The CRT Spotlight

CRT Spotlight #15: Stephanie Gaona

CRT Spotlights are intended to encourage and inspire fellow teachers of the faith. Know a religion teacher who deserves to be featured? Please send me their name and e-mail address via my Contact page. Thanks!


Stephanie Gaona

What teaching positions have you had and for how long?
7 years of teaching High School Theology in general. The breakdown: 7 years teaching 9th grade, 4 years teaching 10th and 12th grade, 1 year teaching 11th grade, plus 4 years teaching sacramental preparation for First Reconciliation and Eucharist at parishes.

Where have you taught?
St. Augustine Catholic High School – Tucson, AZ. St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church – Oro Valley, AZ. Davis-Monthan AFB Chapel – Tucson, AZ.


FAVORITE: Bible verse or story
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

There are too many to just pick one! St. Maria Goretti, St. Cecilia, Padre Pio, Mother Teresa, St. John Bosco, St. Michael the Archangel, Blessed Miguel Pro, the list goes on!

FAVORITE: Christian Work of Art
The song “Garden” by Needtobreathe


Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (it’s a Bollywood movie)

FAVORITE: Vacation spot
Rome, Italy

FAVORITE: Thing(s) to do in your free time
Playing with my kids, spending time with my family


What do you enjoy most about being a Catholic religion teacher?
I love that in teaching theology I can be myself and the person God is calling me to be with my students completely. I also love that in teaching the faith we have the space to talk about God’s presence in all things.

What religion topic/lesson do enjoy teaching the most?
Christian Apologetics

What is something your students have taught you?
My students have taught me a great deal about looking beyond the surface, and not keeping first impressions as lasting impressions.

What is a “win” (story of success) that you have experienced through your role as a religion teacher?
Any time a student seeks out opportunities to grow in faith and I am able to help guide them to resources or even just witness their growth, that is a success in my book. It is such a gift to be able to see students get involved at Mass, come to class and say, “I was talking with my parents about what we discussed in class yesterday…”, and to seek out opportunities to grow in prayer.

What is a struggle or challenge you have experienced as a religion teacher?
A lot of parents feel inadequate when it comes to helping their child in theology/religion class. Many students come to me and say, “I couldn’t complete the reading/homework/project because when I asked my parents for help they said they couldn’t help at all, that they themselves don’t understand it.” This points to the need of family catechesis, and more opportunities for parents to grow in faith alongside their children.

What have you found to be most effective in helping your students develop a strong relationship with Christ and His Church?
Giving lots of space for questions. Students need to know that it’s okay to question their faith and it’s an important part of them making the faith they learn about in the classroom as their own.

What kind of advice or encouragement would you most want to share with a brand-new religion teacher?
Prioritize your own prayer life first. Be confident in the call you have received to teach the faith. Rely on the Holy Spirit when you are at a complete loss. Learn your limitations and set boundaries. You’ve got this!


How can other teachers connect with you?

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