2009 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program - Elizabeth Seton ...


2009 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program - Elizabeth Seton ...

Elizabeth Seton High School

Hall of Fame Induction

October 16, 2009

5715 Emerson Street, Bladensburg MD 20710

Elizabeth Seton High School

2009 Hall of Fame Inductees

Sister Marguerite Butler

Candy Cage ‘81

Maureen ‘Johnny’ Johnson ‘72

Clara Kircher ‘63

Dear Friends and Guests,

Today we have the happiness of honoring four valiant women as we induct them into

Elizabeth Seton High School’s Hall of Fame. These four women mirror many aspects of the

holiness of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton herself by the way they live their lives and by their service

to others.

Sr. Marguerite Butler is a woman of principle who has deep convictions about life, right from

wrong, and integrity. Hers is a spirit that is constant, sincere, and strong. Those who know her

well know also her compassion. If she knows that you are suffering, she is right there, tears

and all. She echoes the words of Elizabeth Seton, “to think justly on human life and to see

things as they are, should be our main object.”

Candy Cage is a woman of truth. In our times, we might say, “What you see is what you get.”

She has no guile, no duplicity, and no insincerity. Coupled with her honesty is her humility.

She does not seek her own praise or adulation. Rather, she strives to uplift and affirm others.

Elizabeth Seton’s words, “Devotion must carry the torch and open the door to all our actions,”

aptly apply to Candy.

Maureen Johnson is a woman of strength. Her independence, her sense of adventure, and

her diverse talents are hallmarks of her courage and confidence. Maureen has never known

an enemy because she has always been too magnanimous to let the faults of others diminish

her spirit. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s words, “Eternity: think of it when you are hard pushed.

Pray and praise; bless and adore forever,” are now Maureen’s words to all of us.

Clara Kircher is a woman of faith whose trust in God far surpassed the adversity she encountered

in the trials of life. Her response to suffering is perseverance. Her response to disappointment

is hope. Her response to pain is love. With the grace of God, she has always lived

a life of sacrifice and service, generosity and goodness, virtue and victory. She reflects

Elizabeth Seton’s words, “Faith lifts the staggering soul on one side. Hope supports it on the

other; Experience says it must be – love says let it be.”

The lives of these four women can be woven into a daily prayer for us, “Lord, make me a

woman of principle, a woman of truth, a woman of strength, a woman of faith. Mold my life

into that of a valiant woman. Keep from it anything that would be small when viewed in the

light of eternity.

Thank you, Sr. Marguerite, Candy, Maureen, and Clara for imaging St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in

the vocations you live. Through your example and hers, may we learn to express our love for

you in our love for others.

Sister Ellen Marie


Sister Mary Marguerite Butler

Sister Mary Marguerite Butler is a native New

Yorker. She realizes that is not a popular admission

around here.

She spent the first twelve years in a school

taught then and now by the School Sisters of

Notre Dame. She thought that they were

GREAT teachers, but realized early on that

she did NOT want to be a teacher. She was interested in child care work.

After high school her parents thought that she was too young to become

a Sister. Her mother “begged” her way into the College of Mount Saint

Vincent. Her mother had gone to school with the Sister who was the Dean

of the College. At the end of her freshman year her parents, thought she

was still too young to join the convent so she returned for a second year.

After her sophomore year, they felt that she was old enough to make the

decision to become a Sister. She was still convinced that she did not want

to become a teacher.

At the conclusion of her introductory years, she was sent on mission - TO

TEACH- and she did that for the greater part of her life. In 1975, after

having taught Mathematics in New York, Pennsylvania and South Carolina

she came to Elizabeth Seton.

On her first day she asked Sister Regina, the Assistant Principal, for

something to do. It was August and classes hadn’t started. Sister Regina

gave her student schedules to type. On her last day here, she was still

working on schedules. It had become her extra-curricular activity for the

19 years she was here teaching Math.

