My senior year of high school saw a new Latin teacher, Miss Marcene Holverson. She came to us from Illinois a young teacher, and we were eager to see how she would follow the legend that was Miss Ranck. The answer soon came as she introduced us to new activities in Latin Club, and we quickly found a new friend in her.
Miss Holverson led my class through Vergil's Aeneid and asked us to do something I thought horribly inappropriate. She asked us to write a paper. My eighteen year old arrogance knew that the sole activity of a Latin student was to translate. Papers were for English class. Yet Miss Holverson not only required us to write a paper, but to deliver it in front of our peers. As a teacher who regularly assigns challenging papers to the upper level class, I look back on that episode and laugh.
Miss Holverson also took us to the the Indiana Junior Classical League State Convention at Indiana University and saw to it that we took the National Latin Exam. I remain forever grateful for those opportunities, for not only did I win several scholarships through these activities, but I have led hundreds of my own students to state conventions in Texas and Indiana and always make sure my students take the NLE.
That year I was elected co-consul, or president, of our chapter of the Junior Classical League, and we engaged in many fun activities. Not only did we continue our participation in certamen events around the state, but we ended our year with a trip to King's Island amusement park in Cincinnati. The downside for me was that I had my wisdom teeth removed the day before the trip, and stitches in my gums prevented me from opening my mouth very wide, a considerable handicap on roller coasters. I did, however, use Latin in my dental adventure, for as I came out of the anesthesia, I began conjugating the irregular verb fero in my head.
Several years later, Miss Holverson got married and became Mrs. Marcene Farley. She returned to her native Illinois and teaches at Pekin Community High School, where I recently had the opportunity to present Gaius Crastinus. Marcene and I have remained in contact over the years as colleagues and friends. Her assistance with scholarships my senior year was a huge help as I made the transition to collegiate Latin, which will be the subject of the next post.