At the Annual Conference for Catholic Educators (ACCE) two teachers from St. Anthony School were recognized and honored for Twenty Years of Service as Catholic educators. Ms. Claire Shannon has been a Preschool teacher teaching three-year-olds and Mr. Gier “Kepa” Stern has been teaching music, band and serving as the music liturgist for the past twenty years. They were honored at ACCE following the Mass with all the schools and are pictured here holding their congratulatory 20 years of teaching certificates. They were cheered on by the SAS faculty who also printed large pictures of the recipients which the faculty waved, we were able to share our aloha and appreciation to these two special teachers.
Read the tributes about Ms. Shannon and Mr. Stern that were shared with the students during the CSW Talent Show.
The song “Christ Be Our Light” is associated with our next honoree. Ms. Claire Shannon has been Christ’s light in the lives of thousands of preschoolers over her 20+ years in Catholic education.
Ms. Shannon got her start at Saint Ann’s in Kaneohe, before beginning her rise to fame at Saint Anthony School Kailua in 1999. Since then, she has been a beacon of light for both her students and her peers. Claire truly personifies Christ’s love for children. Even when they are “all grown up”, her students return to her classroom as helpers, volunteers, or just to stop in and say “hi.” Whether she is helping parents deal with separation anxiety, lending her time and support to innumerable school committees and events, or entertaining us all with her songs, funny stories, and welcoming spirit, her classroom is a fun place to be!
Using her trademark quote St. Anthony School would like to “PRAISE THE LORD!” for Ms. Claire Shannon!
Gier “Kepa” Stern (Gier rhymes with Tire)
Just the mere mention of Mr. Gier “Kepa” Stern’s name can bring on gut-wrenching, thigh-slapping, tear-producing laughter. Mr. Stern has been a living legend throughout his 20 years at Saint Anthony School in Kailua. Music is in his spirit and in his soul, which is evident in his teaching and in the silliness, fun, and joyful noises that are Music class at Saint Anthony’s.
Kepa has been a musician since his childhood when he would make music using anything and everything he could find (pots, pans, the couch, etc.) He shares with his students that he used to lay in bed at night and listen to the sounds of his house and neighborhood.
Mr. Stern wears many, many hats at Saint Anthony’s. As the Band and Choir director, Kepa has played a huge role in helping students share their musical talents through different performances such as the Christmas Program, Choral Festival, and May Day. He also shares much of his time and beautiful talent as the Music Ministry Director, vocalist, and pianist for Saint Anthony Church.
Prior to his “school gig”, Kepa started his professional music career right out of high school, as the trombone player for Liz Damon and the Orient Express. He continued to play the trombone as an enlisted member of the United States Army. Upon his return home, he was a longtime musician in Waikiki, even performing with a youngster named Peter H., who recently found his “24 Karat Magic In the Air”.
Kepa embodies the spirit of service, love, fellowship, and joy…all the qualities of a wonderful Catholic School educator. He very often goes above and beyond his call of duty, with his trademark response of “Whatever you need.” He is beloved by students and parents, and is famous for being the OPPOSITE of his last name…..Stern!