AHS Students and
Teachers share their memories ...
Joanne Simmons Smith, Class of
... a Former
A.H.S. Teacher 1973 - 1980
I returned to Albany High School, this time as a teacher. Several
of the teachers who had been there when I graduated in 1958 were
still on the faculty: Mrs. Mary Futch (her son Henry was in the
class of ’58), Ms. Frances Feagin, and Mrs. Norma Juhan. They were
wonderful to embrace me as a colleague and teach me the “ropes.”
hadn’t changed that much in the decade and a half I had been away.
Boys did wear their hair longer, bellbottoms were in, and
Haight-Ashbury had influenced the dress of some of the students.
There was racial diversity, but students did not view this as a
detractor. Students worked well together in both curricular and
extracurricular activities. In fact, I never witnessed a fight or
confrontation during my four years there.
still king, with band coming in a close second. The Pow Wow
was still produced periodically and the Thronateeska annually
provided the pictorial lives of students. The arts flourished:
visual arts under the direction of Mrs. Carolyn Clive and the
literary magazine under Ms. Feagin’s guidance. Theatre had also
gained importance, and one year we produced the musical, Oklahoma.
The last year I
was there, I had the good fortune of moving into Mr. Billy Bragg’s
room because I was one of the two sponsors of the yearbook; the
other was Ms. Margaret Jo Hogg. Mr. Bragg had been my junior and
senior English teacher and had influenced my majoring in English. I
sometimes felt that he was looking over my shoulder as I taught
The Scarlet Letter or explained the difference in a participle
and a gerund. I hope I made him proud!
Some of my
fondest memories as a teacher stem from my years at Albany High
School and Albany Junior High. My one regret is that moving away
from Albany in 1980 I didn’t have the opportunity to follow the
lives of my students, many who may have stayed in the Albany area.
Norma Dunaway Juhan
Cagle Hopper, AHS Class of 1959:
Many thanks to Jane (Albriton) for
forwarding this (article below) to me. For what it is worth, here is
my memory and how Mrs. Juhan led me into the first phase of my
career. Now years later and living in a state that has a growing
Hispanic population and having spent a major part of my travels in
Latin America, I would like for her family to know once more how her
legacy lives on by those of us who learned to love both the Spanish
language and its myriad cultures.
Mrs. Juhan shaped my life in ways she never knew, since I went on to
get a PhD in Romance Languages with a specialty in Mexican
Literature from the U of Missouri-Columbia. Teaching college Spanish
language and literature brought me to Charlotte 40+ years ago. In
truth, I had really meant to take Latin but was lured into Mrs.
Juhan's class by a huge standing fan on one of those fall days that
masquerade as summer in South Ga. I was happy to learn she had a
long life filled with people who loved her and a host of us who will
still remember her for shaping us.
Jake Clancy ('52)
Mrs. Norma Dunaway Juhan (“Jimmie” to
family) passed away on Sunday, 16 November, 2008 shortly after
celebrating her 98th birthday on the 28th of
October. Many of you will remembers Mrs. Juhan as our Spanish
and geometry teacher at AHS during the 1940’s and 1950’s. For
the last years of her life, Mrs. Juhan had resided at Morningside in
Albany (1721 Beattie Road) where she enjoyed the loving care of the
compassionate people who make up the staff there. A number of
people visited and showed their love for her over the years while
she was at Morningside, including her grand-daughter Norma Hershey,
Bob and Sue Fletcher, who were members of her church, and former
students such as Nancy Reimer and others. As an aside, Mrs.
Helen Long (I believe she taught typing or something like that?) is
96 and resides at Morningside. Mrs. Juhan will be put to rest
at a later date in Adel, Georgia, where she spent many of her early
Mrs. Juhan was born in
Americus on 28 October, 1910.
She graduated from
George State College for Women at
where she studies English and journalism. Later she attended
summer school sessions in Athens at the
University of Georgia.
