Pat Hudak worked in the public school system for many years, despite sending his children to Catholic school for their educations.
In 1987, he sacrificed pay and benefits to become the founding principal of Lakeshore Catholic High School in Port Colborne, set to open the following year.
Pat’s first order of business was to assemble a Catholic educational community that respected and recognized the dignity and worth of each person, creating a Christ-centered climate where staff saw the face of God in every student. Establishing a thriving Catholic school community at Lakeshore Catholic was his passion. He established the school motto, Think clearly, feel deeply, act wisely, and let students know their academic growth and spiritual were equally important to their development.
Pat’s positivity and strong Catholic faith set the tone for the school. He knew every student’s name, and their individual stories. Pat was fearless and confident in the decisions he made, and empowered staff to be equally confident of their own decisions. He was firm but fair, set high expectations for himself, his students and his staff, and was relentless in the pursuit of excellence. Pat gave his heart to enrich people not programs, lives, not lessons; and to nurture bodies over books and souls, not schedules.
While there were many who believed that Fort Erie families would not send their children on a 30-plus minute bus ride to school with two high schools in the community, word about the great things happening at Lakeshore Catholic quickly spread. Catholic families began to send their children to the “new” Lakeshore Catholic High School to complete their Catholic educations, based not on the appeal of a shiny new school, but on what was happening inside. He made a special note to ensure that parents were part of the school community, not only students.
Pat retired after nine years at Lakeshore Catholic High School, but his reputation and legacy live on through the many young teachers whose lives he touched as students who are leaders in Niagara Catholic today.