Laura L. Barr
“When I entered college in the fall of 1941 at the age of 17, I had no idea where I was headed. I just knew that I was expected to go to college. My mother, who had a college education and had taught for three years prior to getting married had always stressed the importance of education and it was she who inspired me to follow in her footsteps. She always told us that education was the one asset that no one could take from us. She also felt that a teaching degree was like an insurance policy in that there would always be a need for teachers.
How right she was. After my husband decided he wanted to farm, we bought a 160 acre farm and started a small dairy. It didn’t take very many years for us to realize that 160 acres couldn’t provide a decent living for a family with five children and still pay off the loan on the farm. When the opportunity arose for me to teach fifth grade in Odessa on a temporary certificate, I felt elated. My major was in High School English, so I accepted the position with fear and trepidation as I would have to make up 31 hours of deficiencies. By taking one course each term at the Residence Center in Independence (which was under the auspices of UCM), I was able to renew my temporary certificate every two years until I had all my requirements in. What I thought was going to be a short term teaching job culminated into 13 years. Had it not been for the opportunity to supplement our income by teaching, we would have lost the farm and we could not have given our children the education they deserved. It brought home the good advice I received from my mother.
Learning is a continuous process and no matter what field of study a person goes into, there are teachers involved in their success." ~ Laura Raker Barr
Two of the “five children” referenced by Mrs. Barr in her writing are also UCM alumna: Barbara (Barr) Akers, 1973, and Shirley (Barr) Power, 1980, plus two son-in-laws: Wayne Akers, 1972, and Dan Power 1973 (& 1975, Masters Degree), and, a grandson Dane Power, who will graduate in December 2007. One of Laura’s sisters and brother-in-laws are/were also UCM alumna – Marvalena (Raker) Kinder 1949, and the late Otto Lee Kinder 1951.