In 1994 the Daughters had a need for people to work in hospital finance,

and she went to work in the billing office of a hospital. It was different

and interesting but didn’t offer the “personnel” contact that had existed

in a school. Sister’s next assignment was working in the gift shop at the

Shrine in Emmitsburg. One of her great joys is how many Seton graduates

and their parents she has met there.

Candy Cage ‘81

Candy grew up in New Carrollton and attended

elementary school at St. Matthias. While attending

Elizabeth Seton, Candy was an active

member of the Student Council and participated

for four years on the soccer, softball and

basketball teams. Candy was also sports editor

of the yearbook. After graduation, she received

a basketball scholarship to Winthrop University

in South Carolina. While she was at Winthrop,

they had 4 winning seasons and played in the NIT. She was among their

top 10 all time assist leaders, a record that has stood. Due to the influence

of the outstanding teachers and coaches that she had at Seton,

including Sister Marguerite and Nancy Rhodes Hernick, Candy chose the

same career path. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree

in Secondary Education. She taught social studies and coached basketball

at Northern High School in Owings, Maryland. She was inducted into

their Hall of Fame in 1997. She has also coached basketball on the college

level at Mt. St. Mary’s, Georgia Tech and Loyola University in Maryland.

During her time at Loyola, she recruited Ebony Tolliver ’03 to play for


Candy returned to Seton in 2005 and currently serves as Athletic Director

and Basketball Coach. Her influence has been felt throughout the school.

Candy worked hand in hand with the architects and Sister Virginia Ann

Brooks in designing the athletic space in the Brooks Center. She is dedicated

to Seton and to its students. Our sports program has reached new

heights under her leadership. It is hard to resist her enthusiasm. She has

started a book scholarship fund for our athletes and has been instrumental

in securing a $50,000 grant from the State of Maryland to repair and

upgrade our track and field. The work will begin late this fall.

Elizabeth Seton has always been a great influence in Candy’s life. The

teachers she has had, the spirit of the school and the friends that she has

made have all shaped the woman that she has become. She considers it

a privilege to be able to give back to the school that has given her so much.

Maureen “Johnny” Johnson ‘72

Maureen “Johnny” Johnson was born on January 29,

1954 in Riverdale, Maryland. She was the third of four

children born to Ralph and Alice Johnson. Sadly, she died

in September of 2006 at the age of 52. Maureen was

always special. At age three, she would survive kidney

cancer. The next five years would be anxious ones for her

family until she eventually received a “clean bill of health.”

In 1963, at age nine, she made her first journey to Europe,

including Ireland, her mother’s birthplace. Her love for

travel began with this trip. In the course of her lifetime,

Maureen traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean

Islands, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. From age 14, she began visiting Ireland at

least once a year. Maureen had a phenomenal memory and no road traveled was ever

forgotten. She became a great navigator and tour guide for family and friends.

In grade school, high school , college and CYO Maureen excelled at such sports as

basketball, softball, volleyball and field hockey. She received numerous medals and

trophies and frequently helped lead her teams to the championship.

In 1964 at age 10, Maureen and her sister Colleen began Irish dance lessons. This would

be the beginning of Maureen’s career as an entertainer. At age 16, she founded The

Maryland Gaelic Dancers, but handed the troop over to Colleen as she discovered her

true love was music. At a young age, she took accordion lessons briefly, but frustrated

the teacher who said that she was a “gifted ear musician.” She would go on to teach

herself guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, banjo, piano, harmonica and tin whistle. Besides

playing, she also composed lyrics and music, and recorded an album of Irish folk songs.

During her mid teens, she began playing the guitar and singing at church, concerts, on

television, in numerous pubs and restaurants, and in so many other venues. At age 17,

she became a star performer at E.J. O’Riley’s Pub and launched her professional career

there. She would go on to play at such local pubs as Matt Kane’s, The Dubliner, The Irish

Times and the Irish Inn. During her trips back to Ireland, she won a number of plaques

and medals in Irish dance and singing competitions. She played guitar and sang with

well known groups such as the Wolfe Tones and The Clancy Brothers.

