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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - September 23, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa She Teaches Reformatory Residents pe- per By Bertha Finn ANAMOSA — "I thoroughly enjoy lf, san] Mrs Cecil Sams of her Job as reading instructor at the Iowa men’s reformatory at Anamosa Mrs Sams teaches approximately 65 residents who range in age from 21 to the late 30s. I hey attend five one-hour rinds, with IO 15 students class "When I first started last year,” she said, “one of them asked, Aren’t you afraid of us’? I replied. ‘No, should I he ? He responded, ‘Well, no. hut people on the outside usually are’. “I don’t know what they are serving time for, hut when they walk into the room they are students. They are volunteers, but a certain number come in a hit defiant about learning “However, by the end of the quarter (12 weeks), they are, as a rule, progressing nicely. I have very few discipline problems. They tend to control each other. Wears Whistle “lf a wrong word slips out they are corrected by others." She has never had to use the whistle she wears, hut “all of the female personnel at the reformatory wear them,"’ she said. There are no grade years as such. However, there are three levels of learning. "The grade level they attained befor * dropping out of school is not necessarily their reading level,” she explained “They come from all parts of the United States. I am fascinated by the many dialects, which is a study by itself.” Stimulate Ideas The students discus* national news from an adult version of a Weekly Header newspaper. “They are upset with the pardon of former President Nixon. They believe he is no better than they are and he should not be above the law," she said. On Fridays the students play Password, based on the TV game show Mrs.Sams writes thoughtprovoking sentences on the blackboard to stimulate ideas in the classroom. A current one reads, “Only in the dictionary does sucess come before work”. This principle can certainly be applied to her own life. She derided, when her 5-year old twins were 7 months old, lo continue her education The twins were the 10th and lith addition* bi the family. She had completed one year at Mt. Mercy college, Cedar Rapids in 1950. It took two years of Saturday and evening classes at Kirkwood to finish her sophomore year. Returning to Mt. Mercy for her final two years, she was graduated with a bachelor of science degree 23 years later There are still eight children at home, ranging in age from the twins to 16 years. Four other instructors at the reformatory also teach inmates who are over 21, based on the same number of students and schedule 108 Registered Harry Neville, math instructor, began in 1945. Hon Goldsmith has taught government and social studies for 15 years. Charles Porter, science and math instructor, is new on the staff. Ray Garvey is English, typing and GFI) English instructor. According to Skelly Both, Author-Teacher: Imagination Is Recognizing What Will Work By Dave Holland IOWA CITY - Novelist Stanley Elkin, whose book “Searches and Seizures” was nominated for the National Book award, will read from “The Franchise” Tuesday at 8 p m. in the University of Iowa physics lecture room I. Elkin, who was a visiting lecturer at the U. of I. last spring, will also conduct several writing workshops during his two-day stay. “Elkin is one of the most popular instructors we’ve had here. He has an admiring following here among the students. Some of them showed an interest in his work and Elkin continued to be interested in the students’ work after he left so we invited him back,” said Writers’ Workshop Director John Leggett Elkin, who teaches writing at Washington university in St. Louis, Mo., organizes his writing classes around the premise that imagination is recognizing what will work “In class I try to get people to submit situations. We talk about whether the situations will work. What are the ramifications of the situation? Usually we find it won’t. "If it does I ask the kid: ‘Why not try it’? A boy in class last fall at Washington came up with the notion of a film cutter, you know, a Hollywood film editor, who couldn’t bear to see these stars just clipped out and thrown in a bin. He puts together a feature film from cut takes. “He has to sneak them out, of course, since they’re the property of the studio. It’s a silent film but through clever editing it makes sense. He did a pretty good job with the story,” Elkins said in an interview last spring. Began in Spring “The Franchise’’ is a novel Elkin began last spring and worked on while at the university. It concerns a man who owns franchises for motels, dance studios and fast food outlets. “This is the guy who makes America look like America.” said Elkin. For Elkin, a novel starts with him thinking he will make it through a few more years. “A novel is an endurance contest for me,” he said. And he starts with a character with a specific occupation. He’s written about wrestlers, department store owners and disc jockeys. His book, “The Dick Gibson Show”, came about because Elkin is fascinated by radios. “I’ve always sort of been taken with the notion of a guy talking to himself and getting paid for it. That, basically, is what a disc jockey does, talk to himself. It takes an incredible talent if the person is other than one of those guys who just announces the record.” South Tama Enrollment Shows 40-Student Drop TAMA — Official enrollment in the South Tama schiKil district, taken Sept. 16, shows 40 fewer students than a year ago when school began according to a report from the administration office Thursday. A total of 2.468 children are enrolled in the nine attendance centers of the district, including the Sac and Fox school on the Indian settlement and the Pleasant Hill school for special children at Marshalltown. According to Supt. Jerry Nichols, 166 children moved out of the district during 1973 but 78 others moved in. making a net loss of 88 However. while the enrollment in September, 1973, was 2.508, by January, 1974, it was 2,488, only 20 students more than at the present time. There are 545 in the senior high school. 174 in tenth grade, 185 in the lith, 181 in lith and five in special education. a total of only one less than la*t January’s 546 South Tama junior high has an increase of one student, 191 in seventh grade. 