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Those Little Angels

June 15, 2015
James P. Whipple , Shepherdstown Chronicle

The other day I saw a story on TV about the elementary school I attended when I was a very, very young person. The name of the school is the Simon Elementary School, it is located in South East Washington DC. I went to the school in 1953.

Because of my birthday being in November I did not start school until I was seven years old, so by the time I entered the sixth grade I was 12 years old.

The teacher in the sixth grade was Mr. Granthom, I dont remember his first name. By the end of the school year I knew even then that I would never forget him. He is one of those angels in life that helps us when we need help the most.

Mr. Granthom's classroom was bright and cheerful. Depending on the subject he was teaching he would have pictures and little mementos that added to the lesson. I remember his old Indian head Penny. The desks were facing inward, as if in a square and he would always speak from the front of the room.

Each day at the start of class we would pledge allegiance to the flag. A verse from the Bible would be read by a student. This was followed by a moment of science, then class would began. The first time I read a verse I fumbled through it and sat down. I was a very shy person. It was hard for me to stand in front of the class.

In math even though I knew the answer I would fumble it and freeze. When it again became my time to read the verse, Mr Granthom told me a week in advance. He then worked with me after class until I had almost memorized the text. The second time I read I was better but still fumbled. By the time the school year was half over I no longer had trouble standing in front of the class or reading the Bible verse.

Through the school year Mr. Granthom helped me with classes I was slow in such as math. He encouraged me to read more books and to work harder at the subjects that I liked. One of the things I was still slow on was taking quizzes and tests. Mr. Granthom taught me how he took tests and gave me several quizzes until I began to understand that a test was just that, a test. And what I learned in class would come back to me. Do the easy answers first he told me then the next hardest until I finished the test.

There was so much more he taught me. I could not find enough words to thank him. Even after the sixth grade when he helped me. When I started junior high school I was shocked. Not only were there more then one teacher, there were five and with home room there were six different classes. I went to see Mr. Granthom to see if I could do the sixth grade over. He laughed and told me it was a new program that I was going to have to learn. I did not see a lot more of him and when we moved I lost track of him.

Mr. Granthom spent a lot of his own time trying to help me. I remember him fondly and have always thanked him for being one of my angels.

 
 
 

 

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