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York Catholic community rallies behind faculty member fighting COVID-19

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
York Catholic High School is rallying behind a longtime faculty member who recently contracted COVID-19.

York Catholic High School is rallying behind a longtime faculty member battling COVID-19.

Students and staff members alike donned green and gold Friday to show support for Heather Hoffman, the admissions director and cheerleading coach for York Catholic, who has the disease caused by the coronavirus.

"It's a way for us to show solidarity for one of our York Catholic family members who touched the hearts of members past, present and future," said Principal Katie Seufert. "(Heather) is a strong person, and we are confident that she is going to get through this."

Hoffman, 47, who has worked at York Catholic High School for over 20 years, has been out sick with the virus for more than a week. School administrators in response created "Ms. Hoffman Day" on Friday.

Faculty from Red Lion School District wore green and gold on Friday to cheer on Heather Hoffman, who has COVID-19.

Hoffman, a cheerleader who graduated from York Catholic High School in 1991, embodies school spirit more than anybody else, Seufert said.

"She bleeds green and gold, probably more than anybody else in the community," she said. "You're not going to find a cheerleader quite as supportive of our students like Ms. Hoffman. So they're giving back and helping her on the way to recovery."

Other York County school districts showed support for Hoffman too, including several teachers from Red Lion Area School District who wore green and gold on Friday, Seufert said.

Angie Lehr, a class of 1988 graduate, holds a "Get well soon" sign with 2008 graduate Kira DalPezzo.

Though the wearing of school colors on Friday wasn't a large, organized effort, Seufert said she was impressed that York Catholic was able to come together to do this for Hoffman.

In addition to current students of the school, alumni also shared and sent in photos holding signs and wearing school colors.

Kevin Bankos, the athletic director for York Catholic High School, said he was impressed by the level of dedication students and faculty showed for Hoffman.

Bankos, who has been friends with Hoffman and her family for more than 25 years, said he wore green and gold attire and carried around pom-poms Friday to show support for his  colleague.

"Heather's effect on everyone here is really the same. Her personality has a really positive effect on everyone — kids, co-workers, teachers," Bankos said. "The response didn't surprise me from all the postings and everything."

Bankos added that Hoffman's illness is "moving in the right direction" and that he is confident in her recovery.

"The support Heather has is really impressive," Bankos said. "And that's the beauty of York Catholic. We're all a family."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.