Thursday, June 26, 2008

HTML clipboard Jerry Stigall - I can't say enough about him. He had the ability to get 200% from a group of slow underweight students. They only had to learn to do what he instructed. In 1946 he led a team from a small school with an enrollment of about 410 students against a large school that had an enrollment of nearly 3000. We WON the game!. We also beat every team in our conference. It could only have been done with Jerry's leadership! - Bob Grenier '48
HTML clipboardLance Williams, (I knew his Dad Pop Williams well). His first day at school , I saw him wandering around like he did not know where to go, so I asked him what he was looking for, and he said Social Studies Class Room. Much to my surprise when I went to class, there he was, my teacher.He looked so young I thought he was a student. He wasn't lost of course. - Bob Grenier '48

HTML clipboard Miss McCann - She was a dedicated teacher. She had a fixation on Shakespear and applied it to her daily teaching. Athough I wasn't a very good student, she used me to get her point across. Everytime someone fouled up, she would say, "Mr. Grenier, tell them what they are." and I would have to say; "Ye sticks , Ye stones, you worthless things." That phrase stayed with me, and the people
I applied it to. - Bob Grenier '48

Miss Norma Drury - Mrs. Drury
I think the teacher that impressed me most, was Miss Drury (Mrs Handy). If you left her class without History knowledge, you shouldn't have been there in the first place. She would write all questions and even the answers for you to study and learn. Which I did. Thanks Miss Drury. Bob Grenier '48

Miss Virginia Marr 1882 -1966
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A teacher I remember is Miss Marr for music teacher. She had faith and hope for everyone, she even had me sing a few times although that was really stretching her accomplishments. - Bob Grenier, Class '46 and '48

Monday, March 31, 2008

#1 Miss Esther E. Niles - 1908 - 1996

From Bob Haefner:
Miss Niles taught English, history, speech and drama for 42 years in the St. Louis County public school system. She taught at Wellston High School as early as 1930, and was there for over 36 years.

I was the youngest of five in my family, and we all had Miss Niles for one subject or more over 15 years of her time at our school. As I look through the year books of my older siblings, I am reminded of Miss Niles' smile as she talked about drama and speech and history and the subjects she loved. She could see that a few of us were not just "getting through" her demanding classes but that we were absorbing her enthusiasm to improving ourselves. She had the knack of challenging us to become more outgoing and self assured than we would ever have thought we could be on our own.

My sister was just two years ahead of me, I watched her change from shy girl to a self assured young lady under the guidance of Miss Niles. Some of us "real men" thought it would be better to avoid all that drama and speech stuff, so we only scheduled the required course. She did not let me off that easy. In our small school we only had about thirty boys in my senior class. She hunted me down, and challenged me to take a part in the Senior Play. She did this not in private or in the Hall, she did this in a class meeting, there was no escape. She got me. I enjoyed it. It was one of the things that made me want to improve myself. Not as a goal, but a process to be enjoyed, a journey never finished. I am 78 this year and still on the journey.

Thank you Miss Niles, for what you did for all of us!
Bob Haefner Class of 1949
From Lorraine Smith Murray
My favorite teacher was Miss Niles. She was my homeroom teacher all four years, I graduated in 1957, and I had her for American Lit and American History. She can be described as class, respectful and caring. I feel very fortunate that she was a part of my life. Lorraine (Smith) Murray Class of 1957

Saturday, February 23, 2008

# 1 Charles W. Foraker by Judy Foraker Zettlemoyer

The man you knew as Mr. Foraker when you attended Wellston High School was known to me as Daddy. As a wee child, I sometimes called him Daddy Jack. He was also known by Charles, Charlie, Jack, Jack Rabbit and Charlie Jack. He was a very good man, a respected and loved man who was an educator, and an administrator, an inventor, a self-taught musician, a furniture builder, a bowler, a square dancer and a fisherman. He was a friend to many and with undying energy; he lived his life, loved his family and respected the earth.

I have two very potent memories of Daddy’s time at Wellston. When Mother worked on Saturdays, Daddy would take me with him to the high school. While he did his paperwork, I sometimes would play in the parking lot. Someone had told me that if I sprinkled salt on a bird’s tail, he would be unable to fly and I could play with him. So, I chased and chased and chased, but never caught one. Then, when tired, I would go to his woodworking shop. I can still smell the freshly cut wood and sawdust. I remember the big brooms and tall workbenches. Daddy would lovingly rub the wood and explain the grains. He let me play with the wood pieces in the scrap bin. He taught me to love wood…the smell, the feel, the beauty. I never smell freshly cut wood without aching for Daddy.

