May 30, 2024 7:02 am

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At St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School, students can be Principal for a Day

EVERETT—A student at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School, 13-year-old Sofia, had the privilege of being Principal for the Day last month as part of a unique auction item her parents won at a school fundraiser last year. Meanwhile, actual full-time principal, Dr. Bernadine A. Mahar, spent the day in Sofia’s shoes sitting in class, doing schoolwork, researching, and even taking pop quizzes.

Mary Magdalene Catholic School
(L-R) St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School student Sofia Schumacher, Principal of the Day, with actual full-time principal, Dr. Bernadine A. Mahar. SOURCE: Jeff Schumacher.

“If they’re a good student it’s really easy. But I was in Spanish class and Sofia speaks Spanish, but I don’t know anything,” Dr. Mahar joked.

As Principal Sofia sat in on a Parish staff meeting with the school’s Parish Priest, the Parish PAA, and other members of staff, she had the opportunity to see how the school and church work together from an operational standpoint.

For the rest of the day Sofia was granted the ability to do whatever she wanted. She took advantage of this newfound liberty to offer students a third recess, of which she herself was able to partake in the next day when it went into effect.

In former years students have requested to pull fire alarms just to see what it feels like. The school contacted the local Fire Department to work out how to make this possible.

Sofia said her biggest takeaway as principal was learning just how much the principal role helps students. She shared a couple encounters as Principal helping a student needing help finding her way to class, and during mass she helped students into their respective pews.

“I learned that when you’re principal helping the kids really matters,” said Sofia.

Mary Magdalene Catholic School
Campus of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School in Everett, Washington. SOURCE: St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School.

There weren’t really any downsides to being Principal, Sofia added although she did say she quickly learned that some tasks take longer than others, so she had to prioritize.

As an added bonus to the perks of Principal, Sofia was picked up by a community volunteer in a Ferrari Especial bright and early in the morning and chauffeured to school. She was also provided with free lunch and was able to invite two of her friends.

Now, after having served as Principal for a Day, Sofia told the Lynnwood Times she looks at the role of principal differently adding that “there is a lot to do and you have to take care a lot of kids of all different ages.”

Sofia has attended Mary Magdalen Catholic School since the fourth grade. Now, a seventh grader, she aspires to be a History Teacher one day (her favorite subject) after she completes her education. Outside of school, she enjoys going to the mall, working out at the gym, and going for jogs.

The prize of being allowed to be Principal for the Day was an auction item Sofia’s parents won at Mary Magdalene’s annual fundraiser last year. She informed the Lynnwood Times she wasn’t aware that her parents had won the auction item, and she would be, subsequently, filling the principal role until about a month before, however.

“We don’t just throw them to the wolves when they enter a Parish staff meeting,” Melissa Morrier-Turk, Advancement and Bookkeeping at Mary Magdalene, told the Lynnwood Times. “Our Principal of the Day will actually sit there with the principal just to make sure the Principal of the Day does not make any decision we would not be able to facilitate.”

Morrier-Turk was a member of the school’s Auction Committee when the idea came into fruition. For the last 17years she has sat on the committee, beginning as a parent and now a faculty member.

About 10 years ago a member of the Auctioning Committee pitched the idea of offering a student the privilege of being Principal for the Day as a cost-effective way to try and raise money for the school that was both economical and fun.

Mary Magdalene Catholic School
Faculty and Staff at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School in Everett. SOURCE: St. Mary Magdalene Catholic School.

These annual auctions are meant to raise funds for the bottom-line expenses of the school and help the institution meet the needs that tuition doesn’t cover such as benefits, technology, supplies, and more.

St. Mary Magdalen held its annual auction, and with it, next year’s Principal for a Day prize, just last Saturday, April 13.

In addition to its annual auction, St. Mary Magdalen has an active, community-driven, Parent Club that puts on events monthly. Upcoming next is a Tacos and Trivia night where the club goes to a nearby Mexican restaurant and does an Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader-style trivia game. Other events include attending Everett Aqua Sox games.

“Whatever we can do that’s community driven and helps build up the community here within the school and the Parrish is all we strive to do,” said Morrier-Turk.

Located at 8615 7th Avenue Southeast in Everett, St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School is a non-profit, co-educational school for preschool through 8th grade. St. Mary Magdalen Catholic School is committed to giving our students a firm academic and spiritual foundation rooted in intellectual inquiry and Catholic values.

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