Joe Grates, CFNN Journalism Teacher
Saturday afternoon, on a rainy highway in South Carolina, our beloved Media Specialist, Catherine O’Horo, was taken from us. A life lived in service to others was cut short.
Her death came as a shock to a close-knit school where most of the teachers consider each other friends, even family. Catherine was no different. She loved Cape Fear High School. She loved the students she taught. She loved helping teachers.
She was instrumental in providing resources to teachers. She was quick to offer a helping hand when any classroom technology was on the fritz. She was quick to suggest a tool or an app that would help teachers with a lesson.
When I brought Journalism back to Cape Fear, there was one person more excited than me. It was Catherine. She gave me a high five and a huge smile. She said, “The Media Center is yours!” Meaning that any tool, computer, or piece of technology was mine to use. She then proceeded to rattle off a list of things we could do with our budding news program. She was ecstatic for me, and for the possibilities.
I will hold on to that memory. Catherine was my friend, and she loved helping people.
When my classes didn’t have computers to use, I asked Catherine for help. “Let me see what I can do,” she said. Thirty minutes later, a cart full of computers rolled into my room. Where did these come from? “Shhhhhhhh!” She said.
She was like that. She would find a way.
“Hey I’ve found this thing and I think the football staff can use it! It’s called Huddle Space! I want you to play around with it and make it yours.” Her eyes lit up because she found something that could help teachers share information and be better at their jobs. “Come to the Media Center and see the guy demo it for us!” So the football coaching staff marched into the Media Center on the orders of the tall, skinny lady with the passion for helping.
We bought the Huddle Space that day. The sales rep gave us a deal we couldn’t refuse. Catherine was so excited for us that she cried. She broke down and cried because her vision for us became reality. She cared that much about making us better. We use it every weekend, Catherine. It did make us better. Thank You.
Catherine was my friend, and she always took care of me.
She didn’t just help me, though. She helped everyone. She made sense of the madness that is computer carts. She fixed LCD Projectors. She fixed laptops. If she couldn’t fix it, she would find the person who could. If you wanted it, she would find it. Anything teachers felt would enhance their lessons, she would search the darkest corners of the Media Center or the internet to find it. And she would find it for a great price, too.
It made Catherine happy to help others. And that memory makes me smile.
She taught her Media Students how to use the green screen. They now make their own broadcasts from anywhere you can imagine. She made her students tech-savvy and willing to experiment.
She taught them to take chances on technology with which they were unfamiliar. She encouraged them to be creative and try things. They made robots, and they programmed them to move through an obstacle course.
She taught her Media students how to help others. They knew how to make posters for teachers. They knew how to laminate things and where to find anything in the Media Center.
She taught them the Dewey Decimal System and how to circulate books through the Media Center. She made sure they knew how to man the help desk. She was old-school and 21st Century at the same time.
Catherine O’Horo left behind a legacy. One that I will never forget. She was an amazing teacher. She was a fantastic colleague. She was a good friend.
I leave you with an Irish Blessing spoken to those we love when we are forced to part:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Goodbye, friend. I will miss you.
That was beautiful and very touching. She was such a wonderful person. Catherine was the epitome of kindness and class.
Absolutely beautiful. A wonderful tribute for an amazing person. She shall be missed.
I didn’t know her, but after reading this heart felt tribute I wish I had know this amazing lady. R.I.P. Ms. Catherine
What a wonderful, heartfelt tribute. You said the things we were all feeling! CFHS won’t be the same without her.
I met Catherine when I joined CFHS in 2004. She was pure energy in motion! Always willing to help others, kind to the core and loved people. (adults and students, alike) When I walked into the media center this morning – all I could think is that this place will not be the same. Her blanket still is draped across her chair, and who knows what else is in there that just announces “Catherine is here”. I always enjoyed her origami gifts she passed out, her passion for all things media, technology, books, etc… I could go on writing, but it would not even begin to describe all that encompassed who she was. Catherine was truly a renaissance woman walking among us and I will miss you greatly, Catherine.
Very beautiful and representative of Catherine. She is already missed, but will not be forgotten, as she is an angel looking and watching over all of us at Cape Fear High. Catherine thought of each person and student within the whole school environment and we will continue to honor her.
A beautiful tribute to a wonderful person taken from us way too soon. I went to graduate school with her and got to know her when we carpooled during a semester of classes. I was so stunned to see the news article and my prayers are with the Cape Fear High School family as they face the days ahead without her.
She set the standard high for media coordinators across the county. I was privileged to know her and work with her in a small way. She will be missed.
You should name the Huddle: The O’Horo Huddle ❤ Awesome Tribute!! COLT NATION
I found this lovely tribute while doing an internet search for a long lost friend, whom I fear is the subject. Cathy and I were school together in 1974-1975, remained pen pals through high school after her move to NJ, and into young adulthood. She was my bridesmaid in 1981. As happens, especially with her in college in NJ and me a struggling young wife, we drifted apart. A photo in another article About the accident shows a lovely woman who very much resembles the girl I remember. If indeed this is her, what a comfort to know she landed in a place with good and loving friends.
I am so very sorry. She was an amazing woman and a great friend. We loved her so much. Thank you for commenting. We miss her every day.