Unforgettable Teachers Taught Lessons for Life
Nancy Newell Jones '62
My Hathaway Brown education was a marvelous blend of the gentle and encouraging, along with the rigorous and demanding. I will always be grateful—both to my parents for enrolling me at HB and to HB for selecting such a diverse group of teachers.
In kindergarten, Charlotte Van Houten taught me the joy of filling my day with different activities. I have become a master at this, but I’m still working on learning to share with my fellows. In first grade, Miss Denny introduced me to patience and delayed gratification. I’m still working on these. In seventh grade, quirky Miss Jenkins introduced me to censorship while we were reading Shakespeare. I can still clearly hear her telling us to “cross out everything after nutshell.” The gym teacher, Miss Nixon, taught us about conformity without rebellion around the dreaded “posture pictures.” In eighth grade, the formidable Miss Wheeler began instilling a worldview and demonstrated that a commanding presence can come in a diminutive package.
In high school, two women called Sue showed me how to embrace a little unconventional behavior. Sue Morton was my sophomore homeroom and English teacher. She modeled emotional freedom, to the distress of many parents and Miss Coburn by urging us to keep daily journals of our emotional challenges and to identify and vent our feelings. Sue Betzold—besides giving us lasting delight in the Classics—crossed that line between teacher and student when she organized a barbecue featuring a pig made out of hamburger meat stuffed with hotdogs for entrails. This Sue also showed me the chaos of introducing over-the-top dramatics into my life; a proclivity honed by Mary Lou Colbath, who was my high school drama teacher, and later in Maine, one of my best friends.
Mrs. Foulkes, the music teacher and chorus director, taught me piano and ensemble singing. Her teaching style was generous and encouraging. Miss Bruce’s teaching style generated fear. She paced about the room during the A section of senior English while we sat trembling in our seats waiting for her to bark out: “NEWELL (she never called us by our first names) WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION?” Thanks to Miss Bruce, I sailed through freshman and sophomore English at Connecticut College, spent my junior year in Greece, and returned to graduate cum laude in Classics. I attribute to Miss Bruce my ability to spend 20 years cranking out formidable grants for various clients and billing enough to keep body and soul together in New York City.
I have chosen to join the Mary E. Raymond Legacy Society and leave a bequest to HB to continue the legacy started by my mother and to honor my teachers. I hope my fellow alums will give back in the same way, ensuring that strong teaching and learning continues for those who follow us.
A 1962 graduate of Hathaway Brown, Nancy Newell Jones divides her time between her homes in New York City and Southwest Harbor, Maine.
The joy and benefit of a Hathaway Brown education is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Designating Hathaway Brown as a beneficiary in your will or trust is a wonderful way to honor the value of that educational experience, while helping to make it possible for generations of young women to come. For more information on this planned giving opportunity, please contact Terry Kurtz at 216-320-8799 or email@example.com.
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