Friday, February 12, 2016

Sister Mary Ruth, Catholic School Principal and Quiz Master

During most of my years at St. Edward School, Sister Mary Ruth was the principal. She was the person I most wanted to avoid. If a student were sent to the principal's office, it meant big trouble. If you saw her in the hallway or lunchroom, you wouldn't dare misbehave. If she entered the classroom, everyone rose and in unison said, "Good morning, Sister Mary Ruth." And we remained standing until she gave the cue to sit.

Sister Mary Ruth conducted a trivia quiz, called The Saints Quiz for Today, via the school intercom. Sister would give clues about a particular saint. Then she randomly picked one student from each classroom to go to the office to guess the saint's name. This was the only time anyone might not mind going to the principal's office. The students who guessed correctly won a prize! It was nothing elaborate, usually a religious object, like a little plastic statue or a rosary that glows in the dark. Once I remember a classmate winning a picture of Jesus with eyes that seemed to follow you as you moved it left or right.

Sister's method of choosing randomly was like this: She would say, "The student in row 5, seat 7, may come to the office." Every day she chose a different row and seat. I don't remember ever being in the chosen spot! However, it didn't matter too much, because I could rarely figure out which saint it was anyway. I wasn't the only one. Not very many children returned to the classroom with a prize.

Once the chosen student left the room, our teacher would tell us the correct answer. So, in the end, we did learn about many saints.

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