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Looking Back - Dean Marple

February 2014 | by Dean Marple

I started as a junior high social studies teacher in 1974, then went on to become a high school teacher and later, a building principal. I arrived at SAU in 1989 and am just completing my 25th year here.

As far as memories, there are obviously a lot.

Seniors, about to go out on their first job interviews, coming to my office and asking me to show them how to tie a tie.

In one of my classes, students have to teach something to the class, anything, as long as they are actually teaching. I remember a large football player coming in with his grandma's flowery apron and a hairnet, then proceeding to show us how to make chocolate chip cookies. I recall his hands being so large he had trouble with the small measuring spoons.

I once helped a student with an independent study. Apparently she asked someone (another faculty member?) what kind of candy I liked. At the end of the study she presented me with a basket full of giant Snickers bars. I ate those for a month.

Senior girls, coming in my office after Christmas break, and dancing up and down from one foot to the other in excitement as they showed me their engagement diamonds.

A young coed, about to go out and student teach, came to my office with some hesitation. She'd lived in Chicago all her life and was assigned to a small rural, remote school. She wasn't sure how people "drove out there" without street signs and stoplights.

During my first semester here, I had lunch at a table that included a now-retired administrator. He asked what and where I was teaching, and I told him I had one class in the "temporary" huts by Galvin. He assured me they would be gone in the near future. I don't know exactly how long it was but I'd guess I had classes in that hut for another 10 years. The students used to wear coats during the entire class because it was so cold.

A former secretary (and they were called secretaries at that time) Marcia Connelly always had piles of papers everywhere in her office. Yet you could walk in and ask for anything, and Marcia could instantly find it. She could go to any stack, count down X number of folders, and pull it out. I never knew how she kept track of all that.

Two retired faculty members, Marcia Less and Jeanne Roller, had a terrible time keeping a straight face around each other. One would say something, the other would start to smile or giggle, which in turn set the other off. You could hear their laughter all over our department. A great pair to work with.

Before the new windows were put in Ambrose Hall, I had a printer sitting close to a window. When it was cold and a strong east wind was blowing, the cartridges in the printer would gel and I couldn't print. Sort of a primitive thermometer.

It could be terrible weather or a frantic week or some other stressful situation but it makes no difference to my longtime colleague, Rachel Serianz. Always an upbeat attitude and a smile on her face. Rachel is, and always has been, a real pleasure to work with.


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