August 22, 2009,
Dear Cathie, Jimmy, Richard,
As your mother's former English student, I have typed this letter very carefully as if she were going to "grade" it, red pencil in hand. I am hoping to avoid incorrect sentence construction and/or punctuation. As you will note, I do not think I escaped the "run-on" sentences trap. You know she definitely frowned on those, therefore, please feel free to adopt editorial privileges, prior to anyone else's viewing.
Here are my thoughts on the legacy of educational excellence left by your parents. First, experience with my children and grandchildren revealed this fact--The quality of the public high school education I received (and took for granted) as a student of Catherine and James Neville LeDuke is rare in today's world. Currently in the area where I live, an education of that kind is available mainly at a premium from a private school or in the sacrificial commitment of a home-school setting.
Second, since I did not complete requirements for graduation from an institution of higher learning, the result of your parents' dedication to the practice of classical education principles became a sort of college-degree equivalent for me, and I am grateful. It has served me well.
Your parents certainly set significant and elevated standards in their teaching practices, but just as significant to me is the fact that they were caring people who demonstrated a sincere desire for the success of their students. There is a word that defines these qualities: It is simply "LOVE", the one thing Scripture says "will never come to an end". Perhaps, that factor is the key to the ENDURING nature of Catherine and James Neville LeDuke's legacy.
God's best to you, Miss Catherine, and all your family.
Carolyn Wyatt Cantrell
P.S. For a short trip down Memory Lane, recall with me this incident in your dad's Latin class. The second bell had rung for class to begin. Since your dad was late getting to the classroom, those of us in the class (all of the class of "61) continued with our own agenda-talking, joking, etc., completely ignoring your dad when he came into the room. Having had enough of our blatant disrespect, he began to BANG sharply on his desk and to raise his voice to declare to us truth that was long overdue; "You may be the cream-of-the-crop to the rest of the faculty, but to me, you are RUDE, R-U-D-E.
(I was seated near your dad's desk, and I can still remember the involuntary shudders that coursed through me as he rightfully made his point.)
Thank you, Carolyn, for reminding me about how RUDE that class of '61 was. Those snobby kids. I tried to warn my parents time and time again about them. Oh, Well.