Best Teacher Ever
I don’t remember early-on details; however, after all these years I still have my textbook (High-School Journalism, Macmillan, 1949). And among its many handwritten notes is this: IN CASE OF FIRE, SAVE THIS BOOK!
I do know that I loved every minute of not one, not two, but three years of Journalism – the last taken with no credit – and that Amarette Barnes was Journalism Teacher Extraordinaire! Amazingly, she impressed upon us that she was teaching us so that we could go to work for a metropolitan daily directly out of high school. And while today that sounds silly, it was indeed true in that era.
What I accomplished under her tutelage was the most words in print, the first ever female student body reporter, feature editor of the school paper, assistant editor of the yearbook. And my biggest story (the first high school boys off to the Korean War due to activation of their National Guard unit) re-printed exactly as written in the Beaverton city paper.
And of course over the years I have turned out infinite newsletters, letters-to-the-editor, e-mails and other correspondence, a couple non-fiction books, a novel, websites, blogs, flyers, brochures, scientific articles.
In later years Amarette and I communicated. I thanked her profusely for teaching me so well. She demurred, saying that she just opened the door for me. In any case, I like to think I’m her best success, since many of her students became professionals after college, while I may be the only one who did it with no degree.
Amarette Barnes told us stories about beginning her career teaching in a one-room schoolhouse, came to BHS in 1929, taught there for 41 years and then kept active as a community volunteer. She passed in 2002 at 97.