Maureen attended Prince George’s Community College where she gained her AA

degree in Nursing at age 20. She passed state boards, became a registered nurse, and

began nursing at Prince George’s Hospital Center where she would work until her

death. Later in her career, she earned her BSN from the University of Maryland. During

many of her years in nursing, she worked in cardiac care, a field she found challenging

and rewarding. She became a much respected mentor of new grads. Maureen touched

many lives throughout her healing career and never forgot a patient.

This beautiful young woman will always be fondly remembered for her great smile, her

humor, her intelligence, her many talents, her faithfulness to family and friends, and

her love for Ireland and all things Irish. Maureen exemplified the Elizabeth Seton HS

motto, “Light to know, grace to do.”

Clara Smiley Kircher ‘63

Clara Smiley Kircher was born on May 3, 1945, in Washington,

D.C., the daughter of Ann and Golden Smiley.

She grew up in Mt. Rainier, MD, and attended Saint

James Elementary School. She was accepted into the

first freshman class at Elizabeth Seton High School in

1959 and graduated from Seton in June 1963. At Seton,

she was a member of the Glee Club, Masque and Gavel,

basketball team, Future Nurses Club, Student Council,

Louise de Marilacs and Honor Society. She attended

Saint Joseph’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where

she majored in business, from 1963-1965. She married

Walter Kircher from Riverdale, Maryland, at Saint James

Church in April 1965. Her Maid of Honor was Monica Kircher Brady, her best friend at

Seton since their sophomore year. Clara and Walter had five children – Anne, Walter,

Eric, Anthony and Aaron. Their marriage ended in 1978, and Clara had to raise their

five children as a single parent.

Clara went to work in the office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in October 1981.

She served as the assistant to the Chief of Staff and the Press Secretary. After twentysix

years in the Senate, she retired in October 2007 as Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator

Leahy. While working for Senator Leahy, she returned to college to complete her

degree. In May 1996, she graduated summa cum laude from Bowie State University

with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Administration.

As Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Leahy, Clara helped establish the Leahy Women’s

Economic Opportunity Conference which is now in its 13 th year. The Leahy Women’s

Conference focuses on the career and business development of Vermont women and

is open to all women free of charge. Women learn the skills of running their own

business, writing a financial plan, and sharpening their computer and personal skills for

a new job or career change. She was the intern coordinator for the Leahy College

Internship Program, which offers young women and men the opportunity for a closeup

view of their government and the workings of a Senator’s office. Clara also served

as the Chief Financial Clerk for the Senate Judiciary Committee where she helped with

the administration of the Committee and prepared committee budgets for Chairman


In November 2008, she temporarily returned to the U.S. Senate to help start up the

office of the newly-elected, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). In March 2009, she went

back to her retirement life and is now enjoying time with her children and eleven

grandchildren. Two of her granddaughters have followed their Grandmother’s footsteps

in attending Seton. Clara Bannigan graduated in May 2009, and is a freshman at

Christopher Newport University studying music; and Alice Bannigan is a sophomore his


Clara and her family have lived in Bowie, Maryland, since 1971 and are members of St.

Pius X Church. Clara is an active member of the Seton Alumna and is proud to be a

member of the first graduating class of Elizabeth Seton High School, the Class of 1963.

Thank You to the

Class of 1972

With Love




‘Johnny’ Johnson


Best Wishes


The 2009 Hall of Fame Inductees

Mrs. Dorothy Rothgeb

Jennifer Rothgeb ‘69 Joan Rothgeb ‘74



Way to go, girl!


From the

Class of 1963

Clare Kircher ‘63



we are so proud of you

and we love you

very much.

Your loving family





Your Sisters


Villa St. Michael

Nancy Rhodes Hernick ‘74

Maureen Lonergan

Sister Winifred McKay, D.C.

Dorothy Rothgeb

Mary Karen Merkel Wills ‘78

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