Lynn Moncus: Comments from the Canyons
The Village of Forrest really came to life on May 28, thanks to Mary Vance Sours and her helpers.
The Forrest Reunion was attended by about 120 former residents. students, and teachers, all there to remember the past, to catch up on the latest news, and to enjoy each other’s company for a few hours.
After a good meal, served by the Caprock Ranch, Mrs. Sours called on various people to make a few remarks and introduced Horace Thomas and Lewis Caton as the earliest graduates of Forrest High School in attendance.
Because I was privileged to begin my teaching career there 50 years ago this fall, I was particularly delighted to see five of those very first students: Sandra Beevers Bates, Charles Caton, Kay Conklin Hagler, Sonny Conklin and Joe Mack McCutchen.
While visiting with them, I was remembering where they sat in various classes and what good students they were. As I looked at each, I could see those young students, as well as the handsome ladies and gentlemen they are 50 years later.
As they mentioned how much work they had to do in some of those classes, I smiled because I knew how much more work I had to do in order to try to stay up with them and even to try to get a little ahead. Although I was reasonably comfortable while teaching the various English classes, i was completely out of my realm while teaching algebra I and II and slightly lost while teaching science.
I don’t think they realized I had to do all those assignments, all that reading , and just a little more than they did each night so I could be semi-prepared for those classes the next day. On top of that, I had to grade all those assignments and try to appear rested and refreshed each morning so we could begin all over again.
Despite the work they did at home and we did at school, we managed to have much fun along the way and to have something happening most evenings. If nothing else, several of the students would get into my car so we could drive either to Clovis or Tucumcari to see a movie.
On the quieter evenings, several would land at my teacherage so we could play games or just sit around talking and laughing. When basketball season began, activity really picked up because the games were a serious event for all members of the community, and we followed
the team wherever it might play.
Somehow, we managed to put on a school play, and that meant we had many practices at night for weeks in order to be able to show off the community. Fortunately, I had taken a course in theatrical productions and had some idea as to what a stage was and how to make backdrops. But those students could have performed well without any of the above because they were so eager to show their talents.
We also planned and decorated for the banquet and prom in our spare time, studied for the county spelling bee, and managed to complete the classes in fairly good form.
As I pointed out on May 28, I went downhill after that first year. Well, actually, I did because I had to go down the Ragland Cap in order to teach in Tucumcari and later down south in order to teach at New Mexico State University.
Although I was only 3 years older than those seniors, they knew I was their teacher, and we both respected each other’s positions.
What a great place in which to begin a career in teaching!