The time period was the early 1970s, and Junior High at Trigg County back then meant the Huts. These were old Army barracks that served as our Junior High classrooms. Whatever the weather was outside, it was magnified to the extreme in a bad way in the Huts – 90 degrees outside meant 110 degrees inside, and 40 degrees outside meant 20 degrees inside. For my 6th grade year, Mr. John Mull was my homeroom teacher as well as my Math instructor. Ms. Fortner was my Language Arts teacher, and Mr. Norris Baker was my Social Studies teacher. Mr. Baker was also the first black teacher that I had ever had. Little did I know that Mr. Baker’s young son, Al Baker, would grow up to be one of the best football players in the history of the state of Kentucky.
The 7th grade saw our class return to the back side of the high school building as the elementary school moved into their own new building (I think that is right). That 7th grade year, I had Mr. Skip Pisa for history and Ms. Martha Baith for science. What was probably the low point of my educational career took place in Ms. Baith’s science class. My buddy Steve Guess and I signed up for a joint science project. Our project was to shoot a rabbit and then mount it. I guess we were aspiring to be taxidermists. What a colossal failure that turned out to be. Whatever grade Ms. Baith gave us, it should have been lower. By the time we were done with our rabbit, it looked an alien creature more than it did a rabbit. Hey, what teacher lets a couple of knuckleheads just decide to stuff a rabbit, anyway? Shouldn’t that require a license? The 7th grade also meant Ms. Deborah Bridges and Language Arts. I became good friends with my future teammate Carl Miller in the 7th grade as well. I still remember Ms. Bridges calling us the Bobsey Twins.
The next year, it was on to the 8th grade and Ms. Pat Hall, Howell Hargrove and others. Ms. Hall definitely furthered and nurtured my love for reading and writing.
I am quite sure that I overlooked Ms. Patty Shelton as my Phys Ed teacher somewhere along the way. Junior High also meant the beginning of my sports career at Trigg County. I played two years of basketball for a man that I thought was just cooler than the other side of the pillow. That was none other than George Radford. Little did I know that he would one day become my close friend, colleague and even one of my mentors
Next week, it is on to high school and more names of the past of those that shared the journey with me. As for me, I have got to get off this computer and get on with the beginning of my endless summer. Hey, what was that? I think I just heard Destin call.
OT: Remember that three-mile walk? I joined a man in mid-walk that just moved here. It turned out he has run 12 marathons including Boston and done a 50-miler. Wow, was I ever out of my league. Hope to tell you more about him later. See you next week.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the former head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.