In her early career before coming to Albany, Mrs. Juhan taught at
Sparks/Adel High School in Cook County,
where she was in charge of the school newspaper called
Griffin High School, in Griffin,
where she worked as
to the school newspaper and was instrumental in raising money,
through advertisements, to support it.
Although Mrs. Juhan had no children of
her own, she had
through her marriage to
A. Juhan (21 December, 1938)
who pre-deceased her by many years.
Her two step-children,
Steve and Bette Juhan Deener, are both
deceased (Steve died in Albany in 1997). Her grand-daughter,
Hershey, lives in
Maryland. A niece,
Willa Olsen, lives in Malibu,
grandson Ed Deener
A number of former students and friends
have warm memories of her:
Ralph Calhoun (’47):
I have eaten many meals at the Juhan
home while I was in high school. She was a good cook. One of the
funniest stories I know about them is cooking a duck. For years
they had gotten a duck for Thanksgiving instead of a turkey. She
put it in the oven to cook as she had in the past and soon a
horrible odor filled the house. The duck had not been prepared
properly and still had the intestines inside!
Frieda Howard Randles (’54):
I did not have Mrs. Juhan as a teacher,
but I remember her well. We went to her house one time when she had
some little Chihuahua puppies and they were so cute!
Carleen Newell Flowers (’48):
I was a student of Mrs. Juhan and also
taught with her at AHS for a year. What a wonderful lady she was
and is! I have had the privilege of visiting with her at
Morningside for a number of years. When I was a junior in high
school, Mrs. Juhan not only taught us Spanish but also geometry.
She was always so kind and caring of her students.
Bill Seymour (’64):
I remember her as a teacher who loved
what she did. She always had a smile on her face and a kind word
even when we would slaughter the Spanish language. I was in Mrs.
Juhan’s senior Spanish class the day President Kennedy was shot …
and she cried.
Jake Clancy (’52):
Mrs. Juhan was special. She opened up
the world to me. She made me want to see what was over the next
hill. She gave me a love of languages and a strong desire to learn
about and try to understand other cultures.
Teaching is a noble profession. In our
early years we learn from our parents and friends and in our school
years we learn from our teachers. Life itself is a continuing
education. Education forms us in EVERY aspect of our life,
knowledge, beliefs, morals, etc. Norma Dunaway Juhan was at the top
of that group of elite.
Many thanks to Bob Fletcher and Ralph
Calhoun for providing much of the above information
My Story … from Frances Feagin …
AHS English Teacher
1953 I came to Albany High School to teach English. Mr. McNabb was my
beloved principal. His wife Betty asked me to be a Girl Scout leader
my first year here. Mr. Mc’s philosophy was that happy teachers make
for a successful school. AHS was successful. Some of my
contemporaries were Miss Thelma Plant Slappey, Mrs. Mabel Hogue, Mr.
Billy Bragg, Miss Mary Hudson, and Mr. Graydon Pierce. We all have our
memories of people who contributed to AHS.
During my years of teaching, I
travelled during the summer months to Europe several times and in the
U.S.A. plus doing graduate study at university of Georgia and Emory.
After retirement I worked just time in a bookstore. It was a fun job.
Later I was caregiver for my parents who had come to make their home
with me. In 1994 I lost my home in the flood. Many friends helped me
through this loss.
I reflect on my years at AHS as a
wonderful time! I loved the school, my leaders there, and teaching.
Today I am blessed to be in good health. I live at Magnolia Manor
Retirement Center in Americus and lead an active life.
Frances Feagin died Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Have a story about Miss Plant
for you. Sitting here
chuckling ... remembering a time I thought I was in big trouble with
Miss Plant. I was a member of the FHA and we sometimes had meetings at
the school at night. Mrs. Johnson, the Home Ec.
teacher, was the FHA advisor.