213 in eighth, 208 in ninth, and nine in serial education, making 621 A total of 338 are in the inter- Strak Fry CENTRAL CITY - The Linn county Cattlemen’s Assn will meet for its annual steak fry at Central City fairground ut 6 p.m. Wednesday DKI\ I. SAFELY mediate school in Tama. 412 in the Tama primary school, KW in the Toledo primary school, 153 in the Chelsea elementary school, 245 in the Montour elementary school, and 37 in the Sac and Fox school in grades kindergarten through four. Nine students are transported to Pleasant Hill school at Marshalltown each day. Resigns Post as Tama Magistrate TOLEDO - Marsha Stansberry, Montour, traffic and small claims clerk in Tama county judicial magistrates court, has resigned effective Friday. She began work July 7, 1973, in the department which, is a part of the office of the Tama County Clerk Dorothy Jones Mrs Stansberry wishes to pursue work in her chosen field, physical education She is a graduate of South Tama high school and of the University of Northern Iowa, where she was awarded a BA degree in physical education. She did her practice teaching in Marshalltown high school and Anson elementary school in Marshalltown DR.CRAVEN DfNTlST WUCTICf UMI TIO TO DENTURE WORK 113 Im Av* if Cede# Rapid*, la D*t Mom* ■ • Motor) City Stou* Cay Elkin does a limited amount of research for his novels. He bought a wrestling magazine to help write one book. For "A Bad Man”, the story of a department store owner in prison, Elkin went to a department store and took copious notes on how the place looked and smelled and what was offered for sale. Some Research The store manager thought he was taking inventory and asked him to leave. Elvin says he was too embarrassed to explain what he was doing but came back later and took pictures. Elkin started by writing short stories but has not written any in almost ten years A short story for him began with a situation that was already firmly in his head. His story, “I Look Out for Ed Wolfe”, for instance, started with a friend of a friend spending the night at Elkin’s home and repeating the phrase over and over during the evening conversation. No Situation “It was a marvelous title but there was no situation. I kept it in mind, then one day I was wondering what I would Im 1 worth if everything I owned could be turned into cash. It came out to less than $1,900, but I had the situation for the story.” Elkin also writes occasional magazine articles. His latest about a mail order company that sells novelties and gags, ran in Esquire this summer. He has completed two screen plays. “The Six-Year-Old Man” was purchased by Stella Stevens and that was the last Elkin has heard, l^ast year he wrote “The Art of War” for Columbia Pictures, Given Parameters "I don’t know what the latest is on that. Al Pacino and Jane Fonda are reading it, but I don’t have any confidence it will ever be made. I did it to order like a tailor, like cutting a suit to order. The idea was Producer-direc-tor Michael Ritchie’s. He pretty much gave me the parameters. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience The money was pleasant.” That Elkin became a writer, like imagination, was an act of recognition He discovered that he was one. "One does what one can, The only thing I can do is write. It wasn’t a decision on my part as much as a sort of discovery, lf I could hit home runs, I’d play baseball Writing is kind of an indulgence. It is what I do simply because there isn’t anything else. I’d rather sing in a band, rather bo a Boatie.” min —WOMEN Ara yow looking for a job in Administration? II you quality, we ll pay you $326 IO a mo*i*6 (before de<Joc bon*) to learn Admmntronon Join Si# people who vt |omed th# Army Call Army Opportunities 365-8601 2711 Ut Av*. N I An Equal Opportunty Employer education coordinator, ap proximately 408 of the 623 residents are registered in classes. Prior to July, 1968, the state handled the education program. Since then, it has been under the supervision of Kirkwood Community college. Booth said, "One advantage with Kirkwood is it is strictly education and are more readily available to expertise. The vocational rehabilitation program has an enrollment of 82. This is partly financed by the Iowa State Industries. New Program "Kirkwood operates auto mechanic, body shop, welding, carpentering and food services program*. Industries funds a meat-cutting course Industries consist of a print shop; building maintenance, and tire retread shop,” Booth said A new government-funded program was begun last week at the reformatory. This was made possible by a $64,840 grant through the Iowa department of public instruction. The program employs the Westinghouse PLAN (Program Learning According to Need) system of computer-centered instruction. This is individualized instruction to inmates under the age of 21 who have low-level reading and math skills. Three new instructors were hired this summer to head the program. They are Mrs Erwin VonSprecken, Bill Huntoon, and Phil Jacks. There are 43 presently enrolled under PLAN. They attend 70 class-h'*’jrs per week. Reading, social studies, science and math are the subject areas. Very Enthused Huntoon said, “We are very enthused with the system Students’ cards are placed in the terminal here and are read and corrected by the computer in Iowa City and returned “This tells us what grade levels the students are in and how they are progressing. We also use a lot more visual aids and tapes with the program than the regular school here Each student works individually at his own pace.” The program needs re-funding each year to continue. PLAN is presently used at Prairie high in Cedar Rapids, among MKI other schools in the U.S. It is used at only one other state institution, in Georgia Max Fliehler, counselor, said, “Those enrolling have several options Mrs. Cecil Sams, reading instructor at the Iowa men’s reformatory, Anamosa, has about 65 students. She completed work for a degree 23 years after she started. “They sign up for self-improvement or to obtain a high school diploma, GED, to aid in their vocation, or for post high school work There are 32 class sections in addition to 26 high school credit correspondence courses, “From July I, 1973, lo June I, 1974 , 96 received high school diplomas.” Fliehler said he would like to see 125 enrolled under the PLAN. He said all credits received are computerized so that at any time those who further their education after leaving the reformatory can obtain them. He said the average term of the residents are from 16 to 18 months. 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