On Monday, Aug. 29, Cathedral Prep’s newly-hired principal, Mr. James Smith, walked through the hallowed halls of Cathedral Prep and into the H. David Bowes Auditorium. There he welcomed and addressed the student body, faculty, and staff and kicked off the 2016-2017 school year. He began by announcing his “no nonsense” vision (as Fr. Jabo describes it), clearly defining the procedures, disciplinary rules, and consequences for behavior outlined in the handbook. Mr. Smith ended his speech with, “Let’s have a good school year” and with that a new era began at Prep, grounded in a spirit, energy, and vibe that is spreading through Rambler Nation.
Mr. Smith shared some of his past experiences as a school administrator, some insights into his strong faith, and his expectations for carrying on the Rambler traditions academically, athletically, and spiritually.
Can Mr. Smith be called the new kid on the block? Well, not really. Maybe he is new on the West 9th St. block, Mr. Smith comes to Prep with 13 years of experience in the Erie School District in school administration. He served as either principal or assistant principal at Woodrow Wilson, East High School, Strong Vincent High School, Wayne School, and most recently Harding Elementary.
Throughout this time, Mr. Smith has consistently been recognized by his colleagues and peers for his leadership, hard work, and dedication to his students and faculty. These same qualities will be necessary to meet Mr. Smith’s high academic expectations for the students, faculty, and Prep community.
“My expectations are that we raise the bar academically by offering more rigorous courses, additional college credit opportunities and electives that are geared toward careers that our students are entering when they leave Cathedral Prep,” said Mr. Smith. While these may seem like rather lofty goals, they are goals and expectations that Mr. Smith feels not only can be achieved but will be achieved here at Prep.
Mr. Smith also expressed his enthusiasm for being able to share his faith, which lays the strong foundation at Cathedral Prep. “[I] love that I can talk about God and spirituality with students,” he said. “[I also] love the school spirit and being part of the Prep tradition.” It is these values, this spirit, and this energy that have become somewhat contagious during these first few weeks of school.
Cathedral Prep senior Dan Scutella is one student who has conveyed his appreciation for the changes Mr. Smith has brought to the school. “I expect a strict learning environment in school, but I also expect him (Mr. Smith) to run Prep in a more controlled yet fun environment,” Scutella said. “He has done a really good job so far, gaining the respect of students and teachers already in his first few weeks in the new position.”
Scutella is not the only one to have caught Mr. Smith’s excitement and enthusiasm. The entire Prep community seems to have embraced Mr. Smith and all he brings to the school. He is serious about learning but demonstrates it in a personable and passionate way. And, speaking of passion, who can forget his strong passion displayed at the first Prep rally of the year before the Prep-McWho football game last Friday afternoon? Like a seasoned veteran of the rally crew, Mr. Smith showed his “true colors” of orange and black—literally—as he ripped off his shirt revealing a proudly painted “P” on his chest while jumping into the the rowdy student body. As mentioned earlier, Mr. Smith is a true Man of Prep in Spirit, Mind, and BODY.
Now a few weeks into the school year, Mr. Smith has been welcomed into the Cathedral Prep family, and we wish him well as he helps the Ramblers roll into the future.