Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Advice columnists can be entertaining

Advice columns in the newspaper are more than valuable sources of information that teach us to improve our condition, cement relationships and achieve success in love, life and the pursuit of happiness.

They also provide a measure of entertainment not available in other venues, such as movies, television programs and sporting events.

The latter would include the Browns beating the stuffing out of previously winless teams.

Oh well, if not last Sunday, perhaps next. But I digress.

Pre-eminent among advice columns for generations were the fabled twin sisters in real life, Dear Abby and Ann Landers.

They ruled the roost among sob sisters longer than Lassie ruled the silver screen. Or than Lawrence Welk dominated the airwaves.

Abby spoke in Cleveland a millennium or so ago, and since her syndicated column was one of the staples of our star-studded lineup, we wanted very much to do an interview with her.

But she had no time for that. She had to leave immediately after her speech for the airport to catch a plane.

Come to think of it, why else would anyone be in a sweat to get to the airport?

I managed to get her on the phone, and she was very sweet. But she was also firm. She had no time to spare.

But we came up with a plan. She was taking a limo to the airport. I asked: Would it be OK if our society editor, Louise Bartko, and I rode along with her to the airport, so she could talk to Louise along the way?

Abby said sure, we agreed, and it worked into a fine story, which I never saved for posterity because, after all, I can only save so much stuff over the course of 64 years.

Another columnist who responded to questions of every ilk and persuasion was Dr. George W. Crane, whose son, Phillip, became a noted congressman from, I think, Illinois.

Dr. Crane got a query from a reader one day who asked about watering her African violets while on vacation.

The good doctor replied that they must be watered but very sparingly. It must not be overdone, he warned, because he once put too much water on his violets and it killed them.

The column required a fresh headline every day, one that accurately related to the subject matter. So I put a head on it that I thought was terribly clever. Perhaps you will agree, perhaps not. It said:

“Doctor caught with his plants drowned.”

Our current columnist on medical matters, Dr. Roach, is worth your attention every day, because you never know what he might come up with.

Just the other day (Oct. 20) he adjudicated a father-son dispute about the efficacy of sitting on a baseball to cure, shall we say, a pain in the posterior. His answer was memorable.

But his column Oct. 15 was my all-time favorite. A reader said:

“I am a reasonably healthy 66-year-old male. I walk five miles a day. I have no knee problems. My doctor says I am walking too much and will wear out my knees. Do you agree?”

“No, I don’t agree at all,” Dr. Roach responded. He proceeded to elaborate in a torrent of well-chosen words, including a lecture on osteoarthritis, which he didn’t seem to think was a factor here.

He concluded, “Exercise is so good for your body, mind and spirit that this persistent myth needs to be corrected.”

I am sure the doctor is right, but he could have had a lot more fun with his answer had he given it a little more thought.

He might have said: “Tell me, M.D. (he was the questioner), if you have been faithfully walking five miles a day, how far from home are you right now?”

He also might have interviewed several people who deliver mail on foot (they used to be called “mailmen” but are probably known as “mailpersons” now because, you know, mailman is not politically correct in that it is a sexist term) to find out how their knees are doing.

Other sexist terms I worry about are manhole covers and the cry, “Man the lifeboats – the ship is sinking.”

Well, the language is also sinking. But that is another story.

Meanwhile, I will have to ask my mailman, Dave, how many miles a day he walks and how his knees are holding up.

Problem is, he moves right along and has little time for small talk because he has a lot of miles to cover every day.

It’s probably a very nice walk on a crisp autumn day. But in a foot of snow, not so nice.

M.D., the guy who wrote to Dr. Roach, didn’t say anything about walking five miles a day in a foot of snow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Seasonal crop of yard signs in full bloom again

So here we are, only a few weeks from Election Day, and as I drive about the county I see a profusion of my favorite seasonal crops growing in yards, vacant lots and other sites that are prized by politicians for displaying their wares.

Those, of course, would be political signs.

These multi-colored beauties adorn previously unoccupied territory from one end of Lake County to the other. I presume they are arising in other counties as well. But I don’t venture into other counties very much, so I can comment only on what I am seeing hereabouts.

What I am seeing is what politicians must consider to be the favorite reading matter of would-be voters. Why else would they plant their names so resolutely from Wickliffe to Madison.

They are probably hoping the gentle rains will make them grow and proliferate.

