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Monday, May 2, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week pop-we Post in Honor of Sister Anthony

Worldwide this week May 2-6 is Teacher Appreciation Week. In honor of teachers past and present population-we™ dedicates this week's post to Marian High School teacher Sister Anthony.

Sister Anthony did not just teach us to love American History my sophomore year of high school. I’m not sure how much she even followed a traditional lesson plan as she sat on a stool in front us in regular dress clothes. I do recall how much respect she had for Abigail Adams and how I felt close to her when I read the First Lady’s biography years later. I also remember Sister Anthony openly taught us life’s lessons during class time.

I went to a Catholic high school of all girls and Sister Anthony gave of us the benefit of her experience teaching adolescent boys. She frankly told us how the boys confided that they might date girls that did immoral acts but that was not the type of woman that they would want to marry.

One class period, Sister Anthony spoke with fervor that the young women in our class needed to tell Jesus that we loved him. She said that we tell that to our boyfriends and seemed to intimate that it was said too easily to them. I had never been on a date but her logic that if you tell a boyfriend that you love him that you should tell the Lord that you loved him resonated with me.

Part way through the year, Sister Anthony decided that she would read the Scriptures on love on a weekly basis. I don’t think I thought much about the meaning behind the great discourse on love in the Scriptures as we repeated the ritual week after week. Years have passed and I continue to learn what is meant about love being unselfish and without jealousy. I contemplate her wisdom and think of her as I hear those often repeated Scriptures at weddings or during sermons.

I recall Sister Anthony asking for collections for missions, where a little money could go very far in providing care for the needy. She would also tell us how blessed we were and that we should pray for those who were not so blessed to receive our portion of the Holy Spirit.

The soft side of Sister Anthony may have been why a student in a higher grade told her how very lonely she was. Without revealing any names, she told us that she asked the young woman what she did to reach out to make friends.

Sister Anthony also demonstrated how honesty and tact can co-exist when she told us her response to a student wanting her opinion on a garment. “Interesting,” was her simple reply.

The desks in the classroom seemed to have more of a shine to them than others in the building. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” was one of Sister Anthony’s favorite saying. “Wake up and die right,” interjected at the right moments kept us at alert. The clean room and the requirement to discard gum prior to class set a tone of order.

Short in stature and full of spunk, the influence of Sister Anthony made its mark on the school. Her competitive spirit came out as she rallied those decorating her floor to try to have the best halls for the annual Field Day event.

As any good mentor, Sister Anthony believed in my potential and wanted me to be challenged academically. She also would let us know skills that she thought were worthy of attainment. As I was trying to shift from the Vocational Track to the College Prep track, I had an attitude against vocational classes as requiring less intelligence. However, I still signed up for Shorthand when it came time for my Senior year as Sister Anthony would say that she would have her smartest students take that class. In the end, the class was not offered as times were a changing. Sister Anthony’s values were timeless. It is funny how you can internalize so much from someone and yet bear little resemblance the powerful personality who planted the seeds in you. A co-worker told me how her daughter who also worked with me briefly kept contact with Sister Anthony after she graduated from high school. I missed out on having her guiding influence in my young adult years prior to when I learned that she passed away.

In my mind, I am often present in her class and as I comprehend the lessons of years ago. Her influence is very real to me after all of these years as I try to make decisions that I think would please her. I try to think about what I might be like if I didn’t change schools in the 8th grade and I went to the same Catholic School from first grade to twelfth grade. Some experiences may be interchangeable and may have yielded similar results. But I just can’t imagine being who I am today without the guidance of one very dynamic nun.

Do you have a teacher who has influenced you like Sister Anthony? If so, tell population-we™ about him or her by leaving a comment or sending an e-mail to us at
– population-we™ blog post by Barb Bohan
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  1. Barb: I’ve heard you tell stories about Sister Anthony. Your post really brought her to life and is a great tribute to her. If I had to pick one teacher who has influenced me in the same way -- I’d have to say it was Mrs. Powers. She’s the one who plucked me out of English and encouraged me to join the Benson High newspaper staff. I am forever grateful to Mrs. Powers for that.

  2. Thank you, Becky. As the memory of Sister Anthony is so vivid to me, I had hoped to allow others to visualize her too. I had also heard you speak of Mrs. Powers who had a great influence on you and our cousin, Sara. I remember that mom said that she named you Rebecca because Grandma was babysitting near Mrs. Powers who had a little daughter named Rebecca. So she influenced you before you were even born! I'm so glad that she nurtured your writing talent.

  3. Oh, I didn't know about TEacher Appreciation week. Thanks for highlighting this.

  4. Dr. Deb: It was the whole week. Sad not enough is said about it. Around the world, so may teachers have left a lasting impression on all of us. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I was happy that we were able to educate about a week that even Dr. Deb didn't know about. Reading her blog, I am always enlightened about special awareness months or days.--Barb