Letter to the Editor


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To the editor:

One Sunday evening this past summer, my wife turned to me and asked, "Honey, do you think you could be a business manager at a high school?" Unbeknownst to me, this question would have a substantial impact on our lives.

Her inquiry was a part of our then-routine review of the local newspapers searching for the right employment opportunity. Finally, after four months of preparing for either job relocation or alternate employment, my resume was answered and the interview process completed, and I was packed and en route to Cape Girardeau.

After living in St. Louis most of my life with an eight-year Army-financed tour of the world included, I immediately began comparing Cape to other places we had lived.

The reason for writing is to share with you my findings.

Since my arrival in mid-August and taking on the role as business manager for Notre Dame High School, I have had the extreme pleasure of meeting what seems to be the entire population of Cape. In doing so, to a person, each offered his or her help and personal time at my request. I was impressed and even more so each time that support has been forthcoming as promised. People from every aspect of the city and its surrounding area ranging from business leaders to parents and alumni have welcomed me and my family with the warmest of receptions. What I find unique and definitely uplifting is the fact that I've received this same openness from the people at the cleaners, the filling stations and even the shopping facilities. The city's appearance -- clean, well-maintained and apparently peaceful -- is complimentary of the quality people who make up this enviable community.

The Army provides a family environment which I witnessed and practiced, but nothing like the way you folks in Cape do it. They could learn valuable lessons from all of you.

A direct reflection of the parents -- almost a mirror image -- are the kids at the school. They are polite, well-behaved, enthusiastic, spirited and quite loyal to Notre Dame. One unique trait I've noticed of the students is their willingness to participate in the school, be it sports, clubs, volunteer work, attendance at the myriad of school-sponsored functions or volunteer community support. I've learned by watching and by some personal experience that the motive behind this loyalty is the staff. To a teacher, they've impressed me with their dedicated performance and personal sacrifices for the students.

I believe my experience can support these laudatory comments, as I am the father of seven children who has, to date, sent kids to four different colleges, three separate high schools and one elementary school, whose family started with the birth of our oldest in Europe and has subsequently meandered through a couple of counties and several states. I believe I have seen a good sampling of what is possible in a city, in a school and in a neighborhood, both from a large-city and small-town perspective, to include good and less than desired.

I believe our family has been quite fortunate to find a job and home and, again, the security we all try to maintain. Combine this with the outstanding people here in Cape and the surrounding area and those supporting the school, and one could not possibly ask for a better environment. You should feel very fortunate and quite proud of this community. Its values and commitments are some of the best my family has ever experienced. I wish to thank all of you for making what started as a dilemma turn out to be a dream. Thank you very much. And yes, with the help of this community, I can do this job.

ROBERT McGAHAN, Business Manager

Notre Dame High School

Cape Girardeau