Eileen Jevis | Staff writer

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

— Proverbs 31:26 

The Oxford dictionary’s definition of hero is “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” The Diocese of Syracuse is fortunate to have many heroes among us. 

The Catholic Sun is writing a series of articles on some of the “unsung heroes” in our Diocese to showcase the men and women who quietly go about their business of teaching, mentoring, evangelizing and leading. They are motivated by their faith and commitment to God, and their humility and skill inspires those around them.

Allison Brown is an art teacher at Blessed Sacrament School on the east side of Syracuse. She is a graduate of Bishop Grimes High School, Onondaga Community College and SUNY Oswego. As an alumnus of Blessed Sacrament, Brown says one of the best parts of being a teacher is when former students come back to visit her and tell her how much art changed their lives. 

In addition to teaching art, Brown is an aide in the pre-K classroom at the school. Fellow teacher Heather Marx said Allison is a highly valued member of the Blessed Sacrament family. “She is involved in all aspects of the school community,” said Marx. She is an inspiring art teacher, a fantastic aide, social media specialist, innovating marketing team member and so much more.” Marx said that Brown fits the description of an unsung hero because of her time behind the camera capturing images of her students and the school. 

Brown is responsible for the beautiful artwork the students create under her instruction, the decorations in the hall and the new banner that hangs in front of the school. “There is no round of applause for her. Her name is not attached to it and the camera is not pointed at her,” said Marx. “But she is the one that created it, developed it and inspired it without recognition or the expectation of recognition.” 

“Allison is unique, kind and very talented,” added Principal Lisa Coppola. “Her dedication and love for teaching is evident in her work. She inspires her students by teaching them the beauty of the world around them.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge for every teacher and administrator. It proved to be more challenging for special-program teachers. “But Allison never missed a beat,” said Marx. “She taught her students virtually and created social media projects and activities to keep them engaged in our school when we couldn’t be together in person.”

Brown said she learned adaptability and faith from her students during the pandemic. “I give these children so much credit for how well they handled the last few years,” said Brown. “There were so many challenges in learning new school protocols and even learning a new way to socialize with each other. It had to be one of the hardest and scariest things they’ve had to do, but they did it right along with the faculty and staff. I truly admire their strength and their faith in God’s plan for themselves, their teachers and families.” 

Brown understands that school doesn’t come easy to everyone, but she teaches her students that art can be therapeutic no matter the skill level. “Art helps ease the mind and brings joy in hard times,” she said. “Art can send a message and speak for those who are unable to. Most of all, art is a way to express yourself, which is truly a blessing.”

If you would like to nominate an unsung hero in your parish or school, email us at info@thecatholicsun.com. Please provide a brief synopsis of the teacher, mentor or spiritual leader, along with your name and contact information. 

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