I had exceptional teachers including Mrs. Aterman who, in one fell swoop, both terrified and enthralled me. She did not ask when things happened but why they happened and the consequences – that was a change from public school. She challenged me and I desperately wanted to do well in her class. But I didn’t and by the end of grade 10, Mrs. Aterman said HGS was not the place for me. Well, as another teacher pointed out - I made decisions for myself and I didn’t always make choices that were easy on me - so I stayed.
I continued to just get by for the next two years but (most) every assignment improved. And when I didn't succeed, I learned more about what was expected of me. She spent
Somehow, she was convinced (along with the art teacher) to accompany our class to Europe in Grade 12 – that must have been JG’s doing! And what better first introduction to Paris, Munich and Florence than with an art teacher and a history teacher – I know I thought, at the time, that if I saw another church I was going to die - but we had fun!
When I read Mrs. Aterman's obituary last week, I finally understood why she pushed me so hard - it is a wonder she didn't just wallop me - she should have! I am proud to have been one of her “heathen lot”. I am sorry I never had the chance to thank her properly.