Smoking in the girls' bathrooms had become a big problem so Miss Plant
had all the doors taken off the stalls and taken to one of the upstairs
bathrooms. She always wore flat shoes with soft soles and no one ever
heard her coming until she was seen.
One FHA night we girls got to the school early and were talking about
how embarrassing it was to be in the stalls with no doors and got the
bright idea to put them back on. We were so proud of ourselves when we
I was sick the next day and when I got back to school, I was told that
Miss Plant wanted to see me. I went to her office with fear in my heart
but she wanted me to work on a project for her. We never heard a word
about replacing the doors and she let them stay up!
When I was in 10th grade there
was a serious family crisis and I got no sleep the night it happened.
Aunts had their hands full so sent my sister and I to school the next
morning. I got into homeroom and collapsed into tears. The teacher
sent me to the nurse that everyone called "Granny" and I told her what
happened. She put me to bed and contacted Miss Plant. Miss Plant sat
with me until I fell asleep, stroking my cheek and telling me everything
was going to be alright. I slept until the end of the school day and
when I awakened, Granny told me that Miss Plant had been out to check on
me multiple times during the day.
There are many things I have forgotten about high school but I will
never forget the lady with the big heart who cared so much about all of
Hamilton Jordan (1962):
Growing up in Albany in the 1950s, I would check our
mailbox at 907 4th Avenue regularly at the end of the month
in hopes of finding the family copy of
The Reader's Digest
quickly to my favorite section, "My Most Unforgettable Character,”
written by different people about great, not-so-great and even ordinary
people who had made a memorable difference in someone’s life.
One wrote about visiting Dr. Albert Schweitzer in his African
clinic where he lived and dispensed medical treatment to the locals,
another about a favorite teacher who had inspired the gift of learning
or a coach or war hero who had changed their lives. I often wondered
who would be
my most unforgettable
character in my life? Where would I encounter him? Maybe in New
York? Or Washington? Or even on foreign soil?
Much later, I found my most unforgettable character – not half
way around the world or even just across the country or state, but just
down the street. And it wasn't a “him” but a “her” – Olivia "Livy"
Beck, the mother of Jay Beck, my best friend.
Mrs. Beck was a bundle of wonderful contradictions. Raised a
Southern lady, she was fast-talking with a high-pitched voice and a
thick, syrupy drawl.
Although she was born in Atlanta, lived most of her life in South
Georgia and was buried in Morgan, Georgia, she went to school in
Washington, D.C., graduated from Parson’s and New York University where
she studied art.
Although a “young Southern lady” through and through and raised
in the segregated South, she taught school in New York, taking the
subway every day to Harlem where she taught art to black children.
She married the love of her life, John Beck, in 1942 and moved to
Albany, Georgia, where she taught school until she had her son, Jay.
Livy and John were married for fifty years until he passed away in
Mrs. Beck often said – after he was grown – that Jay was the
“perfect son.” Whenever she said this, Jay would counter that she had
been “the perfect Mother.” They were both right.
Although she enjoyed a college education and was born to an
Atlanta family of social prominence and wealth, there were no "little
people" in Livy Beck’s world. Every person was a child of God and
deserving of love, respect and understanding. Her heart poured out
particularly to those who were poor and disadvantaged or had fallen on
hard times. When someone was down on their luck, sick or had an illness
or death in their family, Livy Beck was the first one there with a big
hug, words of advice and reassurance, a meal for the family or a
beautiful floral arrangement.
Because she loved life so much, I worried about Livy when her
indomitable spirit collided with a very stubborn and aggressive cancer.
But I was wrong. Mrs. Beck quickly dismissed chemotherapy as an artificial way to
try to extend her already wonderful life. She said she was "ready to
die,” and she meant it. Her only regret was leaving Jay.
She spent her last days and weeks not fretting about herself but
worried about the other people in her life, Jay, her extended family and
friends, and her “best friend,” Ira Watkins, a wonderful old gentleman
who had delivered her floral arrangements and helped around the house.
