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Monday, November 26, 2007

Remembering Mrs. Newsome

Some very sad news to report: Mrs. Beth Newsome, who was my sixth grade homeroom and English teacher, has died. Her remains were found Friday in the woods near the Shoals area of Warren County, and authorities are investigating why she died. She had most recently been teaching at Thomson Middle, where she had been named Teacher of the Year.

To give you a sense of how long ago I was in Mrs. Newsome's class, remember that it was called "English" then and not "language arts." I remember she had us read The Wind in the Willows -- the original, turn-of-the-century Kenneth Grahame version, not any of the later, Disney-ed-up cartoon ripoffs. I don't think it became a favorite of any of us in the class, to be honest, but she did have each of us get up and do a monologue in front of the class as one of the characters, and some of them were quite good. I can't remember what character I was, but I remember wearing an upside down paper grocery bag with a plaid-like pattern on it as a sort of vest, or as the Brits might call it, a waistcoat. (Maybe I was Mr. Toad? I can't remember.)

I also remember her staging a men-versus-women classroom debate over some sort of gender issue in the news -- I can't recall what it was -- and I remember her allegiances lay with Georgia Tech, while most of the rest of her homeroom were Bulldog fans.

My thoughts and prayers go out to her students and her family. There are some thoughtful comments posted in the Chronicle story about her death.

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