Friday, September 01, 2006


Ms. Neveau (Sandy) showed up during my junior year. I believe that was her first year teaching anywhere. She was still in her 20's at the time.

I first had her for speech, during the second semester. And man, what a cool teacher she was. She was fun. In many ways, she was like a peer, as opposed to an authority figure. At that time, I was hanging around with Richard Wheeler and Dave Svatek. And Neveau took a liking to all of us. Although she and Richard got along better. In fact, as we had her during 4th hour, and had our lunch break in the middle of class, near the end of the year, Richard started eating his lunch in class with her. They would just sit and talk. I think Richard kind of had a thing for her. In fact, I know that Richard even went to her house a few times to watch movies. Yes, she was that cool.

Ms. Neveau was into running. In fact, we would often see her running at night, along with fellow teacher Mrs. Fischer. One time Richard and I were driving around, and spotted them. Richard got out and wanted to say hi. But they were intent on their run, and just kept on going.

See my entry on Al Wegner for a quick memory of her.

I don't remember the circumstances. But for some reason, during my junior year speech class, some of us started to do the limbo in class. We tried to get Neveau to do it. She refused. However, she said, "If you actually had the song playing, I'd do it." Calling her bluff, during lunch, Dave drove me home to my house, where I quickly gathered up a tape I had of Chubby Checker's "Limbo Rock." True to her word, after lunch, I played the song. And she did it - just once. But she did it.

Neveau often gave us some free days. Each Friday a student would pick a topic of importance. Then we'd move our desks in a circle and discuss. That was always a lot of fun. On occasion we would also play charades. That too was fun. But people like Richard and myself were so competitive that we would come up with the most ludicrous titles for the other team to pick. In other words, each side would write down potential choices for the other team. Then a member of the other team would simply pick a piece of paper at random, and have to try and do it. Imagine playing charades, and having to try and do Pink Floyd's song, "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict." Keith Welnicke got stuck with that one. He did not succeed. I can also remember Kelly Siudzinski struggling with, "I've got those front door, back door, hey good buddy, listenin' C.B. blues." I remember I also tried to use " Also Sprach Zarathustra" - which is the instrumental title for the film, "2001 - A Space Odyssey." But Neveau wouldn't allow it because, "That's not English!"

I have a very brief memory from speech class. There were a couple class of 1988 students in there, including Connie Bruette - who I don't think actually graduated. Anyway, I was talking to Dave about something. And he mentioned the word "anorexic." Connie (who sat right in front of Dave) heard just that one word, quickly spun around, and in an accusatory tone said, "Who?" Dave wasn't talking about her. But she was pretty thin. And based on her reaction, I'm guessing that people often accused her of being anorexic.

In the summer between my junior and senior year, I was riding around with Dave. For whatever reason, we stopped by Neveau's house. She was just leaving though, and didn't have time to chat. So we left. I remember it well because I pulled my door shut while grabbing the top of the door. And I didn't pull my fingers back in quick enough. I ended up having the door completely close on three of my fingers. I was screaming. But it looked funny as hell - something right out of a movie. I didn't break them. But two of them got sprained.

In my senior year, I had her for mass media. That was also a cool class. See my entry on Tina Short to see a goofy song we wrote during that class.

During my senior year, I got in trouble in her class on one occasion. It was the only time I've ever seen her mad. I had her stapler. And someone else (perhaps class of 1990's Chad Lichteman) needed it next. So I threw it to him. I basically tossed it over three rows of tables to get it up to Chad. I sat in the back row. Chad was near the front. Anyway, he missed it. So it crashed to the floor. She had one of those big heavy-duty staplers. Needless to say, she was not pleased with me. It didn't break or anything. But she was furious that I would toss it. I remember saying, "I thought he would catch it." She replied, "Well, he didn't." She gave me a detention. But it wasn't a normal detention. It was a detention with her. In fact, she let me come in and serve it during my study hall - which happened to be a free hour for her. By then her anger with me was completely gone. So we sat and chatted a bit. Great punishment! But I never did throw another stapler in her class again.

As I stated, I sat in the back row. I believe there were three tables in each row - all pushed together. So there were two per table. I sat with class of 1990's Kristine Strong. She was pretty cool. Her trapper keeper was covered with pictures of all the hairbands of the time. She'd sit and tell me about all of them. Then for about three months, she disappeared. Then out of the blue, she started coming to school again. I don't know. The table to our right had Jason Krings and Tina Short. The table to the right of them had class of 1990 members Dawn Warden and Tammy Berzinsky. The two of them were best friends. But they didn't stay that way.

