When I attended junior high at St. Xavier’s Catholic School in Junction City, Kan., I had an algebra teacher by the name of Mrs. Alcott.
I seem to remember that Mrs. Alcott, like several of the lay teachers who taught at St. Xavier’s, was married to a soldier stationed at nearby Fort Riley. She also was very attractive. She had blonde hair and a neat Southern accent. Normally Mrs. Alcott would have been the sort of teacher who would have had junior high boys in awe. But Mrs. Alcott was, as I mentioned, an algebra teacher, and the junior high boys that I ran around with were not big fans of algebra or any other type of math.
Granted, part of that could have been because we were — to use an education term — morons.
I need to point out that Mrs. Alcott was nothing but nice. But she was a math teacher, which meant she was, according to junior high law, our mortal enemy. If I remember correctly (it’s possible that I don’t), I managed to get a C in Mrs. Alcott’s class. It was the sort of C that would have prompted my dad to say, “Take it and run with it, son.”
I was lucky to get a C, is what I’m saying.
I thought of Mrs. Alcott when I was talking to Audrey Minor. Audrey teaches religion at St. Peter’s Middle School. Heidi Gardner is the math teacher at St. Peters, and her name came up while Audrey and I were talking about a recent fundraiser at the school.
It was called The Turkey Teacher Contest. Students were given a chance to purchase turkey feathers with a picture of the teacher of their choice on the feather. The feathers were three for $1, and at the end of the week-and-a-half fundraiser the teacher whose picture sold the most feathers had to wear a turkey costume on the day before Thanksgiving.
I’ll give you one guess as to which teacher the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students wanted to see in a turkey costume — Mrs. Alcott. Ha! I joke. Nope, the “winner” of the contest was Heidi.
All these years later and math teachers still don’t get any respect.
The reason I dialed up Audrey to talk about the Turkey Teacher Contest was because I liked what the students and staff at St. Peter’s are doing with what they raised. They are sending the money to four Catholic schools on the East Coast that were hit by Hurricane Sandy. Audrey said the students and the staff at St. Peter’s remember the support Joplin Area Catholic Schools received from across the country after the May 22, 2011, tornado.
“The kids identified with the schools on the East Coast. All of them realized how much support we received from other schools and they wanted to do something,” Audrey said.
There are 80 students at St. Peter’s, and between them they managed to raise $325, which breaks down to, I think, a bit more than $4 a student. Of course, you might want to have Heidi check my math. The money raised will go to St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington, N.Y., and St. Francis College, St. Francis Prep and Bishop Ford Central Catholic High in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The four schools had more than 200 families whose homes were either severely damaged or destroyed as the result of Hurricane Sandy.
Audrey told me that the students at St. Peter’s have already begun a second fundraiser for the East Coast schools. It is a loose-change collection called Stall the Teacher.
Want to know the name of the teacher the kids will wind up stalling the longest?
Mrs. Alcott. Ha!
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