Fall Newsletter -November 2020
Alumni Return to Give Back
On a Friday night in late October, an impromptu reunion occurred with St. Mary graduates spanning from 1970 to 1978. What brought these alumni together was the common bond of being a “Cairo Bus Rider”. They gathered in the library to reminisce about their time at St. Mary and the daily roadtrips that defined so much of their high school experience.

In 1969, the first group of students from Cairo, Il began making the two hour round-trip drive each day to and from St. Mary. Parents, concerned with the unrest in Cairo at the time, raised money through rummage sales and donations to purchase a small bus to take the first group of high school students to St. Mary. The families in Cairo were the primary funding source for the first bus and future buses that helped so many students during turbulent times. For a decade a bus or a vehicle ran from Cairo to Paducah with the last Cairo Bus Rider graduating in 1979. The leftover funds raised to support the transportation remained in an account for many years until the alumni presented a check to St. Mary for nearly $6,000 this year.
Cairo Bus Riders visiting the Chapel during
their visit.
“St. Mary was there for us when we needed it the most. We are grateful to give back,” said Mitch Barkett '70.

Were you a Cairo Bus Rider? We would love to hear from you and put you in contact with other bus riders!  Contact us at alumni@smss.org.
Tradition Keeps Us "Pinned" Together!
On September 16th, the 2021 seniors lined the sidewalk of the high school as parents and grandparents filled the parking lot to watch their St. Mary student be “pinned”.  This rite of passage has traditionally occurred during the closing Mass each year. The tradition allowed the current senior class to present the St. Mary leadership pin to a member of the junior class as an official welcome to their senior year.

This year due to COVID, the ceremony had to be postponed until the start of the 2021 school year. It took place outdoors with parents and local alumni helping to pin our seniors. Despite all the changes, the pinning tradition lives on!

This simple tradition holds such significance to our students and their families. Even with the alterations, the spirit of the ceremony was the same as always.
Alumnae Jane Ann Parker '62 pinned her grandson Parker MacCaulay, and Jackie Hopper '68 pinned her granddaughter Emily Veatch.
Welcome to the Class of 2021!
We are scratching our heads trying to figure out what year the Pinning Ceremony first started. We think it started in the late 90s or early 2000s.  Email us at alumni@smss.org or click on the survey below to help jog our memory!
What year do you remember the Pinning Ceremony starting?
St. Mary Alumni Elected Mayor of Paducah
Congratulations to St. Mary alumni George Bray '69 who was recently elected City of Paducah Mayor!

We are proud of the many ways our alumni continue to serve and lead in our community and beyond.
Welcome New Leadership
Stepping into her new role as Principal at St. Mary Elementary was like coming full circle for Mary Smith, "I was a St. Mary student, then a St. Mary teacher, and now a St. Mary parent. I see the wonderful aspects of each role and feel fortunate to be able to draw from these perspectives everyday in my role as principal." 

Mrs. Smith assumed her new position this summer when Lisa Clark, who served as elementary principal for seven years, moved into the System Technology Coordinator position in July.

Mrs. Smith has degrees from Murray State University (B.S. P-12 & Elementary Education, Learning & Behavior Disorders) and Georgetown College (MA in Teacher Leader - Teaching Technology). In addition to Mrs. Smith's experience as an elementary school teacher for the Paducah City Schools and at St. Mary Elementary, she has served as a First Year Teacher Mentor and Grade Level Team Leader. In her first year at St. Mary, she introduced and led the elementary school's Coding Club and after-school Girls Bible Study. During her years in the Paducah City Schools, she assumed leadership roles in curriculum and professional development training, particularly in reading and math as well as differentiating instruction.

Navigating her first year as principal in the midst of COVID has certainly been a challenge, but Mrs. Smith sees the positive, "COVID is a new hurtle for everyone, so in that sense, we are all on a learning curve this year. I am especially blessed to work with a fantastic group of teachers and staff. We are facing this challenge together by trusting God and creating a safe and positive learning environment for our students no matter what comes our way!"
Retiring Faculty and Staff
After 41 years of combined service to St. Mary School System, Mrs. Michelle Dunlap and Mrs. Rhonda Webb retired at the end of the 2020 school year.
Mrs. Michelle Dunlap began teaching at St. Mary in 1999 and recently completed her 21st year. During her years at St. Mary, Mrs. Dunlap taught middle school science and religion and high school religion and business. In addition, she had the important role of organizing the weekly middle and high school Masses and system wide Masses.

"Organization and detail are two words accompanying Mrs. Dunlap," said Eleanor Spry, St. Mary Director. "Her ability to plan and organize meaningful retreats, develop relationships with service groups in our local community, and her quiet behind the scenes work on liturgy and Masses enriched the spiritual experiences for hundreds of St. Mary students and staff she encountered. We are thankful for the faith she cultivated within each of us."
Mrs. Rhonda Webb served as the Technology Coordinator for the school system since joining St. Mary in 2000. During her 20 years of service, she has guided the school through many changes and upgrades to our technology. Most recently she helped to lead the school through the quick pivot to Non-Traditional Instruction due to COVID 19.

"Mrs. Webb's position as middle school and high school media specialist and System Technology Coordinator positively impacted every St. Mary student and staff member," said Eleanor Spry. "As the moderator for Student Senate, she helped students develop leadership skills. These activities ensured homecoming, ROAR, and other student led functions continued as important St. Mary traditions. We are thankful for her many years of service to St. Mary and miss her terrific baking talent she often shared with us."
Upcoming Reunions

Class of 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011:
Are you a member of any of these classes?
If your class is planning a reunion in the next year,
please let us know! We will be happy to help spread the word
and work with you on planning!
Please contact Ashley Wright at ashley.wright@smss.org
Upcoming Events
After a COVID break,
The 12th Shadrach Boaz Golf Tournament Returns!
Mark your calendar for June, 21, 2021.
Help Us Grow and Keep Us Updated
We need your help! We want to expand our alumni database so we can share news with more of you. Please click the button to share the link to our Alumni Form.
Have you recently graduated with a degree? Started a new job, gotten married, or have other exciting news to share? We'd love to hear about it and feature you in our next newsletter. Email us at alumni@smss.org.