Parkway Center proudly celebrates octogenarian Wayne Hemingway

Most 82-year-olds are content to spend their retirement relaxing on a golf course or sitting in a lawn chair. Not Wayne Hemingway. He retired from the South Orange School District in New Jersey in 1980, but has been working in education as an administrator or teacher ever since. After retirement, their three grown children lured Hemingway and his wife of 59 years, Annile, away from the New Jersey winters to Houston. He first affiliated with the North Harris Montgomery Community College District when he taught GED classes at MacArthur High School. He has continued to teach GED through North Harris College corporate and continuing education for the past twenty-one years and recently began teaching developmental math for Tomball College. Hemingway’s strong educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in secondary school administration and an additional 30 graduate hours in math and science through the National Science Foundation. Teaching for the past 58 years, Hemingway can enthrall a listener with many stories about his past and present students. Several years ago, he attended the 40th reunion of a high school class he taught.

A former student greeted him by saying, “Why did you fail me in chemistry?” As it turns out, this former student became a highly successful endocrinologist who credited Hemingway with giving the doctor a wake-up call about his poor study habits during those high school years. In appreciation for this, the doctor offered Hemingway and his wife an opportunity to take an all expense paid, 19-day trip on the world famous Orient Express. Being a life-long train enthusiast, Hemingway had no difficulty accepting his offer.

Hemingway says he relates to today’s students by being unassuming and real. He says we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously because nobody else does.

When asked what one thing he wants people to know about him, he responded with humor, “I like to eat regularly!”

Hemingway continues to teach because he has a good time in class with his students. He tells of an exuberant GED student who was so thrilled when she graduated that she actually lifted him off his feet with a huge bear hug. “I can still feel that hug,” Hemingway chuckles. In addition to his interest in collecting trains, Hemingway has taught Adult Bible class for many years. “Our spiritual lives are important,” he says. “A lack of spirituality can undermine what we try to do.” Historical moments that stand out in Hemingway’s mind are V-E Day, V-J Day and the day President Roosevelt died.

He also recalls his first teacher’s salary as a milestone. In 1943, he earned $1,350 for an eight-month teaching assignment in Alabama. By 1960, he was earning and annual salary of $6,900 as a teacher in New Jersey. Today, he says teachers in New Jersey earn $70,000 a year. It is widely known that salaries are far below what teachers deserved to be paid. And, the value of Hemingway’s contributions to education for the past 58 years is and will continue to be priceless. North Harris College * Parkway Center is located at 16416 Northchase Drive in the Greater Greenspoint area.

Registration for spring classes is in progress. For more information about the center, call 281-618-1100 or visit North Harris Montgomery Community College District, the fourth largest community college in Texas, comprises North Harris College, Kingwood College, Tomball College, Montgomery College, five satellite centers and The University Center. Cy-Fair College, the district’s fifth comprehensive college, will open in 2003.