A Tribute to Alice Grimes

A Tribute to Miss Grimes


The 1968 colon High School Alumni Association Tribute To Miss Alice Grimes   by Abraham Jaffe


Alice is a graduate of Colon high school, and after giving 51 years of your good life to helping boys and girls, we are happy to honor you this evening. Fifty-one years of teaching service is a remarkable accomplishment.

A summary of your teaching service includes: 34 years in Colon and in nearby rural schools; 10 years in England; four years in India; three years on the Hawaiian islands.

Would you believe that while in all these foreign lands, Alice was looking for or seeking that near perfect husband? Some man lost a good wife when she declined that proposal on the island of Hawaii. However, all turned out well for the Colon area. Upon returning to the United States she accepted a teaching school in the nearby Babcock rural school.

In 1943, Alice accepted a teaching position in Colon school under my supervision. I left the Colon school in 1961. Alice remained on for a total service in Colon for 25 years.

Alice was the kind of teacher that every principal, superintendent, and school board seeks. I do not need to tell those of you who had Alice as a teacher that she is gifted with a discipline of par excellence. Still with this discipline she loved her boys and girls. Her goal was to be of service to them. She insisted that 1. They give her their complete attention. 2. That they master, all fundamentals: 3. That they study the subjects she taught.

Alice had another quality that school administrators appreciate. She always enjoyed helping and counseling that new teacher in the next classroom who was just starting a shaky and trying teaching career.

I recall visiting Alice in her classrooms where, as I have mentioned, she had the complete attention of every pupil. She did not accomplish this by threatening to send the to the principal. She took care of her own discipline problems. She always personally corrected every written lesson or examination. She did not throw them in the waste paper basket without correction as I have heard has been done by some other teachers. Returning the papers to the students, she attempted in class discussion and personal conference in order to help the student correct his errors.

Her teaching and travel experiences in foreign lands gave her a wonderful background for her teaching of geography,
English, history, government, and all subjects.

You might be interested in an incident that took place while I was in the school here. You may know that we were privileged to have the present great stage and television star and magician, Harry Blackstone Jr. as a pupil in our Colon school. Harry junior and his dad lived on the lower lake on what we called Blackstone’s island. Harry junior was considered a problem child. He did not like to study, spending most of his time cutting up in the classroom and pulling the pigtails of the girl sitting in front of him. In Alice’s room he spent most of his time reading everything he could find dealing with magic. Alice went to see Harry Blackstone senior, telling his that if Harry junior id not get down to business in her subjects that he would fail to pass the sixth grade. The outcome was that Harry junior failed to pass the sixth grade. Today, when Harry junior comes to Colon to visit his dear friends, he always includes Alice and mentions this incident in his life.

I will close with this, my personal tribute to Alice:


An Orchid for Miss Alice P. Grimes


An orchid is the most exquisite thing Nature has provided for mankind, so it has become the symbol of appreciation for good work or outstanding merit. Who in our American life deserves orchids more than Alice?

Alice you deserve an orchid for your faithfulness. Day in and day out, month in and month out, you worked, never complaining about your lot, seldom receiving the credit you deserved. Here’s an orchid for your faithfulness.

You deserve an orchid for your patience. The work that you did tries patience. Those who sometimes criticized you, how long would they have had the patience to have done your work? Here is an orchid for your patience. You deserve an orchid for your vision. It’s sometime easy, unless you have vision, to wonder whether teaching after all is worthwhile. The work is hard; rewards have been small. But you saw more than a room full of faces when you taught; you saw tomorrow’s generation. Here’s an orchid for your vision. You deserve an orchid for your fortitude. It takes courage to withstand criticism, the trials, and the changing world. You have had it. So you deserve an orchid for your courage.

Finally, you deserve an orchid for your contribution to civilization. Often you were not appreciated. Often the results of your work were not apparent. But somewhere this evening in the world and within this room there is a former pupil of yours who is doing a little better work, living a little better life, because of what you and your personality meant to him. And for this, you deserve your bigger orchid.