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Community Support for Mrs. Puglia-Ribeiro

“To Teach Is To Touch A Life Forever.”

Dear St. Elizabeth Seton Families,

I hope that you and your family are keeping well in spite of these uncertain and challenging times. One thing we can count on is our faith in God and our strong sense of community spirit at St. Elizabeth Seton School.  

I am writing to you today to share an update about one of our beloved teacher, Mrs. Carla Puglia-Ribeiro, who is fondly known by students and staff as Mrs. P-R.  

Mrs. P-R has been a member of the St. Elizabeth Seton community for 8 years, and over the years, she has come to be regarded as a pillar of our community. If your child has had the good fortune of learning in Mrs. P-R’s class, you will know that she is a very kind, compassionate, and faith-filled educator. I have often heard Mrs. P-R described as a “ray of sunshine” – her beautiful smile always warms the room and makes all feel welcomed and safe. She is a very dear member of our St. Elizabeth Seton community and is well-loved by colleagues, students, and families alike.

With Mrs. Puglia-Ribeiro’s permission, I am sharing some personal and very devastating news about her health. Some of you may know that Mrs. P-R has had to be away from school on an extended leave for a serious health issue since last fall. In November 2019, she was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The disease has progressed quite rapidly, and Mr. P-R has now lost her ability to walk and talk.

Our staff has known about Mrs. P-R’s diagnosis for some time and we are heartbroken. Out of respect for her privacy, we have kept this information quiet. As her health continues to deteriorate, Mrs. P-R is now ready to share the details of her illness with the greater HCDSB community.  

Mrs. P-R and her husband live in the Orchard, and they often go for strolls in the neighbourhood with their beautiful dogs, Larry & Ralph.  As Mrs. P-R is now in a motorized wheelchair, and can no longer speak, the concern is that many students will recognize her, and perhaps be confused or afraid by her physical state.

Supporting Your Child
News of illness in a caring adult can be very upsetting for school-aged children. Your child may have many questions about this disease, and why this has happened to Mrs. P-R. I am passing along some resources with information about ALS, as well as some age-appropriate resources to help you support your child as they deal with the news of Mrs. P-R’s illness from the website:  www.als411.ca,

https://als.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Helping-Children-Cope-For-Parents-English.pdf

http://www.als411.ca/eng/teens/When_Someone_Special_Has_ALS.pdf

How Can We Support Mrs. P-R and Her Family
If you or your child would like to send a note to Mrs. P-R, please feel free to email her at our St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School Council email and it will be shared with her: Setoncatholicschoolcouncil@gmail.com

You may also send any cards or notes in hardcopy to the school and they will be delivered to her.  I know that Mrs. P-R misses our students and families very much, and while she may not be able to respond, she is grateful for all community prayers and support.

A group of parents in our St. Elizabeth Seton community have initiated a collection to support Mrs. P-R and her family during this difficult time. If you would like to contribute you may do so through School Cash Online: https://hcdsb.schoolcashonline.com/. The opportunity to donate will begin on Sunday, August 30, and finish on Thanksgiving weekend. All funds will be shared directly with Mrs. P-R to help support the many costs of the specialized equipment and medical needs she requires.

As a Catholic faith community, the greatest support we can offer to one another during difficult times is the gift of prayer. Please keep Mrs. Puglia-Ribeiro and her family in your heart and pray that they will continue to find strength in their faith as they journey through this very difficult time.

Mrs. P-R will be missed but never forgotten and always a special part of our St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic community!  

In faith,

Mrs. Williams

On behalf of the St. Elizabeth Seton School Staff & Catholic School Council

Elementary PrincipalCommunity Support for Mrs. Puglia-Ribeiro