The signs, I am sure, are intended for the consumption of low information voters, the ones who see a red, white and blue (or green, or gold and yellow) sign and cause a voter to say, “That’s all I need to know. I am convinced, and I will vote for him (or for her, or for it in the case of an issue.)”

You must admit, the information contained on a yard sign is somewhat sparse. It is not persuasive enough to convince anyone above the moron level to cast an informed ballot.

But the theory is sheer repetition of the name. If you see enough signs begging you to “Vote for John Fonotny for County Fence Mender,” you begin thinking to yourself, “Hmmm, Fonotny must be a pretty good fence mender. He must be because he has a lot of signs. I’m voting for him.”

Or for her, as the case may be. For all I know, John Fonotny may be a woman. Stranger things have happened.

I have a very good friend, and I mean a very good friend, who happens to live on what any politician would consider a prime location.

That would be, a corner lot with great exposure to traffic.

“Traffic” here is defined as people in cars, in buses or on motorcycles (airplanes are excluded) who might be inclined to vote for someone whose name was on a sign posted in a prime location.

So I asked my friend: “Do you approve of all those signs?” The implication, of course, is that some politicians, or their minions, might drive up under the cover of darkness and pound in a stake bearing the name of a candidate and steal away without being detected.

“Yes,” my friend said. “They are all clients of mine.”

I was dumbfounded. “You mean, that’s all it takes to get a sign in the lot next door to you?”

I debated him only momentarily, pointing out that he was overlooking a candidate who was by far the superior choice in one of the races.

My friend admitted I had a point. We will see on Election Day how that works out.

I have never permitted a political sign to be erected in our own yard. I hasten to add that the lady of the house also has freedom of speech and choice in this matter, and she has never disagreed with me about this.

I will make one exception. We have permitted signs a couple of times promoting the passage of issues.

They have been signs that said “Vote Yes, Will Not Increase Taxes.”

Now, I have to admit that this is the approach to be used on low information voters, because it gives no cogent reason for voting for the issue.

The sign merely says, “Vote Yes.” But it carries a very strong implication, because what it really means is, “Vote Yes Because I Said So.”

You see, what this literally means is: “If you trust our judgment, then vote ‘Yes’ for this issue.”

Conversely, if you don’t trust our judgment, then vote any way you wish, because if you are going to be that way, we really don’t care how you vote.

But we are two people – two honest citizens – who would never lead you astray.

I had a friend who ran many years ago for countywide office. He had no yard signs. “You better get some signs, pal,” I told him.

“Hah!” he scoffed. “Signs don’t vote.”

Perhaps he was right. But most of the people who voted in that race didn’t vote for him.

I always wondered if the voters who overwhelmingly chose his opponent derived most of their information from reading yard signs.

It is possible.

And how can you establish a ratio between signs and votes if one candidate had no signs?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Beware if computer is thinking along a different line than you

I am not alone in my fondness of typewriters.

After last week’s essay, I heard loving comments about them everywhere I went – all week long. Four people interrupted their breakfasts at Burgers-N-Beer to talk about typewriters. One-time Willoughby Patrolman Bill Crosier talked of using the two-finger, hunt and peck system to type out his reports – if Capt. Joe Pachnowski let him use the machine.

And Lorrie Rowe was kind enough to email a picture of her 9-year-old granddaughter banging out a story on an old electric typewriter, as well as a photo of her mother’s old Royal typewriter, which no one is allowed to use.

“Thanks for the memories,” she wrote. No, Lorrie. Thank YOU.

Now, of course, most typewriters collect dust as we do our compositions on computers.

(I am using one right now, so if anything goes wrong here, it is not my fault. Blame the computer.)

What can go wrong with a computer, you ask. Plenty. And everything. That is because typewriters don’t think, they just do what you tell them to do. But computers. Aha! They are always thinking. They think electronically. And if they are thinking along a different line than you, well, good luck with that! A computer will do whatever it wants to do, no matter what you want.

The results can be disastrous. Two recent examples come quickly to mind.

Two weeks ago, writing on Robin Palmer’s computer at The News-Herald, which I do for about an hour and a half every Monday, I wrote an entire column for the coming Sunday’s paper.

As I got to the very end, within one or two words, I hit a key that turned everything black.

Everything disappeared. Everything. I began to panic. My palms became sweaty. I asked everyone in the newsroom to help me find the column which I had just lost.

