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Frank Craig Purpera, Sr. – Health and Physical Education, 1976; M. Ed., 1985

Frank Craig Purpera Sr.

1976 – Health and Physical Education

1985 – M.Ed.

Dear Dr. Dugas:

                My name is Frank Craig Purpera Sr, a 1976 graduate of U.S.L. in Health and Physical Education.  I am also a 1985 graduate of the Masters Program in Education.  I began my studies at U.S.L. in the Spring of 1973.  I had served four years in the Navy and had received the Vietnam Service Medal and the Vietnam Combat Medal.  I was ready to get my life on the road, and chose U.S.L. as the school and Lafayette as the city where I wanted to get my education.

                I was born in Morganza, Louisiana and raised in Simmesport, Louisiana.  I enjoyed a successful athletic career in high school and wanted to be a coach someday.  Health and Physical Education was easily my choice of a profession, as I loved kids and loved athletics.

                The faculty at U.S.L. was the greatest at that time in history. We loved and respected them. Dr. Ed. Dugas was a very well organized disciplinarian, very soft spoken, and had a genuine concern for his students.  I won’t forget the notebooks we had to keep and they were inspected at random.  I was always impressed with his badminton, tennis, and racquetball skills.  Thanks for all that you did for us Dr. Dugas.  We love you.  Thanks for the memories.

                Dr. Bourg was very kind and friendly to all.  He instructed us in the game of tennis.  We all looked forward to his classes and the annual teacher’s tennis tournament was loved be all.  Marty taught us to be courageous and to respect mankind.  We love and miss Marty.

                Coach Wolf-very friendly to all.  He instructed us in golf and football.  We enjoyed a game we called speed ball.  It was fast and high scoring and  kept us running and in great condition. Thanks Coach Wolf.

Coach Hennesey-the best trampoline coach in the World.  His daughter Leigh proved this for him.  We discovered gymnastics and the trampoline were not easily mastered. Thanks Coach Hennesey.

Dr. Gatch-once he put us on the treadmill, we quickly knew none of us would be replacing Steve Prefontane on the top of the track and field charts.  Dr. Gatch put us through rigorous cardiovascular tests. Thank you Dr. Gatch for all that you did for us.  We are aware of the importance of physical fitness and cardiovascular conditioning from your classes.

Coach Nelson-the recreation and outdoor specialist.  We had great trips on the Whiskey Chitter.  When Larry Patin flipped his canoe, Bobby Greene and I had to save him and our equipment from the river. Coach Nelson, your class continues to be beneficial in all of our outdoor activities.  I swam like a brick in the early stages of your class.  Thanks to you showing me the proper technique and Mike Menard working with me, I was able pass your skill test for the swim class.  Your poems are awesome, and your natural outdoor skills were impressive.  Your Nelson Reaction Timer was unique.  Thanks for the memories Coach Nelson.

Ms. Johnson-I was in the class when Pat Gullet for the fourth try, finally passed your class, and we all gave him a big “its about time hug.”  Who could forget good old Mike Dixon who gave fifteen minute civil rights speeches and five minute health speeches?  Thanks, Ms. Johnson, for making us work for our degrees and not giving us what we did not earn.

Ms. Testerman-You tried to teach me how to dance (especially the Jitterbug), but I had two left feet.  I  then had the women’s basketball center for my partner.  Try pulling a young lady 6’4″ tall through your legs; it’s not easy.  But, we had a great time and a lot of laughs.  It was a lot of fun.  Thanks for the memories.

Ms Ducharme-for being so sweet and mother-like for all of us beginning freshmen.  Thank you.

Dr.Blackwell-thanks for allowing us to act like mischievous elementary students in  preparing ourselves for the future classrooms.  We had fun in those classes.  Also, your Ford Falcon convertible that only played 50’s music in the 1970’s, Ha!  Thanks, Dr. Blackwell.

Coach May-we were well prepared for first aid and safety procedures in your class.  You were very proficient in your instruction and very personable and friendly.  Thanks for the memories, Coach May.

Dr. Eason-she separated the men from the boys in this class.  She worked us  very hard in her classes.  She expected perfection, and she got it or else.  It was her way or the highway.  I appreciated the hard work and the rewards on the work she expected. Thank you, Dr. Eason, You made us tough, responsible and successful.

Mr. Reinhardt-you taught us endurance and how to never say never.  Your coaching and teaching skills for all those years are very impressive.  The history of U.S.L. will always carry your spirit and longevity.  Thanks for being you and part of my success.

Dr. Ellen Gillentine-she was so sweet and radiant in her everyday life.  She influenced me with her love for the handicapped children in the city.  The special children would meet us outside of McNaspy Stadium, and we had stations set up for them to participate in physical education activities.  She told me I would be an excellent Adaptive Physical Education Teacher.  I began her courses and enjoyed them thoroughly.  I remember making sure she got to her car safely after those late classes.  Her love for her students and the special children she cared so much for will always hold a place in my heart. We miss her dearly.  Thanks, Ellen, for allowing me to work with you and realize we can make a difference in the Special Children of the World.  You were God’s Special Child.

I coached in the elementary schools (L.J. Alleman) and high school at (Acadiana High). I am semi-retired from coaching and teaching Special Education students at Acadiana High School. I play A league tennis  and work out at Red Lerille’s for my physical activities. I am married to a wonderful woman, Natalie Bienvenu Purpera. I am proud to say my son, Frank Craig Purpera Jr., just graduated from U.S.L. in Biology, and he had the pleasure and privilege of having Dr. Dugas in one of his physical education classes.

I hope your memories of us are as fond as our memories are of you.  We are very proud of our faculty and friends.  We take pride in the education we received from you.  The friendships and family-like relationships we received from you are irreplaceable.  From the bottom of my heart , I thank you, and may God bless you.