Principal reflects on first semester’s successes

Barthel notes that safety was and continues to be priority


Megaphone file photo

Principal Mrs. Julie Barthel noted the many positives that occurred during the first 18 weeks of the school year.

Avery Stuckey, Chief Reporter

As the first semester comes to a close, Principal Mrs. Julie Barthel provided her perspective on the first two quarters of the school year, noting the many achievements and successes that occurred on the Hill. 

“Our first priority was, of course, to be back. It is good to be back on the Hill face-to-face,” Barthel said.

With the difficulties of the past year, it was important that the faculty knew exactly what to do when coming back and to ensure the campus remained a secure place. “We promised parents we would do it safely and so we spent a lot of time getting advice on how to be safe,” Barthel said. 

Because the ultimate goal was to be back in person, there were a great deal of rules everyone had to follow. “I am really proud of our teachers, who have done a great job doing everything we have asked; our counselors have done a great job; and our students and parents have done a good job of following all the policies and procedures we put in place so we could be face to face and be safe,” Barthel said.  

Along with being back on the Hill. there have been many accomplishments that the students and staff have made. 

“I have been around Cathedral for a long time, about 19 years, and the school spirit this year has been absolutely amazing. I think it started with the great Freshman Class we had coming in, and we have an amazing team that leads our freshmen. They came in with an awesome Lughnasa retreat and our peer mentors have done a great job with them I think we even saw that during dress up days during Homecoming,” Barthel said. 

There were also many positives when it came to athletics as well. 

“The two leprechauns have done a good job of unifying the school, and winning the banner was great not only because it is great PR for our school, but I think it did unify our school as well. Winning a State championship as a school with this much tradition in football, you do not have to play football or even like football, but it is still a thing that you are proud of that Cathedral won back-to-back championships,” Barthel said. 

Fine arts have also had many accomplishments this semester. “We are able to have concerts again with band and choir in person. We had live theater again. That’s what schools should be doing. All the traditions Cathedral is built on we are able to do now,” said Barthel. 

However, with the positives there are challenges that were faced. 

“At first the governor did not have a rule that if you wore masks then you could stay in school, and so we started the year with so many kids being sent home to quarantine just by who they sat by and that is probably one of the worst things I have had to do as an administrator is telling kids they had to go home just because of where they were sitting in class. 

I think the new teachers are absolutely amazing.”

— Principal Mrs. Julie Bartel

“So when the governor made that ruling, that is when we decided after talking to the experts to wear a mask at Cathedral (and) 100% that decision was made and it is still being made so students can stay in school,” said Barthel.  

When starting the school year many educators walked onto the Hill for the first time. “I think the new teachers are absolutely amazing. (Vice Principal) Mr. (Mark) Matthews and I are pretty intentional when we interview people and tell them about our mission. 

“Teaching at a Holy Cross school is different from other schools; it is special. It is not just about teaching the content you know, it is about educating hearts and minds. The main two things we ask in an interview are about building relationships with the kids and engaging students, so these teachers were hired very specifically to be here at a Holy Cross school,” Barthel said. 

With the approach of the second semester, Barthel anticipates seeing the students continue to come together. “I am looking forward to the spring musical. We have had some theater productions, but the last big musical we had we stopped because we could not have it, so I think something like a spring musical that has a lot of cast members (will be) a unifying event for the school,” she said. 

And finally, Barthel expressed one final sentiment.  “What a special place Cathedral is,” she said. “We got to keep living out our mission and having kids who live it out for us.”