"It's a good day to be a Raider," says Quincy Notre Dame's new principal.
He was announced Thursday morning in a press conference before being introduced to the students and staff.
The "new guy on the block" is a familiar face to QND.
It's nothing new to see The Pit at QND rockin'. Not really that rare to see people standing and applauding either. Usually all of the noise is for a team, but not this time. It's for one person, QND's new principal Mark McDowell.
McDowell is not a stranger to Quincy Notre Dame. He's a 1995 graduate of the school. He talked about how he played basketball on this court, played in the pep band in the corner, and even shared a homecoming dance on this very same hardwood. His date that night, the same woman who stands by his side today, his wife Jamie.
While Mr. McDowell's reception was full of applause, I don't think anything can match the reaction to when McDowell introduced his family to the crowd.
The school welcomed the McDowell family to center court with QND swag for the little McDowells, and the sound of the "awwww" as the kids ran onto the court was very heartfelt. It just goes to show the students here are excited about their new principal.
Aaron Ley says, "I liked that he is an alumni of Quincy Notre Dame. He's been a student here, he's walked in our shoes. I think he'll be able to understand what's best for us based on his experience as one of us."
Aaron Ley isn't just a junior at QND, he also helped decide who should be the next principal. That's right, four students were part of the committee that interviewed the final two candidates.
Toni Douglas says, "I think it shows us that they don't just care what the parents think, they also care what the student body wants. I think it helped a lot. We put our input in and I think it helped.
Mark McDowell says, "I think that's the best part of the news today is the students had the confidence in me to do the job. I had the opportunity to meet with a lot of people on that day, my favorite part of the day was working with those young people, talking to them. They asked a lot or relevant questions that are important to them and I was able to walk away with a clear thought of what they were looking for in a principal."
And just about everyone here agrees, Mr. McDowell has some pretty big shoes to fill. Current principal Ray Heilmann retires at the end of the school year. Heilmann is very well liked at QND, and he thinks students and staff are blessed to have McDowell coming on board. And he should know, Heilmann was the assistant principal here when McDowell graduated.
Aaron Ley says, "I really like Mr. McDowell. He seems very friendly. While he might not entirely fill the shoes of Mr. Heilmann, that's not his job. His job is to be the principal and I think he'll find his own spot here and our student body and faculty will love him I'm sure."
If this assembly is any indication, Mr. McDowell has already started off his career at QND marching to the beat of his own drum.
Mark McDowell is currently a history teacher at Quincy Junior High School.
He's been in education for 13 years, 12 as a teacher and one year as an administrator at Camp Point.
He takes over officially July 1st..