In this the second part of honoring the high school teachers in our family, I have some more very interesting people to introduce to you! One is a retired English teacher so that I’d better watch my dangling participles! Continuing in alphabetical order by last name we’ll be saluting a science teacher first.
Martha Powell Beck Holshouser, wife of my husband Max’s first cousin, John Alton Holshouser, is a retired Science teacher who was married to a farmer. She worked on the farm and helped raise prize-winning show cattle, as well as reared three wonderful, smart and kind sons– all married, some with children of their own! Besides her busy schedule and teaching responsibilities, Martha has helped organize the Holshouser family reunion for 4o years!
In 1973, Martha graduated from Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, North Carolina. She then taught for 30 years! Fifteen of those years were spent teaching science at Erwin Junior High School, and 15 at East Rowan High School. Both schools are located in Salisbury, North Carolina. Martha taught science all of those years! She taught Physical Science, Earth Science, Environmental Science, and Chemistry! I know Martha well, and she is a doer, a go getter. I bet those students who had her for a teacher knew they were blessed to have such a knowledgeable teacher. She is an enthusiastic person whose positive spirit is catching! Congratulations on a wonderful career and family and thank you for teaching our leaders of tomorrow how to problem solve!
Sharon Lynn was my friend first, we were neighbors and gardeners together when we discovered our kinship though my genealogical research! We are cousins through my mother’s family, Beard, Reynolds, and Pierce through the Houchins, and the Clements all the way back to Jamestown! Sharon is a retired English teacher married to a retired Woodworking teacher. However, although they are retired from teaching, both of them work full time. Sharon went back to school after retirement and earned her CNA so that she could work with seniors, helping them remain in their homes. Sharon is a force to be reckoned with! Intelligent, creative, energetic even driven at times, she is dedicated to her clients and works diligently to make them happy and comfortable. It is easy to see why she still has former students who call her and ask for her advice. She lives here in North Carolina, taught in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, and has students calling her from California! She is a strong advocate who goes the extra mile to help students and friends through life, as well as school. Sharon is a talented craftsperson also, making wreaths, cloth flowers, quilts, and costumes among other things. She and her husband facilitated the staging of plays and events for their church for many years. Over the years, they have kept a sick parent in their home and have helped support and care for their chronically ill adult son . The old adage, “ask a busy person” comes to mind when I think of my dynamic cousin Sharon!
My younger cousin Stephanie Williamson Nicklin is the next teacher I want to honor. Stephanie is my first cousin once removed through the Kearse, Houchins, Langhorne family lines. Her Mom Claudia was my first cousin with her mother and my mother being Kearse sisters. Stephanie comes from a family of educators with her father a teacher and principal, and her sister plus many cousins and Aunts and Uncles being teachers. Stephanie lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia which is where she teaches Biology in the High Schools. She is assigned to different schools as a part-time instructor. Just think of all the more students whose lives she touches that way! She has two teenagers at home, and a husband who is a leader and instructor on the SWAT team of the police force.
I know Stephanie well, and I take my hat off to her every day! She is a friendly, strong, smart, and kind individual whose enthusiasm and energetic approach to life never seem to wane! The students of Virginia Beach are so lucky to have her influence in their lives, although they may not realize that until later in life. I stand in awe of her ability to organize so well and cope with the dangers of her husband’s career while coping with teens and her own career. Way to go Stephanie, you rock! The sign below is one she loves, and that tells us just about all we need to know about the positive person she is–one who builds people up, doesn’t tear them down!
Betty Spangler Smith is the first of two Spanger/Langhorne family member cousins I want to acknowledge. Betty is a retired Latin and Spanish teacher in High School who taught full time 33 years, and has been substituting for the last seven! She taught Latin levels 1-5, and AP Latin as well as Spanish levels 1 and 2. She also taught an Introduction to Foreign Languages class. What a rigorous career! What a great opportunity to expand the minds, abilities, even the worlds of so many students! Research shows that learning a foreign language is good for our brains–creating new learning pathways. We also know it allows us to communicate with many other cultures at home and around the world. Thank you Betty for giving our children this opportunity–for training our leaders of tomorrow!
