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From the Class of 1947, A Farewell to Alma Mater

To the Editor:

Regarding the demise of Julia Richman High School in New York City (related story): Sic transit gloria!

The school song we sang in 1944 said, "Hail to Julia Richman and think of her ever more, hail toZwca Richman, she opened wisdom's door." Our principal, Marion D. Jewell, ran the school with a pince nez and an iron hand. We took seven classes, occasionally went "up the down staircase," smoked surreptitiously over Coca Colas in Don Q's Pharmacy and Soda Shop around the corner, and as class officers, panicked when more Afro-American boys from Stuyvesant High School showed up for a dance than Afro-American girls from Richman.

We took three years of English, science, math, social studies, and physical education (you couldn't graduate if you couldn't jump into the deep end of the pool and swim its length). Five years of foreign language also were required: three years of one language and two years of a second, or one foreign language for five years. The school included grades 10-12 in those days.

We gave endless amounts of service to the school; we lived through World War II, and grew up under the watchful eyes of our teachers, our mentors. They are probably all gone now, but I still remember Miss Wheeler, Miss O'Connor, Miss Mulaney, Miss Hatoroff, and Mrs. Shelley. They helped mold me into the adult I became.

The all-girls environment let me be the news editor of the Richman News, editor of the literary magazine, and a contributor to the yearbook. I was also able to be an aide in gym class and a class officer. I passed the New York State regents' exams and got into Hunter College. I grew up and became a teacher, a parent, a wife, and a leader.

I will miss my old high school, for while Julia Richman "built her life into the city wall," as one of the school songs said, her school built its life into my mind and my psyche. For me, she will always be the three-story building whose environment helped turn a gawky adolescent into a productive citizen. Hail Julia Richman!

Joan Butterworth Grady
Aurora, Colo.

Remember That Districts Also Play a Part in Reform

To the Editor:

I was pleased to read your recent article about Walter Annenberg's matching grant of $53 million to support education-reform efforts throughout Los Angeles County (related story ). We are very proud to have Mr. Annenberg's generous support for our efforts.

But in describing the Dec. 21, 1994, press conference announcing the grant, you failed to mention that the model school that hosted the event is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. In fact, approximately half of the Annenberg funds will support our schools through the district's learn reform plan.

It is important that your readers understand that effective reform strategies must be partners with and not isolated from the school districts in which they operate.

Mark Slavkin
Board of Education
Los Angeles, Calif.

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