She was a formidable figure…a force with which to be reckoned.
Our paths crossed in 1966 at Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska.
Judith Hoyt taught English Composition, a prerequisite for graduation.
It was the luck of the scheduler’s draw that landed me in her class.
Mention of my fate drew knowing looks of pity from classmates.
“Good luck” they muttered under their collective breath, with a sly smile.
A consummate taskmaster, Mrs. Hoyt tolerated no horseplay within her hallowed walls. Straighten up and fly right was her credo.
She expected and most often extracted the very best from her students.
While quick to jump on sloppy work, Mrs. Hoyt was equally free with praise.
Those who went the distance in meeting her exacting standards gained
a level of literacy as writers which would serve them well in life.
While her subject expertise and commanding presence in the classroom were her visible trademarks, Mrs. Hoyt’s secret weapon was her uncanny ability to
surmise the unique essence of each student and to capitalize upon her insight.
It was years after the fact when I finally fully grasped her brilliance.
Thumbing through my Warrior yearbook, I came upon her inscription:
“If you know it…
And you do,
You can say it…
And you will.”
Four lines containing a mere fourteen words nailed me to a “T”.
Judith Hoyt understood long before I the symbiotic interplay of expertise
and confidence which defines me to this day.