than teach us this or that subject. They were there to help us grow up, to show us how to be strong, well-behaved young adults able to meet the new challenges we were encountering. They spent an hour or more with us five days a week for four years.
Mr. Bell (Freshman Math) – Mr. Bell was in the latter stages of his long career in teaching, coaching and administration by 1963. As a very shy 15 year-old in a new and puzzling settling, I was grateful for his indirect reassurance I’d be OK. He was an excellent role model.
Coach Crow (Driver’s Ed) – I was impressed by Mr. Crow’s direct honesty and dedication to teaching us a boring subject and making us safe drivers. He was a polite Texas gentleman and I liked him.
Coach Lawson (PE 4) – At the time, I didn’t especially like Mr. Lawson, but later I realized what a fine, kind Southern gentleman he was, and how deeply he cared about his athletes and PE students.
Miss Elwell (Speech 2) – I never knew Miss Elwell even 1% as well as the Forensics and Debate team students. She had a deep and thorough knowledge of public speaking in every form. She was a keen observer who helped you improve and keep improving in her class. She also had the gift of being able to stimulate class discussion and comments. The underlying benefit of what she taught us was improved self-confidence and self-regard. In that way, she helped turn the lives of some students around.
Mr. Ferzacca (Creative Writing) – Mr. Ferzacca was a joy to have as your teacher, and easily the most entertaining. He had tremendous passion for life. He knew a great deal about writing, including technique, and made learning fun. He must have been a great drama teacher. An immensely likable man with a spectacular sense of humor.
Mr. Goveia (Civics)
Mr. Lasswell (Geometry) – Geometry was a new way of thinking to many students and could take weeks to understand. Mr. Lasswell worked hard and with great patience – and kindness – with us, and was a fine, caring gentleman.
Mr. Linn (World History) – Mr. Linn had something close to reverence for teaching, and I think he was the first scholar I ever met. I loved his class and admired him. He was a devout Christian gentleman with high ideals and values. He worked hard to teach every student in his classes, from the brilliant honors students to the kids who struggled to read. Mr. Linn was an important role model for me.
Mr. McCall (PE 1, 2) Health Education) - I’ve thought a lot about Mr. McCall over the years. Once he gave me constructive criticism in front of the other boys, which I had mixed emotions about at time. I saw later what he was doing, and he cared about me individually and about the others. His goal was not to develop us as athletes but to motivate us and teach us to be healthy citizens of sound heart and mind, and to stay in good physical shape. He was a highly intelligent man, a former professional baseball player in the high minors, and later became an e.s.t. trainer and earned a masters in counseling psychology. He taught at Sunny Hills for many decades. In the 1970s, he taught classes in Values. Clearly this was a fellow who cared profoundly about his students as human beings. I liked him very much and wondered at the time if he liked me. I confess I was one of those guys who never put much effort into PE or considered it very important. I’m sorry, Mr. McCall. I was wrong.
Mr. Mitchell (Driver’s Ed in car) – Mr. Mitchell may have been the warmest and friendliest teacher of all. He was a generalist who played many roles at Sunny Hills. As I look back, I see that he relaxed us, demonstrated how not to take yourself too seriously. He was a cheerful man, invaluable on the Sunny Hills scene.
Mrs. Obler (English 2, Journalism)
Mrs. Randolph (Senior English)
Mrs. Ritner- Simpson (English 3) – Mrs. Simpson was a legend for her friendliness, her ability to relate to us as teenagers, and to act almost as a peer, almost as a big sister. She discussed books with us in a way that’s become one of my greatest pleasures in life, and she listened to us: truly listened. Julie Ritner was the confidante of Sunny Hills kids for longer than almost any other teacher. They should name the Quad after her.
Mrs. Root (Spanish, French, Latin) – I loved Mrs. Root. I guess she was a Mother figure to us. She didn’t get too involved in our personal lives – she was somewhat business-like and taught at a steady clip, but that was a virtue. Her teaching method constantly taught us to be adults: pay attention, concentrate, participate, read the assignment, learn the new vocabulary and grammar, sit up straight, don’t talk to other students in class, do your best, learn to enjoy it. I think any student in Mrs. Root’s class who followed those unspoken directions did well and made good progress. I never saw her get mad or show frustration. She was an endearing older lady.
Mr. Traylor (Algebra 2 and Trigonometry) – Mr. Traylor was an extravagantly gifted teacher. He taught a subject that many if not most of us approached with trepidation. His easy-going, warm manner and wonderful sense of humor disarmed us and put us at ease. I looked forward to his class every day. I knew he cared about us as individuals. I knew I’d laugh and have fun and learn math. Mr. Traylor was a lovable guy and I’ve always missed him.
Mr. Vaughan (Choral Music, Study Hall) – Except to say Mr. Vaughan was a wonderful guy and I liked him very much. I’m going to pass here. I hardly knew him at all, and hundreds of you knew him very well.
Mrs. Vinson (Economics)
Mr. Wood (Speech 1)
Miss McFarlin (Counselor)
Mr. Hathaway (Principal)
Mr. Meier (Dean)