Harry Jacobson—2

Having been a teacher and school librarian it's always a thrill when I encounter former students and they remember me. I'll never forget attending a Louisville Jaycees meeting in the fall of 1989. I was representing Children's department of the Louisville Free Public Library. A young woman tapped me on the shoulder and as I turned around she gave me a huge hug. It was Megan Kelly, a former student at the School of the Ascension, Louisville, where I had been the school librarian. After that encounter I was walking on air for a week.

Working on the web page for the upcoming 45th reunion has been fun. I've been reading your biographies, thumbing through the yearbook, and thinking about school and friends and teachers. Given the chance which teachers would I hug; which impacted my life positively?

The answer is easy. There were three teachers in my educational career who made a difference in my life..

Gertrude Chadoin

In 6th grade at Hawthorne Elementary School I had the good fortune to be in Mrs. Blanche Singleton's class. Also in that class were Charlie Meyers and Stuart Robenson. Mrs. Singleton taught us about metaphors, and she was full of them “Never look a gift horse in the mouth”, for example. We didn't have lessons on metaphors, she used them everyday, in every lesson, in every conversation. Mrs. Singleton also had us (oh horrors!) memorize. To this day I can recite the first stanza of Longfellow's “The Village Blacksmith” and most of Lincoln's Gettysburg address.” My sixth grade year was the first time I ever had to speak in front of a group and it was a valuable lesson. Mrs. Singleton definitely had a positive impact on my life and if I were to meet her today you can bet Blanche Singleton would get a hug from me.

My first semester at the University of Kentucky I was fortunate to take World Literature with Mr. Hatch.

The first day of class we students were sitting in the room waiting for the teacher. About a minute after the official start time, in walks the professor and he slams the door and says in a not so soft voice, “Good morning class.” We just sat there, cowed and quiet and waiting. So Mr. Hatch says, let's try this again. He leaves the room, comes back in and…well, you get the idea. This time we all responded with “Good Morning.”

During my semester with him, Mr. Hatch taught me a little latin, a little physics, and a lot of literature; but most importantly, he taught me to think and to organize my thoughts, and how to put them down on paper. He saw a spark in me and he nourished that spark, and to this day, the flame burns. If I were to meet Mr. Hatch today, I'd engulf him in a great big bear hug. (Mrs. Singleton I hope you noticed the metaphor!)

High school, 9th grade, the beginning of the four-year, downhill slide into the abysmal swamp that my high school education turned out to be.Yet, a light shone, that kept me floating above the mire. Her name was Gertrude Chaudoin, my 9th grade Latin teacher. Mrs. Chaudoin was an incredible teacher. She cared about her subject and she cared about her students. She was the faculty advisor to the Latin Club and every summer took three busloads of kids to the Junior Classical League conventions. During my High School career we went to Alburqurque, New Mexico, Indiana University, and Bozeman, Montana and the Seattle World's Fair. Along the way we stopped at every state capitol between here and there. At one capitol building Mrs. Chaudoin ran through the sprinklers on the capitol's lawn. If I could I would sprinkle Mrs. C with hugs!

These three educators, Mrs. Chaudoin, Mr. Hatch, and Mrs. Singleton made a lasting impression on me.  Their nurturing and teaching styles informed my own teaching. They were indelible role models deserving of accolades and hugs.

That day in the fall of 1989, Megan Kelly didn't realize it but not only was she giving me a hug but she was hugging Mrs. Singleton, Mr. Hatch, and Mrs. Chaudoin, too.

Harry Jacobson-Beyer

Jul 19, 2008

Seneca High School—Class of '63                     http://www.senecaclassof63.com