Dick Grace is a 1969 graduate presently teaching American history, American government and natural history at Stafford High School in Connecticut. He is married and has one son.
When I entered Castleton State College in 1965, I entered with the idea that I would be a history teacher on the high school level. Dr. Bill Jordan taught my first history class and he helped me hold onto my dream. The course was a survey course on American history and we covered a huge amount of territory in a very short time.
Jordan quickly established the ground rules, set out what is required to succeed in the course and then reassured students that if they fulfill the requirements, they will learn and succeed in the course. This is what I presently do with my history students, and I tell them that I learned this technique.
My parents were quite pleased with my choice of colleges as they both attended Castleton and married soon after they graduated.
I grew up in Northampton, Mass., so when I came to Castleton I did not know anyone. I was assigned to a housing unit next to the Catholic church on Main Street. There were about 20 freshmen and a housemother. The dorm established a bond between us. When Castleton closed our house, we moved into the regular dorms. We missed the feeling of our small group, so some of the house members and a few invited friends established Tau chapter of Kappa Delta Phi fraternity.
Politics also interested me, and while at Castleton I became more and more active in student government . as a member of the student senate, chief justice of the student council and finally class president of the class of 1969.
I was also a member of the golf team with Dick terry as coach. We had a good team which defeated teams like Middlebury and UVM in the New England Championships.
As a student at Castleton, you can establish close relationships with your professors. Dr. Warren Cook was an amazing teacher and host. He brought many of his advanced classes to his home to learn first-hand from his extensive South American pottery collection. Jordan opened his home many times . for lively historical discussions while playing bridge.
Castleton is a place where I came as an unsure adolescent and left a very self-assured young man. I can remember clearly the stunned look on m y mother’s face when she read the graduation program and noticed I was going to be one of the keynote speakers as class president.
The speech went fine and my parents were thrilled, probably helped by Castleton’s public speaking class.
As a high school teacher, I encourage my students to apply to Castleton and this year Stafford is sending two incoming freshmen. I can still visualize that first day and last day I spent as a student at Castleton..
Both those days were ones that brought great happiness to my life.