Eleanor Graham teaches 12th-grade English, and she is known for her scrapbook project. That’s where students put together pictures and mementos from their year, and they add captions that Graham grades for grammar.

The value of the fun project hit home with Bishop Dunne students and alumni in February, when graduate Gladys Barrientos died in a car wreck. Mourners found comfort in Barrientos’s scrapbook from Graham’s class, which was displayed at the memorial service.

Graham is one of 11 Dallas-area Catholic-school employees awarded a $500 Work of Heart Award last week. The award, from the Catholic Foundation, is based on nominations from students, parents, teachers and other community members. The honorees are chosen based on “tenure and leadership, acts of kindness or charity, Christian example, mentoring and simply going the extra mile for an individual student, family or the community”.

Her nomination letter, written by a former student, states: “After taking an advanced English course at my university, I realized the extent to which Mrs. Graham has strengthened my academic ability.  The course involved reading fifty pages and writing four papers a night describing the tone, purpose and audience of the works.  Watching my classmates fret at the syllabus’s expectations, I smiled at its immense similarity to Mrs. Graham’s syllabus.  She treats her students with the same dignity and capability of college students, and I cannot thank her enough for the responsibility she placed in me.”