SHE STARTED teaching when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was still alive and before the U.S. had put a man on the moon. In 2004, at the end of her career, most classrooms still had only one desktop computer, and it was designated for teacher use.
SHE SAYS teaching is a calling and not just a job. Juniata professors Harold Binkley, the inaugural holder of the John Downey Benedict Professorship of English, and Esther Doyle, the John Downey Benedict Professor of English, showed her how to make the words of literature come off the page while the lessons of Philbrook Smith, Charles A. Dana Professor of History, convinced Sandy that students should understand an author's audience and the historical context of the work before grappling with its meaning. Howard Crouch, Martin G. Brumbaugh Professor Emeritus of Education, and her Huntingdon Area High School cooperating teacher, Mrs. Kathryn Joyce, gave her a solid foundation in teaching, planning, and classroom management, which she would augment and adapt with years of classroom experience.
SHE EXPERIENCED the rioting and civil unrest that followed the assassinations of Dr. King and Senator Robert Kennedy, which took place in the spring of her first year in Baltimore City. Thankfully, Juniata had been preparing her even for this. During her sophomore year at Juniata, conversations about civil rights swirled around campus, some Juniata faculty and students traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, and Steve Engle '66 wrote for the New Century Singers, all of which played a part in opening Sandy to a deeper awareness of the destructiveness of racial injustice.
SHE COUNTS herself fortunate to have been a teacher of timeless literature with universal themes, which she used to foster understanding about both the worst and the best of the human condition. Her favorite lessons to teach were the works of Dickens and Shakespeare.
HER FAVORITE memories of teaching include her students performing at the Baltimore Shakespeare Symposium. There, Sandy's students made the Bard's work contemporary by interjecting references from Saturday Night Live and The Arsenio Hall Show, modeling Shakespeare's gift for working current events into his plays.
SHE RECEIVED her favorite teacher gift from the Poly Class of 1998. At their Farewell assembly, they gave her a poem written in her honor and framed with the class colors that still sits on her desk.
HER ADVICE to future teachers is to dream for students until they can dream for themselves.
HER GREATEST FRUSTRATION is the stereotype that teachers are overpaid for working a short day and having summers off. Instead, she worked 60-hour weeks, often putting in longer hours during term paper season. Summers were devoted to continuing her education and preparing for the next year's course of study.
SHE HAS RECRUITED 10 students to Juniata, and has helped scores of others to visit, even if they first thought of the College as "Juanita." She still regularly represents Juniata at college fairs, often saying, "Where else can you find backpacks stacked up outside the dining hall?"
SANDY HAS retired to Huntingdon, Pa., and regularly attends campus events. She was the 2015 recipient of the H. B. Brumbaugh Alumni Service Award, serves as a class fund agent, 50th reunion committee member, and is proud to say her daughter, Cara Loughlin '94, is also an alumna. >J<