Parade brings March Madden-ness to Main Street

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter




• The teaching credential issued to Paddy Hough is on display in the school office. It certified that Mr. P. Hough was qualified “to teach in any of the Public Schools of Washington Territory, during his natural life ....”

• The document -- which is labelled a “Life Diploma” -- was issued in Olympia in July 1885, four years before Washington became a state.

On the Web:

Click to view a photo gallery of Friday’s parade.

As longtime members of the Hough Elementary staff, Jane Madden and Kathy Godsil have participated in a lot of Paddy Hough parades.

On Friday, they got new roles: They shared grand-marshal honors when the community celebrated the March 17, 1846, birthday of beloved educator Paddy Hough.

“I’ve done a lot of playing around in it,” said Godsil, who is in her 21st year as school secretary.

“The classified staff would have a drill team -- carry signs and dress up,” Godsil said.

But riding at the front of the parade, well ... “It’s different,” Godsil said.

Madden has taught in kindergarten through fourth grade during her 23 years at Hough.

“I’ve been in all 21 parades: 20 of them walking,” Madden said after returning to the school campus at 1900 Daniels St.

One difference this year is that she didn’t have to wrangle her second-graders along the route, Madden said.

Another difference? Being in the middle of the parade while keeping her kids in line doesn’t provide a very good view of the spectacle.

“Now I can watch,” Madden said before heading for a good vantage point along McLoughlin Boulevard.

This year’s theme was “Heritage and History,” and Godsil sees both every day. A great example of history is displayed on the office wall. It’s the original teaching certificate issued to “Mr. P. Hough” in 1885.

The Irishman came to Seattle, by way of Canada, in 1883; he taught at a Catholic school in Vancouver before joining the public-school system in 1891.

Hough retired in 1908 at age 62, although he often served a substitute teacher before his death in 1925.

And the “heritage” part of this year’s theme? It walks through the hallways every day, Godsil said: Some of the kids are grandchildren of former Hough students.

The annual parade isn’t just a school event. It’s also a community celebration that drew 39 parade entries this year. Spectators gathered along the route that took marchers up Daniels, east on 24th Street, south on Main Street and west on McLoughlin.

The area around the school is a friendly neighborhood, said Kathy Duvall, a former Hough volunteer who lives nearby. She was watching the parade with Kathy Lisignoli, who taught at Hough from 1967 to 1999.

“A lot of families move back,” Duvall said.

Family milestone

For Marilynn Jones, the parade doubled as a community event and a family milestone.

“We enjoy the neighborhood,” Jones said. “We moved here from Salmon Creek. This is the third parade we’ve watched.”

But this is the first year the family has been represented, Jones said. She was able to snap some photos of her grandson, Travis Morris Jones, as he marched by with his kindergarten classmates.

“He looks like he was thrilled,” Jones said.

It’s a sentiment that Hough student AnabelCusic would agree with.

“It was really fun,” said the third-grader, who was decked out in a big shamrock-green hat. “People were yelling and ‘Yeah!’-ing. It was really exciting.”

It’s all part of what makes Hough a special place for its teachers and their 280 students, said Madden, the co-grand marshal.

“Grades are due next week, and in addition to the regular teaching, we’ve been getting ready for the parade,” Madden said.

“At Hough,” the longtime teacher said, “we have our own March Madness.”

Tom Vogt:360-735-4558;;