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Light of God Award for Educators

Two Immaculate Conception Parish Schools Educators Receive Pastor’s Award for Exemplary Service
Posted on 02/01/2024

Immaculate Conception School’s long-time music teacher Ceil Cullen and Immaculata High School AP English teacher Nancy Bonham have been named recipients of the 2024 Lux Dei (Light of God) awards by Monsignor Joseph Celano, Pastor and Director of Schools, Church of the Immaculate Conception. The award, now in its second year, recognizes a staff member from each of the parish’s two schools for exemplary commitment to the sacred mission of Catholic education. 

“While students are at the heart of the schools, the schools’ mission would not be fulfilled without a dedicated faculty who support the formation of faith, inspire academic excellence, and promote social growth,” Monsignor Celano said. Mses. Cullen and Bonham were chosen as exemplars of that dedication by their school communities from many nominations, he explained. 

Mrs. CullenMrs. Cullen, a resident of Somerville, has led the elementary school music program since 1995, teaching every student who has attended the school in that time how to use their gift of voice to praise God. In addition to classroom instruction and the organization of vocal performance concerts, Mrs. Cullen has directed school liturgies and special events including Grandparents Day, May Crowning, Blue Mass, Living Rosary for Life, and many more. These are traditionally among the most memorable days each year for students and their families. 

“The sound of children lifting up their voices in songs of worship, patriotism, joy, and praise has been as much a gift to me over these years, as to ICS,” Mrs. Cullen said in accepting the award. 

A resident of Somerset, Mrs. Bonham began her career at Immaculata High School in 2000 as an English teacher. She has expanded her role to include instructor for AP Literature and AP Capstone courses, and coordinator for Immaculata’s prestigious Marian Scholars Program. 

Students count on Mrs. Bonham to be there, often when there seems to be nowhere else to turn. One said, “I knew she would listen and help me figure it out.” The number of college recommendation letters she has written over the years and college essays she has reviewed are a testament to the important role she plays in her students’ lives. 

Like so many Catholic school educators, Mrs. Bonham has lovingly taken on many additional roles, like teaching percussion for the marching band, leading accreditation teams, participating in search committees, and welcoming, teaching and onboarding new teachers at the school.