The Airline High School class of 2016 will continue the tradition of the homecoming parade brought back by the AHS class of 2014 on Tuesday October 6 at 6:00 pm. The parade will be in reverse order of the past parades due to to construction on campus.
John R. McConathy, retired superintendent of Bossier Parish Schools and former chairman of Citizens National Bank, has been selected as Grand Marshal of Airline High School’s Homecoming parade for 2015. John’s four children: Mike, Bill, Melinda, and Pat graduated from Airline High School, his son-in-law Greg is a graduate and his daughter-in-law Suanne is a graduate and two of his eleven grandchildren-Josh and Paxson- have graduated from Airline while grandson Jacob will graduate from AHS in 2016.
Growing up in the rural town of Gibsland, Louisiana, the middle son of dairy farmers O. L. and Marie McConathy, John R. McConathy gained the training he would need to work 30 years in education. He began his teaching legacy in Ringgold in 1952, was hired at Bossier High School in 1956, became superintendent of Bossier Parish Schools in 1971, and retired as superintendent of Bossier Parish Schools in 1982. He coached basketball at Bossier High school and his team won the 1960 state championship for the first time. He was asked by Emmett Cope to join the staff at the central office and proceeded to become the head of the entire Bossier Parish Public School System. John continues to acknowledge that he never accomplished anything remarkable on his own. He states that “the most satisfying thing in any job is working with any and all people.” With his wife Corene by his side, he still advocates, “You are no better than the people you surround yourself with!”
During his tenure as superintendent, the Bossier Parish School system began to grant employees a 13th check, in 1976-1978, Bossier became the first parish to complete a self-study and receive accreditation for all its schools under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. John also successfully navigated the turbulent years of integration in American schools. Because public schools were intended to handle the masses, John always believed that a school system should be flexible enough to withstand a changing curriculum, but he believes in the human element of good teachers who will always be the reason that public education continues to move forward. He believes in all kinds of learning opportunities and supports the idea of a well-rounded education for all. His legacy in education did not end in 1982. He has two sons Mike and Bill who have been in education and his daughter Melinda is an educator as well. John’s legacy as a leader did not end when he retired from education.
In 1985, several community leaders in Bossier City discussed the idea of a community bank in Bossier City. Prominent men in Bossier decided that they would open a bank and asked John to become one of the organizers. John who was so well-respected as the superintendent of Bossier Parish schools used the same philosophy of “working with any and all people” to become one of the founders of a new bank named Citizens National Bank which opened for business in October 1985. John states that he believed the citizens of Bossier were looking for people with a reputation of honesty and fairness, and John fit the description so he was selected as chairman of the bank. He continued in that role until 2014. His youngest son Pat is currently Senior Vice-President at Citizens National Bank which he joined in 1997 to continue his dad’s banking legacy.
The call of rural Bienville Parish led John and Corene to purchase a farm in Bryceland in 1998 where John raises cattle and hay. The old Collinsworth farm named 2 Plus 4 is a favorite place for the family to gather at Thanksgiving. These days John savors the memories of a wonderful career in basketball, education, banking, and farming. He continues to follow Demon basketball at Northwestern State University where he had an All-American basketball career and earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education. John and Corene have been blessed with successful children: Mike, Bill, Melinda, and Pat, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are a source of great pride. Respectfully called “Mr. John” while leading the Bossier school system, he now answers to the name of “Pappy.”
The entire Airline High School family is honored and thrilled to have one of Bossier’s most beloved citizens as our grand marshal for 2015.
All of Airline’s feeder schools will be participating in this year’s parade. The parade is a free event for the entire community. Remember the parade is at 6:00 pm on October 6. Please come out and support our Airline Viking Community.