Pekol leads Cathedral School’s ‘good works’With a new principal at the helm, Cathedral School is preparing to sail into Catholic Schools Week. The fun begins with a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday in Kress Hall and ends Friday with a picnic lunch in the school gym.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
With a new principal at the helm, Cathedral School is preparing to sail into Catholic Schools Week. The fun begins with a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday in Kress Hall and ends Friday with a picnic lunch in the school gym.
“We’re not noisy about what we do, we don’t shout from the hills,” said Principal Marilyn Pekol. “We quietly go about doing good works.” But, she said, there is always a lesson in giving taking place at Cathedral School — a fall food drive, collections of hats and mittens for kids in need, presents for adopted families or even teens offering babysitting.
Pekol joined the Cathedral team on Nov. 15, jumping in with enthusiasm, new ideas and lots of energy.
“It’s a refreshing change,” said Connie Jacobson, administrative assistant, who called Pekol “a ball of fire.”
The Rhinelander native, a product of Catholic education herself, has been teaching at Catholic schools for 24 years. She started as a band director for Nativity of Our Lord school in Rhinelander, teaching students to play instruments. Pekol began taking on more administrative duties and earned her administrator’s license from Vitterbo College while teaching full time. She taught briefly at a public school, but returned to Nativity of Our Lord to teach. Catholic schools, Pekol said, are better able to deal with moral issues and discipline.
“We’re teaching them to be good citizens,” she said. “We can teach them about God; we can pray in school. It puts things into focus for kids.”
Having Cathedral School in Superior offers parents an option, Jacobson said. In return, said teacher Ginny Leopold, the community has been very supportive of the school.
Parents and staff are highly invested in student success at Cathedral.
“We give every student the opportunity to be their best,” Pekol said.
“We have teachers who really care,” Jacobson said. From the secretaries and aides to the teachers and principals, everybody knows the students by name and knows what they are up to. But, she said, “they also know we care.”
Pekol has spent time on the playground getting to know students and time out of school connecting to the community.
“She’s committed to our school and that’s a good thing,” Jacobson said.
Pekol has diverse hobbies and interests ranging from playing in polka bands to blacksmithing. She can lay brick, fix plumbing and diagnose her own car troubles. And she never goes anywhere without her toolbox. The biggest challenge Pekol has found in her move to Superior is the distance from her husband in Rhinelander. But she is relishing her chance to take the wheel and really make an impact at Cathedral.
“The kids here are great, the parents are great,” Pekol said. “There’s so much future here.”
The new principal is focusing on improving technology and increasing enrollment, which is currently 293. Pekol can even envision a building renovation in the future. To fine-tune the school’s direction, the new principal plans to meet with every teacher and staff member one-on-one over dinner. To date, she’s met with nearly half of them, discovering a plethora of great restaurants at the same time.
“She’s young, enthusiastic, energetic,” Jacobson said. “I think she’ll be here for a while. That would be a good thing.”
For a taste of Catholic Schools Week, everyone is invited to the pancake breakfast. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for students and free for preschoolers. In addition, a family gathering for all children in preschool through second grade and their families is being held in the school gym from 3-4:30 p.m. The event will feature games and crafts and an opportunity to find out more about what Cathedral School is like.
For more information on Cathedral School or Catholic Schools Week activities, visit www.superiorcathedralschool.org.