Saying goodbye … and thank you

Kathy FutrellIn June, Roanoke Catholic bids farewell to assistant principal Kathy Futrell and former assistant principal-turned-bus-driver Jane Cooper, who together have devoted 61 years to the school.

Futrell, 66, was hired in 1997 as 8th grade teacher for World History and English. She later added the role of academic advisor, which included guiding seniors through the college admissions and scholarship process. Since 2011 she has served as upper school assistant principal.

“It’s a family, it’s a sense of community, it’s a caring and nurturing environment,” she says about RCS. “It’s the fabric and fiber of who we are, each person’s gifts and talents that they bring. They’re all blessings.”

Through her guidance, RCS seniors have earned a 100 percent college acceptance and, for each of the last three years, more than $3 million in college scholarships.

“Mrs. Futrell has always been so supportive and encouraging both to me and to many others, as a Confirmation sponsor, teacher, mentor and guide,” says Mark Kowalski, ‘03, who is in seminary to become a Roman Catholic priest. “I’m very thankful for the gift that she is!”

RCS chemistry teacher Sara Plante says, “Kathy has been a tremendous source of support and advice throughout the 19 years we’ve worked together. We will miss her level-headed approach, her patience, and her obvious love for the students.”

Jane CooperCooper, 69, came to RCS in 1973 and, with the exception of one year in Franklin County Public Schools, spent 43 years as a teacher, assistant principal, alumni office liaison and bus driver. She still recites the school’s vision and mission statements, in part because she served on the committee that created them, but mostly because they are words inscribed on her heart: “We really believed what we put on paper.”

Shares James J. Spichek, ‘90: “After graduating from Roanoke Catholic I served in the U.S. Army for four years. After being discharged honorably I wanted to go to Marshall University, however my grades at Catholic were not the best. Without anyone asking, Ms. Cooper wrote a letter to the university … and with the luck of the Irish, I was accepted. So I was a 22-year-old freshman who ended up graduating from Marshall with a B.A. in Public Relations and a M.A. in Geography. Of all of the teachers I had at Roanoke Catholic, I learned the most from her and I greatly appreciate all that she has done for me.”