She thanks Marjorie Powers

Published 4:04 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My grandma was an elementary school teacher for more than 30 years in the Forest Hill School District in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was not afraid to confront students for rowdy behavior, and her fun and often no-nonsense style of teaching won her the affection of her students, who kept in contact with her long after they graduated from her class.

It was a similar privilege and inspiration to meet Marjorie Powers, who turned 101 on July 22 and had been a teacher in Kenbridge for more than 20 years, teaching for more than 30 years.

Powers, a sharp, resourceful and knowledgeable woman who is currently the eldest member of Kenbridge United Methodist Church, taught during some of the most turbulent times in U.S. history.

She watched as many of her fellow neighbors were drafted to fight in World War II. She remembers people who could not sign their names — not knowing how to write — which increased her resolve to teach her students.

In addition to experiencing the anxiety felt by many during the war, Powers was also responsible for classrooms, which she said had no fewer than 30 students at a time.

She said she filled out each report card by hand and taught nine subjects: math, science, English, health, history, geography, spelling, writing and art.

She estimates she taught 1,010 students during her career.

Her experience draws startling parallels to today’s teachers, who face overwhelming responsibility as the U.S. faces similarly turbulent circumstances.

I join the sentiment of many of Powers’ former students when I say thank you, Ms. Powers, for your enthusiasm and drive to help students recognize their fullest potential.

For teachers starting the new year, please know your hard work, knowledge and compassion has a greater impact on your students than it may seem.

Emily Hollingsworth is a staff reporter for The K-V Dispatch. Her email address is