David Gregson, a devout Catholic from Hecker, has found a new way to serve his parish: He will be fulfilling the role of Immaculate Conception School principal this year.
“I knew Mr. Kish (the former principal) was retiring, so I knew ICS was looking for a principal,” Gregson said. “After I talked it over with my family and I prayed on it, I thought this would be an opportunity to give back to my parish and serve my parish as a principal.”
Gregson has deep ties to not only the Columbia church, but also the school itself. His children are ICS alumni and after fulfilling teaching and administrative duties at Gibault Catholic High School for 25 years, he is able to watch other Catholic families grow.
“I have two sons that graduated from ICS, so I know a lot of people here,” Gregson explained. “A lot of people who I taught at Gibault now are married and have students here at ICS, so I taught them and now I’m going to be the principal where their kids go (to school).”
For Gregson, faith has always been a guiding force in his life, so it’s only natural that it is intertwined with his profession.
“I was raised in a very Catholic family in Hecker, and (my faith) is part of who I am,” Gregson noted. “It’s my lifestyle, and again, to come back to where I go to church … and to be able to contribute to the Catholic faith of future members of our church is very important to me.”
Gregson said he is very proud of the immersive educational opportunities ICS provides its students, such as the eighth grade Washington, D.C. trip and the trip to Memphis, Tenn., that the older students take.
He describes the latter as a “social justice” exploration, as students visit the Lorraine Hotel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and learn about the city’s Underground Railroad ties.
He said during his time as ICS principal, he hopes to provide students with even more hands-on learning experiences.
For the seventh grade class, Gregson and other administrators are looking into a space camp. The two-night camp, in Huntsville, Ala., is held where NASA astronauts train and includes a variety of simulations, modules and other STEM activities.
Gregson is planning to also introduce a robotics team.
“Kids are more hands-on now than when I started teaching 30 years ago … and that way kids of all different learning styles have a better chance of learning if you can provide more opportunities,” Gregson said.
When not working, Gregson likes spending time outdoors. He and his wife took up kayaking during the pandemic. He also likes to spend time with the friends he made when growing up in Monroe County.
When asked about his favorite Monroe County tradition, he replied “getting together for events at the Hecker Dome” without hesitation.
“It’s the Hecker Community Center, but true Monroe County people my age know it as the Hecker Dome,” Gregson said with a laugh. “They used to have a lot of dances and whatnot when I was a teenager in high school back in the day.”