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1960 Award Winners

1960 Kansas Master Teachers

Eula Bridger, USD 500 Kansas City

Lena Carl, USD 363 Holcomb

Mary Louise Gritten, USD 103 Cheylin

Owen E. Hodgson, USD 305 Salina

Opal Jayne Kennedy, USD 497 Lawrence

Pauline Shockey, USD 353 Wellington

Blanch Smith, USD 250 Pittsburg


1960 KMT Program.pdf

This program contains the names of the Master Teacher Nominees for the year listed here.

Biographies below were included in the program for the year listed here and were current as of that time.

Eula Bridger

Mathematics Teacher

Central Junior High College

USD 500 Kansas City

At the close of the current school year, Miss Eula Bridger will complete her forty-eighth year of teaching in Kansas schools. She began her teaching career in the elementary grades at Parsons, where she had received her own schooling. After three years of elementary teaching and five years in the junior-senior high school at Parsons, she went to Hutchinson for one year of teaching in the junior high school. In 1921 she accepted an assignment as a mathematics teacher in the Central Junior High School at Kansas City, Kansas, and she has continued in that assignment for thirty-nine years.

Miss Bridger received a life certificate from Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, in 1917. She holds an A. B. degree from Kansas City University and a master's degree from Teachers College, Columbia.

She has been active in her profession, serving for two years as president of the Kansas City, Kansas, Teachers Council. She has just completed a term on the textbook screening committee for the state of Kansas. For the past twelve years, she has been chairman of the teachers' salary committee in Kansas City.

Lena Carl

Second Grade Teacher

USD 363 Holcomb

Lena Carl is typical of the many women who return to the teaching profession after their children are grown. Although born in Kansas, Mrs. Carl grew up and attended school in Oklahoma. She taught a rural school in that state for one year before moving with her family to Finney County, Kansas. After three more years of teaching, she married, and devoted her time and energy to her family. She has three children and twelve grandchildren.

In 1945, Mrs. Carl accepted an assignment as the teacher of a rural school in Finney county, where she taught for four years. During the next six years, she taught in rural schools in Scott and Finney counties. In 1955, she moved to the Holcomb consolidated schools, where she is now teaching the second grade.

Mrs. Carl was not satisfied to teach on the least amount of preparation permissible. She attended summer sessions at Fort Hays State College until she completed degree requirements in 1956, and she is now enrolled in a course in Conversational Spanish through the University of Kansas extension program.

Mary Louise Gritten

Teacher, Librarian

Bird City

USD 103 Cheylin

A native Kansan, born in Republic County, Mary Louise Gritten has a record of thirty-seven years of teaching experience, all in her home state. She began her teaching career in a one-room rural school, in the fall following her graduation from Republic High School. During the next fifteen years, she taught in the elementary grades and served as an elementary principal. In addition, she put her summers to good use and completed degree requirements at Fort Hays State College.

Since the fall of 1939, she has taught in the high schools at Republic, Eskridge, Ulysses, and Bird City. Fourteen of those years have been spent in Bird City, where she teaches English and Latin, serves as librarian, and sponsors dramatic productions.

Miss Gritten has not confined her activities in Bird City to school affairs. She is steward on the official board of the Methodist Church, and she writes articles for the Bird City Times.

As a member of professional organizations, Miss Gritten has accepted many responsibilities. She has been a delegate to both the sectional and state assemblies of the Kansas State Teachers Association. She has served as vice-president of the Cheyenne County Teachers Association, and she is a member of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Owen E. Hodgson


Salina High School

USD 305 Salina

The name of Owen E. Hodgson has been synonymous with "education" in Salina for many years. Since 1925 he has been a teacher and administrator in Salina, where he is currently principal of the high school.

Mr. Hodgson completed his elementary schooling in a rural district in Linn County, Kansas, where he was born. Because he was needed to help on the farm, he delayed entering high school until he was seventeen. He graduated from LaCygne High School in 1917, and enrolled at K.S.T.C., Pittsburg, planning to prepare himself for teaching. World War I interrupted those plans. He served overseas with the 89th Division, was wounded in action twice, received the Purple Heart and four combat medals.

When he returned to the United States, he taught for a year in his home district, then (after summer study at Pittsburg) began teaching in the upper grades in Osawatomie. In 1925 he completed requirements for a baccalaureate degree at Pittsburg. That same year, he went to Salina as a teacher of ancient history and constitution.

Mr. Hodgson is currently president of the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals. He has served as president of the Kansas Educators Club, and as vice-president of the K.S.T.A.

Opal Jayne Kennedy


Hillcrest School

USD 497 Lawrence

A true Jayhawk, Opal Jayne Kennedy was born on a farm south of Lawrence. Her ancestors came to Kansas in a covered wagon and located in Douglas County. The farm on which they settled is still in the Kennedy family. Following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother, Miss Kennedy began teaching in a rural school as soon as she graduated from Lawrence High School.

After earning a baccalaureate degree from the University of Kansas in 1914, Miss Kennedy accepted a teaching position in the Lawrence Junior High School. She has served as principal of three elementary schools in Lawrence, and is now the administrator at the Hillcrest School. She was awarded the master's degree from the University in 1928.

Miss Kennedy has been active in civic and religious affairs in Lawrence, as well as in professional organizations in education. She has been a member of the Plymouth Congregational Church of Lawrence for many years; she is program chairman of the D.A.R., and president of the local chapter of Kappa Kappa Iota.

The secret of her success in teaching, according to a colleague, is "her love for children and the joy she gets from working with them." Miss Kennedy gives of herself unselfishly-everything from refereeing snowball fights to entertaining children with her wonderful storytelling.

Pauline Shockey

English Teacher

Wellington Junior-Senior High School

USD 353 Wellington

Teaching "runs in the family" of Miss Pauline Shockey, English teacher in the Wellington Junior-Senior High School. She is one of six sisters, all of whom taught at one time or another. Three of her sisters are still teaching, two in Kansas and one in Illinois.

Miss Shockey is a native Kansan, a graduate of Derby high school. She began her teaching in rural schools of Sedgwick and Butler Counties. Like so many veteran Kansas teachers, she earned her college degrees "the hard way" - by attending summer sessions.

She holds the bachelor's degree from Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, and the master's from the University of Chicago. She is a member of many professional organizations, including the National Council of Teachers of English, the N.E.A. and the K.S.T.A. Miss Shockey also belongs to the Wichita Symphony Association and the Wichita Civic Music Association.

Although she will retire from teaching at the close of the current school year, Miss Shockey has no intention of retiring from the active, busy life which she has led. She and members of her family have purchased a small plane airport, and she plans to be active in its management.

Blanch Smith

Teacher, Elementary Principal, Director of Elementary Education

USD 250 Pittsburg

As a teacher in the elementary grades, an elementary principal, and director of elementary education, Miss Blanch Smith has served the children of Pittsburg since the fall of 1923. She will retire this year after forty-two years of service to education.

Born in Fort Scott, Miss Smith lived as a child in Pittsburg before her family moved to Okmulgee, Oklahoma, where she graduated from high school. During the next ten years, she taught in three Oklahoma schools and also worked at clerical jobs. In 1923 she decided that teaching was the vocation to which she wished to devote her life. That fall she returned to Pittsburg as a teacher in the elementary grades.

In 1942 Miss Smith was appointed principal of the Forest Park Elementary School, and in 1947 she was selected to be Director of Elementary Education for the Pittsburg City Schools.

Miss Smith holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from Kansas State Teachers College, Pittsburg-the first granted in 1930 and the second in 1946.