Posted by: patwogan | July 30, 2009

Testing for Competency

Present day teachers may think that “No Child Left Behind” ushered in testing for competency.  Not true.  When I attended Peebler School, it was in the Montgomery County School District.  This was before school consolidation in Kansas.  Every student in the district was tested before graduation from the eighth grade.  It was a big test administered in a central location. All the graduation candidates met on Saturday in this big room and were given the test.  If I remember correctly there were approximately two hundred students taking the test at the time I took it. 

I had been well prepared by my teachers and although the test was somewhat intimidating   I thought I had probably passed.  I had .  In fact, I made the second highest grade and was named Salutatorian of Montgomery County.  I missed Valedictorian by  three-fifths of a per cent.  I was honored at the Graduation and had to make a small  speech. I remember I had a pink corsage and got to have my picture taken by a professional photographer.  My parents were very proud of me.

I give a great amount of credit to my teachers who took the time to teach me what I needed to know.  They prepared me well.  I also give a lot of credit to my parents who instilled in me a love of learning and a knowledge that education was they key to success in life. 

From the time I was very small my parents presented learning opportunities and made them fun.  I remember when Daddy and I took the mercury out of a thermometer and he showed me that it was basically a solid liquid…of course, neither of us knew the danger of mercury at that time.  We had a lot of fun playing with the balls of it and made coins very shiny, etc.  Another time we took a glass tube and melted it over the flame at the kitchen range then blew a tiny bubble of glass at the end of the tube.  When I was a little older, Dad had me shoot a 22 caliber shell through a piece of wood and into the blade of an ax.  We then looked at the pattern of the slug.  I learned from this that 22 caliber shorts differed in their pattern from 22 caliber hollow points.  He also bought me a chemistry set and then took all the fun out of it by making me read all the directions before I could use it.  Now I realize that none of these things are of Earth shaking value to me today, but they did instill a curiousity that is still in existence. 

I think in his heart Dad wanted me to be a nurse.  He was on call as a blood donor at Mercy Hospital in Independence.  This was before the time of blood banks and whenever an emergency required blood, the hospital called one of the people on the donor list.  One time Dad took me with him to watch the procedure.  I watched as they prepared him and then I watched as his blood dripped through the tube attached to his arm and down into the receptacle.  It became very warm in the operating room.  One of the nuns, a friend of Dad’s told him now to worry she would take care of me.  It became even warmer.  I fainted.  The last thing I remember is Sister Gregory telling Dad to lie still, she would take care of me.  I think Dad’s dream of my being a nurse came to an end that day.  I know I certainly had had enough of hospitals and blood.



  1. You are on a roll. Keep it up. More young people need to be made aware of the damage that can be inflicted when something as small as a 22 bullet is used in a gun. Might generate respect as well as curiosity. Mercury was cool to play with and it was neat when a nurse accidently broke a thermometer at the hospital while I recovered from my appendectomy.

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