Editorial: Missing — and remembering — Mario


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We mourn the passing of junior Mario McCullough.

Megaphone Staff

On March 29, junior Mario McCullough tragically and needlessly passed away, leaving a hole in the hearts of the Cathedral community.

Principal Mrs. Julie Barthel emailed the entire student body, writing, “I have very sad news to share with you this evening. One of our students, Mario McCullough, has passed away. According to witnesses, Mario was shot Sunday afternoon on the east side of town. While the media has not released his name, relatives have confirmed Mario was one of the victims in the triple shooting. I know many of you loved Mario. He has been described as fun loving, outgoing and talented. In addition to being admired by his teachers and friends, he was an outstanding member of our Fighting Irish football team.”

His passing has certainly been extremely tough on the community as we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times. The world on lockdown coupled with losing Mario feels like everything is crashing down. At this time, we want to surround ourselves with our loved ones and friends, but we struggle to even do that because of this pandemic.

It is in these times, however, whether we can physically support each other or not, that we must rally as one and show the true spirit of the Cathedral Irish. This will not defeat us. We will continue to move on and live out the rest of our days remembering Number 2.

The counseling department is also providing resources for those who may need it. Via email, students were informed of the following; “Additionally, at least one member of the counseling department will be available via Google Hangouts each night this week, starting (March 30) and continuing through (April 2), from 9 to 10 p.m., for anyone who wants to connect in that way.”

We want you all to remember that at Cathedral you have people around you who are there to support you at any moment. This is no more evident than watching the rosary on Facebook Live with Fr. Jeff Godecker and director of campus ministry Mrs. Charlene Witka, or counselors emailing their students and saying, in effect, whatever you need we are here for you. They love each and every one of you more than you can imagine. 

The only thing we can do is join and be close with the ones we love, even if there is a quarantine. Text that person you haven’t talked to in a while, have a Zoom meeting with your friends, call your grandparents or reach out to a teacher. In these challenging times, family and friends lessen the pain, and love truly does hold us together.

The administration to honor Mario is putting together a video tribute, formed from all the comments, memories and stories posted about him on Cathedral’s website from the students and staff.

We will remember and love Mario for all that he stood for and all that he contributed to the Cathedral family. He was one of us and losing him hurts, hurts terribly at this time, but we have to rise up for him. We have to be strong and continue to battle through, but luckily, we Irish are resilient, prepared to face the challenges ahead.

The Megaphone will continue to update you through these difficult times, posting new information as it becomes available, whether it’s about new resources for grief support or how the school is handling the pandemic. We are here for you, too.

We would like you all, if you haven’t already, to read this reflection from junior Aniya Exum.

“I amongst many of my peers have been fortunate enough to experience the light and love Mario McCullough brought into our lives. Since Day 1 of freshman year we have been rooting for him hands down. We always knew him as the short cocky dude (who) was a beast on the football field and didn’t take anything from anyone. Mario has been a force to be reckoned with since Day 1. 

“Some of us personally related to Mario because of his background and the way he planned to live his life. There is no doubt in my mind that he would not have failed on the mission he set forth to make life better for his family and their own situations because of his work ethic. His work ethic was out of this world. Some people make up for talent with working hard, but Mario was fortunate enough to have both, and he didn’t take that for granted. He balled out every game and left his heart out on the field and showed up for his team no matter what. 

“He was a loving friend, brother, student, son, grandchild, nephew and significant other. Knowing that he is no longer with us saddens our whole community because we were and still are 10 toes behind him in everything that he did. I remember driving two hours to see him ball out because one of my own made it, not only to dress for varsity, but to start as well. The bond he had with the boys at this school is unbreakable and their hearts are broken. 

“But we are a family at the end of the day, so while they are grieving and coping, the rest of our tight knit family will take care of us and be his voice. The world will remember his name and his legacy. He will never be forgotten and the Class of ’21 will continue to ball out for him and we all will walk across the stage with our heads held high for you, Mario. Thank you for blessing us with your energy, because it said so many things about you that words can’t say. 

“We will miss you rapping in the hallways to songs nobody knew and miss you going hard for G Herbo. We will miss that beautiful bright smile and laugh. We love you always and forever, Rio2x; everything we do from here on forward will be in your name. 

“I want everyone watching this and grieving over his loss to remember that God only loans us people until he is ready to call them home and energy never dies, (it) only transfers. So love on your people while you have them. We got you, brothers and your family, and we (are going) keep (our) heads up because you would do the same, so you rest peacefully.”

Stay strong everyone. We are in this together. We love you all and hope to see you back on campus as soon as this passes. 

Rest easy, Number 2.