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David Cathcart, Family Life Director

By Morgan Carver

As a Family Life Director, David Cathcart uses writing every day. Western Carolina University has prepared David for this career by teaching him to read more critically and recognize his audience when writing a specific piece.

Cathcart graduated from Western Carolina University in 2005. After graduation, his church expanded and he was able to acquire a full time position. A typical day consists of sending out emails to parents about upcoming events, writing thank-you notes, preparing for Sunday school, and meeting with other pastors. Also, Cathcart communicates with other mission organizations and writes out recommendation letters for youth members when needed. For all these activities, he thanks his communication skills.

Mission work in Mexico

A good story that illustrates Cathcart’s job satisfaction is one about his trip to the Yucatan Peninsula while on a mission trip. Cathcart assisted in building concrete walls for a church, and helped with the Vacation Bible School. While there, he ran into an American doctor who was an adult youth leader. This doctor was a neurosurgeon in the Army. Cathcart said he was “friendly and open, but there was never any doubt about his profession. He carried himself like someone would in the military and he spoke like someone who could operate on your brain and you would feel safe about the procedure.”

The doctor was in the Yucatan with his wife and children, and the last night David was there, he joined the couple in a foot-washing service. What made the service worthwhile was watching the Army neurosurgeon with his family and how they bowed down for each other to cleanse one another’s feet. They all hugged like a family, and they were loving and caring. It reminded Cathcart that love is more than what we see in a Hershey’s commercial or a Hallmark card.

Poetic metaphor and spiritual work

Some things that Cathcart liked learning while in the Yucatan were the terms "inscape" and "instress," terms which come from the English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. The terms illustrated the idea of a divine core in being, inscape, and one aspect of the divine connecting with another, instress. Studying English literature allows him to synthesize these ideas and to use them in his spiritual work.

For English major graduates, his best advice would be “to be open." For current WCU students, David recommends to be forgiving, because individuals can hurt each other without even realizing it. The most inspiring thing for Cathcart has been the life of Christ in the gospels and in people’s lives. He is not just proud to be a part of his job as a Family Life Director; he's also thankful.

These profiles were created by the Karen Greenstone's English 303 class (spring 2009)
and edited for the web by Mary Adams's English 303 class (summer 2009).

Students in Mary Adams's English 303 class (fall 2009) wrote additional profiles.