My wife and I were blessed over the years to have our two children, Houston and Sydney, attend school during their elementary and middle school years with Stephanie at St. Alphonsus and with me when they arrived at AMHS. Spending mornings and afternoons together in the car each day allowed us time to check in, catch up on our busy schedules, and somehow agree on what to listen to on the radio. Once they were able to drive—they were very anxious to have this freedom—my morning and afternoon commute was often just me and the radio.
We have all experienced over a year of significant change in our lives. Many of us lost something we held dear whether it be a loved one or at the very least time spent with loved ones. We can consider 2020 and 2021 to be part of our spiritual journey and regardless of your age it tested us in a variety of ways.
The spacious campus for the small community at Archbishop Murphy High School has shown advantages in a pandemic, making it easier to keep people apart physically and together emotionally.
As most parents can attest, teens are often more concerned with their social lives than with creating healthy physical, emotional and spiritual habits. In fact, the journal Pediatrics recently reported that more than nine in 10 adolescents fail to get the minimum 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous daily physical activity recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many teens will continue their sedentary lifestyle into adulthood, contributing to physical and mental health issues.
Starting Jan. 4, Archbishop Murphy High School will welcome half of its students back to campus each day, while the other half tunes into class from home.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I have always loved the changing of the seasons. The leaves have turned, briefly covered the landscape with faded yellow, orange and red. November rain washed the colors away, leaving a barren backdrop of early winter. Soon colored strands of lights will transform the trees and line the homes of families eager for the holiday season. Our traditions formed by nostalgic memories of Christmas past will fill our senses with the magic of the season: homemade cookies, caroling, warm fires and snowflakes. Yet before we celebrate Christmas, we wait and prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus during the season of Advent.
For the remainder of December we are confident in our safety protocols for the transition to the Hybrid Model and continuation of outdoor after school activities. Our plan is to have students return to campus following the Christmas break in the 50% Hybrid Model starting the week of January 4th — allowing two weeks of in-person learning experiences leading up to semester exams. We will welcome students in the Hybrid Model by alphabet as described in the template at the end of this message. Students will be able to attend classes with teachers or in some cases, they will be supervised by administrators or other staff, while we continue to monitor SnoCo health guidelines and protocols.
The first alumni of Holy Cross High School graduated in 1991—one year after I graduated from Gonzaga Prep High School in Spokane. Nine students were in that inaugural class and were among the first students who attended Holy Cross in 1988 as freshmen and sophomores. The initial ten years of Holy Cross saw relatively small classes with committed students, faculty, and staff who forged the path for what eventually became Archbishop Murphy High School when it moved to our current campus in 1999. Holy Cross students won the first state titles for the school, designed the school crest, and helped develop the reputation for Holy Cross and AMHS as faith-filled Catholic schools with exceptional academic and co-curricular programs.
We are frequently asked what school will look like at AMHS next year. While we await confirmation of social gathering guidelines from our elected officials and Health District, one thing is certain: we are planning for on-campus instruction and co-curricular activities to resume in August 2020.
AMHS has used the Moodle platform since before my arrival in 2006. As a teacher I used Moodle during the school year and developed a hybrid online course for Washington State History I taught during the summer. The use of Moodle in a hybrid concept allowed for my summer students to maintain their busy summer schedule and still satisfy the instructional hours necessary for credit for the class. Many of our teachers who have used Moodle effectively do so with a flipped approach to instruction and organize their curriculum with Moodle as a holding space. As we shift our instruction to distance learning in this time of social distancing, we are confident our platform will allow our students to fulfill their courses this school year. I invited a few members of our school to share their thoughts about distance learning.
This was one of the questions I posed to several members of our faculty in preparation for my blog series this year highlighting the vocation of teaching. You can imagine the breadth of responses due in part to our range of faculty who vary in age, gender, years of teaching experience and subject area. The question itself lies at the root of why one becomes a teacher in the first place. All of the teachers who participated in this reflection exercise could point back to a teacher who inspired them or who challenged them to think differently. This month I am sharing responses from a few of our remarkable teachers and their responses to questions including, what makes a great teacher?
I credit my love of history—and my decision to become a history teacher—to two of my favorite teachers from high school: Tony Maucione and Ron Long. My three older siblings had all attended and graduated from Gonzaga Prep by the time I arrived in the Fall of 1986. My two brothers and my sister all had Mr. Maucione and Mr. Long for history classes during their time at GPrep. They were both spoken of with great reverence in my house and were true legends on the faculty. Mr. Maucione was my junior US History teacher and Mr. Long was my senior AP US History teacher--they later became my teaching colleagues during the four years I taught at GPrep from 2000 to 2004.
After graduating from AMHS in 2007, Taylor attended Washington State University before transferring to The Herberger Institute of Design at Arizona State University to study graphic design; finishing an 8-year undergrad. While in design school, he had incredible opportunities working at design studios all over the world--from Germany to Singapore--while also spending one summer as an artist-in-residence in New York City.
