Teachers, like parents, like to brag about their former students. And former students, like children, are often embarrassed or prefer not be talked about by their former teachers.
However, I will take umbrage (I like that word) with that and write about one of my former students, who I recently ran into after many years, though I had tried to keep up with what he was doing and I hope he will not that I am writing about him.
George Plasketes was in my fourth-grade class at Mater Christi School in North Riverside, one of more than 40 students to whom I was charged with imparting knowledge and whatever else could be fit in to the school day.
George was a quiet and good student who enjoyed sports, which was fine with me. As a class we would spend a bit of time hearing about everyone’s weekend on Monday mornings before getting into the work day. I would tell them about a Bears game that I went to, as I attended all home games when they played at Wrigley Field. I’m dating myself again.
Anyway, after graduating from Mater Christi, George went to RB, where he was also a good student and football player and went on to play football at Ole Miss.
With apologies to my Notre Dame friends after ND’s loss on Sept. 17 to Michigan State (Go Sparty!) Plasketes was a member of the Ole Miss team that stunned Notre Dame 20-13 on Sept. 17, 1977. Notice the date.
Let’s move past the college years to the present and to Auburn University where George Plasketes, Ph.D., is a professor and associate director for media studies at the university’s School of Communication and Journalism, teaching classes in radio, film and TV.
He is also the author of five books related to songs and song writers. I intend to read at least one, and I’m sure I will not have to correct his grammar. He is married and raised a family and is still the good kid I remember, only much taller.
There’s much more to write about my former student but space does not allow, at least this week. I am proud of the man he has become and secretly hope that maybe somewhere during that fourth-grade year I had some influence on him.
We certainly know I didn’t teach him football, though I could talk a good game. If he reads this I hope he doesn’t mind. I’ll call it a teacher’s privilege and give George another A+.