Juanita Boudreaux Guerin – Elementary Education, 1972; M. Ed., 1977
Juanita Boudreaux Guerin
1972 & 1977
Dear Dr. Dugas,
It is with sincere gratitude to the University of Southwestern Louisiana that I write this letter for inclusion in the “Book of Letters” on the College of Education’s Centennial M. What began for me over thirty years ago as a foundation provided by the university for a career choice has come full circle. I am presently employed by USL as the Statewide Coordinator of the Louisiana Challenge Project, a technology project that integrates technology with curriculum in the education environment. In addition, I serve the university as an adjunct professor in the College of Education and apply the knowledge and skills obtained over the years to the preparation of both preservice and inservice teachers. I am not certain that this letter will be of interest to anyone else, but I am happy to use this venue to express my gratitude to USL.
Thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of a group of dedicated and caring teachers in Erath, LA who provided me with the educational background necessary, I graduated from Erath High School in May 1968. Inspired by my mother, Evelyn Boudreaux, who taught school in Erath for years, I decided teaching would be my vocation. Leaving a small town and moving to the “city” was an exciting yet somewhat frightening experience, but I was determined to become a teacher and to inspire my students in much the same way as I had been inspired. I began taking courses at USL during the fall of 1968 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education in the spring of 1972. The years in between were filled with valuable life experiences that produced many fond memories for recollection today. The late sixties were a time of turmoil, contradiction, and drastic change in the world–a far cry from life in Erath or even in Lafayette for that matter. The war in Vietnam was brought directly into living rooms and dorms via the evening news, and student protests were producing tension and drama on college campuses as well as on political stages across the United States. It was as if it was happening in some distant country to foreigners that had nothing to do with me or so it seemed when I was seventeen years old. Compared to the near riots at some universities witnessed on television, USL was a safe haven–the quiet in the midst of the storm. Even though we felt protected from the outside world, the winds of change were blowing across our campus, too.
During my first year at the university, girls living in dorms had an early weeknight and weekend curfew, we couldn’t wear pants (much less jeans) outside of the dorms, and boys were allowed only in the study parlors or lobbies of the girls’ dorms. By the next year, there were no curfews, there were no dress code restrictions, and some of the dorms, like Agnes Edwards, were coed. Those drastic changes in such a short period of time are still very vivid in my memory.
Happy memories from that time include forging bonds with Kappa Delta sorority sisters, performing with the USL marching band as a majorette, eating chili dogs in the end zone of McNaspy Stadium on Saturday nights, and building friendships with roommates that continue even today, thirty years later. Very special memories are of meeting Ralph Guerin, a fellow education major in Dr. Gooch’s botany lab class that first semester. We were married three years later at Our Lady of Wisdom Chapel on the USL campus and will be celebrating our 28th anniversary this year. Those formative years at USL, under the tutelage of such wonderful teachers as Mrs. Gladys Robinette, prepared me for a vocation as well as for future life experiences.
Since graduating in 1972, I have dedicated my life to our family, including two wonderful children who are now both in college, and to educating students in my charge. For twenty-four years, I taught science at the middle school level in Lafayette Parish with twenty of those years at Edgar Martin Middle School. I continued to grow professionally throughout the years by obtaining a Masters of Education Degree from USL in 1977 and completing requirements for a Masters +30.
For the last four years, I have been very fortunate to be involved with technology project funded by the U.S. Department of Education that provides networking opportunities for students, parents, and others in underserved schools and communities across the state of Louisiana. Due to the generosity of the College of Education, I am housed in the Educational Technology Review Center (C) in Maxim Doucet, Room 301. Through the direction of Dr. Kerry Davidson with the Louisiana Board of Regents, I coordinate the activities of the Louisiana Challenge Project in impacting statewide systemic reform efforts in education that prepare all learners for the 21st century. In this capacity, I am attempting to show a small token of appreciation to the university that has continued to give me so much for more than thirty years. Without the firm foundation provided by USL as I trained to become a teacher and the support over the years as I continued to grow in my chosen profession, I would not be in the position today of training others to become teachers.
With sincere gratitude,
Juanita Boudreaux Guerin