Mildred H. Young, 79, schoolteacher

October 28, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Mildred H. Young was a talented elementary school teacher who taught thousands of students to read during a 37-year career. She enjoyed the challenge of teaching so much, she joked that she "could teach a dog to read."

Ms. Young, 79, a lifelong Baltimore resident who died Friday of heart failure at her Northeast Baltimore home, introduced reading to first-graders at several city public schools, slowly guiding them through the old "Alice and Jerry" series of books for new readers.

"She was a dedicated teacher, a person with many talents she was willing to share," said Lavlette Campher, who taught with Ms. Young at the old William Alexander Elementary School No. 112 in West Baltimore. "She was intellectually equipped."

As a teacher, Ms. Young was as patient as she was stern -- always reading slowly and clearly to the students, but rigid in not letting them off the hook when it was their turn to recite.

"She made sure every student was prepared and capable of reading. She wouldn't go on until everyone was on the same level," said Robin Caldwell, a former student and parent of a former student.

Ms. Young was also the kind of teacher whom other teachers liked -- especially those who received Ms. Young's class the next year.

"Everybody liked to get her children because they knew they were ready and well-prepared for the harder work," said her sister, Lorraine Coleman of Baltimore. "She could really teach. She said she could teach a dog to read."

In addition to the curriculum, Ms. Young taught the youngsters social graces and manners. Former students recall her spending hours with them teaching them the proper way to address adults and classmates.

"She didn't let us say 'uh-uh' when we spoke to a parent or teacher or anyone older than us," said Darrell James, a former student. "We always learned to let the girls pass first and respect them. This is stuff today's kids don't know anything about."

Ms. Young was one of the first black teachers to teach at predominantly white schools when the school system integrated in the 1950s. Some of the other schools where she taught include Mount Royal Elementary School in Bolton Hill and Cecil Elementary in East Baltimore

"She just liked being with children, no matter who they were," her sister said.

A native of West Baltimore, Ms. Young graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1936 and then-Coppin Normal School in 1939. She did graduate work at then-Morgan State College.

For more than 50 years, Ms. Young worked with local Girl Scout troops and, in her retirement, she volunteered regularly at the Red Cross.

For more than 70 years she had been a member of and participant in many activities at Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Ave. in West Baltimore, where services are scheduled for noon tomorrow.

In addition to her sister, other survivors include three brothers, William "Billy" Young, Warren Young and Donald Young; and two other sisters, Esther Blake and Anna Smith. All are of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 10/28/97

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