A History Lesson - Jerilyn Mehaffey Morgan '68
As a high school senior in Massachusetts, Jerilyn Mehaffey Morgan '68 was
certain of two things: she wanted to become a teacher and she wanted to attend
college out of state. To that end, she decided to visit Gorham State Teachers
College, located in a small town in Maine. The rest, as they say, is history––or
in Jerilyn Mehaffey Morgan's case, a history teacher: Miss Esther E. Wood.
Miss Esther Wood taught Maine and American history for 43 years at Gorham State
Teachers College, a University of Southern Maine predecessor institution. During
her long tenure, she left an indelible impression on more than one generation
of aspiring teachers.
"Everyone wanted to be in Miss Wood's history classes," remembers
Jerilyn. "She really knew how to catch your attention. She was a four-foot-nine
dynamo who had a way of taking charge of the classroom––even in a
room full of six-foot-tall athletes."
Miss Wood certainly inspired Jerilyn. "She was a big influence on my teaching
style. She showed me the importance of commanding respect from your students––and
giving it back in return."