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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Wednesday, February 28 2001

Our teachers

Once, with time on my hands, I made a mental list of all my school teachers and gave them passing or failing grades, What a liberating exercise! Now that I'm out of their clutches, I can do that! I found that half passed and half failed; I must have graded on a steep curve. Actually, the only consideration was: do I have a positive, or negative, general impression about this teacher?

I'm not going to publish that list, of course, but for today I am going to go through the whole list and give my most prominent memory of that teacher.

Mrs. Margaret Drolet, first and second grades, Belsano School (1948-50) - She was very kindly. I was honored by being asked to sing "I Would Be True" (which I'd never heard before) at her retirement party a couple of years after I'd moved on to a higher grade. (My first solo "performance," in all likelihood.)

Mrs. Helen Brown, third and fourth grades, Belsano School (1950-52) - After moving on to another school our bus home always went by way of Belsano School. She saw me waiting between busses and expressed interest (surprise? I've always wondered) to learn I was among the top of the class.

Mrs. Searle, fifth grade, Blacklick High School, (1952-53) - Encouraged us to be creative and had good ideas for the holidays.

Mrs. Helen Yobaggy, sixth grade, Big Bend School, 1953-54 - The best looking of my teachers; under her I was elected "president of Mexico" and presented my first show (using papier mache puppets made under my Aunt Tommy's tutelage) to the Big Bend School assembly audience. She was the first to encourage me to pursue writing, based in part on my "candidate's speech" in the Mexican election exercise.

Raymond Clawson, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, Big Bend School, 1953-56. Our class's first male teacher and a strong disciplinarian, he was promoted to the school principal after my sixth grade year. He encouraged all who wanted to go to join the AAA school patrol in order to go to Washington in the spring of eighth grade, a major highlight of early youth.

Mrs. Bankovich, seventh and eighth. These were the first years in which we had rotating teachers (in high school, the teachers stayed in their rooms and we rotated; in junior high, they rotated). She taught the homeroom an important moral lesson, and encouraged learning popular songs. She was surprised that I was the one male in the class (because of my brother's constant playing of WCRO radio) who knew some of the hit parade lyrics.

Paul Adams, seventh and eighth, the junior high history teacher, always struck me as a good, positive role model. Good natured and seemingly interested in his students.

Mrs. Fleming Manseau, seventh and eighth. Our first English teacher and the only English teacher per se in public school from whom I learned some finer points of using the language. She seemed to be unpopular with most of the male students because she frequently "lectured" us on topics she liked, though by those we also got a reprieve from the classroom grind and, of course, because she was the English teacher. Her theme was "hitch your wagon to the stars." I seemed alone in taking her seriously and consider her a major influence; her suggestion that one of us do news items for a local paper is what got me started in journalism.

This is already a long postcard, so I'll take up high school teachers tomorrow. Please join the dialog with your similar recollections.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Three for one price

1. Define Transvestite: A guy who likes to eat, drink and be Mary! 2. My mind works like lightning. One brilliant flash and it's gone. 3. The only time the world beats a path to your door is if you're in the bathroom.

Sent by Mike Harrison

Great Lent

The purpose of Lent is not fasting per se but to draw us closer to God. If I turn Lent into a grim ascetic struggle, then I've missed the joy of the Lenten spring…. That is, I've forgotten that Lent is "a school of repentance to which every Christian must go every year in order to deepen his faith, to re-evaluate, and, if possible, to change his life," (quoting Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent).

John Stamps
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