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About Father Jim & Mike

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A priest and a principal walk into a bar.....

It takes a certain kind of person to prank a priest… and a certain kind of priest to appreciate the prank! In 2017, while serving as principal of The Franciscan School (TFS), Mike Watson figured there’d be no better way to welcome the parish’s dynamic, engaging new friar, Father Jim Sabak, than by secretly and sporadically placing large, wooden animals from the parish’s nativity scene in Father Jim’s office. Because nothing says “welcome” like a 4’ tall camel sitting behind your desk. “I became a target - in a wonderful way,” Father Jim remembers.

 

Thus begins the beautiful friendship of Reverend Doctor Jimmy (Father Jim) and Mike “Dubs” Watson. 

 

The friendship grew roots as Mike invited Father Jim, who always had a passion for education, to become more involved with the K-8th school community. Fun, gregarious and engaging – he quickly became a favorite of TFS students and staff alike. Then COVID rocked the world – and the students and parishioners at St. Francis along with it.  

 

To continue building community while families were locked down in the early days of the pandemic, Mike decided to move the school’s beloved routine of morning prayer online. On March 17th, 2020, one day after TFS transitioned to a virtual learning environment, Mike and Father Jim shared a morning prayer video for TFS students and their families to watch online. Wanting to provide not only faith and familiarity but also a bit of levity, they decided to throw in a post-production “Lucky Charms” video where they enjoyed some magically delicious breakfast on camera for their students. It was a hit. Jimmy and Dubs continued to work their magic and spent many days during the pandemic making amusing videos - golf cart karaoke, anyone? -  to help students and families find a little laughter in a particularly challenging time. 

 

And it is from these post-production videos that the “Potential to be Amazing” podcast was born. Unlike other faith podcasts, which can be overly intellectual and political, “Potential to be Amazing” aims to show the perspective of two, faith-filled people sharing the relevance of faith, friendship and fun in everyday life. 

 

So join Reverend Doctor Jimmy and Dubs, along with a series of special guests, as they discuss education, Catholicism and the intersection of the two while also reminding listeners – young and old – that you, too, have the potential to be amazing! 

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Reverend Dr. Father Jim Sabak

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The Reverend Doctor Jimmy, co-host and better looking half of the podcast, The Potential to be Amazing, was born in Seattle, Washington, was raised in Niagara Falls, New York, and currently lives out his days in Raleigh, North Carolina.

 

Long before he met up with and established a life-long friendship with Dubs, he earned a bachelor of arts degree in Politics at The Catholic University of America, during this time he served the Labour Party in the Parliament of Great Britain. A few years after that he felt the tug of God calling him to something different and explored the possibility of religious life, finding a connection with the Franciscan Friars. He was solemnly professed in 1998 and ordained in 1999. The Reverend Doctor then earned a Ph.D. if you can believe it (Dubs still doubts he did!) in Sacramental Theology and Liturgy at The Catholic University of America in 2012.

 

After a teaching stint at Providence College in Rhode Island, he was asked to come to Raleigh where he worked at Dubs' parish alongside him at The Franciscan School. Even though Dubs has entered retirement RD Jimmy still works at The Franciscan School, while holding down a day job with the Bishop's Office in the diocese of Raleigh.In addition to thought provoking podcasts and hilarious videos with his buddy, RD Jimmy loves to travel, spending time at the ocean, exploring culinary wonders, and helping the world to become a better place!

Mike Watson

Mike Watson is the creative genius, and more rugged member, of the duo who co-hosts the Potential to be Amazing podcast. Born at Fort Benning Georgia, Mike spent his early years in Lebanon, NH growing up in the wilderness of the Granite State, a metaphor that translates into the granite solid personality all Mike's friends enjoy! After moving to the Sunshine State of Florida when he was 7, Mike spent his time stalking the wily fish of the Gulf of Mexico and developing his witty sense of humor.  A cradle Catholic, he attended Catholic school from 2nd -8th grade at Epiphany Catholic School in Venice, he progressed onward onward through Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota.  His time spent in the outdoors inspired Mike to attend college at Florida Tech in Melbourne, Fl. for a degree in Marine Biology.  Mike changed majors to Molecular Biology when his interest in lab work peaked, and graduated with his bachelors in 1987.  His first years after college were spent at Dartmouth College, back in NH, and then the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fl. working as a biomedical researcher.  

 

Meeting his wife, Carolyn, at Mayo Clinic in the lab, they married and then moved to North Carolina as both took jobs in Research Triangle Park. After 13 years at GlaxoSmithKline, he decided to enter education, an arena in which he always had an interest, when the opportunity arose for him to teach 6th grade science at The Franciscan School (TFS) where his older daughter, Sarah, was entering 5th grade and his younger, Hannah, was entering kindergarten. Mike moved into an administrative role at the school in 2010 and earned his Masters in School Administration in 2012 from NC State University.  He spent, in total, 3 years teaching science, 6 years as Assistant Principal and then 6 years as principal at TFS before retiring after the 2021-22 school year. 

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