Saint Aloysius Parish School to honor 2 long-time Pottstown residents

Submitted Photo Mr. Joseph Browne (Legacy of Philanthropy honoree) and Mrs. Donna Hennessey (Legacy of Inspiration honoree) will be recognized on April 2 at Saint Aloysius's first-ever Legacy Tribute and Auction.

On Saturday, April 2, Saint Aloysius Parish School will hold its first-ever Legacy Tribute and Auction. During this event, which will serve as the School’s major fundraiser, two long-time Pottstown residents will be inducted into the Legacy Tribute Hall of Fame. Mrs. Donna Hennessey, beloved St. Al’s English teacher, is this year’s Legacy of Inspiration honoree; Mr. Joseph Browne, member of the Saint Aloysius Class of 1946 and parishioner, is this year’s Legacy of Philanthropy honoree.

The honor of the Legacy of Inspiration is bestowed upon an individual who has done extraordinary things for others in the Saint Aloysius community and beyond. Though his/her excellence, encouragement and mentorship, this person uses his or her God-given talents to inspire others to be a living witness of the Gospel message.

Born and raised in the Pottstown area, Donna Hennessey (Carlini) attended Saint Gabriel’s in Stowe. She arrived at Saint Aloysius Parish School in 1972 after graduating from Chestnut Hill College. For the past 44 years, she has devoted her career to instilling the love of the English language, literature and the Catholic faith in all of her students at Saint Aloysius.

The Hennessey family has a more than 50 year history with Saint Aloysius Parish School and Church. Donna’s husband, Kevin, is a 1964 graduate of Saint Aloysius; her daughter, Dori, is a 1999 alumna of the School; and her son, Jonathan, is a member of the class of 1995. Donna and Kevin have dedicated much of their time volunteering with the Church. Donna also has been involved with the Junior Service League.

A lifelong educator, Donna’s interest in her students goes beyond the classroom. Former colleague Marilyn Lavelle remarked that Donna has always “felt strongly that all learning did not take place just in the classroom.” She said, “Donna makes her students want to be better students, better competitors and better people. Her complete faith in their abilities gives them strength and confidence. This unwavering faith is evident in all her classes. Praise from her former students shows this clearly.”

“Donna is wonderful teacher and mentor,” said Mrs. Lavelle. “While working with Donna, I saw her always use fairness, honesty and genuine love while dealing with families.”

Current Saint Aloysius Parish School second grade teacher, Mrs. Maggie Zale, has worked with Donna for many years.

“No matter how education changes, Donna has the ability to understand what is most important and what every student needs to succeed,” she said.

The Legacy of Philanthropy honor is bestowed upon an individual who embodies true Christ-like generosity. This person is generous of heart and uses his/her time, talent and treasure to support and further the mission of Saint Aloysius Parish School.

Joseph Browne is a lifelong resident of Pottstown who has dedicated his life to the service of others. A 1946 graduate of Saint Aloysius Parish School, Joe spent his career as an engineer at General Electric.

The oldest of five children, Joe served as a father figure for his two sisters and two brothers after their father passed away. His brother, Paul, Saint Aloysius Parish School Class of 1952, recalls how Joe “provided guidance, moral support and finances (if necessary) for us all to continue on.”

“We all appreciate the disciplined religious and academic education we received, which continues to serve us well as we progress through life,” said Paul of his faith-based Catholic education.

Commenting on Joe’s selflessness, Paul said, “Joe has always been supportive of his family and his Catholic faith, both emotionally and financially. All of us siblings, and our children, have been the recipients many times and in many ways, of Joe’s generosity.”

That generosity is also evident in his service work. Joe has been a very generous benefactor to his alma mater, giving both his time, talent and treasure to Saint Aloysius Parish School and Church. In 2011, Joe was named “Citizen of the Year” by Pottstown Elks Lodge 814. He was recognized for his volunteer work with Saint Aloysius Parish Church, Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County and the Tri-County Performing Arts Center (now Steel River Playhouse).

For more information about the Legacy Tribute and Auction, please contact Director of Advancement Pat Kerwin at pkerwin@saintaloysius.net or 610-326-5877 ext. 422, or visit www.saintaloysiusschool.com.

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