With youthful enthusiasm and a contagious
smile, Rosemary Newton, of Portsmouth, tells how after teaching for
50 years she still considers her student the most important thing in
"I get compensation knowing I have contributed a little to that
students life," said Newton. "I can hardly go to any local
establishment without seeing a former student. A lot of them
keep in touch from time to time telling me about their life."
Even though she retired this year in June she gets a sense of pride
knowing one of her former students is a college professor, another
is a bank president, some are business executives and
several have become teachers.
Born on Friday the 13th in Lawrence County, KY, Newton was an only
child and lived on a 32 acre farm which was half peach, apple and pear
orchard and the other half truck gardened. She
started school at the age of 5 in a little country school in Lawrence
County. In the fifth grade she was double promoted to the eighth grade.
Graduated from high school at the age of 16
third in her class from Chesapeake High School in 1946. Newton's teacher
was her mentor, and she wanted to be just like her.
"She spoiled me," said Newton. "In my Sophomore year
I would go into the typing room on my lunch hour and she would teach
me the keyboard on an old Woodstock typewriter that had the carriage
return on the right side. The teacher graded on the point basis of
5 points per lesson and over the period of six weeks I had accumulated
over 1200 points. It only took 60 points to get an A so she said it
was the only A+ she had ever given. I decided at that time I wanted
to be a teacher."
After graduation Newton started college at Marshall in June for summer
school and went to college 2 years and acquired 3 years credit. She
started teaching at Hanging Rock High School in 1948 on a Temporary
Certificate, going back to Marshall College for 3 summers getting her
four year degree.
Newton then went to Huntington, WV taking the job of instructor at
Century College of Commerce in Huntington, WV. in 1950. A private school
owned by Dr. Bradley and Ethel Carson.
In 1953 Newton met Leo Blackburn, who was the owner of Portsmouth
Interstate Business College and she began teaching at the Business
College that year and stayed until 1969 She was teacher and director
of the Secretarial Department for 16 years.
While at Portsmouth Interstate Business College, Newton was named
U.S. National Speedwriting Teacher of The Year in 1955 and got to spend
time in New York City and Chicago studying Speedwriting. Newton also
became associated with Alpha Iota the International Business Women's
Sorority. She served as Local Chapter Sponsor, State President and
Newton then married and started a family and did not want to work
nights so she taught business subjects at Portsmouth West High School
for 20 years. She was divorced and became a single parent raising two
sons Howard and Earl who were 8 and 10 at the time.
Newton then taught at Southeastern Business College in New Boston
and number of those years she moonlighted at Shawnee State University
Newton has attended post graduate studies, workshops and seminars
at Ohio University, Speedwriting Institute in New York and Northwestern
University in Chicago.
"Teaching methods have changed tremendously," said Newton, "I
started with the keyboard method of typing and now it's all computerized.
I think things have improved and I believe the
people are still the same but with the way things are today there has
been a breakdown in communication among the parents and the teachers
and possibly the moral fiber of the country."
In 1995 while still at Southeastern Business College Newton was awarded
the title of Master Teacher and Teacher of the Year in Columbus by
the Ohio Council for Private Colleges and Schools in recognition of
Newton also found the time to become involved in civic and humanitarian
causes. She has been Chairperson of Scioto County March of Dimes, Mothers
March and Co©Chairperson of Scioto County Cancer Crusade.
A woman of many talents Newton writes poetry and has won awards for
her poems. She also sings, yodels, plays Piano, guitar, bass fiddle,
dulcimer, and a little on the banjo. She traveled off and on in the
summers with Bill Monroe since 1945 until his death. Monroe and his
daughter were personal friends of Newton. At Bean Blossom, Indiana
Bill Monroe started the Jamboree on Sundays in an old renovated barn
with seats. Newton sang there a lot. She has also appeared as entertainer
on Radio and TV in Huntington and Charleston, WV, as well as Nashville,
TN where she has traveled frequently.
"Bill's daughter and I were around the same age and were friends,
so I knew Bill for over 50 years and when I needed something he was
always there for me. He was truly a great man and a good friend."
Newton also loves to travel. Last year she drove cross country alone
in two and a half days to the 1997 International Convention of Alpha
Iota in Las Vegas,NV. as a delegate for District 2.
"Someone asked me if I went alone," said Newton, "and
I told them no, God was with me every step of the way. On the way back
I came through Denver County, Kentucky and visited the Grave of Bill
Crafts are one of Newton's hobbies and she changes the decor and colors
of her home with the seasons. She also is an animal lover and at one
time had 4 cats, two dogs and numerous raccoons Besides enjoying her
5 grandchildren, Newton is now writing a book about her life entitled "Sixty
Years in a Classroom and Other Uncharted Areas" which she says
is now on the back burner for awhile. She has been busy working with
Alpha Iota Sorority and has been elected International Vice President
of the Sorority and is to be installed in June 1999 in Andover, MA.
She will hold the office until 2001 and then will serve as President
for the next two years.