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1972 WG class president speaks out

What was WG like 35 years ago?

Former class president Jim Sollecito speaks out

By Kimberly A. Michalak

What year did you graduate? I graduated in 1972.

How many people were in your class? There were approximately 460 in our class.

What was happening in the world at the time? Vietnam was winding down, the draft was cancelled, and people were becoming aware of the environment big time. Ecology was the new buzzword, and Mazda came out with the Wankel rotary engine, which was supposed to be the future of automobiles.

Who was your favorite teachers and why? My two favorite teachers were Ed Rothbaler, because of the botany aspect of his class. Plus back then he had not married the social studies teacher who would become his wife, Marie, so he was a bit looser in talking about genetics and other elements in the natural world. I liked growing things in the classroom, and then figuring out how and why they did the things they did. He looked at us as individuals, and not just numbers. He gave personal comments on graded papers, and we did not want to see his red pen come out.

Lee Goetcheus was very inspirational, because he challenged us with a system of structure. He looked at our class notebooks and made sure we had correct spelling (see Goetcheus above) and handed things in on time. I remember he used to say "Immediately, if not sooner." He also gave me interest in the countries of the world, and how one thing impacted another. I just returned from another trip to Italy, and have also traveled to over 35 different countries. For some reason I always remember that the Battle Of Hastings was fought in 1066 AD. Lee made us remember things, but also that had the Norman Conquest gone the other way, world geography and a lot of the various foods would neither look nor taste the same.

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