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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Thursday, March 1 2001

High school teachers (third in a series on Valley schools)

I don't remember several of my high school teachers by name. The coach/gym teacher before McKivigan is lost from my grey matter, as is the name of the freshmen science teacher (he comprised the whole Blacklick Township High School science department, actually, but for my freshman year only). The latter is especially unfortunate, as he had a lasting influence on me. He was the first person who engrained into my mind the fact that, despite what the Declaration of Independence declares, all people are not created equal. Though that is a biological fact, it wasn't in a biology class context that he made the point, but a more philosophical discussion. I had been thirsting for something like philosophy for years, and when he broached the subject, I was all ears. This makes this undersung teacher a mentor, as well as an instructor. The main point is that he taught me to think critically, the keystone of any meaningful higher education.

It's especially ironic that I forget the gym teacher's name, as I loathed gym class and had him from, I believe the sixth grade on or, if not sixth, seventh grade on. My dislike was based on my lack of athletic co-ordination and ineptitude, primarily, and the resulting rejection from any team pickup. It was reinforced by the fact that one of my better friends and an able athlete, Don Ellis, broke a collar bone in a tumbling gym class as we all looked on...it was just normal effort to do the tumble, no horsing around added.

I believe my freshman homeroom teacher was Miss Edith Parrish, so she's up next. Miss Parrish was physically unimposing but had the best disciplinary control of her classes of any teacher I had. Even the worst bullies couldn't get away with anything under her watch, for which I've always admired her. Some teachers were known to grab "tough guys" by the collar or hair and throw them at the blackboard...Miss Parrish could accomplish more with them by a word. I still don't know how she did it. She was also a good math and French teacher, though those were subjects I tried to avoid and algebra and plane geometry almost did me in. (I opted for Latin and Spanish, rather than French.)

I also forget the name of the freshman Latin teacher whom I believe also taught Spanish (Mrs. Marian Hayes, the wife of Johnny Hayes of Commons Hardware, suddenly strikes my consciousness, but it's still uncertain). I recall her as a woman of small stature. Though I have no negative impression of her, I hated Latin but was told I'd have to have it for college (I can't remember ever needing it, though I did come to appreciate the Latin roots of English and other Northern/Western European languages in my middle years), and Spanish was not much better. Ironically, I believe I have an aptitude for languages, because I've got along fine in foreign countries, but the way the languages were taught never caught my attention, never netting more than a "C" on my record. I must admit I was a lazy student and that if I'd really done the "required" homework I'd have probably done much better. Come to think of it, English was no better taught, but more about that when I get to those teachers.

I will continue this tomorrow, Lord willing.

Meanwhile, you may be thinking that your memories of your teachers (or my memories of mine) are too irrelevant to the rest of us. But don't you think all of our valley teachers over the 80 years the valley has had schools (give or take a few years) deserve a "nod" here on the page, and if you don't share what you remember, it may not happen? So, favor us with your favorite teacher anecdotes, please!

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Children Think Logically, not Spiritually

A father was at the beach with his children when his four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore, where a seagull lay dead in the sand. "Daddy, what happened to him?" the son asked.

"He died and went to Heaven," the dad replied.

The boy thought a moment and then said, "Did God throw him back down?"

Sent by Mike Harrison

Prayer

Thou, O Christ our Saviour, hast become for me the path of life which leads to the Father. There is but one path, and it is my joy, and at the end of it is the heavenly kingdom.

Thou, O Master, Jesus, Son of God, hast become for me the path of life and enlightenment. In the heart of thy servant, thy grace has become light and joy, which are sweeter than the honey of the honeycomb to the lips of thy slave. In the soul of thy servant thy grace has become a treasure that has made his poverty rich and driven away misery and corruption. For thy servant, thy grace has become a refuge, strength, a defense, ennoblement, praise, and food for the whole of his life.

How can thy servant be silent, O Master, after having tasted the great sweetness of thy love and grace? How could I dare once again to obstruct the waves of grace that pour forth into the heart of me, a sinner, and which are replete with sweetness according to the multitude of thy gifts? I shall sing of the glory of the Master of heavenly powers and shall magnify thy grace, O Christ our Savior, and my tongue shall not cease to chant of thy love.

Thy love draws me to Thee, O Savior, O praise of my life. Thy grace makes it sweet for me to follow Thee with my mind. May my heart be as a fertile field for Thee, and may thy grace sprinkle the dew of eternal life upon it. May thy grace reap a good harvest on the field of my heart: humility, reverence, sanctity, and all that is ever pleasing to Thee.

Return my soul to the sweet garden of paradise, and may it abide in light that, surrounded by the delights of paradise, I, too, may say with all the saints: Glory to the Immortal Father; honor to Him who presents heavenly gifts to this worthless one, that he may bring a tithe of glory to the King of all!

St. Ephrem the Syrian, 4th century

Sent by Christopher Haas
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