Constance May on education

Published Oct 19th 2013

New Richmond was, and is, a very progressive school system.  They provide a lot of advanced, college prep courses.

The only downside to my high school education was that New Richmond didn’t teach typing, so when I really needed it, in college, I didn’t know how to type.

I remember in grade school, we had to practice ducking down under their desks in case Russia attacked with nuclear weapons.  People built fall-out shelters, too.

I graduated from high school in 1965 with a scholarship to Eau Claire, where I went for my freshman year.  Because of all the college prep courses I had taken in high school, I found college freshman classes really easy.

I had already been given a diamond ring from my high school sweetheart, and I followed him to Eau Claire.  In his junior year, and my sophomore year, we transferred to River Falls.

It was there that I met Jake, who convinced me to break it off with Dick.  Mom thinks that was the worst move I ever made.

College in the 60s was a very turbulent time.  It was a time of rapid change, particularly around race relations and gender equality.

At that time, if you didn’t have a college-based deferment, you had to go to war.  Vietnam really highlighted the difference in wealth.  If you had money, you didn’t have to go.  Most of the poor conscripts went.

I was anti-Vietnam and wore the armband.  There were lots of marches on the River Falls campus, and there were riots all over the country.  That was also around the time when the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr were shot.

There was a really interesting mix of people on campus – the Vietnam veterans; the freaks who took drugs; the very conservative people.  My classmates were very, very diverse, and I had very interesting professors.  It was a fascinating time to go to school.

This was also the time when birth control for women was announced.  It bothers me that people want to remember the ’60s for the sexual revolution, forgetting that we were the generation that pointed out the environmental aspect of our society’s behaviors.

Jake and I got married in 1969, and I quit school that year and went to work for 3M, then First National Bank before going back to school and graduating in 1970 or 71.

I double-majored in psychology and sociology, minored in philosophy and graduated with a teaching degree for secondary education.  I was encouraged to become a school psychologist, but Jake talked me out of it.

When I looked for work as a teacher, I couldn’t find a job.  Back then, you had to be a coach as well as a teacher in order to get a job, and since all the sports teams were men’s teams, there wasn’t a lot of hope for a non-coaching teacher.

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