After 40 years in the classroom at Bishop Montgomery, Dulcie Galdámez has announced her retirement, capping a teaching career in which she served thousands of students and impacted the lives of so many people. Dulcie arrived on campus in 1981, teaching various levels of French and soon began teaching Spanish, as well. She is one of only six people to work at Bishop Montgomery for at least 40 years. In recent years, Christine Collette (42 years), Dietmar Farkas (42) and Barbara Pudewa (42) all retired; Judy Kline (45 years) and Debbie Skelley (40) continue to teach at BMHS. (Galdámez is pictured, on the far right, with BMHS Spanish teachers Laura Fabbri, Rita Montes, and Alda Rodriguez).
When asked why she made the decision to teach at Bishop Montgomery for so long, Dulcie recalled the day she set foot on campus for her job interview. “That day I was favorably impressed by the diversity of the student body and their friendliness,” she says. “I started teaching in the World Language Department (then called Foreign Language Department) and right from the start, I felt at home with the students. As I walked in the hallways and during lunchtime in the faculty room, many of my colleagues welcomed me warmly and offered me their help if I ever needed it. I felt that I belonged to the BMHS family. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. That sense of community is the reason I stayed at BMHS for so many years.”
As one can imagine, Dulcie accumulated countless memories during her years at Bishop. What is amazing is that when asked about some of her favorite memories, she not only thought of one right away, but she remembers the specific day, date and time: “On Tuesday, March 2, 1993, at 2:40pm, in the Faculty Center, my French classes surprised me with a beautiful, all-the-works baby shower. I felt so loved, celebrated and appreciated by my students! I will always hold that act of love and kindness in my heart. In many ways, that memory has come full circle. One of the things she is looking forward to the most in retirement is becoming a grandmother for the first time. Her son, Jonathan, a member of the BMHS Class of 2011 and the person who was the reason for that baby shower, is set to become a father soon. He and his wife, Alycia, are expecting soon.
“To all my former students I’d like to say: Thank you for all you have given me. Your love, patience, understanding, respect, compassion, solidarity, generosity [has] made my life very rich, and I have learned so much from you! I pray for God’s guidance in all that you pursue in life. Take good care of yourselves. Be wise and courageous and continue to make a difference for good wherever you are.”
Alumni and colleagues share their thoughts and memories about Mrs. Galdámez:
“I had Mrs. Galdámez for Spanish 3 my junior year. Mrs. Galdamez loved to use interactive and creative activities to keep us engaged and help improve our comprehension of the Spanish language. She truly wanted her students to learn her native language, so her passion was always felt in the classroom. I fell in love with the Spanish language my sophomore year and Mrs. Galdámez solidified my passion and made me want to continue learning even now, years after graduation. ¡Muchísimas gracias, Sra. Galdámez!”
Brian Marafino, Class of 2013
“Bishop Montgomery had the honor of having an exceptional teacher like Dulcie for 40 years. She has made a real difference in the lives of the students she taught. We worked together for 21 years and I learned so much from her. What a blessing it has been to know a woman like Dulcie Galdámez! Her wisdom and kindness will not be forgotten. Dulcie is the perfect name for her because she is the sweetest person in the world.
We used to call Dulcie ‘La Reina de la Academia Española’ – The Queen – because every time we had a Spanish grammar question she knew the answer. We call each other with the ita ending (ita is used to indicate affection in Spanish). She is Dulcita, Laura [Fabbri] is Laurita and I am Aldita.
I remembered my first year, teaching Spanish 3; I called Dulcie almost every night when I was teaching the Subjunctive Tense. She was so nice and patient explaining everything to me. She used to say…No preoccupation! Instead of No worries! We say our own Spanglish phrases!
I am going to miss her so much because we are not only co-workers, we are sisters. We are family. Best wishes to my dear Chica on her retirement; may our Lord bless her in all her future plans. God bless you Dulcie! Te quiero mucho.”
Alda (Aldita) Rodriguez
“Dulcie and I began working together in 1986. At that time, Dulcie was teaching French, but we still connected. When we both started teaching the same [Spanish] classes, we were in total sync; students and teachers often said that if you walked in the hallway and passed by our classes, we would be teaching exactly the same – at the same time and in the same way! It was not planned; we just had the same teaching style. We became closer friends when we had our sons; her son and my oldest were born only six months apart.
Dulcie is one of my biggest supporters when it comes to Concordia Club projects. We did so many things together; if she had an idea, I immediately copied her (Oscar Wilde once said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”) and we turned it into a production. That is how, for several years, we made hundreds of girls’ dresses, blankets, and many other things. I knew that if I had a project for my classes or for Concordia Club, I could go to Dulcie and she would always be my partner.
We also have many ideals in common: our faith, our values, and our commitment to our families and to BMHS. Now, I know we also share sentimientos encontrados – mixed feelings. I will miss her, a lot, for sure! But, we will be so happy when she becomes a grandma soon and she has all the time to be with her family. I wish her the best! ¡Lo mejor para ti!”
“French classes were fun! Mrs. Galdámez had an easy way about her and learning a new language didn’t seem so impossible.”
Gladys Barbieri ’92
“It has been such a pleasure working with Dulcie for the past eight years. She has been the nicest and sweetest department chair I have ever had. Every time I observed her teaching her students, I knew I was going to learn something new from her. I am going to miss her very much, especially her positive attitude and knowing that I could always count on her guidance and support. Wishing her all the best in her retirement!”
“Dulcie embodies everything that a true Catholic school leader is. She is an inspiration to others by her positive leadership in the classroom and as a department chair. Her caring, loving nature has always been at the forefront of her instruction in the classroom and beyond. Dulcie is a jewel who is always willing to help for the good of the community. I truly believe that BMHS is a better place because of Dulcie’s 40 years of commitment to our students and their education. I will miss seeing her every day, but am so happy that she will be able to enjoy retirement with her family!”
Yvette Vigon-Morffi, Class of 1987
“When I started teaching at Bishop, Dulcie became one of my mentors. She was always so nice and helpful, and then became my Cuban sister! To this day, she always calls me ‘Lilliancita’.
Our memorable lunch times at the ‘Chica Chismosa Chisme Table’ in which we always had the most fun, with the many memorable stories we all shared in Spanish, that would always have us all laughing! Dulcie always had such a good belly laugh; her eyes would light up and would always water up, wiping the tears of joy. It made me laugh even more! We all became family.
What I love most about Dulcie is that she has such a beautiful spirit. She is a loving person and she is such a blessing. I just love her love for God, as it just ripples onto others. After 40 years of teaching, she is truly one-of-a-kind, and a ‘legend’ at Bishop! She has made an impact on many people’s lives, including mine. I wish her God’s best in her retirement, especially with the excitement of her new grandbaby on the way. Te queiro mucho siempre, Dulcie, mi ‘Dulcita, mi Amorcita’.”
Lily Cabaleiro, Class of 1991
“Mrs. Galdámez opened my mind to the idea that we could be trilingual and embody multiple cultures. My memories of her were of a poised woman, with proper presentation and big jewelry.”
Annaliz Barbieri, Class of 1994