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Del. Ken Plum: Learning from My Own Education

by Del. Ken Plum May 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm 9 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoMy high school alma mater, Shenandoah High School, is no longer a high school. The building with an addition is now Shenandoah Elementary School. Children who would have attended the high school now attend the consolidated Page County High School.

The memories and legacies of the school continue through the Shenandoah High School Alumni Association that was organized in 1939 making it the longest continuous high school alumni association in the state. The 76th Annual Shenandoah High School Alumni Banquet held last week recognized two living members from the class of 1935 among its guests.

My graduating class had 41 members, with about half attending our Class of 1960 reunion party before the banquet. Three of our teachers also attended, including Mrs. Foltz who taught me to type, an invaluable skill for which I thanked and assured her that I still keep my fingers on the home keys.

Mrs. Kite was my guidance counselor who gave me the unheard of idea that I like others could attend college. No one else in my family ever had.

Last week was teacher appreciation week, and after having attended the alumni banquet I could not stop thinking about the teachers I had and the impact they had on me. All my teachers deserve a shout out, but with limited space I will mention just a few. Mrs. Yates was my first grade teacher and the very first teacher I ever met. She continues to be an angel in my mind.

Second grade teacher Ms. Rau and third grade teacher Ms. Parker were young and very beautiful. I could not do enough to please them. Ms. Parker especially opened my mind to the world as she talked about places she had visited. I remembered her talk about the “painted desert” when I visited there years ago.

Class of 1960/Courtesy Ken PlumMr. Kite fostered my love of history. I still have the dozen-page report I wrote for his class in the 11th grade. In those dozen pages I wrote a “Short History of Page County,” while it took historian Harry Strickler several hundred pages to do the same thing.

Mrs. Boozer who was my senior year government teacher promoted my interest in government. I still quote statistics I gathered in writing a paper for her on the misuse of the absentee ballot in Virginia.

And as boring as it became at the time I still appreciate the diagramming of sentences that Mr. Turner made us do. It continues to help me with sentence construction. Mr. McHenry’s wood working and metal working shop taught me problem solving skills that I continue to use.

Public schools did so much for me. That’s why I work hard to ensure that our schools are the best they can be and that teachers who are the keys in the process get support. We must make sure that students have positive learning experiences they can look back on and that create in them an ongoing desire to learn.

Ken Plum represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. His opinion does not reflect that of Reston Now.


    OMG ……..Does he think we care about his second grade experiences? Just make him stop.

    • Heh

      He doesn’t have any actual accomplishments to report – which is hardly unusual – so he has to flail around for something to talk about. It’s reminisce about childhood or attack Republicans, so on balance this one is less offensive than usual.

  • WhoIsJohnGalt

    Good job Ken, for the first time in ages you didn’t have a long winded piece blaming Republicans for the ills of society. This time you just pandered to the masses for more funding for public schools.

    I wish you’d detail why they need more. Look at how much $ we pay per student and how it correlates to their test scores. Hate to break it to you, but more money isn’t going to fix the problem. Your precious teachers unions and 20 layers of administration are to blame. Instead of having smaller class sizes by hiring a few more teachers, the union prefers to give raises to all the administration.


      Please refer to National Review Online and see today’s Thursday Morning Jolt by the great Jim Geraghty. Article titled Pension Costs , Health Insurance Costs and Illegal Immigration. See if Ken Plum or Gerry “Belly up to the Buffet” Connolly will even respond to the article.

      • Heh

        I am sure you noticed all the diversity and recent immigrants in Ken’s class photo. That was five years before Ken’s ideological soul-mates decided to destroy America.

  • shagga

    ken it sounds like you received a fantastic education, and if your same teachers taught today I expect Ms. Rau your third grade teacher would of taught you how to apply a condom to a banana and explain to you why Bobby gets to change in the girls locker room…

    • Ricky Spanish

      I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Ms. Rau was his Second Grader Teacher… Ms. Parker was his Third Grade Teacher.

  • Ricky Spanish

    Mr. Plum, one has to wonder if Ms. Parker your third grade teacher would have enough time to share those experiences with her class and meet VDOE mandated SOL objectives. Today Ms. Parker would start reviewing SOL objectives from K-2 in March for a SOL test at the end of May.

  • Richard M. Bobby

    I am so sick of my hard earned tax dollars going to pay for other parents babysitting services, that you call public schools. I would much rather apply my portion of taxes go toward a private school. Where my children (Walker and TR) can get a good well rounded conservative christian education. God bless and Amen.


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