People who know a lot more about computers than I do, especially Assistant City Editor Bill DeBus and Executive Editor Tricia Ambrose, pitched in, assuring me it was in there somewhere.

They looked and looked – in the backup, the hard drive, or wherever you look to find missing columns.

Nothing was there. Nada. Zilch. Rien. It was totally lost. I took some deep breaths, went to the men’s room and splashed cold water on my face.

Then I returned to the newsroom, picked myself up, dusted myself off, and started all over again. (I almost felt a song coming on.)

I rewrote the entire column. I tried to recreate the one I had previously written. I don’t know if the outcome was as good, better or worse than the original, but do you know what? You can never replicate your first effort exactly as you did it before. It is utterly impossible.

Example No. 2: I was sitting at my computer at Lakeland Community College, typing furiously. I was outlining several pages, single-spaced, of topics for conversation for the “Jim and Jack Show,” three one-hour discussions by Jack Platz and me on topics of interest – to us, at least – on the good old days in Lake County.

Much of it was about politics. All of it was about local history. Jack wrote his notes on a legal pad with a ball-point pen. Good move. Me? I used a computer. Big mistake.

After a few hours work, I finished and tried to move the copy. A note at the top of the page said, “Not Responding.” (I get that a lot on my computer.)

I tried and I tried to get the computer to do anything. All the machine would say was “Not Responding.”

I asked all the ladies in the office to help me. They tried. No luck. I left for the day with the machine still turned on. Nancy Brooks said she would look at it later on. I called her late in the day. No movement. Still “Not Responding.”

That evening I turned on my little computer at home and tried to recreate all the work I had done at the college. What a chore!

When I finished, I forwarded it to myself electronically at Lakeland.

Next morning when I arrived and looked at the computer, the “Not Responding” line was still showing. I called the college’s “Help” number.

I was able to retrieve what I had sent from home, print it out, and use it for notes as Jack and I, along with our emcee, Bob Cahen, went down the hall to the TV studio to record the first of our three broadcasts on county history as we recalled it.

Bob is a masterful interviewer. Jack, a longtime college professor, county commissioner and Democratic Party leader, has total recall. And the two guys at the controls, Phil and Sam, are master technicians.

I think we got a pretty good result. It, along with the shows we will record later this year, will be broadcast on the Lakeland Cable Network. When? Don’t ask. When they are ready to show them, I suppose.

Meanwhile, don’t give up on typewriters. Computers may be here to stay, but typing machines will always be a treasured part of Americana.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Does anyone else miss typewriters?

Remember typewriters?

Wow! What a wonderful invention. What a great way to put your thoughts on paper. People used to write whole books on typewriters.

Remember Ernest Hemingway? He wrote entire novels on typewriters. How about “A Farewell to Arms?”

He wrote it on a typewriter.

(Editor’s note: If someone looks up that last statement on a computer and discovers he wrote the book with a pencil on a legal pad, don’t call me – I’ll call you.)

Back when I was thinking about going to college, I thought I wanted to be a sportswriter. It took me a while to get rid of that notion, but meanwhile, I was aware I would have to know how to type if I worked on a paper, so in my first quarter at Kent State I signed up for Typing 101.

Boy, was that boring! You learned how to type in the first week. All you did was type repetitions of FRF space, FRF space, and like that. And you learned how to type, “If you are planning to work in an office, there are many things which you should know how to do.”

I guess that sentence was considered good practice for the minimally challenged. I mastered it before the first quarter was over.

Newspaper reporting was fun when stories were written on typewriters. You would stick two or three sheets of copy paper in the machine, insert one or two sheets of carbon paper, and go to town on the day’s latest adventures.

Our three reporters, Gerry Snook and Max Somebody and I would sit around the city desk after deadline and compare “dupes” to see who had written the most stories. In those days, each reporter would write 10 or 11 stories – some of them very short, of course, but some of them epics dealing with breaking news stories such as murders and other forms of social mayhem.

There are no more typewriters in newsrooms, and perhaps possibly not anywhere in the world. Oh, I know of two of them. I still have one in my office at The News-Herald and I have one at home. That one has a very wide carriage. I do not know why.

Typewriters are excellent for addressing envelopes, especially for those whose handwriting falls barely short of being legible.

The lady of the house has perfect handwriting. She attributes it to the nuns who insisted upon it. But I never went to parochial school, so I just learned to write in the old-fashioned way, from public school teachers.

