Living the Faith: Tracy Young and Paul Madden

MEDFORD -- Tracy Young and Paul Madden love their jobs. As principal and vice-principal of St. Raphael Elementary School, they help shape tomorrow’s Catholics.

“I believe children should have the benefit of a Catholic education,” said Young, the school’s principal. “It helps to mold them into being the best people they can be when they grow up.”

“Attending this parish school, you get a feeling that you’re part of a strong faith-knit community,” Young continued.

Young, who has been principal for three years, feels her school’s environment is made special because “there’s a really strong connection between the parish and the school.”

Madden agreed. “We definitely are a parish school,” he said. “Clearly the parish community supports the school.”

According to Madden, both Father Kevin Toomey, the pastor of St. Raphael Parish and his parochial vicar Father Robert Cullen are regulars at the school.

“I think there is the visible presence of the priests in the life of the school, which is a definite plus,” he said. “Father Kevin really tries to have the parish be an anchor for his parishioners. This school is a faith anchor for the parents who sacrifice to bring their children here.”

Both Young and Madden praised Father Toomey for integrating the school into the life of the parish.

“We really are a part of the parish, not just a stand-alone Catholic school,” stressed Madden.

Young praised Father Toomey’s “commitment” to providing state-of-the-art equipment in the school, something she feels adds to the “positive learning environment” of St. Raphael’s school.

Outside the classroom, Young and Madden are deeply rooted in their faith.

Young, 38, grew up in Medford, and has been a parishioner at St. Raphael Parish for several years. As a child, she attended Catholic school for her elementary, high school and graduate school education.

“My faith has always been a real important part of my life,” stated Young.

Madden, too, has always found strength in his faith. Together with his wife of 37 years, Mary Madden, Madden raised five children, and has six grandchildren. The Madden’s currently reside in West Roxbury.

“My faith has always given me a sense of belonging, a sense of comfort,” he mused. “My faith is part of who I am.”

Madden, 59, is a retired high school principal for the Needham public school department. This is his first year at St. Raphael Elementary School, a job he feels “honored” to have.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for me to end my career in the parochial schools. I went to parochial schools for 12 years, and this is a marvelous way for me to give back.”