Mothers exemplify strength in family spirit


Joseph Zuloaga '23

Mothers and children from the Sarmiento-Mathisen, Birmingham, Datoc, and O’Connell families are part of the Riordan family as well.

Ceejae Minell de Lumen '24, Staff Reporter

The challenges of a mother should never be overlooked. Being a mother takes courage, responsibility, perseverance, and endurance. The hardships and endless days taking care of loved ones are mixed with the special moments that make it all worth it. 

From simply providing food and shelter to being there for their children when they need her, moms all across the world are deeply appreciated for the role they play in their children’s lives. 

Attendance Manager Nora Birmingham and son Brendan Birmingham ’23

Being a mother is not easy, and each year Mother’s Day reminds everyone how important it is to have a strong woman in one’s life. Becoming a mother is one of the most important physical and psychological changes that a woman will experience. The real meaning of celebrating Mother’s Day is to honor motherhood itself. 

In the Archbishop Riordan Community, there are several mothers who show leadership and commitment not only to the school, but also to the students, some of which are their children. 

Growing up, people inherit certain traits and qualities along the way and that is certain. Caroline O’Connell ’25, whose mother is Admissions Assistant Sally Alioto O’Connell,  said, “One quality that I inherited from my mom was my red hair. It makes me unique, and I enjoy sharing it with her.” 

Jameson Datoc ’23, son of math teacher Mary Ann Datoc, said, “One quality that I got from my mother, well one thing for sure it’s not math skills, but rather being involved within the school. My mother is known for being involved in many things around and outside of the school community. I guess that’s where I got my mass amounts of involvement in the school community. It’s from her.” 

Math teacher Mary Datoc and son Jameson Datoc ’23

A mother figure is helpful, and having one at school can be inspiring as well. 

Jameson said he is inspired by, “Her balance in all the things she’s involved in, her ability to communicate, her math skills, the ability to not be afraid to stand out of the crowd, and being unafraid to fight for what’s right.” 

Caroline said, “I am very proud of my mom. She has gone through so much and is a strong woman. I aspire to be like her one day. She works so hard at Riordan and then goes home and works hard as a mother. She has taught me so much. I am very grateful to have her as my mom and I love her very much.”

Throughout every mother’s actions, it all comes from a place of love. Each mother is different in their own way but shares the same goal which is to care for their children and make sure they are in their happiest well being. 

Sally O’Connell said, “Like many of our students, I lost my mom when I was young (13 years old).  While my time with her was short it was still very impactful.  My mom was an amazing artist and I am blessed to have some of her work in my home.” 

Admissions Assistant Sally O’Connell and daughter Caroline O’Connell ’25

Math teacher Karina Mathisen said, “My mom prides herself on being a life-long learner.  When she takes an interest in something, she always wants to do it 100 percent well.   She has done some cool things:  restored and re-upholstered old furniture, made clay pottery, created jewelry from metal scrap pieces… all before YouTube tutorials were around!” 

Mothers are truly superheroes as they can accomplish anything for their children they love with their whole hearts. 

Although motherhood can have its ups and downs, being a mother has such a greater meaning in a child’s life. The growth and unconditional love a mother has is unreplaceable. A mother educates her child everything from eating, talking, walking, to eventually living the fullest life one could imagine. 

Mathisen said, “It is amazing watching an individual who was so attached to you as a young child develop their own unique and separate life and personality and grow bigger, stronger, smarter, but still somehow remain a part of you.” 

Math teacher Karina Mathisen and son Lucas Sarmiento ’23

O’Connell said, “Being a mom is the most wonderful, fulfilling stressful job on the planet.  Seeing my daughters handle life’s challenges with grace and integrity and compassion make me very proud.”

The love from a mother is one of the purest forms because having a mother does not only mean having someone to look after you but is someone who teaches their child the importance of self worth. This Mother’s Day is special because Riordan has the most mothers of current students working at the school, which calls attention to the role women have in everyone’s life.