Second grade teacher Yvonne Molnar has taught at St. Edward School in Corona for the last five years. Her teaching career started at Orange Elementary School, a public school in Corona. She taught there for three years before becoming a stay-at-home mom and then eventually returning to teach, this time at St. Edward School.
As part of our new series on Catholic school teachers in the Diocese, Molnar sat down with the BYTE to tell us a little about herself and her life as a teacher at St. Edward.
BYTE: Since you have taught in both public and private schools, what would you say are some differences, and what is the benefit of teaching at a Catholic school from your perspective?
Molnar: One of the biggest benefits that I truly enjoy is being able to share my faith with the students all day long, in all the subjects.
Throughout the day, they will ask questions about God and how to be kind with others and I don’t have to feel hesitant in answering their questions. And it’s great to not only be able to share my faith with them, but to watch their faith grow as well.
Secondly, I would say also a big difference is the sense of community. It’s like being part of a big family.
BYTE: Is there anything that your students have taught you or given you that you want to share?
Molnar: They’re just very loving towards one another and they’re so willing to forgive and to want to give comfort. A couple of years ago I had received bad news in the middle of the day and I just needed prayer, and they were so willing to pray with me and comfort me. And again, being at a Catholic school, I felt like I could sit and pray with them. It was very emotional and they were very supportive of me; I will never forget that.
BYTE: Second grade, they’re still pretty young and innocent, too.
Molnar: Yes; they love school, they love their teacher and they’re happy to please.
BYTE: How was teaching during COVID, and how has the transition to coming back to in person learning been for you and your students?
Molnar: There were definitely challenges. But I feel like it was more of a challenge for me as a teacher than it was for the students. They had challenges as well, but it really showed that they could rise to whatever we give them.
At the beginning of COVID, I never thought they would be able to sit in front of a computer screen for seven hours in a day and learn, and they shocked me at how well they responded and paid attention and did all of the lessons in my class. All of them grew and did very well.
So even though it wasn’t ideal, I was amazed at their resilience and how they were able to get through that.
BYTE: Could you talk about what do you like to do in your free time? And do you have a favorite saint or Bible verse?
Molnar: Well, I’m a mother of three. So most of my free time is taking care of my children. All three of my kids also went to St. Edward’s as well; I have two in high school and one still here at the school.
I used to coach volleyball for St. Edward; I played when I was younger, and I was a coach here at this school for many years and I enjoyed doing that. In fact, this was the first year I didn’t coach the team and I missed it. So maybe I’ll go back to that next year.
I love to travel. I’ve been to many places all around the world. So I will take any opportunity I can get to travel. I think those are my main hobbies.
And my favorite saint is St. Veronica; I love how she just served the Lord in the best way that she could by wiping his face. She saw that he was in need of something and provided that service. She was my confirmation state when I was confirmed. I look to her as trying to find a need and providing service, and so that’s what I look to do.
BYTE: The last question would be, what would you say to any parents that might be thinking about sending their child to Catholic school? Would you encourage them to do it, and if so, why?
Molnar: I would absolutely encourage it. I know it’s a sacrifice that parents have to make financially. But I am an alumna from a Catholic school; I attended St. Edward School and I know I will never forget my experiences that I had here. It helped me to grow in my faith and to shape who I am, and that is the most important thing that I could give my own children, more important than academics.
St. Edward School provides that foundation for them, spiritually as well as academically and there’s just nothing more important to think about. And so if you can make that sacrifice, I think it’s very important to do that.
BYTE: When did you attend St. Edward School and what grades?
Molnar: I went from second grade through eighth grade and graduated from here, class of ‘92. In fact, a lot of my classmates also have sent their children here; I’ve taught some of their kids, or their kids are now friends with my children who went to school here. It’s exciting to see a lot of us coming back and being part of the school many years later.