East Whiteland Native Remembers Cathy Rush the Gym Teacher

Kathy Rush taught phys ed at a local school before moving to Immaculata College and leading The Mighty Macs basketball team into history.

Editor's note: The long awaited release of "The Mighty Macs" inspired Paula Kocher, a lifelong East Whiteland resident, to pen her thoughts and memories about having Cathy Rush as a seventh-grade teacher, below.

The of “The Mighty Macs” is exciting for and residents alike. The beautiful campus on the hill will be seen by movie audiences nationwide! With all the hoopla (pun intended), I wondered if Patch would be a great place to share memories of those exciting years.

I bet there are current residents of the Malvern area that, like me, had Mrs. Rush for a gym teacher at Junior High. Yes, Junior High—no Middle School back in 1970-71.

I came across a spiral bound yearbook from seventh grade, and there are the faculty photos: Catherine Rush, Jane Campbell, Richard Delaney and Thomas Fillippo for the Physical Education Department.

Cathy Rush taught at the elementary school for two years before taking the coaching position at Immaculata. She gave her heart to the job. Does anyone remember the student/faculty basketball games? A packed gym, the noise deafening; it was the big event of the school year.

As a klutzy, left-handed seventh-grader, Mrs. Rush terrified me at first. By mid-winter, I had the measles, then the mumps and then an ear infection that broke my eardrum. I came back to school with bad balance and less endurance.  I had a doctor’s note for gym for the first couple weeks, and I was sure Mrs. Rush would be mad at me. She had high expectations, even for 12-year-old girls.

Of course I was wrong, and Mrs. Rush was kind and understanding. I realized as I got older that Cathy Rush had a drive and a determination to be the best that she brought to everything she did—whether it was teaching seventh-graders or coaching a national championship.

Tell your friends and neighbors about the "Mighty Macs." Take your kids or grandkids to see the movie. You will be glad you did!

—Paula Kocher lives in East Whiteland.

Vicki Sharpless November 07, 2011 at 01:52 PM
I agree, Paula. I went to see the Mighty Macs with Shelia Berry Stackhouse this weekend. We had a blast talking about playing on the 7th grade basketball team with Cathy Rush as our coach, and then later attending basketball camps with the Immaculata players as the coaches. The thing I liked best about the movie though was the message about empowerment of females that Cathy was so adamant about. As a female athlete or student in the 70's, Paula, we can remember when our hopes and dreams for academics or sports were not really given their due. Thankfully, people like Cathy Rush and many others have helped to change that culture.
Paula K November 07, 2011 at 03:21 PM
So true Vicki! Young women have so many more choices to find their special talents in school and college today thanks to women like Cathy Rush. We need more movies like this for "tween" and teenage girls---but as we saw with The Mighty Macs, independent filmmakers have a tough time getting into theaters. That's a shame but with the internet and social media maybe that will change over time.
Liz Munson Mitchell November 08, 2011 at 12:17 AM
I played baskeball when Cathy Rush was still at General Wayne. Great lady. I saw clips from the movie and boy did those blue basketball outfits bring back memories. I remembering wearing those. lol Such great memories. I called General Wayne about 2 years ago to see if there was any way to get a year book or basketball pictures, anything. I thought maybe they would have some team pictures, but they said they didn't have anything! I couldn't believe it. Oh well. Anyway we have great memories and we had a great roll model. Liz (Smith) Mitchell


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