Thanks to Chris Whitehouse for this news from Christ the King College. Ed
Mrs Pat Goodhead, Principal of Christ the King College, Newport, is to be made a Dame of the Papal Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great in recognition of her service to the Catholic Church.
The Award will be presented at the College later in the term by the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, Bishop Phlip Egan, and is one of the highest Awards given by the Catholic Church. Such Awards are made only on the personal authority of His Holiness Pope Francis and are seldom made to those who are not themselves Catholics.
Speaking today, Bishop Philip Egan says:
“I am absolutely delighted at the Award the Holy Father has given to Patricia Goodhead. This is surely a recognition of the wonderful service she have given to education on the Isle of Wight, and also of her care and support of all Christians, not least to the Catholic community on the Island.”
David Lisseter, the Chairman of Christ the King’s Governing body, adds:
“I would like to express my delight at the award and its recognition of the work and dedication of Mrs Goodhead as leader of our now nationally respected College.”
Mrs Goodhead responded to news of the Award saying:
“It is a great privilege to be the recipient of such a prestigious award. The news came as a complete surprise, rendering me unusually speechless but deeply grateful to those who deem me worthy of this honour. However, this is much more than a personal achievement; it is really a tribute to all those who have worked, and continue to work with me, to secure Catholic and Christian Secondary Education on the Isle of Wight. I count myself blessed to have such a wonderful job working daily with young people, and I would like to thank everyone who has supported me in the journey to achieve faith based education for current and future generations.“
Island MP, Andrew Turner, who knows the College well, sent his own message saying:
“I am delighted for Pat. This is well-deserved. The work she has done at Christ the King College has transformed the chances of many Island youngsters.”
Pop to pray for Christ the King College
Cllr Chris Whitehouse (Conservative, Newport West) who is a parent of children at Christ the King and is the College’s local councillor, added:
“By force of personality and sheer determination Mrs Goodhead has driven forward Christ the King to be the top performing state school on the Island, spiritually, pastorally and educationally, often in the teeth of determined opposition. I salute her on this splendid recognition of her contribution. I had the privilege of being invited to attend on Sunday (1st September) a Private Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis in the Vatican. I was astounded to be presented to him and have a few quiet words. I thanked him for the award of this honour to our Principal and asked him to pray for the College’s continued flourishing: Pope Francis agreed and asked in return that the College pray for him, which I am confident they will do with gusto!”
Father Gerard Flynn, parish priest of St Thomas of Canterbury Church, Newport, a Governor of the College, says:
“Christian and Catholic education on the Isle of Wight is affirmed in this well-deserved award to Mrs Goodhead who exemplifies many hard working and faithful professionals in our schools. They are striving to help our pupils know the reality of Christ’s promise that ‘I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ Well done, Dame Pat!”
Father PJ Smith, parish priest of the South Wight, also a Governor of the College, added:
“Mrs Goodhead works tirelessly for the good of the community of Christ the King College. She has not just led our college to be a beacon of excellence, but also, a beacon of Christ’s light here on the Isle of Wight – I am delighted that this light has been recognised by our Holy Father.“
Cllr Richard Priest (Independent, Shanklin South), who is the Cabinet Member for Schools on the Isle of Wight Council, endorsed the award, saying:
“This award recognises the contribution that Pat has made to the lives and learning of children over many years, as well as the commitment and dedication she has given to the community she serves.“
Just like Hogwarts?
Fraser Norris, who lives in Ryde and is a sixth form student at the College, says:
“I am sure I speak for all the students when I say congratulations and well done to Mrs Goodhead. She has been a strong and visible leader of our College community and this news is simply fantastic. She even gets to wear a cloak; it’ll be just like Hogwarts!”