Favorite Teachers and Coaches

To add a teacher or your own comments, send an email to Jimmy at vorlonjb@yahoo.com or to Monty at monty.duncan@uhsinc.com

Mar 5, 2006 Southern Gentleman

I was in Church this morning, and a lady dropped something; I quickly reached down and returned the item to her. This jogged my memory from long ago about Ms. Bridger and the "gentleman' Story. It is always interesting to remember things that made our Teachers more human that just mere teachers.

I was in the 10th grade. I think I was as lost as to what was going on as I was in the 7th grade. I was in Ms. Bridger's accelerated Algebra I class. The same one where Chuck Fann removed himself on the 1st day of class, due to a disagreement about Proper & Given Names.

It was the end of the six weeks and she asked me to stay after the morning class. She gave me a Serious Look, as if she was going to have to Scold me or something, and said, "AS YOU KNOW, you are a candidate for the National Honor Society. I have reviewed your records and I cannot allow you to be in the Honor Society.....You have good grades, but the only outside activities you have had, are Baseball, Football and Track.... You have no clubs, no community or social activities. In the future if you can join some clubs, then you will be considered again,,,and I just wanted to tell you personally why you won't be tapped into the Honor Society."

Well, I didn't know I was a candidate for the Honor Society, so it didn't bother me at all. I thanked her for telling me and went on to my next class.

The next day, something happened that scared me. We all had to go to the auditorium. In the Assembly the Honor Society was tapping their new members. The Honor Society Humanoids lighted some candles then came down from the Stage with their majestic Wooden Swords and went into the audience looking for their Prey to take back onto the stage. If they tapped you on the shoulder I guess you were a chosen one. By a terrifying mistake, I was tapped and led to the Stage where I received the prized candle whose flame barely flickered. I wanted to tell them I wasn't going, but it happened too quickly and I was pulled to the stage. I kept thinking,,,who made this Mistake...and now I was going to get kicked out of the honor society...

Then I was onto the next class which happened to be Algebra with Ms. Bridger. She didn't say anything, but after the class, she asked me to stay. I thought....well, now I'm in the Honor Society and I'll be out in about 10 minutes...

She spoke more softly than the previous day, "Well, I guess you would like to know what is going on.... I owe you an explanation. I reviewed your records again, and your character...You Are A Southern Gentleman, she then paused,, and We need more southern gentleman in this world, SO I couldn't keep you out...no matter how hard I tried."

That was it, I was Out before and I was In, and I didn't ever know why or what changed her mind, and I didn't even know what a southern gentleman was or did then. But I guess I was one in her eyes.

Jimmy Burk


Story about Coach Foster on Rhodes College Page



For me John Hester was THE teacher. He put me on the right track to better grades by using the fact that I loved to be on stage. He was the one that told me I should get into broadcasting when I was in the
9th grade. I have stayed in touch with him over the years, talking to him at least once a year or so. He was the first person that I had dinner with when I returned to Memphis five years ago. He was a special man that believed in me when my family was going through a divorce. He was there whenever I needed him to be, had he not been, I don't know what would have happened to me. I have had a wonderful life in broadcasting and none of it would be possible without him. I am so glad that I told him what he meant to me at that dinner, I will
miss him greatly; he was my teacher, my mentor and my friend.

Mitch McCracken


Ms Virginia Salyer







Ms Virginia Salyer: English Teacher Extraordanaire

In English I wrote my book report on '1984' by Orwell. When my paper came back it had written at the top "doubleplus good"; I asked after the class what that was and she looked at me with that puzzled look of hers, as if I should know, and said
"doubleplus good equals A minus"

….and who of the tormented souls who took her class remember being forced to either say orally with correct pronunciation or write with correct spelling the following?:

Whan that Aprille with his shoores soote
The drought of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every vein in swich liquor
Of which vertu engendred is the flour
....................................................................................................................-Jimmy Burk


Coach Will Medling





Coach Will

He was a unique individual.

One of those people you could love and hate at the same time. I'll never forget when Randy Byrd came in and said "Coach I'm hanging up my jock" (It really was a serious loss to a football team that couldn't beat their way out of a paper bag) but we had a wonderful time trying. Big Will never could get Tommy Dunnagan's name right. (Tommy never got football right.) We spent three years hearing
" Dat June, Dunnavan boy is that You?"

He was a colorful man and one of my father's best drinking buddies. I would like nothing better than to be able to sit and have a coctail with him at Alex's on Jackson Ave. and discuss football.
-Joe Thompson


Coach Dossett Foster























Good history teacher, I worked as hard to scratch out a "D" in his class as I did any other subject I had. If it hadn't be for Becky Martin (Davis) I would still be a senior @ FHS - Sherman Reed

I was always in love with him. I just stared at him all through class. He taught history? I'll be darned.

- Monty Cole

From: VENICA ANDERSON 1985 Sep 2 2001 12:21:00AM
To: Classmates Staff classmates.com
(4) Memorable Teachers

Mr. Foster was such a great teacher, I regret not having
him for Jr. history. I did have him for home room though.
How often does a home room teacher make such a great
influence on a young person?

Mr. Farrow was my favorite teacher, I always loved math
and he made it fun.I learned a lot from him. If you ever
read this, Mr. Farrow, I'm sorry about the cheating. I'm
sure you knew.Those boys just needed help. (Who ever
started that rumor about girls being bad at math?)

