Greensburg Central Catholic teacher enjoyed 70 years as a model of service
Long past the age that most people enjoy retirement, Sister Mary Helen Meyer kept going to school each morning to teach her students.
Meyer taught honors and advanced placement chemistry for 45 years at Greensburg Central Catholic High School, where she started in September 1967.
She taught school for 70 years, finally retiring last year at 92.
For Meyer, now 93, every day is still an opportunity to teach.
She continues to tutor students at the DePaul Center at the Sisters of Charity mother house in Greensburg and will tutor science at Seton Hill University.
When she was growing up in Bellevue, Allegheny County, teaching was the furthest thing from her mind, Meyer said.
“It was the last thing in the world I wanted to do,” she said.
But over the years, she grew to love her calling.
Even as a child, Meyer always knew she would enter the convent, she said. She comes from a religious family, and she has an aunt who joined the Sisters of Charity.
“I can't tell you why it was something I always wanted to do,” Meyer said. “I like to do service for people.”
When she joined the Sisters of Charity in 1938, Meyer thought she would volunteer as a housekeeper at a home for single mothers. But she was sent to Duquesne University, where she earned her bachelor's degree.
Once she started teaching, she loved it.
She taught for 25 years at Sacred Heart High School in Pittsburgh and went to Notre Dame University to earn her master's degree to teach chemistry.
“I love teaching chemistry; it's my forte,” Meyer said.
“She's a model we all need to live by,” said Greg Bisignani, a former student and member of Greensburg Central Catholic's alumni association, which honored Meyer for her years of service during a recent basketball game.
Meyer said teaching became a source of energy for her, and she doesn't think that teaching until age 92 was anything extraordinary.
“It just seems normal to me,” she said. “I've been very fortunate.”
She enjoyed seeing students grasp the concepts and challenged herself to teach to each student's abilities.
Meyer said she stayed sharp by checking her students' Advanced Placement scores.
“My students made all 5s (the highest score), and I decided I was still doing the job,” she said.
Bisignani said Meyer touched the lives of all of her students.
“She's probably one of the most intelligent people I've ever met,” he said.
But Meyer credits her students with teaching her through the years.
“Every student you teach touches your life,” she said.
Kate Wilcox is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Audit: Westmoreland records were at risk in transfer to computer system
- Hours to be reduced at Ruffsdale post office
- Salem teen surprised with Westmoreland Fair Queen win
- 9 displaced by fire in Grapeville
- Pickup changes to be in place at Greensburg Salem Middle School next week
- Mt. Pleasant police chief Ober retires
- Ex-worker admits to taking money from Penn Township Sewage Authority
- Catholic Diocese of Greensburg injunction becomes permanent
- Penn Township hires public works director
- Western Pa. Operation Nighthawk traffic patrol yields 38 arrests
- Stormwater management plan stuck in stalemate in Unity, Latrobe, Derry Townships