Tag Archives: Harvey W. Scott Elementary School

Time of My Life, Part 40: Sharing experiences with students

One of the many joys of working as a journalist — and I had too many of them to count — was being given the chance to tell young people about the challenges of my craft.

Those opportunities came in the form of “career day” events at local schools. Whether in Oregon or in Texas, there was a time when educators thought enough of journalists and journalism to invite us into their classrooms to talk to students about career potential and what it takes to do what we did.

Over many years standing in front of students, I eventually developed a sort of pre-determined formal introduction. I usually would begin by telling students that “I have the best job in town. I get to report on our community and I get to foist my opinion on thousands of newspaper readers every day.”

I’d get a chuckle out of the students. Perhaps from their teachers, too.

I don’t know these days, given the pummeling that newspapers are taking in the current media market, what print journalists are telling students. I suspect it has something to do with the myriad pressures being exerted on newspapers, how they’re having to compete with the Internet, cable TV and assorted other media outlets.

One particular career day stands out among all the times I got to speak to students. I want to share it with you.

It was in 1983. I was working as editor of a small afternoon daily, The Enterprise-Courier, in Oregon City, Ore. My phone rang one day and on the other end was a gentleman named John Eide, who was the shop teacher at Harvey W. Scott Elementary School in Portland, where I attended as a boy. Mr. Eide invited me back to Harvey Scott School to give a career day presentation.

I hadn’t darkened the door at that school for 20-plus years. For this gentleman to call me and invite me back was a singular honor. It blew my mind.

So, I went back to Harvey Scott School for the day. I walked into the office and got reacquainted with my fifth-grade shop teacher. He then took me to Carl Hendricksen’s classroom. Mr. Hendricksen happened to be my sixth-grade teacher back in the day. To see him, with his hair turned snowy white, absolutely knocked me out!

I spent the day there, talking to students about newspapers, telling them about the challenges I faced each day publishing a newspaper that competed with the then-mighty Portland Oregonian.

Arguably, the highlight of the visit was walking into the school cafeteria. Perhaps others have experienced the same thing. This was a first for me: The cafeteria smelled precisely as I remembered it two decades earlier. It was as if I walked through a time portal and stood in a sort of parallel universe.

Career days such as that one routinely offered me the chance to share the joys and challenges of a career I was privileged to pursue. I hope my successors in the business are able to speak with as much enthusiasm about journalism as I did.

Times have changed in public schools


I saw this front page today and was struck at a couple of levels by the picture of the 16 school administrators about whom the story is written.

The story is about the reassignment of school principals throughout the Amarillo Independent School District. The widespread shuffling appears to have caused some anxiety among parents, who want their children to continue at their schools led by the principals with whom the kids and their parents have grown accustomed.

AISD, though, is proceeding with the shuffling.

The other point is this: Look at the genders of the principals who are moving around. Of the 16 school administrators pictured, 15 of them are women.

I realize I’m old. I also realize that changing times bring changes at all levels of public institutions.

When I was a kid, the principal at Harvey W. Scott Elementary School in Portland, Ore., my hometown, was — to my eyes — a grouchy old man. I long thought that one of the requirements for principals was that they had to be grouchy.

I never saw a female principal at any level of public education back in the 1960s. I went on to junior high school. The principal? Another grouchy guy. On to high school. The principal there? An old man, but one who wasn’t so grumpy; in fact, he and my dad became friends … not that it made a difference in my relationship with the principal, Mr. Anderson.

But I am struck today by the large number of women who are leading this community’s public schools.

Yes, indeed. Times change.


A word or two about a favorite teacher

There’s been a lot of talk lately about teachers.

Amarillo is home to the National Teacher of the Year, Shanna Peeples, who teaches English at Palo Duro High School. She makes her community proud. Indeed, her life likely has changed forever … and for the better.

Others have posted messages on social media about their favorite teacher.

I didn’t particularly enjoy school as a kid. I wasn’t a very good student. It’s hard now, so many decades later, to remember precisely why I struggled so much.

I won’t lay any blame on the teachers from whom I learned about readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmatic.

However, one teacher does stand out in my early years. He was my first male teacher at Harvey W. Scott Elementary School in Portland, Ore. Carl Hendrickson taught sixth-graders.

What do I remember about him? The first memory is that he was damn funny. He made sitting in a classroom enjoyable. He joked with the students, which I don’t recall any of my previous teachers at Harvey Scott school doing.

He had nicknames for his students. What did he call me? Well, he had a variation of my last name that he hung on me. He called me “Ka-knuckles.” He used the name when he called on me to speak to the class; he said it to me privately as he counseled me on my school work.

I took no offense to the name. I kind of considered it a badge of honor to have a goofy name attached to me by a teacher who, if memory serves, was quite popular with all the students who learned from him.

I left Harvey W. Scott school in the spring of 1962 when my parents moved us to a new school district in the suburbs. I was in the seventh grade and I made new friends and got accustomed to a new school system. The Parkrose School District had a junior high school system for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders and we got to move from class to class, just like the big kids do in high school.

In 1983, after I had started my journalism career, I got a phone call from my fifth-grade shop teacher, John Eide, who wanted me to speak to students at a career day at Harvey W. School Elementary School. I accepted the invitation, got reacquainted with Mr. Eide. We had lunch in the school cafeteria and I discovered that the lunch room smelled exactly the way I remembered it as a boy. I asked Mr. Eide if aany of the teachers who taught me back in the old days were still around.

Why yes, he said. He mentioned Mr. Hendrickson. I went to his classroom and by golly, there he was. His hair had turned snow white. He was near retirement, as I recall. We caught up on where our lives had taken us the past two decades.

And he called me Ka-knuckles.