Catherine McClure              Inducted 1992 - Teacher

This January, Catherine McClure turned 91 years old. Although she retired from the WHS Physical Education Department twenty nine years ago, Catherine still cherishes her years at the Home of the Polar Bears.

Catherine is an alumna of Waite High School and graduated from Denison University in 1923, the year she began teaching. "I've always been interested in sports and from a very young age, always wanted to be a teacher. It was only natural to teach gym."

She spent her first two years as an instructor at Lake High School. She coached girls' basketball and during her second year, took the team to the state tournament. This was no small accomplishment considering Lake had no team when she started teaching. From there, she transferred to WHS where she was among two or three other physical education teachers.

 

"I know I'm bragging, but we had such a good program. Even the principal was proud of our physical education curriculum. We played softball, volleyball, soccer, and basketball."

Woodward even offered after-school dancing for girls. Once a year, girls from other high schools traveled to WHS to compete in dancing, tumbling, tennis, and bowling. Sometimes the boys even participated in the after-school dancing classes. Everyone was encouraged to join in...no matter what gender, size, shape, or color. There were kids who balked at the idea of co-ed mingling, but on the whole, the exercises were huge successes.

In fact, Catherine found this diversity at WHS very refreshing. “Woodward was an easy school in which to teach. The kids were all nationalities and all personalities. I never had any trouble. I just had lots of fun. I treated each student equally, with the same respect I would want, and the same attention each deserved. Even when I wasn't teaching, I was out on the playground, supervising play, and getting to know the neighborhood children. ..my future students!"

In 1963, at the age of 62, Catherine retired from Woodward High School. "I figured it was time to retire. I mean, when you can't play the games any longer and you have a hard time keeping up with those active bodies, it's time to call it quits."

No sooner did she hang up her tennis shoes when The Toledo Artists’ Club called and asked if she would take over as secretary and office manager. Three months after leaving one career, Catherine launched another...one that would last until 1988 when she would retire once again.

"That, too, was fun. I got to meet lots of interesting people, handle a lot of paperwork, and take several art classes. I don't do much with art now, but it was an experience I wouldn't trade."

Presently, Catherine keeps busy bowling every Thursday (and racks up a pretty good average!) and playing cards with her friends.

The one role Catherine never played was wife. She never married, but points out she was swooned into two engagements. "I don't miss marriage. I come from a big family and I never get lonely. I've had a good life. I am one of those optimistic types. I love life and it's surely been good to me for 91 years.”

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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