by Asa Faith Randolph Class of 61
Because I have been reading all the interesting pieces that have been written for our website, I have been made aware of something important that I had forgotten: Our school holds a special place in my heart.
During my high school years, it was a fact that Walker County was not blessed with an abundance of financial support for the schools. But, Dora High was blessed with an abundance of excellent teachers.
When I go back in time, my thoughts center around my English teachers – Mrs. Gant and Mrs. McMichen. Our grammar books were probably outdated, but those two ladies could have taught us without books. They infused us, saturated us with grammar, grammar, and more grammar. And, can’t you still smell that pleasant aroma of chalk when you went to the blackboard? (Yes, they were black back then.) Goodness, the chalk dust that flew out the windows when we diagrammed sentences. That was, most likely, because we erased so many mistakes. So, then came more and more diagramming until we got it right.
When I recall our literature experience, I am especially thankful for Mrs. Gant and Mrs. McMichen. If our books did not contain enough of what they considered valuable, classic material, they brought their own books to class and read aloud to us. I can still hear Mrs. McMichen reading “A Dissertation on Roast Pig” , and there I sat – enthralled – feeling the words and images as they took on a life.
Yes, DHS was a small school, but not small at all when you consider the faculty – the entire faculty – not just the teachers I have written about in this essay. What follows is an example of my emphasis on “small.” On my first day in Freshman English class at Walker College, we wrote in-class essays. On the second day, our instructor read mine aloud as an example of good writing. Then he said, “I assume that you are a graduate of Walker High School.” I proudly replied, “No, I am a graduate of Dora High School.”
Not being from Alabama, he then asked, “Where is Dora High?” A student chimed in, “Oh, it’s just a small school east of Jasper.” I will never forget the instructor’s reaction: “SMALL school, huh? Must have damned good LARGE teachers.”
Our teachers cared about us. Our small school was a place that must have been (and hopefully, still is) what the writer of the theme song for “Cheers” had in mind.
“Where everybody knows your name.
And they’re always glad you came.”