I have no clue as to what happened between them. But Dawn and Tammy got into some sort of fight. I think they pretty much hated each other at that point. I believe Tammy ended up switching seats with class of 1989's Chris Kaminsky - who was in the row in front of them. Anyway, one day, the two of them were apparently arguing with each other. Tammy let loose with some sort of verbal barrage, which ended with her calling Dawn a slut. Then she shouted (and I do mean shouted) "And I emphsaize the word SLUT!" This was right before class started. People were milling around. But that line brought the class to a dead silence, followed by a bunch of "oohs" and "ahs." Dawn looked aghast. It was one hell of a confrontation. What's interesting is that later on in that class, Neveau needed the TV and VCR. So she needed someone to go and wheel it in from whatever room it was. Being the nice teacher that she was, she decided to let two friends go and get it. She picked Dawn and Tammy. Obviously she didn't know that the former friends were hating each other. There were a few giggles and a lot of stares. Tammy didn't move. Dawn kind of got a sheepish grin on her face. Somebody must have whispered something to Neveau. Because she then asked someone else to go. Incidentally, at some point later on, the two of them seemed to make up to some degree. I think Dawn had just gotten a new puppy. And I heard Tammy ask her about it. Although you could still tell that their relationship was icy. Ah... high school drama.

Speaking of Dawn, Chris, Jason, and Tina, I teamed up with the four of them for our mass media project. We all went to my house to film an episode of "The Dating Game." Jason had a camcorder. During our episode, I took a machete (yes, I do have a machete) and "chopped" Jason's hand off. Then I started to eat the hand. Yes, I had a rubber severed hand too. Neither Jason nor I got the girl (Dawn). Chris was the lucky guy. I still have that tape. Tina did most of the filming. But she appears on the video as well.

At some point during mass media, Neveua showed us two films in class. One was "Broadcast News." The other was "The Breakfast Club." In fact, I remember writing about "The Breakfast Club" for whatever assignment she gave regarding it. And I mentioned that the film was unrealistic, saying that if this happened in real life, there's no way these five students would become so close and friendly. She made a comment on my paper of, "Then why do you like it?" Well, I like "Star Wars" too. But I don't live in fear of tie fighters blasting me out of the sky.

Class of 1990's Monica Engstrom sat in the row in front of me. She was a huge Bon Jovi fan. I remember she once brought in a picture of herself with Jon Bon Jovi. But in reality, it was a cardboard cutout. Speaking of Monica, one day she apparently wanted to be risque. So she wore a pair of jeans that had a horizontal rip right below her entire left butt cheek. But she wasn't ready for the attention. She wore a long T-shirt that day - or just long enough to cover it. She spent that entire class period being self conscious and continuing to cover it up. When she sat in her chair, the rip would inevitably open up wider. I guess she wasn't expecting that. Nonetheless, she wasn't perfect about covering it up the whole time. So I got a couple of free looks. Yes, I was looking.

As the year ended, I remember Neveau telling me that she was going to go biking with her boyfriend overseas somewhere during the summer. She was very excited.

I don't think I've ever crossed paths with Ms. Neveau since high school. That's too bad. She was so cool. I'd love to talk to her again. Today she still teaches at the high school. I know she teaches English classes. However she is no longer Ms. Neveau. Today she is Mrs. Olszewski. I believe she lives in Green Bay. I wish her nothing but the best. Her classes were always fun.


At Fri Sep 01, 11:03:00 PM PDT, Blogger Greg Pagel said...

I'm going to see Mr. Scriver tomorrow.

At Sun Sep 10, 09:10:00 PM PDT, Blogger Brad Strouf said...

Ok...I've waited a long time to comment on this entry. Here goes.

This woman was one of the finest teachers that ever entered WHS. She was relatively new (young) when she was introduced to us and we regarded her with a bit of uncertainty. Yet, in such a short time, we embraced her for the wonderful educator that she was, and probably, still is. "Ms. Neveau" had, and probably still has, a way with kids that makes them want to impress her.

I wish I could have appreciated what she brought to the classroom then...instead of now. But that's what this whole blog thing is about, right..?

Anyway, my rambling, potentially "lost" point, if there's even a "point" left, is that this was one hell of a good teacher. She left an impression on me, and I assume, or is it "presume", that she left a strong impression on many of us.

"Ms. N." was a breath of fresh air, she will alway be regarded as one of my favorite, or maybe one of my "best" teachers of all time.

That's my "two cents"...for what it's worth.

At Tue Apr 17, 10:15:00 PM PDT, Blogger corey said...

my last name is neveau maybe we are related


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