|Kay DuBose, who taught at St. Joseph School for 37 years, is pictured with some of her students in this undated file photo. St. Joseph has established the Kay DuBose Memorial Tuition Assistance Fund to make Catholic education affordable to more families.
Kay DuBose devoted almost half of her life – 37 of 77 years – to teaching children at St. Joseph School in Madison.
“Mrs. D,” affectionately named by her students, passed away in February, 2015, leaving the school an enduring legacy. “She saw firsthand the value that a Catholic education can have on one’s life,” said C.J. Martin, St. Joseph’s principal. “She really went out of her way to make sure that her three daughters were also afforded that opportunity.”
Inspiring the same passion for Catholic education in her children – one of whom, Ginger DuBose, is a current pre-kindergarten teacher at the school – St. Joseph is now home to four of her grandchildren, who are carrying out the DuBose heritage in the pre-k, third, fifth and seventh grade classrooms.
“Her father was a Sunbeam Bakery bread delivery man, and her mother was a school patrol lady,” Ginger DuBose said. “So she was not raised in a wealthy environment by any means. They sacrificed everything they could to send the kids to Catholic school.”
Raised in Nashville, Kaye DuBose and all her siblings went to Christ the King School. From there, she and her sisters went to St. Bernard Academy; the brothers entered Father Ryan High School. “There was no doubt in her mind that she was going to send her own kids to Catholic school, after being raised in that environment,” DuBose said.
Mrs. DuBose taught in public schools for a few years, but soon realized that her calling was in Catholic education, where she could openly share her faith with the students. She was no longer teaching when Martin came back to St. Joseph this year as the principal, but it was impossible to not be aware of her presence and her impact on the school community. Although retired, she continued to volunteer for school events and activities, and often showed up to help out in her daughter’s pre-k classroom.
Besides her volunteering, Mrs. DuBose went out of her way to support and inspire teachers who were just beginning their Catholic education journeys. “She was so caring,” Martin recalled. “She would write new teachers notes of encouragement, and when something was going really well, she would drop them a card, just to say how proud she was of them.”
She also served as a mentor to Martin, enthusiastically answering any questions he had about the school’s history, and allowing him to tap into her immense wealth of experience as an educator at St. Joseph.
The school has begun to recognize Mrs. D’s significant contributions in a very tangible way. This year, as part of its Annual Giving Campaign, St. Joseph has launched a Kay DuBose Memorial Tuition Fund. There has been a tuition fund in place at St. Joseph for several years and Mrs. DuBose was a strong and dedicated advocate for it. But it has never been heavily promoted or funded, and each year, only a few families have been able to benefit from it.
With her passing last year, the school community decided it was time to establish a permanent effort in her name that would underline her faithful commitment to the school and her passion for allowing all families access to a religious education regardless of their financial status. In fact, a dying request of hers was that people donate to the existing tuition assistance fund on her behalf.
This was not a new passion. Ten years earlier, in her retirement letter to the school, she wrote, “It is my hope and prayer that all families that desire a Catholic education for their children will be able to find that dream fulfilled at St. Joseph School.”
That dream is moving a step closer to a reality. “We feel like we’re at a point where we can really begin to encourage families in our neighborhood and in the surrounding areas,” explained Martin. “If they want a Catholic education, we want to make sure that they can attend a Catholic school. That is also a mission of Father Tomy (Joseph, MSFS), our pastor, and myself. We don’t want to exclude anyone because of finances.”
Those inclined may direct their contributions to a general school fund, a building fund, or the Memorial Tuition Assistance Fund by visiting tinyurl.com/sjsannualgiving. Donations can also be mailed to St. Joseph School, in care of the Kay DuBose Memorial Tuition Assistance Fund, at 1225 Gallatin Pike S., Madison, TN 37115.
“I’m humbled to be able to follow in her footsteps,” said Ginger DuBose. “I’m also very blessed that I can continue to be part of her legacy here at St. Joseph, along with my daughter and my nephews. It’s a blessing that she can still remain alive in this environment, through this memorial fund.”