I should also mention Coach Taylor, he was a good teacher,
but I never learned much in his class because I had such
a huge crush on him. It was hard to concentrate on the
science book when he was the one reading it.

From: JANIE RICE 1973 Feb 27 2003 10:22:42AM
(19) Memorable Teachers classmates.com

Coach Foster was a great teacher and a very sweet man. If anyone is
interested you can find him at the Corodva Bowling Alley on Monday's
from 4:00p.m. until around 5:30. My son bowls with Special Olympics at
Cordova and Coach Foster is a volunteer. He hasn't changed hardly at all and it seems weird seeing him there every week after being out of school so long.

We have done a lot of reminiscing.

From: Betty Hodges Snyder

When I think of Coach Foster, I remember the times he helped us review for upcoming Social Studies tests by playing "Head of the Class." Of course our desks were arranged in long rows, and Coach Foster would go down the rows, asking questions. If you knew the answer, you got to stay in your desk. If you did not know the answer, you had to move to the last desk in the last row, and everyone sitting behind you got to move up one desk. I remember looking forward to the day of the game and studying hard so that I would not have to go to the back of the class! I have taught many 4th, 5th and 6th grade students over the past 30 years, and guess what their favorite game has been? Yes, HEAD OF THE CLASS! Thanks Coach Foster - it continues to be a great way to review for tests.

Mr Hester








Challenged us to think and to express ourselves. Gave me permission to read Playboy. *S* - Randy Byrd
Loved Mr. Hester, Taught me to walk, talk and even how to eat. Many things that I love today can be traced back to what I learned from him. -Donna Prescott Lynch
From: RANDAL BYRD 1969 May 6 2002 9:06:00AM
To: Classmates Staff Classmates.com
(13) Memorable Teachers (in reply to 1)

There were so many memorable teachers. Mr. Pierce. We called him
"Ernie." He was a hoot. Wore his pants pulled up too high and had that habitual
hacking sound he'd make during lectures. My BEST teacher was Mr. John Hester
for AP Englis my senior year. There were just 10 of us in the class. Five and
five. I was the only "jock" in the class. When we read Shakespeare aloud, all
the "eggheads" read with fake British accents. But I read it like I was
reciting from William Faulkner. Hester loved it.

Coach Clayton
















Coach Clayton was indeed an excellent coach. In 67, when you were the sophomore class, we won the city championship, and in 66, when you were lowly freshmen, we did pretty well through the regionals and made it to the state tournament, in spite of our inability to beat an excellent Treadwell team. I was lucky enough to play on both teams and have great memories from those days.

Coach Clayton used whatever style he needed to get the most out of each ball player. I remember a game at Trezevant in 66. We were losing and I was having trouble scoring, as usual. I tended to “blow” lay ups and miss shots because I was short for a forward and always had to contend with much taller players and the constant threat of blocked shots.

Anyway, Coach called time out and chewed us out collectively. His face could really get red when he got mad. After he finished dressing all of us down, he looked at me and his face turned a deeper shade of red than I had ever seen before (and I had seen his face pretty red before) and he said to me, while shaking his finger in my face, “and Byrd, if you miss one more lay up, I swear to god, I’ll call time out and go get Coach (whoever the Trezevant coach’s name was) paddle and I’m gonna paddle your ass right here in front of this entire crowd!”

“Yes Coach,” was all I said. We continued the game and, needless to say, I didn’t shoot another shot the entire game. I didn’t want to risk the embarrassment. We did win the game and life continued to be good, but things were dicey there for a while. We never would have been able to live down losing to Trezevant. As far as I know, we never did while I was there at Frayser.

I really didn’t think I would get a paddling in front of a gymnasium full of fans, but I never had the nerve to take that shot and find out.

Billy Byrd

Ms Ruth Bridger




















Tough Tough Tough, made College Calculus easy compared to her class -- Jimmy Burk

From: Jimmy Burk

Mr. Robey did have some Compassion

Mr Robey did have a Heart.

I was deaf in my left ear thru high school, so I couldn't hear well sometimes. I skipped Lunch one day and headed to the locker room in the gym to do some homework.. I didn't hear the first bell, so I was 15 minutes late to the next class ....Ms Ruth Bridger's Class.

Instead of letting me go into the class and sit down,,she told me that I would have to go to the PRINCIPAL's office to be Disciplined. She seemed scared of the Head office but SOMEONE in the Office had gotten all the teachers together and gave them an Edict or Curse to send Tardy students to the office,,, under penalty of the Teachers being Sanctioned. She said she hated to do it, but I had to go, and she hoped they wouldn't be too hard on me.

SO, OFF to the Principals office I went. I got to the Office and they sent me to Mr. Robey, whom I knew had a big Paddle. He looked at me and harshly said, 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!!!'; I told him what happened and he again harshly said 'GET OUT OF HERE!!', 'Burks DON'T GET IN Trouble'; and YOU Tell HER NOT TO SEND YOU HERE AGAIN!!!!...'

SO, Back to the class I went which was almost over. After Class she asked what type Discipline I got. I told her none, and they didn't want to ever see me there again. She looked totally relieved,,,but I could tell that she FEARED SOMEONE in the Head Office......