Thursday, November 5, 2009

He kept students awake, aware, and sometimes apprehensive!!

Another letter received in September:

The THS Class of 1955 was fortunate to have Catherine and James Neville LeDuke on our high school faculty. We have always claimed to be the largest graduating class and believed we received an excellent high school education.

Miss Catherine and Mr. James Neville played a large role in that education. Most of us had English under Miss Catherine our freshmen, sophomore, and senior years. The thoroughness of those classes was reflected in the fact that 3 class members qualified for Honors English as freshmen at UT Martin. This was a class of 30 students which earned credits for the first two quarters of freshmen English.

We didn't just do grammar, however. We read classics and did special projects which were the result of graduate work that Miss Catherine was doing at Memphis State. Her students were benefiting from her efforts to continue developing her teaching skills.

Mr. James Neville did not impact as many students, since his teaching was part-time. The impact of his teaching style and knowledge would never be forgotten by anyone who was in his class for a year (or less). He taught Latin, Physics, and Chemistry. It was possible to take 4 years of Latin, plus the sciences. How many small high schools of that day offered as much. His teaching style and personality kept students awake, aware, and sometimes apprehensive. Most of those who were in his class have a least one unique story to tell from the experience.

Our education was greatly enhanced by these two excellent teachers. They taught us more than facts, as they insisted on appropriate behavior and required high standards of work in their classrooms.

Helen Lovell


Thank you, Helen for bringing back a memory from 1955; the year Mother spent traveling to Memphis State University each Saturday taking classes to earn her Masters Degree. All year long Mother was doing her own homework while assigning some to her own students at THS. Then in the Summer she stayed on campus for about a month to complete her degree. It was a proud moment for the family to watch her graduate.

The moment was especially proud for me because I paid for her masters degree. Well I contributed greatly at least. You see for about 5 years I had a paper route for the afternoon paper; The Memphis Press Scimitar. And after about three years I had saved and banked about $500.

I remember the day somewhat vaguely when Daddy and Mother called me to the dining room table for a "talk". Boy, was I nervous. I wondered which of the many "sins" I had committed they had found out about. I even took off my belt and hid it just in case I was in Major trouble.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that what they wanted was to borrow my "life savings" so that Mother could enroll at Memphis State to earn her Master's Degree. Wow, did I feel like a big shot. How many people get a chance like that; to be a major player at age 12 and make a financial contribution to make a mother's dream come alive.

They cleaned me out that year but I gave them an extremely favorable interest rate and repayment schedule. Only a few payments left and I'll tear up the marker.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. I know; I've been repaid a thousand times over. And not just financially.

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