Sister Bernadette Washy

Distinguished Honorary Alumna
Sister Bernadette Washy
Divine Redeemer Academy, Class of 1958

We are proud to celebrate this year’s Honorary Alumna, Sister Bernadette Washy. Sister Bernadette began her career at Serra Catholic in 1975, creating wonderful memories until her retirement in 1990. Over the years, Sister always wanted to make education more interesting for her students; she made it her mission to make learning fun and stimulating. In doing so, she developed a new way of teaching to actively engage her students. 
Sister B willingly accepted considerably large class sessions, comparable to those one would find at a college or university. The sessions took place one day a week, and during that time Sister Bernadette would teach 50-60 students. “That type of classroom environment allowed the students to connect with one another,” she stated.

Sister B, along with her students, won many science competitions some of which were International! Sister’s students always “came out on top,” she noted. The students did so well that competitors would say, “When is that Nun going to retire?” It was all in good-humor, with the other teachers turning the competition into a rivalry with Sister B. Among many awards and recognition, Sister won the Keiven Burn Award for Outstanding Science Teacher in 1984. 

She considered all of the students at Serra Catholic her children and has many warmhearted memories. Even though she is no longer teaching at the school, Sister feels as if she never left and would love the legacy of Serra’s quality education to live on forever. “It is all about the kids. The purpose is to not always to get A’s and B’s, we are preparing them for life.” An interesting fact about Sister is that she was the Development Director at Serra Catholic for one year. Although, she joked, “I am a giver, not a taker!”

Sister Bernadette shared her disappointed that her declining health prohibited her attendance at our Distinguished Alumni event to accept, what she considered, this “great honor.” She stated, “The highlight of my teaching career was having the privilege to help prepare Serra students—my kids—for successful careers. Many are now great parents, accomplished doctors, surgeons, lawyers and scientists who have passed their enthusiasm for learning to their children and grandchildren.”

Diane DiNardi remarked that many alumni have voiced their appreciation for Sr. Bernadette and the lessons she taught about science and life. She is remembered fondly by students, faculty, and staff. She has changed lives through her dedication to Serra and our students.

We thank Sister Bernadette for her hard work and dedication to Serra! It is our pleasure to honor her as this year’s Honorary Alumna.