Teacher From The Past, Tells Her Story By Olivia Duncan

Saint John’s Catholic Prep has been around for around 192 years.  During this time, many changes have taken place. Luckily there are many former teachers such as my Gran-Gran, Nancy who remember how early SJCP used to be.  In  a recent interview with her, she revealed  many interesting things  about her prior experience at prep. Even my Papi, Wayne, had an opinion on SJCP’s earlier times, and chimed in occasionally throughout the interview. 

The interview went as followed:

Nancy: I taught for 25 years at Saint John’s, at Prospect Hall, and for the last month, for Saint John’s Catholic Prep, as the name changed.

Olivia: So, why did you start working at Saint John’s?

Nancy: I wanted to teach math, and they had a part time opening, and our youngest child, Robbie, was still in elementary school, so I didn’t want to work full time. So I started there part time, for one year, and then full time. Then I chaired the mathematics department for 23 years.

Olivia: Nice, so what was it like back then? Did anything other than the name change?

Nancy: We were a small school then, there were about 30 in a graduating class, and now there’s much more than that.

Olivia: Very interesting, any notable events there?

Nancy: Well, yes. I always taught in the downstairs basement, where the cafeteria was, in the mansion-

Olivia: I’m sorry, mansion?

Nancy: Yeah, it was called the mansion, Prospect Hall was the name of the mansion, you know where I worked. It used to be a plantation at one point, and it had many notable events from the civil war. Apparently, it was haunted by a ghost named Agnes!

Olivia: It was possessed!?

Nancy: It was haunted by a ghost whose name was Agnes.

Wayne: I heard about that, in the papers, of course it came from you.

Olivia: What did she do?
Nancy: Agnes? I never saw Agnes, used to get a cold feeling in the back of my neck when she was there, but others saw her a lot. Now the mansion, it was where the command of the Union army was given. Now, since 9/11 just occured, several students after 9/11 went to New York to work with the recovering, and that was in a month or two after the event.

Nancy: Now, at one point, we had the number one basketball team in America.

Wayne: For boys.

Nancy: Yeah, for boys’ basketball, and we went to Hawaii with them to watch them play.

Wayne: Your brother and sister played sports there.

Nancy: Yeah, I was about to say that, Steven and Amy (my older brother and sister, who used to be students here) played basketball there, I actually taught Steven, not Amy, I had retired by then. And we had a number of international kids in the school, (including) kids from Ireland.

Now, one year when I was teaching, a young man named Zach Warfield, who was our neighbor, was working with the space program, and sent a lot of material and information to the students.

Another thing we did was take field trips to the Smithsonian, and I hope you’ll start doing them once Covid is out of the picture.

Olivia: This concludes the interview, thank you for participating.

While Saint John’s has changed over the years the quality of educators and students remains the same. It’s amazing to see how much SJCP has grown over the years, to think that not too long ago prep once had 30 student classes and has now more than doubled in size to be the blossoming high school that it is.

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