On behalf of the AMHS community, I am honored to announce the hiring of Alicia Mitchell as school Principal for the 2019-2020 school year. Alicia brings tremendous experience from over fifteen years in education including teaching English at Holy Names Academy, Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Lake Washington High School. Alicia transitioned from the classroom into an administrative role at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart where she served as the Dean of Faculty and Instruction for three years. She is currently completing her third year as an Assistant Principal at Skyline High School in Sammamish. Alicia is an active member of the church and a parishioner at Assumption Parish in Seattle.
After graduating from AMHS in 2004, Casey attended Washington State University where she received her degree in Finance. She has built a successful career in finance working previously at Amazon.com as a Financial Analyst and now at Boeing in (previously) Procurement Finance and (currently) Cash Management. She lives in Seattle and in her free time enjoys traveling, whether it be a big trip to Spain (which she just got back from!) or little weekends to cabins around the PNW with friends. She bought a camera a year ago and has been trying to dabble in amateur photography!
In a courageous effort by a positive, supportive group of students, Archbishop Murphy's Varsity mock trial team improved on their 18th place ranking from last year at the Washington State high school mock trial championship, likely finishing 14th at the Thurston County Courthouse in Olympia on March 22-24, 2019.
The first day I arrived on the campus of AMHS was in April 2006 as I interviewed for a social studies position for the 2006-2007 school year. Heath Hall was not yet constructed and the main offices were then located in Holy Cross Hall in what is now the campus ministry office. Among the first people I met in this office were Sheri Conderman, Cathy Meehan, and Mary Thompson. Over their time at Holy Cross and AMHS they have witnessed their own children pass through our hallways along with hundreds of students and cherished colleagues. Each served as a parent volunteers prior to working full time at the school. I’m honored to include their interview for our oral history project. Before you listen to the interview I thought I would offer a bit more about their background and history at the school.
In a competition featuring the most AMHS mock trial students in team history (43), the Archbishop Murphy High School mock trial team advanced its "Black" team to the State Meet after capturing 1st place in the Snohomish County Mock Trial District Competition. This marks the 8th District Championship since the program started in 2005, and the 14th consecutive season AMHS has advanced a mock trial team to state.
After graduating from AMHS in 2013, Phil Hoban attended Santa Clara University where he received his degree in Economics and Entrepreneurship. He returned to Washington after college and is currently working for a mixed-use real estate developer focused on revamping suburban downtown cores. He lives in Woodinville and in his free time enjoys playing Settlers of Catan and binge-watching Peaky Blinders, Game of Thrones, and Basics with Babish.
After graduating from AMHS in 2012, Avery went on to attend Washington State University where she graduated with a B.A. in Hospitality Business Management. She currently lives in Santa Barbara, California but moves frequently for her job. Since graduating college she has lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, Aspen, Colorado and now Santa Barbara. In her free time, Avery likes to go to the beach, play tennis, and spend time with family and friends.
I had the pleasure of visiting with Pat and Bill earlier this month and recorded our conversation in the St. Thomas Chapel. I was particularly moved by their reflections on what the mission of Catholic education is for our students. Please enjoy two of the great leaders in the history of Holy Cross and AMHS.
The Archbishop Murphy High School Mock Trial team is well known for being one of the top teams in their area. Lead by Roger Brodniak, who also teaches at the school, they have won six district championships since 2006. One of the perks of being on such a renowned team is being eligible to attend the Angela R. Mathew High School Seminar Program at Harvard University. This seminar allows the students on the AMHS team to learn from some of the most successful mock trial competitors and coaches in the country. The Harvard Mock Trial Association is one of the most competitive in the world and offers valuable lessons for the stand-out Archbishop Murphy team.
As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, I look forward to exploring the history of our school, from the early founders with their pioneer spirit to the early leaders of the school who harnessed this spirit and established what is today the only Catholic high school in Snohomish County. The story of Holy Cross and Archbishop Murphy High School is a story about hope, love, faith, and sacrifice. The first entry in this series features former board of trustees chair Herb Sprute and former Principal Kris Smith. They joined me in a conversation in the St. Thomas Chapel as we reminisced about their time at Holy Cross and Archbishop Murphy High School.
As Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy High School celebrates its 30th anniversary this fall, senior Anthony Damitio is living out a family legacy there. The 17-year-old’s three older brothers are AMHS graduates, and one of his two sisters is a freshman at the private Catholic high school.
Simply put, Catholic education transforms lives – shaping the hearts and minds of all its students. It opens doors, knocks down barriers and unleashes our human potential. The lasting touch of this experience forms a deep foundation upon which an individual can build a wonderful life – one rooted in using her/his God-given gifts for the benefit of others as well as themselves.
