Wednesday, November 4, 2009

She Is a Teacher; "IS" a Teacher.

In the last several years I have tuned in on "Oscar" night for the opening portion of the show. I have found that the first 20 minutes of the evening's festivities are usually quite interesting. Aside from the Host's elaborate monologue and/or comedy-musical-parody number I have come to enjoy the camera panning about the theater and zooming in on one individual star after another.

The Star looks into the camera and recites a few somewhat interesting lines written just for that person and then says: "My name is Michael Douglass and I am an Actor." The camera pans away, finds another who ends his speech the same way: "My name is Teri Hatcher and I am an Actor."

When Catherine LeDuke was inducted into the Tennessee Teachers Hall of Fame in 1994 a camera should have been present at that ceremony panning about the room which was filled with members of the three inductee's families, close friends, interested guests and most importantly many, many teachers. The camera could have panned around the banquet hall and then zoomed in on the Honorees one at a time who would have said a few words ending with: "My name is Ruth Bowdoin and I am a Teacher." Then zoom-zoom: "My name is Terry Weeks and I am a Teacher." and lastly, zoom-zoom: "My name is Catherine LeDuke and I am a Teacher."

Catherine Fraizer Patty became a teacher in 1936 at Alcoa Junior High School in Alcoa, Tennessee. She was there teaching English and Latin for less than three months when she left to join James Neville LeDuke and become his bride. The two of them lived in Spencer, Tennessee while James Neville was teaching at Burritt College.

Catherine did not re-enter a class room until 1946 when she was asked to fill in for one year to teach Latin at Tiptonville High School. She remained there for almost 40 years.

When Catherine retired from LCHS in the eighties, she simply shifted her focus to her family, her church, a variety of clubs, the Historical Society, a hobby in photography, and a bit of world travel.

Today Catherine gives all appearance of being totally dependent on others to make it through each day. Given her problems with her memory and her increasing frailness, one could look sadly at her existence and think that the meaning for her life is over. HOW VERY VERY WRONG THAT THOUGHT WOULD BE!!!!!

Catherine LeDuke is a Teacher. IS a Teacher. Became a Teacher in 1936 and has never "not" been a Teacher since. It would simply be incorrect to say that Catherine LeDuke "was" a teacher.

For Catherine LeDuke,
teaching is not something you do;
teaching is who you are;
and the class room is where ever she is.

And as long as there is breath in her beautiful body, Catherine LeDuke will continue to teach. Class is held daily at 114 LeDuke Street. Telephone classes available at the touch of a button. If you haven't attended lately, the loss is yours.

Bring your camera and zoom in. You just might hear her say: "My name is Catherine LeDuke and I am a teacher.

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