Classmates, this segment of our reunion celebration, honors those who devoted their lives to instruct us.
Our teachers !!!
Our teachers’ summers are over,
Their 1960 harvest, us, is now in, and
They have blessed society with an abundance of talent and experiences.
For we are:
Teachers, College Professors, Counselors, Public Speakers
Engineers, Accountants, Tradesmen, Consultants, Analysts
Professional Football Players, Singers, Musicians
Administrative Secretaries, Directors of Federal Programs, Advanced Personnel for Governing Administrations
Rank and file, Managers,
Protectors of the Public:
State Troopers, City Police
Protectors of the Nation:
United States Air Force Captain,
United States Army Reserve Sgt,
Officers of the Court:
State Supreme Court Jurist, Lawyers
Doctors, Mothers, Fathers, An organizer of street racers, Muslims, Christians, and just plain good people.
This is a fine harvest by any standard.
Our experIences can maintain a town of 10,000 in an embrace of peace, protection, and academic and spiritual growth.
We have had many teachers.
But I will cite a few who profoundly contributed to my development.
My compleat teacher is Miss C.W. Wall,
Gwen and Clarence: YOU remember her.
She was our third grade teacher.
Do you remember her dangling crescent moon earrings subtending a star?
Miss Wall taught me the complete rules of grammar.
During my education no person added to her contribution.
Nouns in apposition, gerunds, exclamations, interjections, adjectival phrases, …
I learn them all from her.
She is one of my unforgettable teachers.
Another unforgettable force is Mrs. Block-Thomas,
My fourth grade teacher.
Alex and Clarence were also in that class.
For a few months, she came to school late on the first Thursday of the month.
But on the previous day, she gave us the assignment
To read a particular lesson, write it, and answer the questions at the end of the chapter. It was always from that green history book that I hated.
Then she instructed us to go to the collection of history books, get one, return to our seats,
And work quietly until she came to school.
Quietly, we worked;
Never having a substitute teacher.
We followed her dictates!
It was this discipline she taught
I called upon to prepare for the qualifying
exams of my final degree.
Like clock work every night at 7: 00 PM – save Saturday I invoked Miss Block-Thomas’ training.
I would leave my wife and my young daughter,
Walk to the library,
Go to the same far dark corner and,
Read old books and journals of mathematics until closing.
Mrs. Block-Thomas taught me discipline.
Miss Smith, our French teacher at Cohen
To whom I never spoke a word,
Kindled a juggernaut within me
that has yet to be arrested.
It was her commitment to teaching French
that unleashed that energy.
Miss Smith taught me that
commitment is not a dedication to a single event,
It is a way of life.
Mr.Spencer, our band director, allowed me to be a part of his band,
His philosophy to develop people got me into his band.
There, I learned that the band was more important that any of its members.
Mr. Spencer knew this! and
He encouraged each student to play his best music.
It was from this experience that
I carved the foundational stones of my career.
I encouraged my students to play THEIR best mathematical music in all my class.
Then there was Mr. Germond,
The teacher who never released me.
During the spring of the final year we lived in New Orleans,
He visited my home every Sunday with his young son.
We lived at three addresses in Sacramento.
Joe visited two of them.
He would drop in and
Invite himself for a week’s visit.
Katrina forced him to Pine Bluff, AK.
After getting settled, he call to inform me that he was safe.
Two years later,
He called and talked to my wife for an hour
He did not ask to speak to me.
Three years later, October 12, 2010
I got an urge to call him.
He was his usual overly optimistic and confident self but
Something was different.
Seven days later, I received a call from a funeral director who was instructed by his wife to call me and announce his death, on the morning of October 19, 2010.
Robert !I am sure you remember how he would send us to the board in our trig class.
He demanded excellence when we presented our work.
The interactions between you and him were always different, from the rest of us.
I later learned it was his respect for you.
While I was a freshman, Joe called me to tell me that you had written a physics book.
In our last conversation he referred to you as DR Perry with such pride.
He was so proud of you.
I remember how you would deliver your trig problem at the board.
When you firmed up, he relented.
From that observation, I learned to be prepared to defend what you know with firmness.
It served me well in academe.
Robert! You and Joe Germond were my teachers.
Bernette and I were in Mr. Germond’s homeroom.
I understand Fanny and Shirley also shared that experience.
Bernette!, During our senior year,
Mr. Germond asked you to lead a business meeting.
I don’t remember the business of discussion.
But within the allotted few minutes of homeroom,
you stood up and directed the business to closure.
It so impressed me.
I had never seen a business meeting before,
So I adopted your model of decorum as I led business meetings at regional conferences.
Bernette, you were one of my teachers.
When I graduated from Cohen, it was not clear to me why we came into each other’s lives.
Now I know,
And I am sure you have discovered it also.
We were each other‘s teachers.
The ones whom we called our teachers
were chosen by society to shepherd us into different pastures of knowledge, to feed therein, to find our talents and to find ourselves.
Classmates, You know those
who taught YOU, those who shepherded you
and those to whom YOU are grateful.
So let us salute them.
If you are so inclined,
join me by standing
And share a moment of silence
To honor our teachers and shepherds who preceded us in death. (PAUSE 5)
Now let’s offer a tribute to the special ones who are still alive.
On three, say in a stentorian voice with feeling,
To our teachers, To our shepherds.
1, 2, 3.
TO OUR TEACHERS, TO OUR SHEPHERDS !
To the committee members, who sacrificed their time and talents to make this grand event a reality, Thank you for these unforgettable three days!
Your choices of places to celebrate were excellent.
The food was superb.
Your program choices were entertaining and the closing activities were inspiring.
Know that your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Master of Ceremonies: That completes my portion of the program.