The past few years I have enjoyed an annual birthday celebration of one of our good friends and long-time supporters: Roman Miller. I first met Roman in the summer of 2006 when I was a member of the football coaching staff. Roman frequented our practices, always with a bag of candy and another bag of newspaper and magazine articles. Within seconds of our first conversation, Roman had already identified a connection with my high school football coach, Don Anderson, who Roman supervised as a mentor teacher during Coach Anderson’s student teaching. Soon other connections were identified as Roman learned of my life in Spokane and on Whidbey Island. Our conversations continued on the bus rides to our away games, with Bill Arkell chiming in from time to time from the driver’s seat. Of course Roman would share his amazing life stories and as a teacher of history, I was fascinated with his connection with the Manhattan Project which included a visit to Princeton and a class from Albert Einstein. It’s nearly impossible to believe any person (other than perhaps Forrest Gump) could have encountered as much living history as Roman Miller.
For those of us old enough to remember the days when TV had only a handful of channels, we likely remember Fred Rogers, better known as Mister Rogers. I spent many hours as a child watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood and his magical world of make believe . I recall Mister Rogers entering his living room, adorned with a fish tank and traffic light, hanging up his jacket in the closet and putting on a cardigan sweater, then changing his shoes, all the while singing “Won’t you be my neighbor?” directly to the camera. Episodes featured characters such as Mr. McFeely, Officer Clemmons, and Trolley as well as puppet characters, including X the Owl, Cornflake S. Pecially, Daniel Striped Tiger, and Donkey Hodie, voiced by Fred Rogers and a team of performers. Award-winning actor Michael Keaton (who worked as a stagehand on Mister Rogers Neighborhood early in his career) recently paid tribute to Fred Rogers by hosting a 50th anniversary celebration in March 2018.
Transitional deacons Louis Cunningham, Justin Ryan (Class Of 2006) and Anh Tran will become the Archdiocese of Seattle’s newest priests when they are ordained this month by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain.
I knew very little about Satya Nadella prior to listening to the podcast. His story is compelling. He was born and raised in India, the son of a civil servant father and Sanskrit professor mother. He attended the renowned Hyderabad Public School and the Manipal Institute of Technology. His classmates included future CEO’s of Google, Adobe, MasterCard, and Nokia. While at MIT, he earned a degree in engineering, followed by advanced degrees in computer science and business from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Chicago, respectively. His arrival in the United States in the early 1990s coincided with a series of events which were changing the face of the world: the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communist occupied Eastern Europe, the technology boom in the US, including the rise of Apple and Microsoft and numerous Silicon Valley tech companies in the late 1980s. There was also an open door policy for immigrants from India to the US following the end of British rule in India along with what Nadella describes as an “enlightened American immigration policy.”
In April, the AMHS DECA chapter sent eight students to the International Career Development Conference competition in Atlanta this year. An additional three students attended the THRIVE Leadership Academy. During their six-day trip, these 11 students competed in varying events both as individuals and teams, and also had the chance to explore Atlanta.
Set in 1955, in a place the program describes as a “square little town in a square little state”, the music of Elvis Presley provides the soundtrack for a story of friendship, love, mistaken identity, and rock and roll. Directed by AMHS choir and drama teacher Carrie Wright, with the musical pit conducted and joined in performance by AMHS band teacher Keith Curtis, the production includes students who perform on stage and work behind the scenes. Additional staff members, parents, friends of AMHS, and the wonderful people at the Everett PUD Auditorium made for an amazing two week run of five brilliant shows.
The DECA State Career Development Conference was held March 1-3 in Bellevue. Several AMHS students finished in top spots qualifying to join nearly 19,000 students from around the world at DECA’s International Career Development Conference, April 21-24 in Atlanta, Georgia. Thirty-one AMHS students competed at the competition.
Archbishop Murphy girls basketball coach Cassie Snyder was named the Class 2A coach of the year by the Washington State Girls Basketball Coaches Association during the WSGBCA’s senior all-state games March 17 at King’s High School.
Archbishop Murphy’s freshman theology teacher, Sean Gross, recently earned his Ph.D. in Ethics and Social Theory from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.
In a courageous effort by a fun-loving group of freshmen and a sophomore, Archbishop Murphy's Junior Varsity Mock Trial team finished in 18th place at the Washington State high school mock trial championship at the Thurston County Courthouse in Olympia on March 23-25, 2017.
During the Faith and Future campaign, numerous donors and supporters of the chapel project sponsored artwork, furnishings, and spaces within the St. Thomas Chapel. Along the way, we captured the stories of the people and the spaces. Please enjoy these “chapel stories” and as you visit the St. Thomas Chapel, we hope you experience a connection to the families who helped make this amazing addition to AMHS become a reality.
On February 16th, 11 students and 2 teachers from Archbishop Murphy High School traveled to Guatemala for a service learning trip. Over the six-day experience, they visited three different schools, learned about Guatemalan culture, and heard countless stories from the people they were helping.
The Archbishop Murphy High School Girls Basketball team tied the best record in school history, finishing 2nd in state.