For over four decades, the presence of Sheila Fry graced the classrooms of St. Francis Academy, Joliet Catholic High School and Joliet Catholic Academy. For the last 11 years, with Fry as her department head, Cheryl Rybarczyk taught English at JCA.
Both Fry and Rybarczyk announced their respective retirements from teaching at JCA with the end of the 2011-12 school year on June 1. Rybarczyk received her bachelor’s degree from Chicago State and her master’s from Governors State. Fry earned her bachelor’s at the University of St. Francis, her master’s from Governors State.
“I went into education thinking I had a thing or two to teach about learning,” Fry said. “I ended up learning far more from my students and my colleagues than I ever could have hoped to impart.”
“I loved every minute of it,” Rybarczyk said of JCA. “It was wonderful and always a challenge.”
Fry enjoyed teaching British literature the most. She was renowned for her love of Shakespeare and, in particular, as the host of the coeducational high school’s Shakespeare Festival during the spring.
“I was constantly inspired by my fellow teachers,” Fry said. “And I am very grateful to the two orders in charge of JCA – the Joliet Franciscan sisters and the Carmelites of the Most Pure Heart of Mary.”
The advisor for JCA’s newspaper, The Victory View, Rybarczyk has her sights set on being a full-time grandmother.
“I look forward to spending a lot of time with my five grandsons,” she said. “I always wanted to make the classroom a fun place to be, making sure the lessons were about learning but also were fun.”