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Mary Elizabeth Horne Marten – Upper Elementary Education – Summer 1962

Mary Elizabeth Horne Marten

Upper Elementary Education – Summer, 1962

Dear Dr. Dugas:

                I graduated from USL as Mary Elizabeth Horne in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Upper Elementary Education.  Even though graduation was in June, 1963 I had completed course work the summer of 1962 and, with a letter from the Dean, taught fifth grade for a year in Lafayette Parish.

                Years at USL were special.  I started my freshman year in 1959, (when it was SLI) living in Baker Hall with roommate, Christine Holt.  Students today can’t imagine that we had a 9:30 P.M. curfew, had to sign in and out of the dorm, and had to endure regular room checks to make sure rooms were neat and tidy.  No electrical appliances were allowed in rooms; and only television set was in the house mother’s apartment and could only be used with her permission.  Two I Love Lucy-type events that year are clear memories.  Once, a dorm mate set up a “beauty salon” and cut everyone’s hair.  Unfortunately, not all hair cuts were finished before “lights out”, and several of us found ourselves hanging wet heads over the edge of our beds until rooms had been checked.  Then, quietly, the hair cutting continued.  Another time, a hamster had been smuggled in (no pets allowed, of course) and hidden in a first floor waste basket.  Remember, we had room check each morning, and waste baskets were emptied.  So was the hamster!  Many of us spent time hunting through the trash trying to find the missing hamster.  I don’t remember if we found him or not, but I remember the fear of the hunt.  How mild these events seem in light of today’s society!

                SLI became USL, and the student body reflected the pride of becoming a University.  My next two years were spent on the first floor of Foster Hall sharing the porch side of room 7 with Page Keenan, Sharon Lissard, and Charlene Gachassin.  We became close friends and went everywhere together.  In looking back, it was pretty incredible that four of us in one room could get along so well.  I remember one homecoming when our dorm group designed and constructed a wonderful float in the attic of Foster Hall to keep it  (the float) a secret.  Only near completion of this magnificent work of art did it occur to us that there was no way to get the float down.  Parts were disassembled, carried down and reassembled outside.

I spent only three years completing my studies as I commuted for three summers from Jennings to save money.  I loved school and teaching.  Our undergraduate preparation included early observation and hands-on experience in the laboratory school.  I find that now we have lost some of these valuable experiences in our teacher training programs.  I remember fondly methods classes taught by Mr. Rene Calais and Dr. Doris Joseph.  Their love of teaching was most important.  My supervising teacher, Dorothy Bereaud, was a wonderful experience.  She was a great role model and a mentor in every sense of the word.  That year, under her direction, I was named Outstanding Student Teacher by Delta Kappa Gamma.  This was the time of “new Math”, and Dr. Ray Authement offered several courses for teachers in this area.  This preparation helped me obtain my first out of state job in Jupiter, Florida.  Almost no one had training in the new math which probably caused the movement to be received so poorly.

After teaching three years in Florida, I moved to Cincinnati and taught fifth grade in a suburban district for several years, then moved within the district to teach in an open space alternative school.  After fifteen years in the classroom, I completed my Masters and Doctorate in education at Miami University of Ohio and moved to administration.  I served as an elementary principal.  In that position, I designed one of Ohio’s first gifted education programs and started a community education program for adults and children at night in my building.  After all these years both programs still exist and have been expanded to all schools in that district.  I was moved to that district’s central office to supervise both gifted and regular education programs.  In 1985, I was named Director of Elementary Education in another large suburban district overseeing instruction, curriculum development, and inservice training for eight large elementary schools.

During my career, I co-authored and published over forty teacher idea books and numerous articles, and spoke at conferences and staff development sessions throughout the country.

I “retired” from public schools for four days in 1993 before I went to work as a consultant for Ethicon Endosurgery helping to improve their training and testing program.  Currently, I teach in the teacher education graduate program at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio; work as a private consultant; and consult for Harcourt Brace Publishers.

My spare time is spent pursuing a love of cloth doll making, and I am President of the River City Dollmakers.  My dolls and Santas are shown in several galleries and sold in shops and at local shows.  I have recently started my own line of patterns.

Teaching and learning are still my love, and as I write this letter, I am preparing for my fall class for teachers seeking a masters degree.  USL was a great preparation for a successful career that has been most rewarding.


Elizabeth Marten, Ph.D