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Thursday, July 21, 2011



I was recently asked for comments about my Notre Dame High School Speech and Debate teacher, Brother John Doran CSC. Brother John is now 90 years old (The Latin CSC means Congregation of Holy Cross. It is the Catholic religious order that runs Notre Dame University and founders of Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks).
This was what I had to say: 

Over the years, I have often wondered what it was about Brother John Duran that made him so loved by those in the Notre Dame High School Speech and Debate Club. Perhaps it was because we sometimes got out of classes early to practice or to go a competition. Or, maybe it was the quality of the kids he recruited. For whatever reason, we loved (and, still love) him. We often won impressive trophies; and for nerdy kids big trophies were a huge asset in a jock-oriented school.
We often pushed the limits and tested Br. John's patience, but he seemed seldom annoyed, never openly angry, and almost always calm - even when an elaborate joke was aimed at him. We were loyal to him, and he was loyal to us.
In my junior year, my speech-buddies and I decided to do Brother John in. We would claim that powerful pagan spirits were all over the campus and that the Goddess Vesta had taken a shine to him. Each of us stole, borrowed and may have bought tons of office supplies. We stuffed his desk with pencils, pens, erasers, paper, notebooks, paper clips, rubber bands and much more. He got so he couldn't even get his desk drawer opened. We never bothered teachers who we didn't like. I used lots of John's teaching tricks over the years in my own classroom.
If this reaches him, tell that Jerry Fecht still loves him.

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