Cheverus and Catherine McAuley high schools seem to be a thorn in the side of some of our good Irish folks (Elizabeth Flaherty and Coleman P. Gorham) as they write to the editor of the Portland Press Herald.

Mr. Gorham, in his letter of Feb. 25 (“Catholic high schools focus on gifted at others’ expense“), decries the fact, whether true or untrue, that Cheverus and McAuley are now only affordable to those who have money.

I raised money for McAuley High School for 12 years, encouraging people to donate for scholarships so that we would be able to educate the poor. And indeed we do. The graduates of Cathedral, St. Joseph’s Academy, McAuley, parents and friends were very generous.

I suggest Mr. Gorham think about a scholarship to McAuley in honor of a loved one so even more poor can be taken care of.

“Choice” is a much-used word. We have a choice in everything in our good old USA. Why not a choice in our education?

Cheverus High and McAuley High provide a choice. Some students need smaller environments in which to thrive. Some students need to leave their public schools for various reasons. A mother once told me that she was sure her daughter would have committed suicide if she had not had a choice of another high school.

One thing is for certain: At Cheverus and McAuley, religion is taught. That subject cannot be taught in the public schools, nor in the charter schools.

Portland definitely needs our two Catholic high schools. I suggest that those who think we are not doing enough for the poor should themselves “step up to the plate” and provide some scholarship funds.

Sister Joyce B. Mahany, RSM


In response to Coleman Gorham’s letter “Catholic high schools focus on gifted at others’ expense,” it is important to illuminate some facts about admissions, financial aid and student support at Cheverus High School.

With deep reverence and appreciation for the hard work and success of our counterparts in the local public schools, I am obliged to defend and promote our good work and inclusivity.

More than 64 percent of the students currently enrolled at Cheverus receive financial aid. More than $1.9 million was awarded to 324 student families for the 2012-2013 school year. Many deserving students would not be able to access a Cheverus High School education without these funds.

There are many students at Cheverus High School with unique challenges and identified learning disabilities. We have a hardworking “Instructional Support” faculty whose purpose is to address the needs of these students.

Additionally, faculty at Cheverus are committed to “cura personalis,” a guiding principle of Jesuit education. This means “care of the entire person.” Faculty seek to understand and address the unique challenges and gifts of every student.

Keeping this important information in mind, Mr. Gorham’s use of the term “elite” is misguided. Students at Cheverus are unapologetically held to high standards of academic achievement. They are given various opportunities for service to the community, spiritual growth, academic and athletic excellence.

If high standards and expectations are elitism, than yes, we are elite. Admittedly, because of the cost, many potential students never even fill out an application. This is a great sadness for our community.

In John’s Gospel, we hear Jesus say: “Come and see.” Jesus never imposes, but he does invite. Anyone seeking a high-quality, classical education, grounded in a religious tradition is warmly invited to attend. I hope you will knock on our door.

Mary Lee King

theology teacher, Cheverus High School


Seven years later, Obama’s view on debt has changed

Given the (entirely predictable) hysteria emanating from the left side of the aisle in Washington in re: the catastrophic effect of the budget cuts that took effect March 1, let’s go back seven years to the more peaceful days of March 2006 and present this quickie quiz.

1) Q: Who said this?

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘The buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

A: U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., March 2006.

2) Q: Since there was no agreement before March 1 and there is an automatic spending cut of $85,000,000,000 — I always like to write out the full number so folks can get a good look at it — what part of the current federal budget is that amount of money?

A: 2.3 percent.

Terence McManus

New Sharon

Accused in Zumba case, woman faces biased media

The name of the woman accused in the prostitution case in Kennebunk is printed almost daily in local newspapers. Almost everyone is aware of this woman by now. It is stated she is accused of more than 100 charges of prostitution. It is stated that she is charged with breaking a law.

I think the name of every single person who allegedly went to this woman for services should also be printed in the newspapers, for they allegedly broke a law.

It has been said many of these “johns,” as they are called, are very prominent people. These people clearly broke the law as well. If they held very prominent positions, perhaps in politics, it is more important to put them under the microscope.

This case should not be an old-fashioned witch hunt, which further denigrates women and lets men off the hook in a male-dominated, patriarchal society. Hypocrisy in America cannot continue as normalized behavior.

The media has prejudiced this case against Alexis Wright. Therefore, the case against her should be dismissed.

Joe Ciarrocca