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[r29] Column: Remembering a great educator, Mrs. Swank
Start Date: 4/9/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 4/9/2014
Entry Description
Remembering a great educator, Mrs. Swank

How many times have you looked back on your life and realized that where you are today is because of your relationship with a favorite teacher?  For me, having gone through Noblesville schools, I could create a very large list of teachers that remain special to me.  I was blessed with many teachers who were – and continue to be – very dedicated to their students and their success.  
 
One of those teachers was Mrs. Patty Jo Swank.  
 
I wish everyone could have a teacher like Mrs. Swank.  She spent her entire life teaching – even up to the last days of her life.  She was special in so many ways.  She taught many types of classes during her 56 year tenure that students would use for a lifetime. In addition to her academic teachings, she taught the right kind of life skills that made all of us better people.  She demanded respect and received it.  She wanted each of her students to respect one another and themself.  She taught us how to cook, set a table properly and everything it takes to create a home.  She taught girls and guys.  Everyone wanted to be in one of her classes.  
 
In a marriage class, she taught everything from parenting to how to make a great first impression for a job interview to how to plan a funeral; all life skills and all things that are used in our everyday lives.
 
She could be very firm and very stern, but she had the biggest heart.  She believed that right was right.  She didn't want to hear excuses. She wanted her students to be successful. She had a presence that you could feel when she walked in to a room, and she could give "that look" without saying a word – you knew exactly what she wanted or expected. She had a great attention to detail in everything she did.
 
I can say my mother, my aunt Ruby and Mrs. Swank were the three women who helped shape my life and served as role models to me all of their lives. I learned so much from her in ways I could never really put into words.  She taught me to work hard, be prepared, help others and be creative.  In high school, not only did I take what we called "home ec." classes, but I was a teacher's assistant for her.  It is what led me to want to be a "home ec." teacher.  (Of course, I only wanted to do this at Noblesville High School!)  
 
As life takes many turns so did my ability to fulfill that goal. But, it didn't keep me from using the many skills she had taught me as I began my life serving people in other ways.
 
Mrs. Swank was also a Miller through and through. She was in charge of some of the biggest and best girls cheer blocks.  We wore black tops and white gloves and cheered the Millers through every basketball game.  She was also the junior class sponsor that was responsible for years in putting on the Jr.-Sr. Prom. She guided many junior classes as they turned the high school gym into a paradise of many themes.  You would stand there and for a few hours forget that you were in the gym where the physical education classes played dodge ball or the Millers played their home basketball games.
 
I could tell you many other stories, but hopefully if you are a former student of Mrs. Swank, I have stirred some of your own memories.  
 
She was a very special person to me and thousands of other Noblesville students.  I will truly miss her but will never forget the impact she has made on my life.  My thoughts and prayers go out to her sons, Drew and Aaron, her grandchildren and her sister Mary Sue Rowland.  Noblesville has many students using Mrs. Swank’s life skills every day. We are so grateful for her dedication to teaching. 

-30-

Rep. Richardson's column is also published in the Times in Noblesville.
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: (317) 232-9831
Email: nicholas.goodwin@iga.in.gov
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  • IN.gov Category:
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  • Education
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    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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