Wednesday, September 25, 2019 – Mr. Tommy Macik
“To teach is to touch a life forever!” Anonymous
All of my teachers had an impact on me. Remember, I stayed in school for a long time, so I have many teachers to thank for my education. I do not usually like to toot my own horn, but as one of my favorite teachers, Wanda Traugh, used to say, “He who tooteth not his horn; thus shall it not be tooteth.”
Of the many, many teachers I have had over the years, I did not have this teacher as a classroom teacher. In fact, I was not even allowed to take his class. Nevertheless, he made an impact and I did not know it.
When I was in Grade Nine and throughout high school, I could not stand Mr. Tommy Macik. Mr. Macik taught agriculture classes at Magnolia High School. I thought that he personally was the reason I was not allowed to take agricultural classes.
I was not keenly aware of the content of the classes. Agriculture and dirt were off putting as was anything associated with animals. But I thought those blue corduroy FFA Jackets with the gold piping and Magnolia, Texas written on the back and that big gold decal of Future Farmers of America were the coolest thing I had ever seen and I could not understand why I was not allowed to have one. It had to have Mr. Macik’s fault that girls were not allowed.
Flash forward four years to May, 1967 – Magnolia High School graduation. As I walked out of the auditorium, Mr. Macik walked up to me and said, “You are going to be one of the greatest teachers ever!” I honestly do not remember him ever saying anything to me in the four years of high school. To which I replied, “No way. I will never set foot in classroom again.” Well, never say never.
Flash forward to one of Celeste’s younger birthday parties – maybe her 80th or 90th. I had the opportunity to visit with Mr. Tommy Macik and Lou. First thing I did while shaking his hand was to show him my Texas Aggie Ring. His eyes lit up and I said, “But wait. There’s more. I have a PhD in education from Texas A&M, Class or 1985. My dissertation was funded ($30,000 a year) by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service and The Texas 4-H Foundation. It was not only the content to teach about computers in public education, but HOW to teach it using the new and highly effective instructional methodology designed by Dr. Madeline Hunter. It was the first dissertation from the College of Education at Texas A&M to address the topic and one of the first dissertations in the nation addressing computers in public schools.
Continuing, I said, “My degree is in a new field called Educational Technology with emphasis in the design of learning environments, effective use of technology and teacher education. I teach teachers how to be better teachers.
My first publication was for all of the County Extension Agents in Texas for 4-H’s new program offering called Operating Microcomputers.
My second was in the Texas 4-H Magazine.
I went on tell him of some the things I got to do in the field of education – like experiencing, super-secret non- disclosure research on something called Virtual Reality in the mid 1990’s. I went on a VIP tour of NASA where I got to climb all over the Space Shuttle simulator, inside and out, and operate the Sally Ride external arm. I had my picture made with and a floppy disc signed by Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder of Apple computers. I said, “I even have my own signature stamp and electronic signature at the state.” By this time, he is smiling, nodding like he was not surprised and we both had tears in our eyes.
Somebody took our picture that day. It hangs with my degree in the Reveille Room between the Sugar Bowl National Championship Pennant and one of my prints of Reveille on what I call – My Most Valuable Aggie Stuff Wall.
I ended our conversation with “You were absolutely right in 1967. I did become one of the greatest teachers ever. Thank you for recognizing it in me.”
It is too late to get an FFA Jacket? I still wear the same size as I would have in high school.
To teach is to touch a life forever.