I have to tell you, it is really crazy around here, and I don’t mean the typical last month of school craziness. Although we have that craziness, too. No, our computers have risen up in revolt. The server is not serving, and we have intermittent internet. The computers are staging a full scale rebellion. Their assault was cunningly timed. Our tech wizard, Rich Hadden, is gone this week. He is one of the chaperones on the eighth grade class trip to Charleston. Luckily I have still retained my pre-computer skills and have been able to cope. I still know how to wield a piece of chalk!
May is shaping up to quite the busy month. On May 1, the school honored the Blessed Mother with a May Crowning prayer service. Carmen Badell was chosen to place the floral crown on the statue of Mary. The eighth graders left for their class trip to Charleston on May 8 to return the following Friday. The third through sixth graders attended a retreat at the Maria Stein Spiritual Center on May 9. On May 15 the fifth graders will attend the annual Health Fair. Greg Bobos from Channel 45 will speak to second through sixth grades about tornadoes on May 18. Last month, if you recall several of us had a bit of adventure while traveling back from the NCEA convention. I don’t know about “Dorothy,” but I am looking forward to the presentation.
It my sad duty to note the passing of another one of our school family. Mike Pressnall passed away unexpectedly last month. It was quite a blow to our school. You may have known Mike through his work at the hospital and in the community. What you may not know is that Mike was a teacher at St. Mary’s during the ’70s and ’80s. Mike was on staff when I joined in 1978.
He was a gifted teacher, but what I really appreciated was his sense of humor. He always had stories to tell about his class, his part-time job at the hospital or life in general … always with his spin. Eating lunch in the faculty lounge was like dining at a comedy club every day. Mike left St. Mary’s to work full time at the hospital, but like so many of us, he didn’t really leave.
Mike was our chief cheerleader in the community and our very own decorator. We had the most elegant doughnut and juice receptions of any elementary school. I know I have often reported on these functions, but I neglected to describe the decorations. The doughnuts were served on silver platters. The doughnut table had a table cloth, with tulle down the center, and always a lovely flower arrangement. Every school function from doughnut receptions to fundraisers like the Mardi Gras were afforded the Pressnall touch.
Mike and his wife, Sylvia, were the force behind the eighth graders’ class trips. They arranged fundraisers, made travel arrangements and chaperoned the trips. Mike passed away on the day of the Etta Mae and Tom Foley Memorial Dinner and Auction. He had been on an errand to get water for the dinner that night when he passed away. Given how much he loved the school and how often he gave of his time and talents to the school, I guess his passing away while in the midst of working for the school shouldn’t be too surprising.
Last year, around this same time I wrote about another St. Mary’s family member who passed away, Steve Blocher. Steve and Mike were brothers-in-law, although they acted more like brothers. We miss both of them. But when you arrive at the pearly gates, if you would like to visit them, just follow the smell of cigar smoke and head over to the sounds of laughter.
Another school year is about to end. I know because looking at my calendar I see field day is scheduled for May 21 and the last day of school is May 31. As usual the year has flown by. It’s true, time does fly when you’re having fun. So on behalf of the students and staff I hope you have a wonderful summer.
Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.