Archive for Thursday, February 20, 2003

Happy to serve

De Soto Cat Booster Cathy McGivern juggles supportive roles

February 20, 2003

Cathy McGivern is one active supporter of De Soto sports. As a De Soto Cat Booster, McGivern serves as treasurer, after-prom chairwoman, and she maintains the group's Web site. And she doesn't even have a child at De Soto High School.

McGivern became involved with the Cat Boosters when her oldest son, Bart, started at De Soto High School in 1998. Wanting to support her son's activities, McGivern decided to join the Cat Boosters to lend the organization a helping hand.

At first her, presence was met with some resistance from her son.

"He didn't like the idea of me being there," she said. "The first time I volunteered to help chaperone a dance, he was mortified."

Eventually Bart's attitude changed, she said.

"About the time his junior year rolled around, he was really happy I was involved," McGivern said.

Although her son graduated in May 2002, McGivern decided to stay with the Cat Boosters because she enjoyed the experience -- and because her youngest son, Matthew, will enter high school in the fall.

"I liked what I was doing," she said. "I was having fun. I was already knee deep in it, so I figured I'd stick with it so I would know what was going on. I'm just hanging in there."

Hanging in there requires more than being in the backdrop of the Cat Booster stage. As a bookkeeper at De Soto State Bank, McGivern uses her number-crunching skills to assist her role as treasurer. As a working force for the after-prom committee, McGivern and other Cat Booster workers work with available funds to provide treats such as the Tang Bus -- a big cooler of Tang and other refreshments for students taking the state assessment tests.

The group also provides for improvements at the school, such as the landscaping at the entrance of the school.

"Last year we bought more benches for outside the school," she said. "The kids were sitting on transformer boxes."

McGivern said some of the biggest challenges included finding prizes teenagers would like for the after-prom party, picking out themes for the event students would enjoy, and finding the right kind of music to set the mood for any event.

"I don't do anything without music," she said.

Being a Cat Booster has its rewards, McGivern said.

"I love sitting and talking to them, and I would like to think if they need help, they can come to me," she said. "I don't know that I could help them, but I would at least point them in the right direction to someone that could."

The Cat Boosters have 72 members, but only about one-third of them are active. McGivern said she wished more De Soto parents would take advantage of the opportunity being a Cat Boosters provided.

"I would like to see more parental involvement," she said. "I just think it would be a really nice showing for the kids to say, 'Hey, we're here. We really do care. We want to make your high school years memorable and enjoyable.'"

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