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2019 Distinguished Warrior

Patti Mouton Judice

Barbara Pharis

The 2019 Distinguished Warriors of the Year are Patti Mouton Judice and Barbara Pharis. Both of these women have made a long lasting and meaningful contribution to OLF and represent the high ideals of being a Fatima Warrior! Congratulations!

Patti Mouton Judice is a 1972 Fatima graduate.  She married a fellow Fatima alumnus and high school sweetheart, Clay Judice.  All six of their children attended Fatima.  She currently has seven of her grandchildren at Fatima.  The Judice and Fatima legacy are alive and well!  Patti has been part of the Fatima School Family as the Workroom/First Aid Assistant since 1988.  For 31 years, she has been taking care of students, teachers, and staff.  She has attended to their many physical needs, as well as matters of the heart.  Ask any alumni about her famous “bag of ice!” It cures everything. Patti is a true Warrior.  She is sensitive to the needs of others, and has cultivated the habit of thoughtfulness and consideration.  She loves Fatima and is the first one to volunteer to help in any way to promote our school. Her love for the school and the children is infectious. Patti has often said she doesn’t believe one day has ever felt like work.  She feels blessed every day that she is part of the Fatima family and the contagious heart-warming spirit that is truly Fatima. She is someone who has made a meaningful contribution to her profession, and had the blessing of doing it at her alma mater. She in an active Fatima parishioner and goes above and beyond to support the Fatima community She bleeds blue and gold and the school is better because of her contributions.

Barbara Pharis graduated from Northwestern State University at Natchitoches, Louisiana, in December of 1975 with a B.A. in education certified in kindergarten through 8th grade. In search of a job and a new future immediately following graduation, special circumstances brought Barbara to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School where she met Sister Therese, the principal. Hired on the spot as a kindergarten teacher, Barbara was both elated and apprehensive. She was a young mom of a three-year-old son and away from home and family. Her salary was $5,900 a year, and she had no idea how little that was. Barbara’s fears soon subsided when the faculty at Fatima embraced her with open arms. Fatima had become her new home. Barbara taught kindergarten from 1975 to 1987 and in that time period had three daughters. In 1982, Barbara’s young son Rob Pharis, then ten years old, was tragically killed in a bicycle accident. Fatima became Barbara’s sanctuary as she and her husband, Jim Pharis, traveled down the road of grief. A few months after her son’s death, in an attempt to fill her time with something positive and rewarding, Barbara started the pre-school summer program for incoming kindergartners – a program that thrived and still exist today. In 1987, after teaching kindergarten for 12 years, the principal Keith Bartlett asked Barbara to join the junior high department as a language arts teacher. Once again faced with a monumental challenge, Barbara took the position after much encouragement from Mr. Bartlett. After her first year in junior high, Barbara became the sponsor of the Fatima Student Council, and the following year she formed Fatima’s first quiz bowl team. As faculty sponsor of student council for twenty years, she fostered a robust enthusiasm for school and community service, creating activities for students which served the community at large and also generated funds that were donated back to the school. While sponsoring the student council, she also coached the award-winning quiz bowl teams for thirty one years, taking several teams to Nationals. Following her years as student council sponsor and quiz bowl coach, Barbara was asked to take over the speech and drama class, which she still enjoys teaching today. As the speech and drama teacher, she has written, directed, and produced several promotional videos for the school and has co-directed and directed several junior high plays. Barbara has taught the honors reading and English classes in seventh grade for over thirty years. During her years as a junior high teacher, she was voted “Teacher of the Year”, nominated for Who’s Who by over a dozen former students, and awarded a certificate of recognition by Northwestern State University through the Duke program as an “Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted”. Four years ago, she was asked to develop a creative arts class for seventh graders, and last year Barbara was asked to teach the technology class to sixth graders.  She continues to teach her honors reading and English class, along with speech and drama, creative arts, and technology. Barbara has been a teacher at Fatima for forty-three years.  During her years at Fatima, she has taught under 5 principals and is now teaching under the current principal, Mrs. Angela Isaacs. She has taught all of her children, four of her grandchildren, and continues to teach the children of the children she has taught.  She calls these her “grand students”. Barbara says, “Becoming a part of this wonderful Fatima family has been a beautiful gift that she will forever cherish.”