Gov. Ducey helps honor nun inspiring students at Phoenix school for 60 years

Sister Joan Fitzgerald has been guiding and inspiring young women at Xavier College Prep Catholic School for the past 60 years.
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 5:08 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Gov. Doug Ducey was one of many honored guests who showed up on the campus of Xavier College Prep Tuesday. They were there to celebrate the accomplishments of Sister Joan Fitzgerald, who has been guiding and inspiring young women at the private Catholic School for the past 60 years.

“I went as a teenager, and now to teach here is an honor,’ said Mary Anne Herding, Director of Xavier dance program. “My daughter went here. It’s really a legacy for so many families that sister Joan has created.” “I think she leads by example, not someone who just says something and doesn’t do it,” added student Ave Sharett. “She acts on what she does.”

Sister Joan started at Xavier in 1962 as a Spanish teacher and is now the school president. Over the years, she served as treasurer and was instrumental in raising millions of dollars for campus improvements.

But by far, Sister Joan’s greatest achievement is her impact on her students as a mentor and role model to thousands of women, teaching them the value of hard work and giving back to their community. “When they can appreciate themselves and realize the gifts they’ve been given to share, hopefully they go out and share that,” said Sister Joan. “There are so many remarkable women that have done that over the years.”

Sister Joan’s former students include an Arizona Supreme Court Justice, a director of the Peace Corps, and an Olympic medalist. “It’s wonderful because it makes you feel good that people are happy,” said Sister Joan. “If you can do something to add a little joy to people’s lives, that’s good.” Sister Joan said she has no plans on retiring any time soon.