Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Cathedral mother Gina Cauthen cleans up mud and loose grass around the school’s concession stand Thursday.
Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat — Cathedral mother Gina Cauthen cleans up mud and loose grass around the school’s concession stand Thursday.

Archived Story

Cathedral mother teaches importance of volunteering

Published 12:05am Friday, August 23, 2013

NATCHEZ — Gina Cauthen is a teacher, but she doesn’t have a classroom.

She doesn’t use a textbook; she prefers to teach by example.

Her students are her three children and volunteering is just one of the life lessons she teaches.

It is an important lesson; one that she learned by example from her parents.

“My mother was a teacher, cheerleader sponsor, worked the concession stand and was chairman of Fall Festival,” Cauthen said. “Every minute we had we spent at Cathedral.”

Cauthen’s children would probably say the same thing about their mother today.

“If there is something that needs to be done, Gena is there to do it,” Cathedral Elementary principal Shannon Bland said.

Cauthen is one of the many volunteer parents at the school, working to keep the school an energetic and exciting learning environment, Bland said.

Thursday Cauthen was busy helping prepare the school’s concession stand, cleaning the bathrooms and getting the football field ready for the first game of the season.

When she is not on the field, she also volunteers on several committees and helps coordinate fundraising for the school’s annual magazine sale.

“Even if she has a million things to do, she is going to find the time to squeeze one more in,” Bland said.

While the school is near to her heart, Cauthen says Cathedral is not the reason she does it.

“Your kids are your life,” Cauthen said. “They learn by example.”

Cauthen said she wants to to show her children that they have to take care of what they have, whether it is their school, church, community or even their history. If you don’t show love and care for your community than you risk losing it, Cauthen said.

“If I don’t take care of what I have, then they, in turn, won’t learn to take care of what they have.”

That is why Cauthen said she volunteers at the school, works on the Natchez City Cemetery Board, works in the Pilgrimage Garden Club and volunteers each month at the Natchez Stewpot. Her two oldest children come along to help serve food.

“My son has even learned how to cook,” Cauthen said.

Her youngest daughter now asks to come along and Cauthen is thankful.

“She wants to go, because (her brother and sister) go,” Cauthen said. “She will grow up knowing that’s a part of what you need to do.”