By Wendy Byerly Wood
February 10, 2014
To the editor,
Sometimes life brings us affirmation that we are in the right business and that the human race has its’ redeeming qualities.
I was lucky enough this week to run into my history teacher. Ms. Holthouser or as she is better known in our town Mrs. Julia Holthouser. I was a fresh Yankee Catholic facing my first year in a public school when I had her my freshman year. She was an organized, southern lady with brains and common sense. Her mission: to teach. Our job: to absorb, retain knowledge, and see beyond our small town.
She was using STEAM (STEM) before it was cool. All year long she used science with her maps, a projector with the reel movies definitely high tech in the eighties, helped get the Elkin Public Library rolling (English), took us to Biltmore House definitely Art, we walked the flower garden, (PE) and we learned dates, map reading, (math) also toured Chatham (vocational).
History to me is a passion, part genetic and because of Ms. Holthouser. Her stories of her travels, her genealogy projects, and best of all her bell curve saved my life a time or two. I learned about the War Between the States, the Holocaust, and The Great War and of her. She told me a story one time about when she rode a train by herself as a young girl, she allowed me to read family letters that were old. I respected her and now know that she has helped many former students. Now I love her, because I can see how dedicated a teacher she was. She renewed my faith in teaching; I try to be approachable to my students, organized, happy, and try to broaden their horizons. No bell curve but I do tell stories to my students. I will never reach the caliber that Ms. Holthouser was as a teacher, but I do feel like I am a member of the club and the tradition must carry on.
Welcome Home Ms. Holthouser.