The Marionette

Ferguson baby shakes up English and drama departments

Dylan DelCol, Reporter

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In the wake of the Fergusons’ new baby, Harding has welcomed two new teachers to fill the gaps in our English and drama departments – both of Elizabeth Boomer’s parents: Steve and Sherry McCurley.

Cherith Ferguson’s post has been filled by 9th grade English teacher Boomer, while her post has in turn been filled with her mother, Sherry.

“It’s nice in some ways,” Boomer said. “I’m very close to my parents and I know that they both believe in education.” She compared it to suddenly having a distant relative for a close associate.

She said that teaching seniors rather then freshmen was very different, getting to teach more complex concepts like building complex thesis statements rather than “where does your thesis go in an essay.”

“It’s great for me as a teacher getting to see how they’ve grown and developed and learned,” Boomer said. “That’s a really nice thing as a teacher to get to see that the work you did pay off.”

Sherry, the interim 9th grade English teacher, has taught over 30 years, but this is her first time with high school students. “I like being here and I like being in the classroom,” she said.

She also spent several years working as a counselor with a program called Upward Bound, a federal aid program designed to help disadvantaged students in college. “I think many of the students here are just like the students I worked with then” Sherry said.

“I like working with students. Its always been a passion of mine helping others’ dreams come true,” she said.

Steve McCurley took for drama Michael Ferguson temporarily. “[I taught] advanced drama, three classes of public speaking, one class of beginning drama, and debate,” he said. Steve also said that the drama and speech classes were easiest to deal with, having taught both for a number of  years. “Debate class is my greatest challenge,” he said. “I did teach debate once but I haven’t done it in a long time.”

According to Steve, high school has offered an entirely different dynamic from teaching college. “My only experience teaching high school students came through Upward Bound,” he said. “Time is different he said,” instead of seeing his students three days a week, he has classes with them every single day. He also noted that in college drama, he would get to know some students very well by working on sets and lighting. Not so at Harding.

The adjustment in the first couple days was the most difficult, Steve said. After retiring, he “got used to the idea of not having to move around or have responsibility in the morning.”

“Now [that] I’ve been at it for over a week, it feels very ‘old hat,'” he said.

Steve’s overall impression of Harding has been positive, he said. “I’ve been very impressed by the students here,” he said. “They seem to be very polite,  respectful kids. I have really admired that.”

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Ferguson baby shakes up English and drama departments