The Irish’s day off: Cathedral involved in parade

Band busy all day March 17, Greer says



Mr. Tom “Super Sub” O’Brien ‘49 and Principal Mr. Dave Worland ride in the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. O’Brien was named Irish Man of the Year for 2014. Along with this award, many students participate in the parade in some way.

Sara Kress, Reporter

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday associated with the green, leprechauns and, for students here, a day off  school.

Even when the school officially conducted classes on St. Patrick’s Day, many students still took the day off. Chief officer for student services Dr. Tom Greer said, “When I first came here in 1988, a lot of kids wanted to go to the parade, so their parents called them in sick so they could go to the parade.”

Many students also participated in the annual event Downtown. “Our band marched in the parade and then they also went to different schools to perform, so the band was basically gone all day,” Greer said.

The number of all of the absent students began to add up, especially because fewer students attended here at that time. Principal Mr. Dave Worland said, “It got to be where we would have 200 or more students who were participating in (the parade) because of their celebration part, but then we got another hundred who would like to go just to see their friends and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.”

Canceled classes

For Greer, the logical solution was to cancel school on that day. “I just asked the president, ‘Can we take this day off?’” he said.

Worland said, “(Taking the day off) seemed to resonate well because we give a great presence of Cathedral and especially because we’re the Irish, so we feel a connection to what goes on on St. Patrick’s Day. This is a way people can recognize the day as a special day, and they don’t have to go to school.”

He continued, “I want (students) to learn about their heritage at Cathedral. They’re not all Irish, but we are connected because of our name, the Irish, and some of our tradition lends into Notre Dame. (Taking the day off) does give a day where I think we can celebrate for others that have a legacy of all the history that goes with St. Patrick’s Day.”

Greer said that he agrees with Worland. “It’s good notoriety, because we are Cathedral High School, to support the Irish community. Plus, it allows all of our State champions to march (in the parade),” he said.

State champs, band, Irish dancers march

These State championships provide another reason that students get the day off. Worland used to grant days off every time a group won a State championship. However, this strategy became impractical as the number of State championships grew. “The idea came up about six years ago: Why don’t we just celebrate all the state championships from the year before on St. Patrick’s Day, not go to school, and have that day be a day that recognized all the academic, athletic and other State champs?” Worland said.

The State champions march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, along with the band.

Director of bands Mrs. Kathy McCullough said that the parade is a lot of fun. “It’s a good crowd; the people there are really excited about it. There’s a lot of Cathedral alumni, and they’re all waving and cheering and screaming,” she said.

The band has to put in hard work in order to play well in the parade. “It’s a bit of a longer parade, so we have to practice several times outside to build up the stamina to play for that length of time, so I admire the band kids,” McCullough said. “It’s not as easy as it looks.”

The State champions and the band are not the only students who will participate in the parade. Irish dancers, including sophomore Kensington Speer and junior Kathleen Meyer, will also participate in St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Along with dancing in the parade, the Irish dancers perform at three elementary schools and the Rathskeller, a restaurant Downtown. Both Speer and Meyer said that their favorite part of the day took place at the Rathskeller. Meyer described the Rathskeller event as “the most fun performance ever.”

“Everyone who’s there wants to be there so it makes you want to be there, too,” she said.

Speer said she agreed. “Everyone’s really excited and the crowd’s really excited,” she said.

Speer said that it was beneficial that they and their fellow dancers get the day off from school. “We don’t miss any classes that way,” she said.

Meyer said, “I know I would not be doing any homework. There is not a single free moment during that day.”

“Irish dance is super cool,” Meyer said. “Everyone come to the Rathskeller at 4:15.”

Favorite parts for faculty

Both Worland and Greer are involved in the parade, which is free and starts at 11:30. Greer is in charge of organizing the parade for Cathedral. Worland rides in a car in the parade to represent the school.

Each participant enjoys a different aspect of the day. “My favorite part is when the parade is over, we go have lunch with a large group of Cathedral fans and we celebrate with green iced tea and Irish stew,” Worland said.

“I like walking with the band and seeing all the smiling kids,” McCullough said. “The little kids are the best part.”

Greer said, “My wife loves St. Patrick’s Day, so I love watching her get up in the morning. I give her some gifts. That’s my favorite part of the day.”

“I want to make sure that students and faculty recognize that (the parade) is taking place,” Worland said. “If someone has never been Downtown during the St. Patrick’s Day parade, they really need to experience it.”