There are a few things you may not know about Daddy. He grew up with his older brother on a farm without electricity or running water (yes, they had a two holer). His daddy worked the farm in the beginning with a team of horses. The family survived the Great Depression with food from the farm and the big truck patch beside the house. His mother never turned away anyone who was hungry and Hobos marked the farm as a safe place to get a good hot meal.

Daddy and his older brother, Tom, won singing contests and played in bands as they grew up. Daddy taught himself to play the violin, guitar and later the piano. His two granddaughters, Keri and Kristin, danced to his music every Sunday after supper at our house. Hum a song and he could play it.

He made furniture for his mother which we still use and for our family as well. He made me a child’s table and chairs and a doll’s high chair and cradle that his great-grandchildren have also played with.

Daddy boxed as a featherweight when he was younger.

Daddy and Mother had many trophies from the two bowling leagues they joined. They loved to square dance and traveled to kick up their heels often. Fishing and camping were passions and Daddy could fillet crappie with the best of them. Wonderful memories. Once his youngest granddaughter, Kristin caught a turtle through the eye. Daddy operated successfully and “One Eyed Willie” was returned to the water. Daddy could have been a surgeon, huh? He could do anything.

Daddy took a course to repair televisions. He was so good that all his friends constantly brought over sick sets, which he would return in working order at no charge. He just loved helping others. Unfortunately, once while fixing a TV set, a screwdriver end broke off and hit him in the eye…his eye collapsed and after many hours of surgery, the eye was saved. He could only see light and dark from it, but it didn’t stop him from working and helping others. He eventually lost his eye to glaucoma…but never his energy.

Daddy could fix anything. And he did…over and over and over! When something completely wore out with no redemption, he would cannibalize it and store the parts in boxes and cans for another time. He was the original packrat. The basement of their house was his haven. He would work for hours and even often forget to eat. If nothing needed repair, he would invent something. He even worked on a perpetual motion machine, knowing it was impossible but it was the ultimate challenge.

Cancer finally took Daddy--but believe me, not without a fight. Just before he died, his grandchildren gathered at his bedside and he told them not to be sad. He said he was going to meet his best friend in Heaven…. Lance Williams. I know he was a loved teacher of yours as well.

Daddy was loved and respected and is greatly missed. He would have been so proud to have this tribute by his past students. Thank you, Judy Zettlemoyer.

Friday, February 22, 2008

# 2 Miss Esther E. Niles - 1908 - 1996

1996 Photo. Marilyn Jean and Miss Esther Niles.

The teacher I remember most clearly with much appreciation and affection was Esther Niles, our drama
and speech teacher. She always gave the impression that we could do well and succeed and this is what she expected of us. She was not easy, but if you obtained a compliment on performance it meant a great deal as she had high standards and praise from her meant a lot.

She impressed me so much at that time (remember this was the 40's) because she appeared to be very independent in the way she lived her life. I always had the feeling she was very much her "own person".

Many years later in 1990's I met Miss Niles again when she was a resident of a retirement community and I was a volunteer ombudsman there. She was still as vital and interesting as ever and had kept in touch with a number of her students over the years. Her intellect and curiosity were as active as ever and I later learned after her death she donated her body to Washington University. It did not surprise me that she taught to the end, and after.

Marilyn Jean Cederholm Westrich Class of 1949
Ralph A. Stege
My Favorite Teacher: Miss Esther Niles!
She was absolutely the "Best of the Best." She provided her students with the necessary 'tools' in becoming successful speakers. Miss Niles' personality, appearance, and charm were very well suited to captivate and instruct young 'men' in overcoming their beginner's embarrassment and becoming able to speak effectually and confidently to any audience. During my career, as a Manpower Control Officer, a position which I occupied as a Department of the Army Civilian (DAC) there were many required public speaking occasions. Public speaking was a vital component for the successful performance of my duties and responsibilities. This ability to give formal presentations and briefings before groups of very powerful, professional, and prestigious people was an absolute must. These presentations were always required when conducting official visits to numerous US Army facilities and installations throughout the United States and Europe. Thanks again, Miss Niles! You live in my Memory. - Ralph A. Stege '43