Mrs. Denise Nelson


Faculty Member Since: 1996

Hometown: East Islip, NY



What is your favorite memory of being in school?
I absolutely loved school – big surprise! I remember that I very much wanted to be inducted into the national honor society which always seemed to elude me. It came time for the annual assembly at my high school, I was in 10th grade and I trudged along with the rest of the student body into the auditorium. I happened to turn around and saw my parents come in – my parents NEVER came to school so I new this had to be my day. My mom had on a black and white check dress and white pearls and my dad was wearing a blue suit with a striped tie. I’ll never forget the feeling of anticipation.

What do you value most about St. Patrick?
There is just no substitute for spending the majority of my waking hours in an educational environment permeated by faith, Gospel, high academic standards, discipline and solid Christian values. Every day is an opportunity to experience and live out mutual respect, love, forgiveness, reconcilia- tion, tolerance, service and compassion – you just don’t find that in many places, but you do at St. Patrick’s. I feel privileged to be a part of what goes on here.

Who or what inspires you most?
I am most inspired by people with a generous spirit. They have such a selfless nature that their generosity and compassion seem effortless. There is nothing you can’t ask of them, in fact, you rarely have to ask, they just know the need is there and take it on and usually thank you! Nothing seems to get them down and there is always joy in their giving. I am also greatly inspired by children who have to deal with difficult situations, be it family struggles or learning difficulties. Most of us would crumble under the challenge and stress but these kids seem to have an endless supply of perseverance and determination. They accept their circumstances, push forward and manage to show up here at school everyday ready with a renewed spirit, ready to take on the world. Wow!

What do you like to do in your free time?
Let’s see, free time?? Believe it or not I like to do projects around the house. My husband and I just finished remodeling our house and we have designed and built most of the major elements ourselves. I enjoy finding a creative solution to problems, doing logic puzzles, playing tennis and reading.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
I remember when I first told my dad that I wanted to join the Marine Corps; he was stunned, but supportive and said that if I was going to do it I had to give 110% everyday no matter what I felt like. While I was in the Corps, as a Second Lieutenant, a very wise and salty Gunnery Sergeant told me never to ask of my people what I didn’t believe in or wasn’t willing to do myself. He of course was right and I follow that advice to this day. I hope it has made me a better person and leader.