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Transforming Today's Learners into Tomorrow's Leaders

Cardinal Mooney Bulletin for September 13, 2020

Dear Cardinal Mooney family:

Thank you for your support as we have completed two weeks of education — in-person and all day.

In that time, I hope you enjoyed the Cardinal Mooney Messanger, and all of the informative updates included in it. Its arrival also kicks off our Annual Fund campaign. The Annual Fund provides critical dollars to Cardinal Mooney including covering the gap between tuition and the actual cost to educate.  This year, that difference is $2,112. Annual Funds are also used to conduct critical building improvements, secure vital equipment for student use, and provide overall support for our operating budget.

On that note, permit me to address our pursuit of advancing Mooney into prosperity. The school’s mission makes this an urgent call. Yet for you and for me, it’s more than that — it’s also a passion.

We all want Cardinal Mooney to continue to move forward as quickly as possible. I’m happy to hear from many who have acknowledged our progress thus far, yet there’s more to do.

What do I mean by prosperity? What changes need to be made? How do we move forward?

Over the past three months I’ve visited with many stakeholders, constituents, and friends of Mooney — our parents, students, faculty, alumni, the Minority Alumni Council, Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel, and our Diocesan leadership and priests. Many of those conversations were about issues that matter the most to our school and community. Having led five Catholic high schools in four Diocese, I can tell you that NO SCHOOL inspires love and loyalty like Cardinal Mooney.

Those feelings are why our current — and future — students deserve access to affordable, quality Catholic education.  We can all agree on these points: Education is the single most important factor in upward mobility … faith-based education is critical to the full development our students … and that adolescence is the time we develop our moral and ethical bearings. Yet for many, access to Mooney is beyond their reach. I believe there are several reasons for this, including some of our own doing.

First, from my visits with families and alumni, there is a feeling that Cardinal Mooney has shrunk within itself, retreated within its walls. We have a great story and legacy to tell. We have talented alumni and valuable assets. It is time we regain our place as a beacon of hope and promise by joining me in changing the conversation.

Some of these feelings come from fear of change. Time is always the precursor of change, and a lot of time has passed since Mooney opened its doors. Going forward, we cannot build our future with scaffolding of the past. We cannot be afraid to question whether we must cherish ritual to the point of being traditional about traditions. Throughout my career, I have seen that some of the most powerful limitations on schools were self-imposed. Succeeding will require us to free ourselves from parochial interests and territorial claims, to reject hardened attitudes, and to recalibrate our academic programs and internal operational practices to fully prepare our students for leadership in a global context. If we want to lead rather than trail among our peers, we must nurture new opportunities and clear the road of obstacles. I’m not suggesting that we forget our past, but I’m saying that great institutions pay homage to their great traditions and history without being bound by them.

As schools impose self-limitations, they become risk-adverse. They start every year off with grand goals or strategies yet become reluctant to execute for fear of failure. I’m not a fan of “plans” that sit on a shelf. I am a fan of creating strategies that turn into immediate actions. Some will succeed. Some will fail, yet failure is better than inaction where inaction becomes inertia.

As you may have noticed, Cardinal Mooney is moving. It’s trying. By way of example, Principal Dr. Mary Anne Beiting and her administrative team are working to reinforce our academic foundation that will support students and advance them in their abilities. We are identifying new partnership opportunities that might lead to 21st. century programs and opportunities, particularly in the STEM fields that will build assets for the local business community. These will allow Mooney to compete more effectively with our peers.

To make any goal a reality, to move Mooney forward, we must create an operational environment that excels at customer service. We restored critical leadership positions to better serve our families and students. Those positions have the expertise and resources to serve you. We will be expanding business office hours to accommodate parents’ work schedules. We’re streamlining our processes to create efficiencies which will allow us to redeploy valuable resources to where our needs are and reduce operational expenses.

Dr. Beiting has identified the need to create opportunities for student engagement. COVID may limit our ability to do more and faster, however, she has begun laying a foundation for student engagement.

We’re making progress on deferred maintenance issues.  A lot of work is done in-house, which, again, allows us to redistribute funds to academics, faith, and extra-curricular programming.

Our success depends on a couple of things. First, let us know how we’re doing — where we’re doing well, and what we can improve upon. Secondly, if you’re enjoying your experience at Mooney, share it with your friends and neighbors. Those who use our service/product are our best marketers.

While COVID has made these challenging times for all schools K-16, these are also exciting times for Cardinal Mooney. Looking forward will require focus, courage, sacrifices, and hard choices. Budget shortfalls have triggered cuts in the past, but due to the PPP loan and a generous gift, we’ve been able to make the progress mentioned above. To be prosperous, though, we must change our approach from “cutting” to “investing”. We must adopt an abundance mentality rather than a scarcity mentality.

Therefore, I started this bulletin with the Annual Fund appeal. I want to ask each of you, our alumni, faculty/staff, and friends to rethink how we understand tuition. To move from seeing it as an annual expense to a lifetime investment.

There are few expenditures in life that entail temporary costs in exchange for lifetime value and enduring impact. Our alumni are living examples of this.

To question the value of a Cardinal Mooney education is to question the value of opportunities created, the value of personal evolution, and the value of nurturing students and their ability to adapt in our world.

There are plenty of operational efficiencies I can gain throughout this year, to help close the gap between tuition and the actual cost to educate. However, prosperity doesn’t mean shifting funds. It means elevating our vision of what is possible.  It means using our assets to create new opportunities for our students. It means elevating Mooney so its beacon of hope, faith, and promise shines more brightly over the Valley.

Each year alumni, parents, faculty/staff and friends participate in our Annual Fund campaign.

I hope you will consider Cardinal Mooney for your charitable giving.  Gifts of any size make an important difference in our students’ lives.


Click here to download our full September 13th, 2020 bulletin (PDF Format)