California Forum

The Conversation: Lifelong rules to accomplish goals


Last week’s conversation was about that one class people took that provided a lifelong lesson that has stuck with them.

We asked: What would you tell a student to explore, knowing what you know now? What in your education has stood the test of time?


Lifelong rules to accomplish goals

Re “Lessons that stand test of time” (Forum, Shawn Hubler, Sept. 6): My father taught me and my brother to remember these guidelines: The possible is always possible, the impossible just takes a little longer; followed by time, patience and perseverance will accomplish all things; and plan the work and work the plan.

I have abided by these three rules most of my life, coming from a ranch background to being a practicing lawyer for 45 years.

Victor Waid, Sacramento

Denise D. McNulty – Don’t be shy about raising your hand and getting your questions answered. My favorite high school subject was algebra. We had the best teacher, Mr. Drain. He was very patient and kind when answering our math questions. It made the class less stressful and more enjoyable.

Morjana Coffman – Back in the Dark Ages when I was in high school, we had two wonderful world history teachers. They combined their classes, and two teachers would each provide a different viewpoint every day of what we were covering. They included mock trials, movies, field trips, guest speakers, etc., to keep us engaged. They gave hard tests – no multiple choice – but mostly essay tests, where you had to explain or define your answer. Plus, one teacher told the best Shaggy Dog jokes on Fridays. But their classes were the best.

Janet Thew – A marvelous English lit professor opened up the world for me and brought the classics to life. Loving literature is a lifelong gift. I also strongly believe everyone needs to take critical thinking classes in order to navigate through life and all its illusions.

Helen McClaine – The most important thing I learned in high school was to stand up for myself. In my junior year we were assigned projects and partners in an English class. I got stuck with one of the obnoxious football players who did nothing. I completed the project, as the footballer expected. Then I digressed from the plan and told the teacher he did nothing and I expected his grade to reflect the same. I felt safe in doing so since the teacher was the drama coach, not the football coach. It worked! The footballer was ticked. Thank you, Mr. Allen, for helping me find my voice.

Cat Cofer – Honors English with Mrs. Williams was the best class. I learned how to write papers, good papers. I learned how to analyze and interpret what I read. That skill will pay forward no matter what job you have.

Emily Hubler Ramey – Love this. Hard for me to pick one class, but art and music appreciation have served me well.