The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Teacher of the year

'I expect the best from children, and I usually get it'

It was an odd question from a fourth-grader. But Robert Humanick asked his Sunday school teacher if he could flunk. "She made it fun to learn. She was always smiling," the boy says.

He thought losing Janis Charvala — a Sunday school teacher for more than 25 years at Holy Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church in Catasauqua, Pa., — would be worse than failing.

Charvala's popularity, dedication, spirituality and ability to relate to children earned her national recognition last year as one of 10 finalists for the Henrietta Mears Sunday School Teacher of the Year Award sponsored by Gospel Light Publications. She was the only Lutheran among the finalists.

Parent Diane Czar nominated Charvala after catching her 11-year-old daughter, Katie, reading the Bible before bedtime. "Althou gh it may have been Janis' homemade cookie rewards that got my daughter to take her Bible to church, I believe it was Janis' spiritual essence that influenced this spiritual hunger in my daughter," Czar wrote on a contest entry form.

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February issue


Embracing diversity