trouble.”
Bacsik, who is the mother of three children, Diane, David and Danielle, and a member of Sts. Francis and Clare Parish, Florence Township, spoke some about the challenges she had to endure in the past three months – two surgeries, two hospitalizations, a lengthy recovery, and coming to terms with the decision to retire. But she willingly and joyfully, instead chose to focus more on what it meant to her to fulfill her “life’s passion” as an educator in a distinguished career that spanned nearly 40 years.
Though the majority of Bacsik’s career was spent with the Hamilton Township School District – 20 years as a teacher and 10 in administration as vice principal and principal – her venture into Catholic education evolved after she had accepted an early retirement package from the public school system. With a resume and a wealth of educational experience in hand, a job search led her to a position as principal of Our Lady of Sorrows School.
Bacsik’s next move in Catholic education came two years later in 2006 when she joined the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools as associate director for elementary schools. But after four years, she realized how much she missed working in a school environment and encountering the parents, teachers and most especially, the students on a daily basis. She was pleased for the opportunity to return to Our Lady of Sorrows last September when the principal’s position once again had become vacant.
Up until April 12, Bacsik delighted in telling about the “very dynamic” year she enjoyed at Our Lady of Sorrows School.
“It was a great year,” she said, then made special mention of the increase in student enrollment in the past school year.
“Our Lady of Sorrows is such a wonderful place and I have such good memories of the years I was there. The parents are so cooperative and so generous, the children are so loveable and the staff is phenomenal.”
Acknowledging the outpouring of love and concern the entire school community had shown her since her illness, Bacsik, with emotion, said, “I have a saying that Our Lady of Sorrows School is a great place to be a kid.” “It really is a great place to be a kid,” she said. “And it’s a great place to be a parent, a teacher and a principal too.
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