Extraordinary Stories

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Friday, February 3, 2017

The "Life's Memories Never To Be Forgotten" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Found an old black and white photo of Old Main on the campus of Millersville State Teachers College.  I can still remember the day I went for an appointment in the admission's office that at the time was located in the lower level of Old Main.  Scared half to death of what was going to happen that day.  I wanted so bad to gain entrance to the college to make my mom and dad proud.  No one in either my mom's family or my dad's family had ever gone past high school and I was going to be the first.  Maybe!  My high school grades were only average, but my guidance counselor at Manheim Township High School thought I could gain admission to the school.  
Old Main on the campus of Millersville State Teachers College.
I was called into one of the admission offices and sat, more than likely shaking, as the woman went over my high school records.  She said, "I see you want to be a math teacher someday.  Your math grades are very good, but a few of your other grades are only average.  Do you suppose you would be interested in admission to our Industrial Arts Department (IA)?  I believe you would be a good candidate for that curriculum."  I know that was fifty-five years ago, but I'm almost positive they were her exact words.  I remember looking at her with surprise on my face and saying, "I'm sure I'd like that!"  And that, dear readers is how I became the first person in my family to go to college.  At the time I had a part-time job working at the Acme Supermarket and was able to pay my tuition, books and car expenses with the money I made working.  At the time tuition for a semester was $144.00 and books cost under $50.00 for all I needed.  I lived at home for free and began Millersville State Teachers College in the fall of 1962.  Did great in all my Industrial Arts classes and could have had close to a 4.0 grade average if it hadn't been for a few courses I had to take.  A few I had to take over one time, with one I had to take over twice.  I passed that one final class on my third try only because my wonderful IA adviser managed to get my class changed from that history class to a class in bowling.  I aced that one!  In my fourth year I began student teaching during the fall semester at a nearby high school, teaching in the wood shop.  Two thirds of the way through the semester, my cooperating teacher took off a day to go hunting and put me in charge of the class by myself.  That day he had a heart attack and died while hunting.  For the rest of the semester I was in charge of the class.  Not long after a bill was passed in the Pennsylvania Legislature prohibiting school districts from allowing student teachers to do exactly what I had just done.  I would have had zero liability if a student had been injured in any of the classes I had, and the school would have been responsible. I believe to this day that my Millersville adviser, who visited with me once a week at that high school, put the wheels in motion to have that bill passed.  As I began my spring semester back at Millersville, I was called into the Industrial Arts office and asked if I would be interested in teaching the next fall, even if I didn't have enough credits to graduate.  
Millersville State Teachers College
By that time I had a special girl who I was dating and knew I wanted to marry her so I interviewed with three local school districts and got a job at all three.  You see, Industrial Arts is a required subject in the curriculum of all Pennsylvania schools and they had to have an Industrial Arts teacher to teach the course.  Didn't matter if you graduated or not!  I taught the following year on an emergency certificate, got engaged, married the month I finished teaching my first year and graduated at the end of that summer.  So, you see, when I saw the photo I have posted with this story, it brought back so many memories from way back.  Memories I will never forget.  Happy memories, except for those three classes I screwed up!  But, I did become a much better bowler!!It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


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