Just last week she asked me to write out a shopping list, which she dictated as she strode about the house looking for the usual things – her glasses, her cell phone, etc.

When she was ready for the trip to Giant Eagle she took a look at the list, wadded it up in disgust and left in a listless manner, one might say. She said she couldn’t read it.

Typewriters are still my writing machines of choice. The problem is, I have no idea where to buy a new ribbon for my two faithful servants.

So I write the way other people do. If I want to make a list, I use a ball point pen and one of those many thousands of note pads that arrive in the mail from people who want you to send them money.

I call them “tin cup” letters. If not the little note pads, they send you gummed stickers with your name on them.

Here’s a news bulletin for everyone who sends me tin cup letters with return-address labels inside –  I DON’T NEED ANY MORE OF THEM.

I already have many thousands of them. I would throw all of them away, but there is not enough room in the green-with-a-yellow-top recycling container.

If Waste Management tried to dispose of all of them at once they might gum up the machinery.

Here’s the nice thing about typewriters: Basically, nothing goes wrong with them. Whatever does go wrong is usually a small thing that anyone with an IQ above two digits can fix without going crazy.

But now everything is written on computers. And don’t tell me nothing can go wrong when you are writing on a computer or I will tell you that you are nuts.

I write this column at The News-Herald. I write a lot of other important stuff on a computer at Lakeland Community College. And I write other, basically unimportant stuff on my computer at home, which I try to turn on about once every three weeks.

Mostly I use it for emails. And even with that minimal amount of usage, plenty of things can go wrong.

I should have said can and do go wrong.

I started writing this piece intending to tell you about the things that can go wrong with computers when you try to write something that makes sense.

But that will take at least another week.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Adele Knight Excellence in Teaching Award has rich history

I hate to leave a story only half-told, hanging in mid-air, as it were.

So allow me to complete the tale begun in this space a couple of weeks ago when I wrote of two teachers in the Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools honored with the Adele Knight Excellence in Teaching Award.

They were, you may recall, Carisa Lindsay of Willoughby South and Paula Clark of Eastlake North.

I think it is important to know how the award came about, and who the previous winners were.

It all began in the fertile mind of Dr. Wesley P. Pignolet, who had a vigorous family practice in Willoughby but decided, after delivering a few hundred babies and curing a couple of thousand stomach aches, that what he really wanted to be was an ophthalmologist.

So he went back to college, came back home to specialize in the eye business and went about calling his friends with great ideas as they occurred to him. Which was frequently.

He called me about a number of them. I don’t know how many actually worked out, but at least they materialized in a number of free (for me) lunches which Wes was kind enough to underwrite.

One project I remember vividly was to buy a telescope for one of the local schools. I don’t think the dream ever panned out, but I remember the lunch quite well. It was at Mentor Harbor Yachting Club. Wes, if you didn’t know, was a sailor of note.

The Adele Knight Award was spawned during a lunch at Gavi’s Restaurant in Willoughby, the loss of which is still mourned on a daily basis by its many regulars

Miss Knight was a Latin teacher at the former Willoughby Union High School. I always believed Wes was one of her favorite Latin students. That was an honor never bestowed upon me as she always seated me in the front row – a vantage point reserved for her students whose grasp of Latin was less than stellar.

But no matter. She had a great many students who loved and respected her, and we took it upon ourselves to establish an excellence in teaching award for teachers at North and South who embodied the principles near and dear to the heart of a lady who considered it a requisite for all humanity to be able to conjugate a verb in Latin.

Teachers thus honored received a handsome plaque and a check for $500. Winners are selected by their peers. Because of a shortage of funds, only one teacher was honored from 2000 to 2004. After that, our bank account grew, and since then we have been able to honor a teacher from each school.

Here are the previous Adele Knight Award winners:

2000 – Bob Prince, North.

2001 – Chuck Koelling, South.

2002 – Lorraine Gauvin, North.

2003 – John Pennington, South.

2004 – Patricia Norris, North.

2005 – Victor St. Hillaire, North; Lydia Komocki, South.

2006 – Betsy Lichtinger, North; Carol Fishwick, South.

2007 – Sherry Wagner, North; Marjorie Masci, South.

2008 – Sharyn Zeppo, North; Charles R. Stewart, South.

2009 – Karen Donahue, North; Karin Maniche, South.

2010 – Patrick L. Kwiatkowski, North; Ann Armstrong, South.

2011 – Mary Slak, North; Alison Grant, South.

