Remembering a nurturing teacher, a rare breed these days
In this excerpt, McAllister remembers a teacher who was particularly invested in her success, perhaps because the same teacher had taught her father when he was a student. McAllister worries that teachers at the time of the interview (1998) no longer nurture their students.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Latrelle McAllister, June 25, 1998. Interview K-0173. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
PG: Now how did she go about doing that?
LM: There were--. I was interested in having fun. I was interested in being part of the band and part of the flag girl team. My father had always stressed that while he wanted me to have good grades, he wanted me to be well rounded. That was wonderful because it took some of the academic pressure off.
So, while I did well in school, I was not as focused on creating an excellent GPA as I was in terms of being immersed in a lot of different things that I had the opportunity to be immersed in. She always made sure that I took care of the academic part. She encouraged me to apply to Exeter Academy. I was accepted there. She encouraged me to apply to Governor’s School and I was accepted there. She encouraged me to apply for the Morehead Scholarship to Chapel Hill. I was a semi-finalist for that, actually, a finalist at our school. And, submitted my name, I think, for several awards. I was an all star scholar. I wanted only to go to Chapel Hill after--.
I kind of tend to be single focused. As I began to look at what college I wanted to go to I only wanted to go to Chapel Hill. We hadn’t heard from Chapel Hill and we hadn’t heard from Chapel Hill, so she said, “Latrelle don’t you think you really ought to apply somewhere else?” I said,” Where Miss Belton, where else?” She said, “Well, I know someone at State.” So she made a phone call and got me accepted into North Carolina State. And, just continued to be—to create opportunities for me that have been very helpful to me.
She lives not far from here now. She lives just right around the corner from Johnson C. Smith University where I work. I go and visit her often. I’ve established a friendship with her sons and take my son to see her. She’s still, after twenty-one years, a big part of my life. The reason I think that’s important is from what I understand, young people today in schools don’t get quite that much nurturing and that much understanding and that type of guidance. She, to me, was the epitome of what a guidance counselor really is. She guided my academic career.