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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — At St. Peter the Apostle School on Wilmington Island, there is a teacher who has been teaching for nearly 60 years: Sr. Susan Harms.

“It’s in my DNA, I guess,” said Harms. “I don’t know how else to say it. I’m still enjoying it.”

As the first-grade teacher, she is currently on her third generation of students.

“As with all the Sisters of Mercy, they were firm, yet very kind and loving and guided us well in the faith,” said Tom Madison, who was in Sr. Harms’ very first class at a school in Macon. Two of his grandchildren are in her first-grade class right now in Savannah.

“You know, I’m kind of proud of it. I’m glad they’re getting the benefits of having her as their teacher.”

Sr. Harms is a Savannah native. She left the city to enter the convent and spent several years away at the beginning of her teaching career before returning to Savannah.

“There is something very special, very warming about being in your own native area when you’re performing your ministry,” said Rev. Michael Kavanaugh. “You know the people, you know the families, you know the attitudes and I think it can be a real blessing and a real help.”

Sr. Harms continues to earn accolades. She recently won the Powering Potential Excellence in Teaching Award. It’s the highest honor for a teacher in the entire Catholic Diocese of Savannah.

“It was an extreme surprise for one thing,” said Harms. “I feel extremely humbled and honored to have received it.”

“We refer to her as a master teacher,” said principal Wynter Kelly, who nominated Harms for the award. “She has touched the lives of so many children and families. It’s such a blessing for her to be here.”

And Sr. Harms considers it a blessing as well.

“It’s been an extremely enriching experience… it’s a wonderful feeling,” said Harms. “I’m so grateful to be teaching in a Catholic school because our mission is what my mission is, which is to instill the faith — not only the academics but the faith.”

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