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Lucille Mae Dufour Couvillion – Health & Physical Education, 1944

Lucille Mae Dufour Couvillion

1944 – Health and Physical Education

On October 12, 1944, I, Lucille Mae Dufour, graduated from SLI with a major in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation.

Having graduated from a very small school (Moreauville High in Avoyelles Parish), I was overwhelmed by the size of the SLI campus and the city of Lafayette.  Even though our high school curriculum was quite limited, we were well instructed in the few subjects offered.

While at SLI, I lived in off-campus housing only two blocks from the campus.  We girls had old-time rules–curfew, noise, clean-up, and the general things.  We were allowed to use the kitchen, but some of our meals were eaten out–especially at Heyman’s (25 cents plate lunch) or Jo-Jo’s which was off limits to students.

Just when I was adjusting to the life of a freshman, tragedy struck.  On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  How well I remember listening to the radio broadcasts of the bombing and of the war throughout my days at SLI.

With the drafting or enlistment of students, SLI was selected as a school for training servicemen–V-5 and .  The campus was alive again as the athletic teams were given a shot in the arm with young men from throughout the United States.

            On the down side, however, there was a shortage of practically everything:  food, gasoline, cigarettes, shoes, stockings, and many other items which had to be rationed.  Those were hard times!

            By the way, there were classes, also.  How well I remember Mrs. Bourgeois, Miss Keep, Miss McMillan, Miss Triplett–all in the P.E. Department where I worked for 30 cents per hour.  The $12.00 which I earned monthly was more than enough to pay my monthly rent of $8.00.

            Other teachers I remember were Dr. Price, Dr. Vige’, Miss McCulla, Miss Nolan, Mr. Claycomb, Coach Brown, Coach Reinhardt, and Miss Dickmann–who all left a favorable impression on us.

            Because most of the male teachers went into service, there was a great demand for teachers everywhere.  The usual two semesters and one summer school per year was changed.  The trimester system was initiated–three sixteen week terms with short breaks between each two terms and very few days off for holidays.  As a result, many of us graduated in three years, as I did in October, 1944.

            Upon my return to Moreauville, I was asked to teach at Fifth Ward High in Marksville where I worked only two months.  In January, 1945, I came to Cottonport High where I remained until retirement in 1973.  In Cottonport, I met and married Clifford Couvillion and we have a son, Cornel (a USL graduate) and three grandchildren.

            My teaching experience includes 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in elementary school, as well as Civics, History, General Science, Biology, English, and girls’ and boys’ physical education in high school.  As a girls’ coach for more than 20 years, I was fortunate to work with students of great athletic ability.  Most of our basketball teams were quite successful.  Our tennis teams won a number of State and District titles.

            As a member of the Division of Girls’ and Women’s Sport (S), our committee planned and sponsored the first “Sweet Sixteen” tournament for girls.  During the first five years of the tournament, I served as State Basketball Chairperson and, later, as State Chairperson of the Louisiana Committee of S.

            In 1962-63, my fellow teachers named me Cottonport High Teacher of the Year.

            In 1981, the USL Department of Health and Physical Education honored me with an outstanding alumnus award.  What a surprise that was!

            Recently, I have taken lessons in oil painting, and along with cooking, traveling, gardening, and visiting, I keep quite busy.  That’s just the way I like it.