B.D., “Before Dorian,” we reviewed one of Summerville’s leading teachers – and her three generations in Flowertown classrooms. But she also had one big Chapter 2.
According to our official history book, “Summerville,” she was 39 years into her teaching career when she had her big moment!
In 1936 she won a $500 prize an a trip to New York from the National Highway Department for the best lesson on teaching safety to children.
Her entry was chosen from 36,000 others. Staff teachers and friends gave her a trip shower before she left on the train an walked her home along Carolina Avenue after the party carrying gifts and singing “The Sidewalks of New York.”
At a special Chamber of Commerce reception after she got back, Legare Walker said of her, “Sue is that rara avis, a “born teacher.”
“In my experience of 10 years as a teacher, and by observation, as a parent, I have never seen anyone with a more genuine talent for teaching. Her sunny, unselfish disposition and her unfailing sense of humor made her a master of many a difficulty situation. ...”
Miss Sue had three passions in her life: teaching, local history and flowers. It was perhaps the latter ardor that defined her philosophy defined her philosophy. Kate Howard Cross wrote the forward to the history book Miss Sue proposed to write. In it she says:
“A specialty of hers was growing pansies, and for years she shared thousands of healthy, growing plants with her friends and neighbors.
“She always insisted on using the finest seed for her planting, and with every plant she gave away she included a generous ball of good, rich soil around the roots.
“This no doubt illustrates she sowed only the best seeds for her pansies, so she as never satisfied to plant any but the highest quality of knowledge and charter in the lives of her pupils, and she embedded the roots of each tender pant in soil that would help them grow.”
Barbara Hill is a local historian and former reporter for the Summerville Journal Scene.