MANSFIELD – Margaret Conaty recalled her aboriginal day on the job as Mansfield Aerial School’s able-bodied administrator in the summer of 1989, set up in a makeshift appointment in the trainer’s allowance with aloof a lath and a telephone, aback she got her aboriginal call.
It was from Val Muscato, the allegorical Oliver Ames Aerial Academy drillmaster and able-bodied director.
“He said, ‘I can’t accept they assassin a woman!’ … and again he laughed like crazy,” Conaty said Wednesday.
It was Muscato’s acute way of authoritative the newcomer feel at affluence – which is absolutely how she acquainted from the alpha of her administration as Mansfield’s AD to the present.
“The alliance accustomed me immediately,” said Conaty, the Hockomock’s aboriginal and still its alone changeable able-bodied director, who will be abrogation Mansfield Aerial afterwards 19 years on the job to booty over as Hingham Aerial School’s AD.
“I had abundant abutment again and still do today,” she said. “Even as the names accept changed, in the Hockomock League, we absolutely try to booty affliction of anniversary other.”
It’s a abundant altered Mansfield Aerial that Conaty leaves than the one at which she accustomed from Cardinal Cushing Aerial Academy in South Boston, area she had served as able-bodied director.
Once one of the aboriginal schools in the Hockomock, Mansfield is now the additional better in agreement of enrollment, accepting broadcast from aloof over 600 acceptance aback Conaty took the job to added than 1,400 today. Nine varsity sports accept been added on Conaty’s watch, above renovations and additions to the concrete bulb for contest accept been undertaken and accomplished, and Mansfield is now awful aggressive in best of the
Hockomock League’s offerings – admitting in 1989, townspeople were aboveboard debating whether the academy should leave the alliance for a lower akin of competition.
“Believe me, I had no abstraction aback again what would happen,” Conaty said of Mansfield’s growth, both in agreement of citizenry and able-bodied prowess. “We were such a actual baby school, and that fabricated things difficult. But I had an abstraction how the boondocks would acknowledge to article absolute when, that fall, the football aggregation went to the Super Bowl.”
Mike Redding’s Hornets absent to Lincoln-Sudbury in that d at Foxboro Stadium, but extensive that akin of accomplishment for the aboriginal time in academy history generated a abundant accord of activity in the association and adequate its acceptance that, with the able support, Mansfield could abide to be aggressive in a alliance it had helped anatomy decades earlier.
Over the years, Conaty begin Mansfield to be a adorning and admiring abode for aerial academy sports.
“The kids abutment anniversary other,” she said, “and the association supports the schools. They do whatever it takes to put the town’s accouchement in a position to succeed, both academically and athletically.”
Among the abounding accomplishments during Conaty’s administration was the amplification of Mansfield’s able-bodied accessories to accommodate Alumni Field, the area’s aboriginal artificial-turf gridiron, as able-bodied as new baseball and softball fields beyond East Street. The James Albertini Memorial Gymnasium and its associated accessories accept additionally undergone above advance recently.
The able-bodied affairs has been accomplished with the accession of sports such as volleyball, wrestling, ice hockey, lacrosse, gymnastics and swimming, additionally including sub-varsity teams at a time aback abounding added academy systems are acid back.
“Our programs were actual baby aback I started … sports like soccer were aloof in their alpha stages here,” she said. “But we fabricated abundant advance and accustomed abundant abutment every footfall of the way, and I accept the attempt of success are in abode for every distinct sport.”
Conaty, 53, is a built-in of Smithfield, R.I., area she competed in acreage hockey, clue and basketball at Smithfield Aerial and was a affiliate of the aboriginal girls’ bandage aggregation to win an official accompaniment championship in Rhode Island. A alum of the University of Rhode Island, she became a abecedary and drillmaster at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, eventually acceptable that school’s able-bodied administrator afore demography the job at Cardinal Cushing Aerial and again affective on to Mansfield.
Conaty has maintained her abode in Hingham, and afresh served on a boondocks lath to abode the challenges adverse the academy department’s attempts to aggrandize its able-bodied facilities.
When adept Hingham Aerial AD Bill Barges absitively to retire at the end of this academy year, Conaty saw the befalling as, “in a sense, activity home.”
Conaty will abide on lath at Mansfield through the end of the academy year, allowance to facilitate the alteration for her yet-to-be-named successor.
“It’s activity to be actual difficult to leave Mansfield,” she said. “On our apprenticeship staff, we accept a lot of veterans and we’ve formed calm for so long. Mansfield was a abundant befalling for me and it has been such a actual ample allotment of my life.
“When the Hingham position opened, I anticipation it would be a absolute move for me at this point of my life,” she added. “It will be a nice challenge, a adventitious for me to be a baton and accomplish a aberration there.”
MARK FARINELLA may be accomplished at 508-236-0315 or via e-mail at [email protected]
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