The Gift Video

The Gift was created to thank teachers and staff of Jackson High School, Jackson, TN at the third annual All Class Reunion, June 7, 2014.  The film can be seen on your computer and the link to this page can be emailed to anyone you wish.  John Reitzammer, New Bridge Bio Films.

40 Responses to The Gift Video

  1. william stanland says:

    john pechonic no brainer ….forgive my spelling….m. adams/ English 2nd

  2. Susan Williams Jeffries says:

    Edyth Ann Worthy-terrific influence on my life. She always believed in me and that meant so much. She encouraged me always to be the best I could be. She is now a very Dear friend.
    John Pechonick-fantastic teacher, witty. I took Chemistry under him and loved it. I took chemistry again in college, never understood a single thing the teacher said but I made an A just repeating what Mr. Pechonick taught me. He was a great basketball coach and encouraged me as a sophomore guard to try playing forward. To get my attention, he used to stand on top of both of my feet and look me squarely in the eyes. He was a super guy.
    Charles Bray-absolutely terrific guy. I had him as a basketball coach and he truly changed my life. He loved us all, believed we would be great; we could easily tell how proud he was of all of us. He told me at one of our reunions that coaching us was the most fun; Coach, we could tell. You were,…… and still are….. the best!

  3. Betty Pulliam Keen says:

    I would like to nominate Mr. Bonson, the Jackson High School band director for many years. I joined the band in the third grade and he taught me that year. He encouraged all of us and instilled in us a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem as we learned to play instruments that were foreign to us before this. I played clarinet throughout my school years in the Jackson school system and, besides my church activities, the band was the next important thing to me. I enjoyed it then and have enjoyed it throughout my life. I still play in my church orchestra and in 2 community bands. He was so important in giving me my love of music. In addition, I want to say that the education we got at Jackson High School was second to none. All of us who went to college soon realized what a foundation we had built through our education there. It made college and life, for that matter, so much easier for us. Thank you to each of my teachers for 12 years.

    • Mary Frances Christie says:

      Mr. Bonson was the band director when my brother, Harry Summer, was in high school. Harry played the tuba and saxophone and later became drum major. Mr. Bonson was a fine musician and teacher, but he was also a very fine person. Everyone liked him.

  4. JimmyWallace says:

    Loved Miss Faye but didn’t like having to memorize the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln was responsible for a war that killed many of our ancestors. Google Francis Key Howard. Jimmy Wallace Class of 1960.

  5. Russ Truell says:

    Have to agree with William……John Pechonick by a country mile.

  6. Ronnie Kelso says:

    Miss Emma Inman Williams is my choice. She had an unbelievably big heart in a small body. She was a tough teacher. Needless to say I was happy to get a “D” in her class. If it had not of been for Pat Harts I would not have gotten that grade. Intelligence was never my strong suit.
    In November 1966 I broke my neck in a car wreck. I was in the hospital for several weeks. Had it not been for Miss Williams I would not have graduated with the class of 67′. She came to the hospital and tutored me to keep me up to speed so I could graduate with my class. We had a friendship that not many other students had. She was extremely intelligent and a wonderful person. History was her life and she knew a lot about America’s History. She did the Daughters of the American Revolution proud.

    • Michael McCullar says:

      Margaret Shelton…Typing/Home Room…She allowed me to retake my typing exam (I failed) in homeroom one morning because at that time we had only 2 electric TP’s & we switched from manuel to electric. For my exam I was not used to the electric & kept trying to find the return carriage arm, which wasn’t there…it was on the keyboard instead. THANKS!!! Mrs Shelton. Now I’m a two finger guy. RIP!!!!

    • Mary Frances Christie says:

      Miss Williams was one of the finest teachers at JHS. I learned to really love history in her class, although I already liked it. She was brilliant, actually. I treasure my signed copy of Historic Madison. Yes, she was a tough teacher, but like many other people, that served me well in college!

  7. Suzanne Barber Jones says:

    Mrs. Freeman-great math teacher.

  8. Bryant Bledsoe says:

    Tom Fann
    You had to play for him

  9. Bill Barton says:

    John Pechonick was the best teacher I ever had. He taught me how to think and solve problems and inspired me to become a Chemical Engineer. I will be forever grateful.

