Each year the Hough Foundation sponsors and organizes the Paddy Hough Parade. This special event lets the students at Hough Elementary celebrate our school’s namesake, Patrick Hough, and we are overjoyed to share this event with community members, elected officials, educational groups, and municipal organizations.
Patrick Hough was born on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1846, in Tipperary, Ireland. He has a storied life and was an adventurous soul. In 1870, he volunteered to serve as a medic in the Franco-Prussian War. He lost his left arm in the conflict. A victim of the harsh reality of the Irish Potato Famine, Hough emigrated from Ireland to British Columbia where he found a job as a teacher. Thirteen years later, Paddy Hough moved to Vancouver, Washington, to take a teaching position at the Holy Angels College. He quickly gained United States citizenship. Almost a decade later, Hough took a position at the Columbian School on Kauffman Avenue in downtown Vancouver. He spent his days teaching students, while his evenings were spent mentoring future educators. He wholeheartedly believed in the power of education and used his expertise to help mold future teachers.
By 1899, Paddy Hough was teaching at Vancouver High School on what is now the intersection of Fourth Plain and Main Streets. By all accounts, he was genuinely beloved by his students. He was also well loved by his peers and elected officials. As a community leader, he advocated for integration and inclusion. During the early 20th Century, anti-Catholic rhetoric was intense. Hough (who was himself Catholic) continually used his social status and kind demeanor to show people the importance of acceptance beyond prejudice. He did not believe in segregating people by gender and integrated his classrooms. Hough was truly a voice for equality.
Paddy Hough retired from teaching in 1908, but not for long. After the start of World War I, he returned to the classroom and served as deputy superintendent for Clark County Schools. He lived modestly, so when he died in 1925, many were surprised to find that he was quite well off financially. He bestowed a large portion of his wealth to establish an agriculture school in Clark County. Perhaps he was inspired by the hardships he endured during the potato famine that ravaged his homeland. Regardless, his legacy continues today at CASEE – the Center for Agriculture, Science and Environmental Education. The school is located in Brush Prairie and is administered by the Battleground School District.
In 1941, sixteen years after Hough’s death, the new downtown elementary school was named in his honor. Hough Elementary is situated in Hough Neighborhood and serves as a testament to Paddy’s positive influence on our community. Hough Elementary and Hough Neighborhood are both honored to be on the
Historic Registry of important places in Washington State.
Fifty years later, in 1991, another beloved teacher left her mark on Hough Elementary. Mina Milligan was a fifth grade teacher at Hough and a longtime resident in Hough Neighborhood. She believed that the school should honor Paddy Hough with a parade as a way to teach her students the incredible history of the school’s namesake. Mrs. Milligan’s goal was to create a sense of community pride, a goal that she certainly achieved. She eventually entrusted the organization of the parade to the Hough Foundation, and it soon grew to a beloved yearly event for young and old alike. Mina Milligan passed away in January 2023, just two months before the Paddy Hough Parade that is held yearly on Paddy’s birthday. Her vision lives on in the students and the vibrant community surrounding Hough Elementary.
There is a saying at Hough Elementary: the sun always shines on the Paddy Hough Parade (no matter what the weather)! We look forward to this special event that honors educators, community, and of course, the students of Hough Elementary.