A couple of weeks ago, Tod “Skip” Johnson, who attended CSF through 9th grade and would have graduated with the class of 1962, stopped by to hand deliver a check for $25,000.
“This is to help with teacher salaries,” he said. “My wife Linda and I would like to make it an annual contribution.” We are grateful for their gift.
Teacher salaries have been a long-time struggle at the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks. Given our tight budget, and lower teacher salaries, it is often difficult to attract and retain the best talent. That said, we do have many fabulous teachers who have accepted a pay cut to be here.
If you take a minute to think about your childhood, what comes to mind? I’m going to guess your most vivid memories involve people. Maybe your friends, maybe your parents, maybe a sibling, or perhaps a teacher. Here’s one of Skip’s memories from his freshman year at Monroe:
Sister Paul Xavier – circa 1950s
It was a dark winter morning. I had arrived early at school as I did many mornings. Dim lights lit the school halls and the empty classroom where I sat working on homework that should have been completed the night before.
From the hallway, I heard the padded footsteps of Sister Paul Xavier. She had also arrived early to prepare for her day. As she entered the room, we exchanged pleasantries and then went about our respective business. After fifteen minutes of quiet, she came to sit next to me in the back of the room.
Sister spent a few minutes developing her purpose and then asked, “Skip, Why have you been ignoring your natural talents by acting like a wisenheimer? Why not put effort into your studies?” *A person who behaves in an irritatingly smug or arrogant fashion, typically by making clever remarks and displaying their knowledge.
She went on to remind me that ignoring my skills could lead to a lifetime of accepting less for myself. “This is a tragedy that too many inflict on themselves,” said Sister Paul Xavier.
Over the years, I have revisited this dark morning memory many times. I thought about it when I worked in Boeing’s “Think Tank” and again when I ran the flight testing of the 747. And now, it’s with me as I pass on wisdom I’ve learned to my children and grandchildren.
Sister Paul Xavier, who taught French, made a significant impact in my life. It’s important to “bring your own dog into the fight of being successful.”
Share your ICS or Monroe memories with us! Tell us about the teachers who made an impact on your life or your child’s life. We will compile the memories and share them in the newsletter and on our website.
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Mail: PO Box 71620, Fairbanks, AK 99707
Call: (907) 456-7970