  10. Karen Piercey Wood Page says:

    Margaret Shelton was a person who became a mentor to me and will always be one of the most influential individuals in my life. She knew I wanted a career in corporate business, and she encouraged me to follow my dreams. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as her assistant for a year. She believed in me and taught me valuable lessons in life aside from typing and shorthand. I treasure her accomplishments.

  11. Bill Morgan says:

    Mrs. Freeman and John Pechonick both made math and chemistry interesting and challenging. They played an integral part in my education which led me to become a structural engineer. When I think of all the awesome teachers we all had during the early 60’s at JHS, I am filled with gratitude and thankfulness. To that wonderful group of educators, I say “thank you so much”.

  12. Daniel Sease says:

    Coach Bray was always good to me.
    We were together at TIGRETT Jr. High, JHS,
    and Lambuth. He has been very influential
    In my life.

  13. Robert Baldridge says:

    Coach Worthy and Margaret Shelton

    I have worked with many, many teachers and coaches and administrators in 40 years with TSSAA and about 65 years total. Worthy and Shelton were the best of the best. You had to love them as they did the best for the kids. I really liked all of my teachers but Shelton and Worthy are the tops

  14. Barbara Turner Chinery says:

    Margaret Shelton and Edith Worthy were my favorite teachers. I always knew I wanted to type and take shorthand, so I loved Ms. Shelton’s classes. I never really liked sports, but I liked my PE class with Ms. Worthy and whenever I see her out she always remembers me.

  15. Sandra Mullins Ayers says:

    Mrs. Shelton and Miss Worthy were my favorite teachers! Mrs. Shelton was my mentor. The skills I learned from her in typing and shorthand enabled me to be able to make a living all these years. I also served as her typing assistant for two years and she was such a wonderful human being to emulate. I owe her so much. It’s so sad that she has left us. Miss Worthy was and is a delight! She was a great teacher and was so loved by everyone. Although P.E. wasn’t my favorite subject, she taught us so much about character and values. A few years ago, I sent both of them a thank you card for being such wonderful teachers. We were indeed blessed!

  16. Claude R. Wilson says:

    I of course didn’t have a class with every teacher at Jackson High, but do know from experience that we all received an A+ education. I have worked all across the eastern U.S. and our education was second to none. I have my favorites as well, but they all gave us the head-start in life that has proven so valuable. I just wish that I had taken the opportunity to let them know earlier in life!

  17. Jack McCoy says:

    We were fortunate to have some really good teachers. Some were great! My favorites were the same as many of you – the Etheridge sisters. I had Miss Elizabeth for two years of Spanish and it I looked forward to that class every day. Miss E had a wonderful rapport with her students. She was able to be a friend as well as a great teacher. Not all teachers can make that separation. I remember that both Etheridge sisters required memory work, there was a lot in Miss Faye’s class but I always enjoyed doing it. Several of us still remember the prologue to the Canterbury Tales in Middle English.

    My favorite memory from Miss E’s class was days when we were supposed to have a test. She loved talking about her trips to Spain and I would try to keep her talking, sharing her memories, long enough that we didn’t have time for the test. I would say things like – Miss Etheridge did you ever see a bull fight when you were in Spain – “Oh yes senor, it was very exciting.” me – Please tell us what it was like. Her “Oh si, senor, it was ..” and then I might ask something like – Can you tell us what it was like in Spanish so we can see if we can understand you? Her – “Oh si senor McCoy …” We both had fun and some days she would talk until the test was postponed.”
    It is said that we teach as we were taught and looking back on 40 years of high school teaching, I must say I taught English very much like Miss Faye did although at the time I wasn’t really aware that I was using the technique I learned from her.

  18. Don Leggett says:

    Our JHS Class of ’61 was truly blessed to have many wonderful teachers in our high school years in Jackson, Tennessee.

    My favorite high school teacher, among the many wonderful teachers we had, would have to be Mrs. Virginia Hudson. I had Mrs. Hudson for a math class in Junior High as I recall, and then had her for two years of Algebra and Geometry at JHS when she transferred to the high school to teach Algebra and Math subjects. She was truly a wonderful and caring person and teacher. My pick for our top teacher.

