President's Blog

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President's Blog: A Season of Joy, Hope, & Peace

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.

President's Blog: October 2021

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.

President's Blog: A message to the 2021 graduates

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. 

President's Blog: Peaceful Advent, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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.

President's Blog: Bringing our alumni home

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.

President's Blog: A look inside distance learning

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.

President's Blog: What makes a great teacher?

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? 

President's Blog: What makes great teachers?

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.

President's Blog: From parent to volunteer to employee

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.

President's Blog: A sit down with one of our founders

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.

President's Blog: A pioneering spirit

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.

The transformative gift of Catholic education

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.

President's Blog : Celebrating 92 years young

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.

President's Blog: A beautiful day in the neighborhood

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.

President's Blog: A story of empathy

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.”

President's Blog: All Shook Up

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.

President's Blog: The stories behind the St. Thomas Chapel

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.