The last time I saw Mrs. Beck, she was in the hospital following
a "bad spell" with her cancer. Livy complained that her "dear nurses
are keeping me alive when they could be helping really sick people."
She was not one to leave anything to chance. She met with her
dear friend, Tony Haefs, Pastor of her beloved Gillionville Baptist
Church several weeks ago to make plans. Mrs. Beck made it plain that
she wanted no “high-faluting,” expensive funeral but a short and
dignified graveside service. With her time drawing near, the good
preacher advised that it would probably be very, very cold outside for
those attending her graveside ceremony. Livy responded, “It won’t be
cold for me!”
On Thanksgiving Day, after an enjoyable visit with Jay and family
members, Livy exclaimed, “I didn’t know dying could be so easy!” She
died peacefully last Saturday – on Jay's birthday and was buried in
Morgan, Georgia, alongside her beloved John. (November
Olivia Beck taught us all how to live a good and unselfish life.
At the end, she showed us how to die with courage, grace and unqualified
love for others.
The mere mention of her name, “Livy Beck,” will always bring a
smile to my face, followed by a cascade of warm and wonderful memories
of this remarkable woman. Livy Beck was easily the most unforgettable character in my life.
(1955) Helvik: Yvonne Horne was in our classes from the first grade
to the 8th. She sent me Miss Montine Martin's address. The two of us,
along with Barbara Hornsby, Marlene Kahn, Janice Hayes to name a few
were in her 3rd grade class; also some of the boys were Sammy Futch,
Jimmy Holloway, Ernest Frazier, Buddy Fleming and Bruce Jones. Miss
Martin went to the 6th grade and taught at McIntosh, then she taught 7th
grade at the old Jr. High. She retired after teaching Albany Middle
School, our old AHS. Phoebe Putney now owns it. Miss Martin lives at
14868 River Street, Blakely, GA 39823. Phone No. is 229-723-3061. She
is 88 years old! I have visited her and write and talk on the phone to
her. She is beautiful and sharp as a tack. I love her! Miss Martin
asked about Mary Ann Thornton. If anyone knows her whereabouts, please
tell her to contact Miss Martin. I have found a few "kids" for her!
Miss Martin is now deceased)
(1955)Herrington: In the middle of 6th grade (November 1948),
my family moved to Albany, GA from Jacksonville, FL My heart was
broken and I lived under a dark cloud of grief. Into my life came
Miss Montine Martin, who took me under her kind and understanding
"wing" ... she did not push ... she just nourished ... and understood it
would take TIME for me to heal! And she had all the time in the
world. She helped me walk through that dark period ... and into
the light! I shall never forget this wonderful woman ... the kind
and patient teacher ... a precious gift to me and the rest of my life!
Helen Long Cordell,
Mrs. Thornton, Miss Ford, Miss Plant, Mr. Mac
Helton (1952): Miss Long did not
"teach" me in class, but she did make an impression on me. She and
Mrs. Thornton would gang up on me. They were my buddies. Mrs.
Thornton looked out for me and Miss Long would be right there. Miss
Long, Mrs. Thornton and Miss Ford were my best teachers. Miss Plant
was fine but I did not get to know her until I came back to Albany
with the YMCA. Now, Mr. Rob started with me in the 6th grade. He
has always been a real FRIEND. Mr. Mac was the boss and he and I
got along well. I wrote an article for the Pow-Wow and Miss Plant
would not print it until Mr. Mac ok'ed it. I spent the last half of
4th period, all of 5th period (was supposed to be in Mrs. Thornton's
class) and half of 6th period in the office with Mr. Mac. He did
not ok the article. When I walked out of the office I ran into
Mrs. Thornton. "Why did you skip my class?", she asked. I told her
the story and she asked if she could read the article. She got so
interested that she asked if she could take it home and go over it
with "Tom", her husband. The next day she got me off in a corner
to give back my article. She agreed with my article 100 %, but
could not say a word. This is the first time I have ever told
anyone about that article. My mother put it in the trash when I
went into the army. She saw no need to keep things like that.