2012 – Mary Beth Adams, North; Beth Frabotta, South;

2013 – Deanna Elsing, North; Steven Nedlik, South.

And, of course, the 2014 winners are listed above.

When we began discussing an award to honor Miss Knight, somewhere back in the last millennium, I recall there was a fairly large committee in on the talks. Now, sad to say, there are but two of us remaining – Ann Kassing, a teaching colleague of the award’s namesake, and me.

Two of most active and dependable members were Dr. James T. McCann, a Mentor dentist, and Greg Johnson, both students in the pursuit of knowledge in the field of Latin, which I must confess was Greek to me. But that’s just me. I was a whiz in plane geometry. And in college I starred in anthropology. But I digress.

And Wes Pignolet attended meetings with regularity until his death.

But I am pleased to announce a new member has been added to the committee. Former Lake County
Commissioner Jack Platz taught at North with Miss Knight, and he considers it an honor to be serving on a group with such a noble purpose.

And it is, Jack. You will be hearing early next year from Jen Chauby, principal at North, about an invitation to lunch at the school.

And that’s about all the work there is to serving on the committee.

The really important work is done by the teachers at North and South who select the award winners each year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Readers share feelings about sports announcers

You don’t need much imagination to watch a baseball game or football game on television. The action unfolds before your very eyes and you don’t have to have an interpreter to tell you what is happening.

But radio. Ahh, that’s an entirely different matter. As you listen to the sportscasters describe the play, your mind’s eye is busily translating the words into mental pictures so that you have – with only the words as your guide – a clear vision of the game as it progresses.

I mentioned, a couple of weeks ago, some of the announcers I enjoyed in the days of yore, including Jack Graney and Pinkey Hunter of Indians broadcasts, plus Mike Hegan and Herb Score of Tribe games. Also,
Bernie Kosar, who did color commentary of the Browns’ pre-season games on TV before he was unceremoniously canned by higher-ups in the team’s organization.

I didn’t realize how many others also enjoyed those word pictures on radio, and some of them on TV, until the feedback began to flow in.

Larry O’Donnell of Willoughby Hills hunted me down at a meet-the-candidates luncheon at Pine Ridge to tell me how much he enjoyed the broadcasting arts of Graney and Hunter.

He recalled, especially, how Graney would describe center fielder Roy “Little Thunder” Weatherly jumping on his Flying Red Horse to chase down a fly ball.

That, of course, was reference to the logo at Socony-Vacuum filling stations, a sponsor of the Indians.

Larry also mailed a copy of a column written oh-so-many years ago by my longtime colleague, the late Bob Murphy, who noted that Weatherly put the Bug-a-Boo on the fly ball.

I remember that vividly, Larry. But I also recall the joyful repartee between the two announcers as they touted the product.

“Never give a bug a break, Jack, give ‘em Bug-a-Boo,” Pinkey would say to his partner at the mike.

“Does it kill ‘em, Pinkey?” Jack would ask.

“Kills ‘em dead, Jack,” Pinkey would reply.

I have heard that line a thousand times. That was long before anyone owned television sets.

Many times Weatherly didn’t have to run far to catch the ball. Jack would say, “He’s under it, waiting for it and takes it.”

I can’t guess how many times I have heard that line, either.

In another product-related line, Jack would say, “Averill hits a hiiiiiiigh fly ball, going out to deeeeep right field. And it’s a case of Wheaties for Earl Averill.”

Every Indian who hit a home run in those days got a case of the breakfast cereal. What made the call fun was the way Graney dragged out the words hiiiiiiiiigh fly ball and deeeeeeep right field.

It took him longer to describe the action than it took for the ball to fly over the friendly, nearby wall in right.

“Lest we forget,” Kevin Sroub wrote in an email, “in the early days Graney and Hunter did it the hard way – from ticker tape.”

You bet I remember, Kevin. Jack and Pinkey recreated the action, pitch-by-pitch, as they read the story coming in on tape.

I recall watching them one day when, as a young lad, I saw them doing a broadcast from Euclid Beach Park and they were reading the action from Western Union.

“Watch out, Jack!” Pinkey yelled. “It’s a foul ball coming right back into the press box!”

With that he thumped his fist on the table in front of them. He sure made it sound like a foul ball.

Another email, from Janet Salesky, echoed my comments on the poor announcers that replaced Rick Manning and Matt Underwood when the Indians were playing on a nationally televised broadcast on ESPN.

