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Teacher Appreciation Week

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

4 colorful pencils lined up in a row

Since this week is, well, Teacher Appreciation Week I thought I’d tell you about one of my favorite teachers. Back when I was in high school Latin was offered, as well as Spanish, German, and French.

I opted to take Latin as it was close to Italian and I thought I may be able to use it if I truly decided to become a veterinarian. It rather started a life-long obsession with language, although I must say I’m pretty American in that I only speak American!

So, off I go to my first day of Latin I and meet the teacher, Miss McConnell. She seemed nice and the first few months were HARD as foreign languages don’t come easy to me. But I studied and eventually caught on!

Latin teach Ruth McConnel

(photo stolen from my 1972 Polaris yearbook)

Miss McConnell (and yes, she was a “Miss”, not a Ms.”) brought that dead language – Latin – to life for me. We did artwork like in Roman days, she showed us pictures of her travels to Italy and all of the ruins she saw. She traveled there a LOT and she had a LOT of slides! It kept it interesting and alive and she told stories with each group of slides that kept my attention throughout the class and I never got drowsy on those warm spring days with the lights out in the classroom! Lol

Every year we would have a Roman banquet where we all wore togas and the officers of the Latin club got to wear purple and there were people who waited on them. It was fun and we all bonded over Latin and laughed and ate too much!

Every year we also participated in the city-wide “Latin Olympics”. There were foot races and chariot races and all kinds of stupid high school stuff and again, we all wore togas and had fun – with one exception. Our school did not have a chariot. That was tragic for me and I must have gone home and said something because the next year, my Grandfather (a jack of all trades and a great wood-worker) built me/us a chariot for Christmas! I remember Christmas day outside pulling the chariot or riding in the chariot while my brothers pulled it – we ALL had great fun with it. What a guy, eh?

So, the next spring, the Latin Olympics rolled around and Miss McConnell was as excited and proud as all of us high-schoolers were to have a chariot to enter the chariot races with.

2 teen boys from the early 70s pulling a Roman style chariot

(also stolen from my 1972 Polaris yearbook!)

I don’t remember if or what we placed in the race, but I do know that chariot participated in more Latin Olympic races than I did!

Thanks, Miss McConnell for bringing Latin alive for so many students!

I remember you fondly.

Do you have a teacher that sticks in your mind!

Feel free to pay tribute in the comments!



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