The article was
about the football players getting free passes for their parents. A
player's mother could get a free ticket but his father had to pay.
Charles Rice Hardin's mother passed away while he was in the 4th
grade, and his father had to purchase a ticket every game. My
father had to buy a ticket for the few games I played in. Now, my
sister was a nurse for the Public Health Department. She was given
a ticket for both her AND her husband. Ray Mock, my brother-in-law,
was the vice president of the Bank of Albany and could well afford a
ticket. So could my sister. But, what the heck, its free ... so
Editor of the Pow-Wow, my point was ... there were expenses for the
football player and/or his family... someone had to pay for the boy
to go to football camp. If the player had a job, he had to get off
from the job for football camp. Back in those days the camp cost
was, I believe, $25.00. My sister paid that for me because my
mother did not want me to play football.
I knew Miss
Long through Mrs. Thornton, and I will bet you Mrs. Thornton talked
discussed my article with Miss Long! They were such great friends.
When you were around Mrs. Thornton you soon were around Miss Long.
As long as I
live I will never forget Miss Long the night Hambone had his
accident. There we were, filling up the lobby of the hospital,
wanting to know how our friend was. Miss Long, in her very calm
voice said, "Boys and girls lets be quiet for a minute. It is time
now that we all pray. Please bow your heads." And as we stood
together there in the lobby, she gave one of the most impressive
prayers I have ever heard. Yes, Miss Long impacted my life and I
will never forget her!
Helen Long Cordell
Pattison (1954): Thanks for sending me
Carleen's Newell Flowers' email. Helen Long Cordell was one of my favorite
teachers, mainly because of her kindness and thoughtfulness towards
others. She and my Mother are good friends and I remember her even
back in my very young years at First Baptist Church. I had her for
typing my senior year and I broke my right ring finger during that
year and wore a tongue depressor splint. Even though I could not
type, I still passed with an A or B. That's not why I like her so
much though. That is just the kind of lady she is.
Carleen Newell Flowers (1948): Dear Beverly, I am writing this
on behalf of Helen Cordell. When I was reading the memories of
teachers, I found your comments on several of the teachers including
Helen. I printed out the comments and took them to her. She asked me
to write you and thank you for your very kind words. Helen is now
living at Morningside Assisted Living for she has developed
Macular-degeneration and is no longer able to live alone. She is
truly a very special lady and even though she has had to give up
many things due to this condition, her sweet attitude has not
changed. She is presently living at Morningside Assisted
Living in Albany GA.
(1955): It was mid-October 1954, my senior year in high school.
Somehow, I had made it this far, but I had a very poor foundation in
English grammar. I knew it, but I had fooled most of my teachers. During
class one day, my English teacher came to the back of the room and very
discreetly bent over and whispered in my ear, "Percy, do you want to
graduate?" I responded, "Yes Sir." And he said, "TWO
classes a day." I began two classes a day, and after 6 or 8 weeks, he
again came to the back of the room and whispered, "ONE
class a day.".......... And so I gained an expertise in grammar that I
had not had before.
A few months
removed from the classroom, I was attached to Attack Squadron 56 on
board the USS Ticonderoga in the South Pacific. As a Yeoman, one of my
duties was that of being a captain's writer. Can you imagine that? I was
a writer for a full commander, Annapolis graduate, and I did all of his
official correspondence. For over two years, I filled this role and was
competent to excel because of my hero, Billy Bragg. I often think of
this excellent teacher and the positive influence that he had on my
Oh how I would have loved to
have had a Dell Computer with all the capabilities that are available
now. All we had were manual Underwood typewriters and onion-skin
and carbon paper. *** Percy Warren is now deceased
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