  19. Al Hearn says:

    I agree with several others that John Pechonick was by far the best and most influential of all my teachers at JHS. He was the one who had the greatest affect on my future education and career. Thank you Mr. Pechonick. Al Hearn, Class of ’61 – Atlanta, GA

  20. James Warmbrod says:

    Mr John Pechonick:
    I live in Jackson and graduated in 1961.
    He was probably the best teacher I ever had all way though my residency. He taught us how to think and reason. Besides chemistry and physic,he taught us more math than our match teachers. He was tough but fair and generally treated everyone the same. When he started walking toward your desk with ruler in hand you knew you were in trouble. He maintain strict discipline in his class. That was true of most classes in that period.I missed some school my junior year with neck injury and was probably the only one to take chemistry and physic the same year. He was my best friend’s father but I always remain scared of him. I set the curve in my freshman chemistry at LSU because of what he taught us.
    He was also a great football and basketball coach.
    I keep up with his son John in FL and if his Dad is honored he would probably want to be present

  21. Ike Lassiter says:

    I agree with Jack McCoy that we usually teach as we are taught, so I am now trying to teach chemistry and physics as Mr. Pechonick taught me. He prepared me well enough for those two sciences that when Cosby High School in East Tennessee needed a chemistry teacher in 2009, this sometimes physics teacher was able to meet the need although I had not thought about chemistry since my one year of it at Georgia Tech. It is amazing what can be done with dimensional analysis. Of course, our good teachers of math, English, and other subjects and our coaches laid the foundation for further education and lifelong learning; so thanks to all the JHS faculty. [Class of 1964; now living in Hot Springs, NC]

  22. Pamela Newbill Davis says:

    Mr. Tury Oman – 10th grade homeroom, never had his biology class but he was such an influence on so many young men and women, teaching how to live right and how to treat others fairly. I loved that man and treasure the hours I spent around him.

    I am the last class of the Jackson High School Golden Bears 1970 and currently live in Annapolis, MD.

    There were so many influential teachers at JHS but, to me, Coach Tury Oman was the Gentle Giant. Jackson was lucky that Union University brought him to Jackson, TN to play football along with John Rukavina and John Pechonik. They stayed and enriched all of our lives.

  23. Pingback: JHS Alumni Reunion Committee Meeting

  24. Suzanne Mitchell Barnes says:

    As others have said, we had many great teaches at Jackson High. We are still very lucky to have several of them who attend our reunions each year. Mrs. Shelton was definitely a favorite of mine. She taught me typing which I have used throughout my entire life. In high school and college I typed term papers; as a teacher I used my skill to type tests and many other items; as a mother I used the skill to type term papers for my children. Now I use it to type letters, projects, and of course, emails to my friends!
    Many thanks to Miss Worthy for putting up with us as cheerleaders! And she even let our practices count as our P.E. time during the season we were cheering. Also many thanks to Mrs. Frances Cagle. If it had not been for her excellent teaching my junior year, I would have lacked skills much needed for college English classes. She was definitely a treasure.
    Many others come to mind as I think back over my school years. Mr. Standley as our principle, Mr. Jones who taught Biology to many of us, Miss Williams for American History and Annual Tatler, and Mr. Byrum who has spread joy around Jackson for many years through his antique business. Many thanks to every teacher for all their contributions to our education and life experiences.

  25. Mike Marshall says:

    Mrs. Margaret Shelton was the most influential teacher in encouraging me to pursue my chosen career in medicine. I worked with her as sports writer for the monthly Tatler. She became a life long friend, and I miss her immensely. Other influential teachers were Emma Inman Williams, John Pechonick, and Edith Worthy. We were so fortunate to have a host of excellent teachers.

    Mike Marshall

  26. Pat Freeman Little says:

    Mrs. Margaret Shelton taught me more than typing and shorthand. She believed in me and genuinely wanted the best for me as she did all her students. I looked forward to her classes every day. Thanks to her influence I chose teaching as a career. Ironically, my first teaching job was at JHS. I will be forever indebted to the skills and life lessons I learned from this remarkable teacher.

    Miss Edyth Worthy is definitely top of the line. Any student who came in contact with her immediately loved her. We were all her kids and still are.

    Mrs. Frances Cagle dedicated her life to her students. She and Miss Faye Etheridge prepared me with everything I needed to become an English teacher in the Jackson Madison County School System for 36 years.