“My husband and I were saying the same things when having to endure the ESPN announcers,” Janet wrote.

“You don’t realize how entertaining our Rick and Matt are until we listen to the mindless drivel that was given to us from ESPN announcers.

“Thanks, Rick and Matt, for the great information and the stats you give us in such an interesting way.

“We also agree with you about Bernie,” she wrote. (Thanks, Janet.) “We needed Bernie announcing to give us some insights on what happened in the second half that should have happened in the first half.”

I think she may have been talking about the Browns loss to the Steelers, which was a regular season game, not a pre-season contest.

But she is absolutely correct in her observations about needing Bernie for color commentary in football.

The point of both letter writers is clear: The over-the-air comments of announcers on sporting events is important to some of us, and if they are not doing a good job, we notice.

Boy, do we ever. And we let those thoughts be known.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Teacher honorees from North and South truly deserving

Let me introduce you to the 2014 winners of the Adele Knight Excellence in Teaching Award. They are:

At South High in Willoughby, Carisa Lindsay.

And at North High in Eastlake, Paula Clark.

The award is named to honor a teacher from long ago at the former Union High School in Willoughby.

Back in the 1990s, a committee began to take shape to pay tribute to a beloved Latin teacher who was a legend in the district.

I can attest that she was a great teacher, because I don’t recall anybody who liked Latin, with the exception of Adele Knight and her attorney father, Augustus Caesar Knight.

Committee members first talked about handing out yet another scholarship. But then someone said, “Wait.
Here is a better idea. Why don’t we set up an award to pay tribute to an outstanding teacher at North and South every year, someone to be chosen by his or her peers.”

So we took that route. As the money came in, we began to honor one teacher each year, rotating the award between the two schools.

The winner each year received a plaque and a $500 stipend. That continued from 2000 through 2004. Then more contributions came in, and we were able to give two awards each year – to a teacher from each school.

Let me tell you a bit more about this year’s winners. Here is what her nominee said about Carisa Lindsay:

“Carisa is a true professional who goes above and beyond in all she does. Her behind-the-scenes work ensured technology ran smoothly at South.

“Carisa is a technology guru who used her expertise to assist her fellow teachers with the implementation and integration of technology into the classroom, therefore positively impacting student learning and achievement.

“Carisa instructed numerous professional development courses for Anyplace Learning. She spent tireless hours fielding computer questions and patiently taught and retaught South staff members technology.

“When not providing formal or informal computer lessons, Carisa could be seen running around the building before hours and late into the evening, putting out technology fires.

“She extinguished technology issues like a pro and was meticulous in assisting with the field testing process.
Carisa coordinated technology for building presentations, paying attention to all details, including extra batteries for the remote.”

(Editor’s note: Making sure there were extra batteries for the remote is an area in which even I could have excelled! But I digress.)

“All of this took place before she took even a step into her own classroom to teach a lesson. Carisa is an outstanding educator in the classroom who has an excellent rapport with her students. She implements project-based learning in order to differentiate and meet the needs of all learners.”

That is high praise indeed. Now, here is some background on Paula Clark:

She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Hiram College. She received her master’s degree from Cleveland State and then continued at Cleveland State for her high school mathematics license. She has taught second, third, seventh and eighth grades along with her favorite – high school courses.

“Here at North,” her nomination said, “she has served as freshman class advisor, Student Council advisor, where she organized and ran many blood drives, and volunteered for other programs, including the attendance committee and the levy committee.

“She has organized both student and teacher teams for Relay for Life and is the Math Department chair.”

Here is what one of her colleagues had to say about her:

“Paula Clark is an awesome teacher. She is creative, fun and always well-prepared. The students are better off for having her as a teacher.

“Paula does a great job as our department chair at North. She is a leader and a facilitator in the true sense of the words. As a fellow teacher I steal from her, share with her and consider her a true friend.

“There is no one more deserving than Paula Clark as a master teacher. I am proud to have her as a friend and colleague.”

Those are two wonderful tributes, let me tell you.

We had our usual annual lunchtime gathering this year at North, hosted by Principal Jen Chauby.

As a special treat, two of our luncheon guests were the first two recipients of the Adele Knight Excellence in Teaching Award, Bob Prince of North in 2000 and Chuck Koelling of South in 2001.

Teachers who are honored with this award are the cream of the crop. I am proud to know all of them.

Labels: , , , ,