Fifty years ago, Tom Allen walked out of his American Literature class taught by Lucille Brown Kennedy. It was in 1946 in Room 202 at Woodrow Wilson High School.
He remembers that Lucille was short in stature, had piercing eyes with a friendly glint and maintained strict order. She was a teacher who had a keen interest in the personalities she taught and was able to speak of Poe, Longfellow, Holmes, Whittier and other poets with such interest that one could almost see the Raven in the classroom, says Allen, a neighborhood resident and former Woodrow history teacher.
“It was Lucille more than ourselves or our parents,” Allen says. “When the year ended and the tally of education was made, we found our cups ‘running over’ in appreciation of those long-past hazy writers – they were now, because of her, as fresh as a newborn.”
Students wanted to please her, and according to Allen, that is a mark of a good teacher.
“She had a sparkle about her subject, rare but tremendously effective,” Allen says. “Good teachers blend life with subject matter in a marvelous way.”
“When we left her room for the last time, something died. I don’t know what, but I never again – even in college – had English opened in such a manner. It will be with me always.”