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Learning to count your blessings

This might puzzle some readers who would wonder why anyone should read about my good luck. In my 92 plus years, I've met people who claim they didn't have any good luck; they accomplished it all by their own intelligence, hard work and perseverance.

This might puzzle some readers who would wonder why anyone should read about my good luck.

In my 92 plus years, I've met people who claim they didn't have any good luck; they accomplished it all by their own intelligence, hard work and perseverance. They did it all on their own.

I don't believe that. I believe they have very likely, personally, earned their share of good fortune, but have had more than their share of good luck. Maybe they don't recognize the good luck they've had, so I'm digging back through my life and sharing it, which may give them a bit broader perspective of their own good luck.

I was an only child so we three had bigger pieces of our fortune to share. Both my parents had a portion of elementary education, and could read and write, appreciate the value of education and wanted me to have more than they did. They were both white and so I had that good luck of majority. In World War II days in the infantry, I met black people who had very different stories to face and tell. When I was trained at Fort McClellan, Ala., during World War II, there were business places that had signs that prohibited black people from using the business.

Back to my elementary education in a small farm section of Wisconsin. The country school had textbooks, but a small, almost bare library. The one-room, eight-grade school teacher, was a Seventh Day Adventist. She went to church in Menomonie on Saturdays, had a public library card and regularly brought books for me to read and learn. Luckily, I had that opportunity.

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As a civilian after World War II, and a four-year student at Stout Institute in Menomonie, Wis., my wife saw a teacher placement sign and urged me to sign up. I, reluctantly and luckily did - without the education for a teaching degree - and a few weeks later a school superintendent from Poplar, Mont., called me and offered a second semester teaching job with a house for me, my wife and son. I told the superintendent about not having a certificate. He said that had been checked with the Montana superintendent of instruction and would be approved.

Six years later with that teaching experience, plus summer credits to finish my Stout degree and University of Minnesota master's degree, I was issued a license to become a school superintendent; and, luckily, found a position at Grass Range, Mont. (The good luck: A fellow teacher at Poplar knew people in the Grass Range area who arranged the interview.)

In my second stint as a superintendent, I met an administrative leader in Montana State College who later was instrumental in getting me appointed to a Northwest U.S. College Consortium. While serving on that committee, a member of the committee who headed the School Administration Program at Washington State College asked why was I driving way back to Minneapolis for my doctorate. They were located favorably by less travel. I told him that universities offering doctorates only accepted six semester credits to transfers. He said, the program head made that decision, which he was, and they took my full University of Minnesota credits and made my doctorate much more convenient to earn. Lucky, again, and could cite, too many more for your indulgence.

I hope the reader will think back, and recognize and appreciate their good luck.

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024@gmail.com .

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