Tuesday, May 02, 2023

RIP Sally Alexander

I wrote two letters to two teachers I felt had been especially important to me when I graduated high school, and one of them was to Sally Alexander. The vagaries of how English teachers were assigned in when I was in high school are now foggy to me. But I know that I had heard Ms. Alexander was tough. I wasn't afraid of tough, but also didn't always want to challenge myself unnecessarily. I ran into a recent grad at the pool the summer before my senior year. She told me the best thing she ever did was get herself into Ms. Alexander's English class. I had had great English teachers already. There's a reason I thank my English teachers in the acknowledgements of just about everything I write. But I became determined to get myself into Ms. Alexander's class. And I did. And it was great. And hard. But great. The senior English at the time was focused on a ton of personal writing. I ended up using one of the pieces for one of my college essays. The class was great because Ms. Alexander was an alumna, she seemed to get so many things about our lives, and was so interested in getting us to express ourselves clearly and firmly. And she also knew when to throw out the lesson plan, and let us have a deep discussion about school rules.  I later discovered - because she was an alum, that we were on the same reunion cycle. So I've had the chance to see her over the years, to catch up with her. She didn't fully retire until 2012, and even then, she ran a book club, that alums were invited to until last year. I am quite certain amazing English teacher and fellow alum was just a small piece of her legacy, but hope knowing of this, brings some measure of comfort to her loved ones.