2019 Legends Division: Faculty
Helen taught junior English literature at Saint Joseph Academy from 1970- 1988. She taught part-time in the afternoons, but she contributed to SJA in a “full-time” way promoting and participating in many SJA events. All four of her daughters graduated from SJA. She also participated on the Parents Committee at Premontre High School, where her son graduated.
Helen loved teaching and had a unique talent for making each girl in her class feel special. Many comments about her had a consistent theme, “She made me feel like I was important and always encouraged me.”
Helen fostered academic, social and faith development in her students directly aligning with the tradition of all the schools that comprise Notre Dame Academy today. She used creativity to spark the interest of each student, providing English literature of “old” and made it “new” and relatable to her students. Think of Romeo and Juliet in the context of West Side Story. She could captivate the girls’ interest even by what she was wearing. As the girls entered the classroom, the talk would be, “I wonder which fashion boots, Mrs. Reince has on today.” As one student shared, “She always rocked her footwear!”
Don’t forget the “thought of the day.” She would begin each class with a quote/thought of the day on the blackboard to jumpstart participation and energize the classroom. This was just another way Helen provoked mindfulness in young girls on their journey to young women, full of thoughtfulness, faith and hope.
After leaving SJA, according to Helen, there was never enough time in the day to accomplish all the things she wanted to do. Whether it was traveling, spending time with her mother who lived into her 90s, spending time at her cottage in Dykesville or with family; she had a knack of giving everyone the sense that they were the only one in her world as she spread her God-given traits with people around her.
In March 1997, Helen passed away after a short, but well-fought battle with cancer. She leaves behind a legacy of her creativity, passion, religious spirit and laughter to all who had the opportunity for her to touch their lives.
Most importantly, she leaves behind a legacy of hundreds of young women whom she inspired to enjoy education, be the best they can be, aspire to achieve their dreams, and take a positive influential role with their families and community.
We all have a path in a life. Helen’s children are glad the students at SJA in the late 70’s and 80’s crossed our mom’s path. In gratitude, we appreciate the induction of Mrs. Helen Reince into the 2019 Triton Academic & Athletic Hall of Fame.