Miss Helen Willson
b. 10 May 1917 - Petersburg, VA
Madison College, B. S., 1938
English, Sponsor of the Class of February 1951
1951 Anchor, inside front cover
Courtesy of Bob Shelton of Northern VA
Thanks so much, Bob!
1951 Anchor, p. 70
Courtesy of Bob Shelton of Northern VA
Thanks so much, Bob!
|1953 Anchor, p. 16||1958 Anchor, p. 14||1965 Anchor, p. 31||
Sunday, June 5, 2005
Image by Fred Mays ('60) of VA
Thanks so much, Fred!
Mrs. Shelton was my senior English teacher. I learned so much from her
that year! She always quietly and
firmly pushed us to excel. Her vocabulary lessons remain with me to this day. Whenever I hear the word,
"perspicacious", I think of Mrs. Shelton standing before us. I remember once we were discussing the verb "to dive".
Several members of the class tried to persuade her that the past tense of "dive" was "dove" rather than "dived".
Her face registered a mixture of surprise, shock, and downright horror - as though she had never encountered
this extremely common informal usage. "Dove?!? Oh, no - dived! He dived into the pool."
I remember our senior term papers. She kept guiding us
towards narrowing our topics. I had chosen something
about the history of the English language. By the time I had finished repeatedly narrowing my topic, my paper
was entitled, "The Controversy Surrounding the Influence of the Norman Invasion upon the English Language".
It was exactly the type of nit-picking and minutia which delights me even now. I received an "A+" on that paper,
and in large part because of it, I was able to test out of English 101 at Old Dominion College.
I was forever grateful for her persistence and for her teaching me exactness in all things.
When I attended Mr. McIntosh's
Memorial Service this summer, I saw many, many
people, and enjoyed
talking with some of them. Later Fred Mays ('60 - of VA) sent me copies of some of the pictures he had
snapped there - including the one above of Mrs. Shelton. I burst into bitter tears upon seeing her image.
I had no idea that she had been there, and I thus missed the opportunity to tell her how influential she
had been in my life, and how very much I appreciated it. I tried unsuccessfully to locate a phone number
for her. I've still not been able to contact her, and it greatly grieves my soul.
- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 10/08/05
I ... read your tribute to (Mrs. Shelton) viv-a-vis
ODU and ENG101. Similarly, thanks
to Mrs. Wright and Mrs. Cameron, I validated Plebe English at USNA.
Given my tenuous academic record that year, the reading and writing load
of Plebe English would likely have resulted in my finding a different career path
than that of a Naval Officer. And THAT is why we have these "Teacher Pages" .....
to memorialize them and provide a forum in which former students may express
their gratitude and fond memories.
- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/08/05
That's it exactly, Dave! Thanks!
It was good seeing the memories of Mrs. Shelton. She was my home room
"Watchdog" would have been a better designation for her when it came to home room,
considering all the shenanigans she had to put up with from our group ;)
- Ron Miller ('59) of NC - 10/10/05
I was so happy to see your addition in the faculty section of Mrs. Helen Shelton. She is such a dear person.
I have stayed in touch with her through the years as her husband "Red" was "Pete's" best man in our wedding.
For many years and until this summer, Helen lived on Dogwood Drive in a lovely residential area behind CNU.
She has lived alone for many, many years since her husband died and her son lives in northern Virginia.
This summer she downsized and moved to 866 Denbigh Boulevard, #25, Newport News, VA 23608.
I know she would love to hear from some of her former students--I know I do!
I sent her a picture of Emilie Holladay (former NNHS faculty member) that I took at Longwood University's
rededication of the Rotunda Building (and my 50th college reunion) last spring, and she couldn't believe how
wonderful she looked! Miss Holladay graduated from Longwood in 1934!!!, represented that class
in the rededication of the building, rang the Longwood bell for the ceremony, and still looks wonderful.
I think Dave Spriggs ('64 - of VA) sent the picture to you for the newsletter around the time of your computer crash,
or I just missed seeing it.
Wilma Salmon Robinson of VA - 10/10/05
Warwick High School
Class of 1951
Thank you so much, Wilma! If I could stop crying so hard, I'd be better able to express my thanks to you.
Mrs. Helen Shelton's birthday is Wednesday, May 10. I'm sure she would love to hear from you on her special day.
I doubt that she has e-mail, but her address is 866 Denbigh Boulevard, #25, Newport News, VA 23608-4476.
- Wilma Salmon Robinson of VA - 05/03/06
Newport News High School 1956-57
Warwick High School 1951
WOWZERONI!!! Thank you so much, Wilma!!! Could we please have a card
We've held them before from time to time, and this seems the perfect opportunity to express
our love and appreciation for one of our truly dedicated teachers.
I also had Mrs. Shelton, who was Helen Willson Hardy then, for 8th grade
English at NNHS. She was from Amelia,
Virginia, and I think that I might have been her 'pet' because she said that I was the first student she ever had
who had heard of Amelia. I hope that she is having a Happy Birthday today.
- Bill Campbell ('54) of VA - 05/10/06
How cool! Thanks so much, Bill!
We returned late last night from the western part of the state where
everything is green and flowers are blooming
everywhere. In my mail was a beautiful card from our former teacher Mrs. Helen Shelton. I could hardly believe my eyes.
She was so delighted to receive birthday wishes from so many people. Her hand writing is unchanged as her warm
wishes to everyone. I am still smiling and thinking of her - especially that she took the time to write to me, a not
so smart student of English but one of her home room students for several years. I believe she was
one of the kindest people I have ever met.
- Linda Lane Lane ('64) of VA - 05/29/06
Isn't that wonderful?!? Thanks so much, Linda!
I'm so glad you shared that with us, Linda! I, too, received a note from Mrs. Shelton.
As I knew she didn't have a computer at home, I printed
off the notes already on this page and enclosed them with her birthday card.
But as I began to write my own note, I became as nervous as if I were taking an exam, and my hand started shaking, and the note looked terrible - as you can see here. But Mrs. Shelton was ever gracious, and I was delighted to receive this note back from her.
Isn't it fun, living in this magical time?!?
- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 05/30/06
Dear Friends and Classmates of NNHS:
It is with sadness that I
let you know of the death March 19 of Mrs. Helen Shelton,
English teacher at NNHS for many years.
Her son tells me her obituary will be in the Monday morning Newport News and Richmond papers. The brief information I
have now is that the graveside service will be at the Peninsula Memorial Cemetery at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
She was 93 years old.
I hope most of the e-mail
addresses listed are current, at least so you can let anyone
know about it that you think
might be interested. I plan to attend on Tuesday.
Much love to you,
- Wilma (Salmon) Robinson (Warwick HS - '51) - 03/20/11
Thank you so much for relaying this sad news, Wilma. Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your friend.
Stacked Books clip art courtesy of http://clipart.peirceinternet.com/educ.html - 05/05/08
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