Three named to Hall of Honor

Cer­e­mony set in Oc­to­ber to for­mally in­duct new­est ad­di­tions

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - STACY RYBURN

FAYET­TEVILLE — A teacher, phi­lan­thropist and his­to­rian will join the pub­lic schools Hall of Honor this year.

The Fayet­teville Pub­lic Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion on Thurs­day named Martha McNair, Laura Un­der­wood and Kath­leen DuVal as the hall’s new­est ad­di­tions. A cer­e­mony will take place in Oc­to­ber to for­mally in­duct the nom­i­nees.

The foun­da­tion for 21 years has put money raised from the cer­e­mony to­ward grants for teach­ers. Su­per­in­ten­dent Matthew Wendt, who took on his role last year, said the foun­da­tion sets the stan­dard na­tion­ally for sup­port­ing pub­lic schools.

“I know that you know this, but I’m here to con­firm it for you,” Wendt told those in at­ten­dance at Thurs­day’s lun­cheon. “We have won­der­ful peo­ple in Fayet­teville pub­lic schools.”

McNair, who taught at the high school from 1990 to 2012, grew up in ru­ral east­ern Arkansas but al­ways had plenty of reading ma­te­rial. The fam­ily had the New York Times de­liv­ered ev­ery week as well as daily news­pa­pers from Mem­phis and Lit­tle Rock and the lo­cal New­port pub­li­ca­tion plop­ping on the porch.

She grew up with en­tire sets of lit­er­a­ture in her grand­mother’s li­brary. Reading a dic­tio­nary or en­cy­clo­pe­dia was noth­ing out of the or­di­nary, she said.

McNair started teach­ing at Parkview High School in Lit­tle Rock fresh af­ter grad­u­at­ing in 1972 with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in English from the Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville. She got her master’s

in 1979 and shortly there­after be­came a lec­turer for the univer­sity English Depart­ment.

At Fayet­teville High School, McNair taught ad­vanced place­ment lit­er­a­ture, lan­guage and com­po­si­tion along with English classes as needed across the school’s grade lev­els. She chaired the English Depart­ment in the late 1990s.

McNair said she made it a point to as­sign a va­ri­ety of fic­tion and non­fic­tion reading so her stu­dents could de­velop a writ­ing voice of their own. She al­ways pre­ferred teach­ing high school stu­dents old enough to have mean­ing­ful dis­cus­sions.

“They’re not wor­ried as much about the next time they can brush their hair,” McNair said. “I could re­ally work well in the class­room at that age.”

Un­der­wood, a Texas na­tive, gave com­puter lessons to stu­dents and teach­ers when ev­ery­one still used floppy disks. She taught at Fayet­teville High School from 1987 to 1996, just when tech­nol­ogy im­proved and an in­ter­net con­nec­tion be­came com­mon­place in house­holds.

Vot­ers later that year elected her to the School Board, a po­si­tion she held un­til 2006. The board had to close some schools dur­ing her terms and opened oth­ers. She de­scribed the ex­pe­ri­ence as, “the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Un­der­wood has served on a smor­gas­bord of boards, in­clud­ing Wash­ing­ton Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter’s Friends of Hos­pice, Ju­ve­nile Di­a­betes Re­search Foun­da­tion, Fayet­teville Ju­nior Civic League, the Yvonne Richard­son Com­mu­nity Cen­ter and Su­san G. Komen Foun­da­tion of North­west Arkansas.

Un­der­wood said she has never stopped learn­ing, since her time in school in Dal­las to the valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence she gained on the School Board to her cur­rent com­mu­nity ser­vice.

“That’s what life, to me, is about,” she said.

DuVal, a Fayet­teville High School grad­u­ate, re­ceived ten­ure in 2009 from the Univer­sity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she serves as a his­tory pro­fes­sor.

Crit­ics have praised DuVal’s works, in­clud­ing In­de­pen­dence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion, her most re­cent book re­leased in 2015. She has been pub­lished in the New York Times, Wall Street Jour­nal, Chicago Tri­bune, Wil­liam and Mary Quar­terly and oth­ers.

DuVal’s books and ar­ti­cles have gar­nered nu­mer­ous prizes and awards. She ap­peared on The Diane Rehm Show, The State of Things and doc­u­men­taries fea­tured on the Amer­i­can He­roes Channel.

DuVal’s par­ents, John and Kay DuVal, ac­cepted the nom­i­na­tion on their daugh­ter’s be­half dur­ing the lun­cheon. DuVal was un­avail­able Thurs­day.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK

Susie Stewart (from left), a 2016 in­ductee into the Fayet­teville Schools Hall of Honor, Martha McNair, a 2017 in­ductee, Laura Un­der­wood, a 2017 in­ductee, and Thelma Tarver visit Thurs­day prior to the for­mal an­nounce­ment of the 21st An­nual Hall of Honor in­ductees at Fayet­teville High School. The an­nounce­ment of the in­ductees by the Fayet­teville Pub­lic Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion also in­cluded 2017 in­ductee Kath­leen DuVal.

DuVal

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