Belle Joseph                         Inducted 1993 - Teacher

Being a Woodward graduate isn’t always a prerequisite for membership into the Hall of Fame. This coveted honor is also extended to those who offer exemplary service to the school. Such is the case with former teacher, Belle Joseph.

Regarding this award, Belle said, "After 32 satisfying and enjoyable years at Woodward, the school had become an important part of my life. Any honor from Woodward is very special."

Belle graduated from Waite High School in 1926 and attended Bowling Green State University for two years. She earned both her bachelor’s and master s degrees in education from The Ohio State University. She began teaching at Woodville High School in 1930.Eight years later, Belle came to Woodward where she remained for the rest of her teaching career.

"During my first week at Woodward when I walked into the teachers' rest room, one of the teachers

told me I wasn't welcome. The room was for teachers only!" Belle said, "I assured her I was a teacher, but she said, 'You don't look it!'"

Despite this initial controversy/compliment, Belle soon found that Woodward's reputation as a friendly school was true. "Mary Boyles and Mary O'Brien, my room neighbors, were always so helpful in explaining the rules and regulations of the school. And it was always a pleasure to work with Floyd Lords, co-advisor of the junior class. "

During her stint at Woodward, Belle taught business arithmetic, basic math, algebra I and II, geometry, trigonometry, and advanced senior math as well as accelerated classes in algebra II, geometry, and senior math. She also served as chairman of the Woodward Math Department for many years.

Besides providing quality lessons during the regular school day, Belle enthusiastically served as a class advisor for 10 years, a Y-Teen advisor for 20 years, and an advisor to the Calvin M. Woodward Chapter of the National Honor Society for a number of years.

Belle tutored students for the Greater Toledo Council of Teachers of Mathematics contests, state scholarship tests, and the national contest sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America and Society of Actuaries.

Carolyn Lake Yenrick, one of Belle's former students and current Woodward faculty member said, "A dedicated educator for forty years, she always placed emphasis on her students' interests and needs, giving additional time unselfishly." In fact, with Carolyn, a host of other former students followed in Belle 's footsteps into the field of education. "I am very proud that three of my former students, Fred Cieslewski, Michelle Jaworski Jacob, and Jim Wilusz returned to' Woodward to teach in the math department," Belle said.

In addition to being one of the organizers of the Greater Toledo Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Belle has been active in a number of professional organizations. Since 1929, she has been a member of Pi Lambda Theta, a national honor and professional association in education. While actively teaching, Belle belonged to the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

In the summer of 1961, Belle studied at Boston College as a recipient of a National Science Foundation grant for teachers of mathematics. She also attended a number of summer institutes sponsored by the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England at various colleges, including Dartmouth and the University of New Hampshire.

Since retiring in 1970, traveling has been an annual treat. She has visited about 50 countries and all 50 states. This past year, Ecuador was the destination, with a tour of Galapagos Islands and a trip to the jungle! "I always take my camera along and have shown slides of the trips to organizations," she said. She spends the rest of her spare time gardening, growing both vegetables and flowers. A few of her roses are over 50 years old! She also enjoys visiting and hiking in the Metroparks and the national wildlife areas along Lake Erie.

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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