For Teacher Appreciation Week

For Teacher Appreciation Week

Originally written and posted 8/19/13 –


On this  night before a new school year is about to start and the summer vacation and family visits are memories,  I was thinking about why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place.

I’m writing and posting these photos to pay tribute to wonderful teachers in my life.

In the 3rd grade I had an excellent teacher Grace Wagner from Dravosburg PA  who taught at Winchester- Thurston.   I found an alumni listing online Indiana PA Teachers College class of 1920.  Unfortunately I  can’t find the photo I have of her but plan to unearth it and post someday soon.  Who wouldn’t love a teacher who wrote this about their student.  I found it tonight in an envelope addressed to my parents, inside a deteriorating leather scrapbook.  Isn’t her handwriting beautiful? I am so grateful I discovered this report tonight before  school starts.  “she is able to put her gifts to good use” she wrote.  I feel encouraged once again as I hear her voice as I read the words she wrote in 1960-1961

Miss Wagner marked a 1 ( outstanding) for Play Spirit on the report card.   They don’t have that category on report cards anymore.


School Report




And here is Winona Stewart from Morris Plains Borough School in New Jersey.

Winona Stewart

In the sixth grade and also in the 7th and 8th grade I had a most wonderful teacher- Winona Stewart.  We had a Roman Banquet and she read The Human Comedy by William Saroyan aloud after lunch, and also The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford.  Every week we memorized a poem and recited it- The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth is one I remember well.   I took this photo of Mrs. Steward in 1966, the year I graduated from 8th grade.  When I lived in Germany and my own kids were young in the early 80’s, I found an address and wrote her a thank you note and told her how I remembered her reading aloud to our class and how she influenced my choice to get a Masters in Reading.  She wrote a beautiful note back to me and one of these days I bet I unearth it, too.  She collaborated with the next teacher I am going to mention.  We did a show called The Curse of Ra  as we learned about Egypt making a gold sarcophagus of papier mache and I was a dancing girl.  It all seemed so exciting and wonderful and fun!

Mr G.  is why I wanted to be an art teacher.  I had him in grade school AND High School.  I didn’t try to contact him soon enough as he was deceased when I though of it.

Arthur W Guenther.  He produced a movie with our 4th grade class called Around the World in 90 Minutes. I was from the Netherlands and we used real wooden shoes in the tulips.   I got a bit part in the French segment too, standing by a Kiosk, chatting away.  I remember Starr Kenyon went down the slide as if skiing.  Titi Moglia wore a kimono and had a fan and there were pink tissue paper cherry blossoms.  I wish I could see the movie again.

When I think of all his creativity,  I am in awe.

Mr. Guenther danced on Broadway in the show South Pacific with Mary Martin and showed us his scrapbook,

Arthur Guenther


Around the World in 90 Minutes

Mr. Guenther helped finish the monochrome portrait of me in 4th period oil painting class.  It hangs in my bathroom.

My granddaughter Anna asked this past week, “Why are you all green?:  and I started thinking about Mr Guenther and how he inspired me.

And here I am tonight, wondering if I can inspire someone as I start my new classes.


Ruth HEndricks Portrait



My father, Roy J. Hendricks (b. 1912-d.2002) was a teacher in a one room school in Illinois

Roy Hendricks Teacher




My mother Marian VanSickle (b. 1912- d. 2000)  was a teacher in a one room school in Illinois  That is my mom in the back row on the left.

Marian VanSickle


What teacher inspired you?

What wonderful teachers did you have when you were growing up?




17 thoughts on “For Teacher Appreciation Week

  1. That is beautiful Ruth E. You are so very lucky to have been helped along the way by inspiring teachers. I probably was too but honestly the only one I would even dare to mention is Gloria Rocerito (sp). She was in the education dept. at Duquesne University. Because of my quiet, shy nature as a child most teachers wouldn’t have even noticed me. I really didn’t develop into the person I am until I went to Duquesne and found professors and friends who brought out the best in me.

  2. You brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful tribute to some incredibly talented people!

  3. Absolutely beautiful, Ruth. What a tribute to your parents , too! They would be so proud of that talented third grader , who still helps so many of us see the beauty in things.

  4. These are great photos Ruth. Wonderful that your parents were teachers and that you followed in their footsteps. My favorite teacher is my wife. She followed in her mother’s footsteps. From her, I realized how important a kindergarten/first grade teacher is to the future of a child. The seeds of knowledge are planted at an early age. I watched her work diligently and tirelessly for almost 50 years to help each child and family who crossed her path. I have come to respect all good teachers as a result.

  5. Beautiful photos and memories! I don’t know if teachers still write comments today….. I remembe report Cards
    with comments. I think my Mom saved them… don’t know when they disappeared.

  6. I’m afraid I was a dreadful rebel. My English lot teacher told me a couple of months before my GCE that I would fail Lit, so i made sure I didn’t, but only to spite her.

  7. A beautiful tribute. I was blessed to have several phenomenal teachers: Mrs. Weldy in first grade fostered a passion for reading and invested a lot of personal time in me. My 4th grade teacher taught us that we were not too young to learn Shakespeare (we performed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) – talk about empowering. My freshman and senior English teacher helped me develop, then hone and refine, EXCELLENT writing skills (which is such an important attribute, especially in today’s online world). My high school French teacher helped me learn that I had a knack for languages – and that I needed to leave the blue-collar town I was raised in. (As he put it, “I think you would be able to do so much more with your life in a place like New York City.”) And finally, Mr. Cat, my freshman math teacher, helped destroy the myth I had created in my youth that I was “bad” at math. I will always be grateful to him.

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