Honoring Teachers: Speech to the Mather High School Class of 2010 on Behalf of the Zeolite Scholarship Fund

If you’ve ever traveled to the Near North Side of Chicago, you might have seen a peculiar street sign. The street name is spelled G-O-E-T-H-E. And most people in call it “Go-thee.”

But if you’ve taken a little bit of German here at Mather, you know something that most Chicagoans don’t know. The correct pronunciation is “Gu(r)-tuh.” (The “r” is not pronounced).

But you still might not know who that is.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a writer, poet, philosopher, and scientist who was hugely famous by the time he died in 1832.

And here we are, and we can’t even say his name right.

I mention this, because we are here to honor some other people whose names you are even less likely to know, even if most of them might be a little bit easier to say. Just as Goethe was significant to cultured Germans of his time and after, these people were and are extraordinarily important to us.

They were our teachers here at Mather back in the 1960s. This year, we have decided to honor all of those teachers who made a difference in our lives — all those good men and women whose cleverness, dedication, and caring helped us along the way to becoming, we hope, educated people with the tools to make something of our lives.

It is fair to say that we would not be here today, able and willing to give scholarships to you, but for their influence.

And now my friend Barbara Orloff Litt will read you a short list of wonderful people who continue to live inside of us over 45 years since we last had regular contact with them. You will find no Chicago streets named after them, but they mean the world to us.

Thanks to all of them and thanks to you for listening to their names.

(The teachers so honored included Burl Covan, George Bayer, Abraham Fink, Jo Ann Rosow Greenblatt, Bob Kapolnek, Ralph Lewis, Patricia Daley Martino, Peter Miscinski, Kay Mulvey, William Paulick, Thomas Radzicki, Hy Speck, Nicholas Tasto, Rachel Topp, Eleanor Wollens, and Dawn McKee Wyman).

12 thoughts on “Honoring Teachers: Speech to the Mather High School Class of 2010 on Behalf of the Zeolite Scholarship Fund

  1. I happened on this info while just surfing and would like to know why notice of this honor was not spread to all Mather graduates. I am familiar with about half of those that were honored but never received notice that such an event was being performed. At one time I was involved with the 50th Anniversary Celebration but had to resign because of schedule conflicts…..


    • The answer, I’m afraid, is unfortunate. We have asked the group in charge of the Mather Alumni organization to post information concerning the existence of the Zeolite Scholarship Fund on the Mather Alumni site. As you might know, there are actually two scholarships given by alumni to Mather seniors, both started virtually simultaneously in May, 2000. The Zeolite Scholarship Fund grew out of a small group of friends who were all in the Class of 1964 and now represents the Class of ’64 and January ’65. The Alumni site hopes to represent and connect all classes, I believe. Their scholarship is called the Mather Alumni Scholarship. In any case, the member of our group who asked to have our information posted on the Alumni site was reportedly told that they felt our presence there would reduce the number of donations they receive for the scholarship they give. As a consequence, what we do is not to be found there. I wish it were otherwise. This May 6th we will again have our own scholarship ceremony at Mather. We will be honoring Jay Perman, M.D., a member of our class and the recently appointed President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Each year a small number of our old teachers attend either the morning ceremony or an evening dinner. If you’d like to come, please contact Jan Kozin Gordon. Her email is: Barry950@aol.com


  2. steve kaufman

    I happened on this site quite by accident. But I need to know. I had a math teacher named Rachel Topp at Von Steuben HS in the 1950s. In some ways, she changed my life. Could it be the same person you mentioned?


    • drgeraldstein

      I’m virtually certain that she would be the same person from whom I took Algebra at Mather in the early 1960s. A superb teacher, for sure. Thank you for your comment, Steve.


  3. It is amazing that I found this website. I have been hunting for my Mather High School English teacher, Mrs. Rosow, for years – for she has influenced me more than any teacher I ever had (and I have four degrees past high school.). I have wanted to tell her how much she means to me. I have kept all the papers she graded in my sophomore English class and I pull them out once in a while to show my GRADUATE students what it means to work at writing. Yes, I am a university professor, and I owe so much to her, because she taught me how to write. She marked up my papers in amazing fashion! And even today, she sort of sits on my shoulder, as I write a topic sentence. 🙂 I hope she kept on teaching after the early 60’s when I had her, for she was truly gifted. Can you please pass this message on to her? She made a huge impact on me and it would mean the world to me if she knew it. (I graduated from Mather in January of 1964. I was Rosemary Ruhig at that time.)

    Rosemary Du Mont


    • Thank you, Rosemary. Although I don’t know her personally, I will be happy to give your message to someone who does in order to get it passed on to her. So many of us have said “she taught me how to write.” She is now Ms. Rosow Greenblatt and recently attended the dinner we have every May for the Class of ’64/65 supporters of the Zeolite Scholarship. I hope that you will consider attending, as well.


  4. Thank you for passing on my message to Mrs. Rosow (now Greenblatt). I hardly ever get back to Chicago – as I have no family there anymore. Everyone migrated to the west coast and beyond (my own parents went to Hawaii). So, attending your dinner is probably not in the cards. But thank you and the others for doing good work on behalf of Mather grads. Best wishes.


    • My friend Sue Leff Ginsburg has doubtless already passed on the message. We were happy to help your message get to its target. If you care to see the details of our scholarship program, please go to http://www.zeolitescholarshipfund.com/ Donations of any size are most welcome as the kids at Mather today are a good deal more needy than any of the grads from the early ’60s. All the best, Rosemary.


  5. As a 13 year old starting at Mather High School one of the best teachers and mentors for me was Mr. Tom Radzicki. He was quiet but very competent and advised me well. I took his advise after I graduated Mather and while I was at University of Illinois in Champaign. I remember vividly his comments and confidence in me after I started my accounting and consulting career in New Jersey and Nevada. I wish Mr. Radzicki the best in his retirement.


    • Thanks, Ron. Yes, a good man. Those of us involved with the Zeolite Scholarship Fund had hoped to honor him in person at Mather, but my recollection is that he now lives some significant distance east and couldn’t come. You might recall he was also quite an athlete, as evidenced in faculty-varsity ball games.


  6. Sharon Kaplan Kinstlinger

    I have been thinking about Mr. Paulick so much lately, and I’m so glad to have found your blog. I took his general music class, loved every minute, and was introduced to a huge repetoire of music, most of which I still consider among my favorites. I went to Oberlin Conservatory and became a music teacher myself, and owe him a debt of gratitude. If you can convey this message to Mr. Paulick or his family, I would be very appreciative!


    • Thanks, Sharon. Wish I could. It is my understanding that he died a few years ago. But I think he knew that he was much appreciated by lots of the Mather students. Congratulations on your music career. My own daughter got into Oberlin, though she decided to go to the Manhattan School of Music and then NEC in Boston for a Masters. All the best!


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