Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School–Wilton held its annual Gala on Saturday, May 18 at Silver Spring Country Club in Ridgefield. Sponsored by the Fatima School Board, the Gala is the major fundraising event for the school. This year’s event was entitled “Pink Gala Celebration of Life,” and honored two beloved, long-time Fatima School teachers, Geraldine Galasso and Patricia O’Shea, who are also breast cancer survivors.
“It is the long-term teaching staff that makes Fatima such a unique environment for our students. I am very grateful to both Geri Galasso and Patty O’Shea for their dedication to the school, even as they faced personal health challenges,” says OLF principal Stanley Steele, adding, “They have lived the Fatima motto of ‘Service above Self’ and are true examples to our students.”
The community was eager to celebrate the duo, according to Clara Taveras, Gala chair and OLF School board member. “We are thrilled to have an opportunity to recognize these two teachers who educate and nurture the Fatima student body with tireless devotion and love.”
Galasso–’Mrs. G,’ as she is affectionately known–is a teacher, Fatima Alumni mother, and a Fatima parishioner for over 26 years. She has been a stalwart fixture at Fatima School for over 17 years. During her tenure, Galasso has taught grades 1, 4 and most recently, middle school math. She is devoted to her students, spending extensive time with extra help throughout the year and guiding their preparation for high school entrance exams. Galasso also serves as the school’s Student Council advisor.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2017, Galasso began remission in 2019. She has been an active participant in the Wilton Relay for Life and the Whittingham Cancer Center Walk & Run, and is extremely appreciative of the love and outpouring of support she received during her battle with Breast Cancer.
“My students were my inspiration,” she says. “Having their support motivated me each day.”
O’Shea launched her Fatima School career 19 years ago, when she began teaching 3rd grade; starting in 2018, she began teaching multi-ages Grades 2 and 3. Beyond the classroom, O’Shea has been involved in the After School Program, served as a Peer Mediation mentor and assisted in a variety of capacities for the school plays. The entire school awaits the annual Nativity pageant and the October Living Rosary, both of which she has spearheaded every year since her arrival.
In 2005, O’Shea was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and underwent surgery, treatment and reconstruction. She has been active in supporting breast cancer initiatives, participating in the 2010 36.0 Mile Avon Walk in NYC, the Wilton Relay for Life and the Whittingham Cancer Center Walk & Run.
O’Shea says she is grateful to Fatima students for helping her get through her treatment. “I focused on getting to my classroom each day and teaching…having those little faces looking at me with eager expectation kept me from being discouraged or sad. “