    Tom Fann, when he became principal at JHS, took a chance on me as a beginning teacher right out of college and hired me to teach at my old high school. How fantastic is that! That came about…thanks to the recommendation from Mr. Jesse Byrum, who was willing to give me a chance of a lifetime.

    What an honor and privilege not only to have had these outstanding teachers in my life but the icing on the cake was to go back to Jackson High and be a member of the faculty. A dream come true.

  27. Robert M Ricketts Jr Class of 1960 says:

    My favs were John Pechonick and Mrs Freeman…tough, demanding, but also fair, teaching us to think, visualize, analyse. My training under these excellent teachers helped me rise to the rank of Senior Captain with a major airline….will always be grateful for the encouragement and the “you can do anything” attitude they taught me and that helped me my whole professional life……..
    Happily retired and living with my wife in FL who is still flying (someone has to work!)

  28. Mary Frances Christie says:

    Miss Adrian Baucom saved me in 2nd year Algebra. Mrs. Margaret Shelton taught me so much about writing, composition and editing when Carole Stewart and I were co-editors of the Monthly Tatler! My career at JMCGH was all about writing the newsletters, annual reports, internal newsletter, etc. and without the grounding she gave me, I would never have been able to do it! Mrs. Freeman, Mr. Oman, Mrs. Martha Polk, Mr. Tom Fann, Mrs. Wimberly, and so many others had a profound influence on me. The professors at Freed-Hardeman said they could tell a JHS graduate because we came so well-prepared!

  29. Ann Galyean Gardner says:

    Mrs. Shelton was my favorite teacher. She was so caring and positive. She was always so calm. She inspired me so much that I taught all business subjects and American History in both Memphis and Cincinnati. I feel I received an excellent education at JHS that prepared me for Lambuth and Memphis State. My husband retired early so I did also. We are now living in S.E. Georgia.

  30. Peggy Case says:

    John, thank you for your dedication to this video “The Gift”! You have put together a wonderful memorial to our teacher, one I know they will appreciate. Thank you for all your hard work and commitment to excellence for a job for which you should be proud. I was so blessed to be a part of it. God bless you in your future endeavors and keep up the good work.


    Peggy Jones Case

  31. Jerry Sims says:

    Class of ’49……..excellent film. Brought back many memories. Enjoyed seeing some of the great teachers that tried hard to teach me just a little bit.

  32. Linda Scates Provenzano says:

    Class of ’59…I missed the recent reunion and am truly sorry that I could not be there…this video was very nice. It brought back so many memories. I recall several of the teachers mentioned with fondness. Thank you for putting together this video for their recognition.

  33. Watching John’s film brought back memories of my own beloved teachers, who truly did give their lives for us. Being young, we took them for granted, yet we emulated the mentors we respected and loved. This was a very touching film to me even though I didn’t go to Jackson HS.

    I only wish in my 35 years of teaching art and artists, that in some way the students felt a little of that for me. After many years I realized that you have to love your students even if they give you a hard time.
    Obviously these wonderful teachers already knew that. Great film, Johnny!

  34. Ed Gerson says:

    Emma Inman Williams – she had integrity, grit and dignity and was dedicated to the study of history, it’s indignities and its triumphs.
    Vivian Wimberley – She once told our class, in her gentle Southern voice of hers, that she’d waved off friends that morning who were trying to give her a ride to school. She preferred walking, as God had provided her with the legs to do so.

  35. Ellis Page says:

    I was born and raised in Jackson and was a member of the JHS Class of ’66 but sadly was unable to finish my high school education there. Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, we had to move away from Jackson early in my senior year and I finished up elsewhere. Despite that, I look back fondly on the years I attended JHS and consider it my real high school home. Memories of the teaching staff and fellow students at JHS have remained with me all my life. The secondary education we received there prepared us for higher learning but, more importantly, prepared us for life. My favorite teachers were Mr Pechonick, Mrs Freeman, and Mr Rukavina. They inspired me to continue my education in math and science. I continue to apply often the skills they taught as I near the end of my career as a Senior Computer Software Engineer.

    John, thank you for the splendid presentation. Such memories…

    Henry Ellis (Hank) Page
    Shalimar, FL
    JHS Class of ’66 (well, not quite)

  36. Fran Stedman Turner says:

    A beautiful tribute film to real teachers who shaped many lives. An era gone, and sadly, never to be repeated.

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