Olive the Student

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    scan0003.jpgAfter Olive Goodykoontz graduated from high school in Indiana, she enrolled at the Fairmount Academy for teacher training. Originally, her plan was to go to Fairmount, teach for a few years, and then get married and settle down. However, when the Goodykoontz family made plans to move to Arizona for the sake of her brother's health, Olive decided to join them.

    After arriving in Arizona, Olive learned that her teaching certification from Indiana would not be enough to earn her a certification in the state of Arizona. Thus, she enrolled once again in teaching school, this time the Tempe State Teachers College which had just been established in 1925 (and which was a part of what is now Arizona State University). She lived in the dorms while at school, although she often visited her family on the weekends. Olive did her in-classroom training at the Indian School and when she graduated she originally planned to teach at an all-hispanic school in Goodyear before the Chandler School offered to hire her. By then her family had settled in Chandler, so she chose the latter offer.

    However, Olive's schooling did not end when she acquired her teaching job in Chandler. Olive regularly would spend her breaks from school taking additional classes. She took classes related specifically to learning all of the modern teaching theory - such as Child Psychology - as well as extras related to her interests - like Shakespearian literature. When she began to cover music classes she also took a couple courses on music theory to supplement what she already knew from her experience on piano and in choir.

    Olive seriously considered going back to univeristy full-time towards a theology PhD, but she fell in love with her job as an AFSC relief worker and decided against it.

    When Olive was first recruited as a relief worker to be stationed in Germany, she was actually in the middle of taking Spanish classes. Olive had originally thought to be placed in Mexico, but at the last minute her assignment was changed and she did not have time to learn German before leaving. The recruits for Olive's AFSC section had a brief training period at the organization's London headquarters. While there, they began learning some basic German, but they would all have to continue with their lessons well into their time in Germany. Usually they would meet in groups of three at a time with a fluent German speaker from their group to learn and practice. They would also attend German-language plays to develop their abilities to listen and think in German. In only a few years, Olive managed to gain a level of fluency where she would sometimes write in her journals in a mix of English and German and could comfortably talk to native German speakers or go see German films with little difficulty in comprehension.

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