[Hoofbeat: Welcome Back, Nelson] Page: 1 of 2
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Page 6 HOOFBEAT
BY CINDY SHINE
WILLIAM H. NELSON - National Honor Society 65-67;
Superlative; MOST CREATIVE; Key Club 65-67; Parliamen-
'67 tarian 66-67; Concert Choir 64-67, Vice President 66-67;
Thespians 64-67; French Club 64-67, President 64-65;
Allied Youth 66-67; "Kismet"; "The Music Man";
"Carnival"; "Monkey's Paw"; "Here's Happiness"; "The
Great White Way"; and Honor Roll.
The popular "Welcome Back, Kotter" can
be heard weekly blasting forth from televi-
sions all over the W. T. White District. The
spirit of Gabe Kotter is alive and well at
White in the body of one of our very own
teahers -- Mr. Bill Nelson, who was a
member of W., T. White's first graduating
class (class of '67) and destined to return
some four years later -- this time as a
Mr. Nelson began attending White the
first year that it opened. Those were the
days when they enforced a dress code and a
hair length code. During high school he was
an honor student who was "... Most
interested probably in Drama or Music."
Following graduation, he went to SMU
where he majored in French and English,
and attained a Master's of Liberal Arts
degree. When asked how he decided to
enter teaching, he replied, "Well, that's kind
of funny because sometime during my junior
year . . . just one day it came to me that --
boom -- I ought to be a teacher. I'd sort of
always known I was going to be one all
along; I just sort of accepted it one day."
Sometime after this decision, he found
himself a student-teacher under Mrs. Wein-
hardt, his former French teacher. Then in the
spring of 1972 he was offered a position
teaching English at White.
Upon returning to White, one of the first
things that caught his eye was the sight of a
full student parking lot. This is a common
everyday occurence for us, but Mr. Nelson
was very surprised. When he attended
White, only about half of the parking spaces
were ever occupied. The third floor of the
building was not even used, and no one
BILL NELSON -
dreamed of needing portables due to the
lack of space. He also pointed out that there
are more clubs now, and on the academic
side, more courses from which to choose.
It is certainly surprising how much a
school changes in only a matter of years.
How different must White have seemed to
one who was here at the beginning--the
beginning of tradition. It was the class of '67
who voted on the name of the newspaper
and the yearbook. They chose the uniforms
for the band and drillteam, and were
responsible for writing the constitutions to
be used by the various clubs. It was this
class who stood proud and tall as they sang
the school song for the first time. According
to Mr. Nelson, it was rewarding to have "...
That feeling of doing things for the first time
and wanting to do them well, so that it
would set good traditions."
After teaching here for a while, he has
observed not only physical changes, but also
changes in students' attitudes and activities.
"The most significant change, I think, is that
a much, much larger percentage of the
students work, and students consider work
more important than school." He feels that
this factor has hurt clubs and extra-curricular
activities. He also remarked, "I think stu-
dents are less serious about getting an
education and probably more interested in
money." He added that while students are
more sophisticated, they are probably less
responsible that ten years ago.
Mr. Nelson, who plans to make teaching
his permanent profession, already has quite
a list of achievements to his credit. He was
part of the group of four teachers who
wrote the curriculum for American Exper-
English, American Experi-
B.A., M.L.A., S.M.U.
ience--a combination of English, History, Art,
Music, and Architecture. "Most of my
background is European culture and general
culture. I like the idea of teaching all those
other subjects besides just English. ..
Currently he works with the wrestling team
and also the folk club. Acting as a "general
flunky" when helping with the musicals, his
responsibilities gradually grew.until he ended
up teaching Stagecraft as a regular class.
Outside of the classroom, his interests are
just as varied. One exciting thing he did was
to go to an island in the Mediterranean and
live in a pup tent by himself for two
successive summers. "I collect everything,"
he commented. "I never throw anything
away." He collects everything imaginable
from stone eggs and hats to his favorite--
models of famous world monuments with
thermometers in them. Mr. Nelson is also a
very experienced traveler. You name it, and
he's been there--from Thailand to Mexico.
When asked what changes- he would like
to see made at White here and now, he
responded with several suggestions. "I
would do away with early dismissal," he
replied, and "I would make personal typing a
required course." In addition, he would like
to see equal emphasis put on all sports.
Other items that he envisions for the future
are: a carpeted library, an orchestra pit, a
small theatre for the drama department,
landscaping around the portables, and better
facilities for the band and the choir.
Obviously, Mr. Nelson has given a lot of
his time to W. T. White. He was here when
it all began, is an active part of White at the
present time, and is looking towards the
future with ,great expectations.
Here’s what’s next.
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Shine, Cindy. [Hoofbeat: Welcome Back, Nelson], text, 1977; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc822974/m1/1/: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.