The unforgettable Ludmilla Coven

The other day we were alerted that there were strangers approaching the house as the dog was barking up a real storm.

Mary Kay went to the door and a we realized that a blast from the past was being delivered.

A person that I have thought of often, who lives nearby and yet we don’t manage to connect to, was brought to the forefront with a delivery of books taken in a clean-out measure. The delivery was done by her daughter and son-in-law. The worry was that these books might provide something of good and were just currently sitting gathering dust. I am not sure that she even knew that I was doing ESL conversation hours.

Ludmilla Coven.

The woman who accompanied my oldest son to Washington when I couldn’t attend a conference where we were presenting. At the last minute, my principal, at the behest of my department chairman, pulled my funds and I refused to go, since I really didn’t have the personal funds to do so. I had already purchased my flight which I gave to my son so he could go and visit his aunt and his cousins.

Ludmilla Coven.

The person that you wanted your children to meet.The brilliant woman with a mind and body that were incapable of settling down. I have been called a ‘whirling dervish’ in my time but honestly, this lady is the epitome of a creative and intelligent person who was constantly thinking of new ways to do things and how to accomplish the impossible. You had a tough time saying ‘no’ to Ludmilla Coven.

A woman who got her PhD after retirement, if my memory serves me correctly. A woman who had her eye on the prize in terms of how to get the most out of the school system for her students. A Special Education teacher who could not rest on her laurels. She connected with several of us in the language department and helped us come up with the subject of our presentation in Washington D.C., HOLA! or How to Optimize Language Acquisition. With her help we came up with a course that would open up the idea that languages should not be elitist, and that clearly anyone could manage to reach a certain level of competency in language learning. Clearly she was ahead of her time.

Ludmilla Coven, a New Trier icon, speaking during the only strike teachers of New Trier ever made and doing so for the students, on their behalf.

Ludmilla Coven, not only brilliant, but a beautiful person inside and out, learned and kind, all focused on the students she taught, all about giving them all the advantages they deserved.

I think it was more than one summer that we taught HOLA! in the New Trier Language Lab and took the kids on local field trips. We taught them ways to recognize Latin and Greek roots and gave them tips and hints to demystify and to make them comfortable as they attempted to be in regular language classes. This push also brought about special classes of language that were easier and less overwhelming for special education students.

What a gift to receive the books from Ludmilla. What a gift it is to know her and to have experienced her love of learning and her enthusiasm for sharing the gift of education.

About Richard Koerner

Almost seventy something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
This entry was posted in Academics, Education, Equality for All, Lack of respect for Teaching in America, Life in general, New Trier High School, People and their characteristics, Special Education, Thoughts and philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.