Barnstable High School Principal & Holiday Principle – Details Matter

Written by Brian Tarcy

BARNSTABLE – The principle at Barnstable High School is that details matter.

On Saturday in late November, shortly after noon, Principal Patrick Clark attended to details – the kind of tiny details that no one notices and everyone notices. He was putting red ribbon holiday decorations on the main sign outside of the school on West Barnstable Road.

“Every season, we try to dress the place up nice,” he said. “Just to show the property is cared for.”

Barnstable High School Principal Patrick Clark cuts some ribbon for the main sign outside the school. "It's more than just decorations," he said.

Barnstable High School Principal Patrick Clark cuts some ribbon for the main sign outside the school. “It’s more than just decorations,” he said.

“It’s more than just decorations,” he said.

Clark, standing next to a sign put up by the class of 1987, is a graduate of the class of 1990. For four years he was Principal of Wareham High School, and then six years ago he became principal of his alma mater.

Now he leads 1,900 teenagers and 220 adults in various capacities, he said. As an administrator, he administrates.

But on Saturday afternoon in the fresh air all alone with red ribbon and scissors, Clark explained, “I think that you lead from the front. I enjoy doing outdoors work. This is a little something extra I can do.”

And he said that the message that holiday decorations gives to students, faculty and the community is that the school cares about all details, including the overall atmosphere of the school.

“It’s more than just decorations,” he said. Inside the school there are several charitable drives for donations run each year, said Clark. “Last winter we ran 14 different programs of that nature,” he said.

“The messages we send by things like that are just as important as what happens in the classroom,” said Clark. “We take pride in the school.”

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About the author

Brian Tarcy

Brian Tarcy is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. He is a longtime journalist who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston magazine, the Cape Cod Times and several other publications. He is the author of "YOU CAN'T SELL RIGHT FIELD; A Cape Cod Novel." He is also the author or co-author of more than a dozen mostly non-fiction books, including books with celebrity athletes Cam Neely, Tom Glavine and Joe Theisman. His previous book was, "ALMOST: 12 Electric Months Chasing A Silicon Valley Dream" with Hap Klopp,who created the iconic brand, The North Face.
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Brian is a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan with a long-running NFL predictions/political satire column connecting weekly world events to the fate of his favorite team, now at

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