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.
Steve Schmutz joined Archbishop Murphy High School in 2006. He received a B.S. degree in Marketing and History from Santa Clara University, a Master of Initial Teaching from Gonzaga University and a post masters Principal certification from Seattle University. Prior to his arrival at AMHS in 2006, Steve taught at South Whidbey High School, Gonzaga Preparatory High School, and the International School of Aruba. He also served as the Principal at Eastside Catholic High School. While at AMHS, Steve has served as a member of the Social Studies Department, as the Dean of Students, as Principal and as President.
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.
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.
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.
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.”