Readers share favorite teacher memories

Editor’s note: The Clovis News Journal asks readers to respond via e-mail to a series of questions each week. To participate in Project: Reader Reaction, contact Editor David Stevens at:

A recent Project: Reader Reaction question asked about a favorite school teacher. Some responses:

“I can’t pick a favorite. Is it my sixth-grade teacher who taught me Spanish and said I reminded her of herself at that age? Is it my high school English teacher who allowed me to be a smart aleck but at the same time expected me to THINK? Or was it my history teacher who made me see the story in history, the people and their lives?
“I can’t pick one, any more than I can pick the one favorite student I have had over the years.
“Just remember this: Let your favorite teacher KNOW. You can’t believe how important it is to hear back from students who felt you impacted their lives.” — Carol Singletary, Clovis

“I grew up as a farm girl. My family included eight children. We could not afford school lunches. Sometimes we would take a mustard sandwich for lunch. There was one teacher that paid for my lunches (25 cents). She always denied it, but I know she did. Not only was she a great teacher, she was a great person. It was always nice to know that at least I would have one good meal a day. — Mearl Thomas, Clovis

“Mrs. Hornbuckle. I didn’t know her first name. She taught English at Niceville Senior High School in northwest Florida. She had two personalities it seemed.
“The first half of class was serious and all business. She started lecturing right from the beginning. If someone were late, the door was locked. Too bad. The second half of class was totally different. She’d say something like ‘OK, now the hard stuff is over with. It’s time to relax.’ She would then give us a reading or writing assignment, turn off some of the lights, put an album on the record player (usually Seals & Crofts or America) and we’d get to work.
“Mrs. Hornbuckle was easily the most popular teacher at that school.” — Tom DiFrancesca, Clovis

“John W. McMillan, who still lives in Fort Sumner, was insistent that we go beyond the mere acquisition of facts to learning how to think. In algebra I and II he thus challenged my sluggish brain, and in geometry I gained the skill of logical thinking that has served me well. I most appreciate him, however, for his kind wisdom. I was blind, but I was determined not to appear “different” from my peers. Mr. McMillan knew how to quietly come to my aid when I needed it while preserving my fragile teenaged ‘dignity.’” — Glenda Horner, Clovis

“I very well remember my favorite teacher. She was my first- grade teacher. She loved children and showed it. She had no favorites. At recess she would be out there playing games along with her entire class.
“I thought at the time she was an old lady but she was probably in her 30s. She was Lucy Belcher, first-grade teacher at the Forrest Consolidated School. At the end of the school year she gave all her students a leather-bound Bible.
“She moved to Clovis and I visited her when she was in her 80s.” — James W. McDonald, Clovis

“Arthur L. MacLean (was) my social studies teacher and home-room teacher at Shorewood High School in Milwaukee, Wis. It was in the top 10 of the nation’s high schools in the ’40s.
“Mr. MacLean had a counseling session with my mother and me at the end of my junior year. I was ranked in the lower quarter of my class of 225 with less than a 1.6 GPA.
“With my poor class standing, including an F in chemistry for the past year, Mr. Mac said that I was certainly not headed for college, which my mother desperately wanted for me. After some consultation about the advantages of a college education and straightening out my academic life, he lifted some pieces of paper from his desk and read from each of them.
“I listened intently as the Spanish, chemistry, geometry, and English teachers wrote wonderful words about my ‘potential.’ The following year I received all As, was in the senior class play, and narrated the dance club assembly. To this day, I firmly believe that Mr. McLean was reading BLANK pieces of paper.
“I did attend college, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in social studies and health and had a 4.0 GPA in earning a master of education degree. I now teach prospective teachers! All due to a smiling Irishman’s belief in me.” — Bill Gaedke, Clovis