In June of 1979, I had intended to return to Delta for the 1979-80 school year where I taught and coached basketball the year before. My parents’ landline rang. The call was for me. George Sundborg, John Hajdukovich Sr., and Cliff Burglin wanted to take me to lunch to visit about the possibility of my teaching and coaching basketball at Monroe.
A 1971 Lathrop graduate, I knew very little about Monroe. I was not Catholic, and I wasn’t even sure I believed in God, but I was intrigued so I went to lunch. George, John, and Cliff told me the girls’ basketball team had been 0-22 during the 78-79 year (meaning they weren’t very good at winning) and there was also an opportunity to teach. I agreed to meet with the outgoing principal Mr. Cooper.
A thin, balding man sat at his desk with his back to me as I walked into the smoke-filled office. You’ll remember cigarettes were in vogue in 1979. Mr. Bill Cooper asked what I would like to teach and was perhaps both surprised and pleased when I responded math and history. We visited and, within a few days, Mr. Cooper and I had each signed my contract to teach and coach for the upcoming school year.
Little did I know when I accepted the job, that Mr. Cooper would become a mentor and friend, that I would meet Sister Eileen Brown - a Holy Names Sister - hired to be the Director of Schools for 1979-80, and that within two and one-half years I would make the choice to become a member of the Catholic Church. Nor could it be foretold that Mary Williams, another “new to Monroe” teacher in 79-80, would still be walking the Monroe hallways in 2018-2019 substitute teaching, helping with Academic Decathlon and encountering the children of students she taught in the 80s.