Editor's Note – To celebrate Catholic Schools Week we will post stories that spotlight members of our school community, from students and parents to educators and coaches, and why they decided to join the Gibbons family and share in the special joy of Catholic education generally and of a Gibbons education specifically. The stories they share celebrate what makes Gibbons great.
Band Director Mark Cashin fell in love with Cardinal Gibbons years before he started working here. It was 1999 and Cashin, then about to enter a public high school, attended the dedication of Gibbons’ current campus, listened to the band play and thought: “It would be really cool someday to be part of all this in the diocese,” Mark says, adding that the music, the school just “stuck with me.”
Fast forward to 2014 when Mark left his job working at a public high school to join the Gibbons family. “I knew I wanted to be at this special, unique place and that God put me on this path,” he notes. “Though I enjoyed my then job, something was missing, and I realized that if I could share my faith life on top of my band life with my students - that would be my dream job.”
Mark divides his time between Gibbons and two Catholic middle schools - Cathedral School and Our Lady of Lourdes. He is grateful for this role, which he says enables him to ignite the spark in young musicians and then work with them at Gibbons and see them continue to grow. They may be his students for nine years, allowing him to forge deeper connections with them, Mark explains.
What also makes Gibbons great, Mark says, is knowing that here “music is not just starting a marching band or being competitive, but it is about sharing joy through music, which is one of God’s gifts.” Additionally, he notes, the school not only “trusts me as an educator to make good decisions, but also allows me to have my own vision and supports my vision.” And, Mark stresses, while arts programs across the nation are being cut, “we are flourishing.”
Gibbons, he adds, also “embodies a culture of enjoyment.” Students, he says, have an opportunity to perform for themselves and others and to share and receive joy. That joy extends to Mark. “There is not a day that is not joyful in what I do, and I get to do it every day for my job,” he says. “How cool is that?”
Today, Cardinal Gibbons also is launching a new series, "Crusader Conversations," which highlight the amazing moments of academic connections, relationship building, personal growth, and spiritual transformation that take place at Gibbons each day.
Our first conversation is with Director of Outreach Ministry Gary Meyerl ‘82 and Theology Educator Mark DeLaRosa