Mrs. Verna D. Graves

b. 21 Nov 1903
d. Aug 1969 - Newport News, VA - age 65

Florida State University, A.B.
University of Florida
University of Chicago

English (sic), World History (sic), Math, Algebra

1954 Anchor, p. 10 1961 Anchor, p. 41 1966 Anchor, p. 20
04/07/11 04/07/11 04/07/11


I wondered who all had Mrs. Graves for math. I felt sorry for her. Not only were her regular glasses thick, but the pair
that she wore over them was thicker. One time she had both pairs lying on her desk, bumped against the trash can,
and said excuse me.

- Glenn Dye ('60) of TX - 04/06/11

Thanks, Glenn!

I remember Mrs. Graves very well. I had her for Algebra one, two and three. My first class with her was memorable
because I was in there with a bunch of A.P. kids. They were all brainiacs. I recall how she loathed gum chewers.
I remember Mrs. Graves pushing her glasses up on her brow to read the solutions on the blackboard. I always thought
that she had eyes in the back of her head and that's how she caught the gum chewers. At the time, I remember thinking
that she must have been at least 85 or 90 years old. For all her quirkiness, she was a good teacher.

- Ray Barnes ('65) of VA - 04/07/11

Thanks, Ray!

I read today that Glenn Dye asked who was in Mrs. Graves' math class. Jerry (Allen - '65) and I both had Algebra II with her.
That's where we were when JFK's assassination was announced. Someone came up to our classroom window and told us
about it first. We thought it a joke at first. I remember, too, that the play
JENNY KISSED ME was to be performed
and, after debate and discussion, went on as scheduled to keep things as normal as possible for us.

- Judy Phillips Allen ('66) of VA - 04/07/11

Thanks, Judy!

I had the pleasure of having Mrs. Graves as my teacher of Algebra 4 in the second semester of the 9th grade--remember the fun of Algorithms??. As Glenn (Dye - '60 - of TX) correctly noted, bless her heart, she did wear glasses that looked like Coke bottle bottoms and then had clip-ons over them! The poor woman had to be legally blind, but she kept at it!! And as Ray (Barnes - '65 - of VA) put it, at our age at that time she did appear 90 years old--that's bad, really bad, but true! My story I remember well to this day--as you so well noted. The past is not what gives my memory trouble, it's last week.

She had been out sick for awhile and the substitute we had in that class moved along at a good clip--we covered  a lot of ground in Mrs. Graves' absence. Finally, she returned and on her first day back instructed us to turn to a certain chapter to begin our work--one that we had already covered along with a couple more. The rest of the class looked my way to say something--knowing I was the only idiot that would say anything to her. I raised my hand, and called out her name--you had to do that so that she would be able to locate your vicinity. Anyway, I said Mrs. Graves, we've already covered that chapter with the substitute and...that was as far as I got! Then she nailed me.

I had evidently struck a nerve, because she said: how dare you to tell me how to run my class and something to the effect that she had been teaching for more years than I was alive--she didn't take my help well. Once the verbal assault was over, she said you go up to Mr. Keesee's office and tell him I sent you!! I still don't think she knew who it was she was sending? I being the good student I was (yeah, right!) I set out to Mr. Keesee's office--knocking on the side of his open door when I arrived, he said, "What is it, Stokes?" I said Mrs. Graves had sent me to him--what happened, he asked-- I relayed the story and he said, and I still remember this, "You know how she is, just don't say anything. She'll eventually figure it out." The he asked what my next class was--it was lunch-and said don't go back there today and take an early lunch--and try to stay out of trouble!!

That's it!!

- Wayne Stokes ('65) of VA - 04/09/11

Thanks, Wayne!

Math Image courtesy of - 04/08/08

Back to Teachers

Return to NNHS Class of 1965