Betty is also an excellent genealogical researcher. I had the opportunity to hear her speak at a family reunion last year and loved it! She told of the history of the family, and anecdotal stories for all of us to enjoy. It was so great to see this dedicated teacher in action!
Betty is also the supervisor of the Credit Union at her old high school, a job she really loves! She explains, “We are the only high school in our district that has a credit union! I work with 4 students who get community service time for helping me, and they get banking experience, so it’s a win-win situation for all! The kids I have are juniors or seniors and since we have some days of no customers, it really gives me a chance to get to know the 4 who work with me.” You know she is a genuine, caring teacher when you hear her say, as I did the other day, that it almost makes her cry to think of not interacting with students everyday when she truly retires again- possibly next year! Your influence will go on forever dear Betty.
My own mother required me to take Latin in High School. She impressed upon me the importance and helpfulness of learning this classical language in developing my vocabulary and knowledge of words. I have Mom and my Latin teachers to thank that I now know these Latin phrases and enjoy using them!
One thing anyone who knows our family, from one end to another, has to admit is that we have incredibly talented, intelligent, and dedicated people in our group. The fact that many have chosen education for their careers, only speaks more highly of our values. Epitomizing those character traits is Harriet Ann Caldwell Spangler who retired after 35 years of teaching all levels of High School Mathematics! She taught 7 years in Kentucky, and 28 years in Florida! Harriet actually taught Physics as well, but her favorite was always geometry with algebra running a close second! Harriet’s leadership skills were well recognized as she served as the Math Department Chairperson for many years at Newberry High School in Alachua County just west of Gainesville, Florida. What a career! When I look back at my own High School career, geometry was one of my favorite subjects as well, and I loved my math teachers all the way through school. I have no doubt that Harriet Spangler inspired many, many students to make the most of their lives. Teachers are our first line counselors, guidance counselors, and instructors–when are we going to let them know how strongly we value them!
“Otto and I were high school sweethearts. We met on the tennis courts near my home when I was 13 and he was 14. He was there playing with a friend and I too was there with my girl friend. It started pouring down rain, and his friend offered my friend a ride home, and Otto offered to take me home on his motor bike. He sat up on the tank and I sat behind him. By the time we got home, his shirt was soaked, so I invited him in and mother dried his shirt by hanging it in front of the oven. We listened to 45 RPM records, and talked while it dried. Otto tells that when he went home to eat lunch, he told his parents that he met the girl today that he wanted to marry. It took a few more years to convince me. We were married when I was 19 and he was 20, and had been married for 57 years when he passed away. Fifty-seven wonderful years.”
Harriet and Otto attended Carson-Newman University near Knoxville, Tennessee. Since her husband was a year ahead of her, Harriet decided to quit college–NOT! She decided she needed to finish college in three years so that she could go with him when he attended seminary in Louisville, Ky! She went to summer school and carried some heavy loads of classwork–they both graduated in 1958! Harriet graduated with honors! That same drive and determination carried her though life in raising her family, teaching her classes, and in helping Otto with his ministry to their community. What a wonderful woman and a wonderful teacher—whose life sets an example for us all!
Together she and Otto raised three children, Chuck (Otto Jr.), Elizabeth, and Victor, who have become the kindest, most considerate adults who could ever make a parent proud! Otto was the Baptist Campus Minister at the University of Florida. When he died recently, there was an outpouring of love for him and for Harriet that was awe inspiring and let us know just how much this couple has touched their whole community. Harriet continues to lead her family through their grief, and to keep the faith she and her husband believed in so strongly! Harriet shared this video with us recently via facebook, and I thought it a blessing to share with all of you as she has blessed so many.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of our high school teachers! It is surely not enough, but please know it is worth more than diamonds to our youth and our society! We are thankful to God for your gifts and your talents and for placing you with us and in our world! As we honor more educators, we will turn the spotlight on our Principals and on our Professors and Instructors in our colleges and universities. How exciting!
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