I would like to add to the comments voiced by letter writer Paula Jones in praise and appreciation for the life of Mary McHugh.
McHugh was well-known in Belleville as a member of the Franklin School faculty for 43 years. Franklin School is one of Belleville's great success stories, and McHugh was a key player in the story.
She believed in a good curriculum of the basics, hard work and high expectations from her students to accomplish these goals. Character education? Not a new idea for Mary. Add to that her mantra, "Every student has something positive to offer" plus her genuine caring for her students, and it's easy to see how she became one of Belleville's most beloved, esteemed educators.
When Mary retired 13 years ago, she could have understandably stepped back and rested on her laurels. Instead, she worked tirelessly to promote and improve her city, serving on the Belleville Township, Racial Harmony and BASIC boards. She had little patience for complainers and nay-sayers. "But what are you doing to help?" would be her comeback. She led by example.
Mary was a great believer and supporter of storytelling as a learning tool, for the values, education and cultural awareness it conveys. She became one of the founders of the Belleville Festival of Stories, held each spring at Lindenwood for the students of Belleville.
This shining star, loyal citizen and friend to all will be greatly missed. We can take comfort and honor her by continuing her legacy.
Mary Lu Bretsch