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Interview with Betty Stike, January 19, 1999 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Betty Stike, January 19, 1999
January 19, 1999
Mrs. Betty Holden Stike recalls her career as a faculty member in education. She came to teach at the college in 1964 and retired in 1985. She discusses the curriculum in education at the time, and tells of how she was one of the first ones to teach a middle school curriculum in the School of Education. The interview also includes her observations of the university and Wilmington as they have evolved.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Stike, Betty Interviewer: Dutka, Andrew Date of Interview: 1/19/1999 Series: Voices of UNCW Length: 20 minutes

Dutka: Can you tell me about your background?

Stike: Well, I did my BS degree at Appalachian State University, and at the time I attended the university, it was then known as Appalachian State Teachers College because all the students who went there planning went to get their degree in education. And it was there I met my husband, Ray L. Stike. We both graduated from there and we taught three years, and then we were married. We taught a couple more years and he said, “ Oh there has to be another way to make money to rear a family”, so he came out and he worked for the power company here in Wilmington for one year and after that he went with the Pullman Company. Many of our young people do not know what the Pullman Company was, but back at that time, Pullman Company was separate from the railroad.

Dutka: Oh really.

Stike: So he was one of the agents here in Wilmington. Then he passed away in ‘46 and so I started back teaching. We had had a son who was born in ‘42, and I did not teach after that until after he passed away. So I started teaching, and I was in the public schools; however in ’64, in the summer of ‘64, Dr. Harold Hulon, who was the first professor in the School of Education, he had come and been here a year. He had came in ‘63, and he started the program for the School of Education. After a year, the students then were going into their senior year, so he needed someone to plan the student teaching program and supervise student teachers. So he went to my classroom after school. The principal had called that morning and said someone from the university was coming out. However, at that time it was Wilmington College. Well, of course I had no idea of what he was coming to talk to me about, but he wanted me to come the summer of ‘64 and teach a summer reading course for the students. About half way through the course, he came and asked me if I would consider coming that fall and working with student teachers, helping them finish their senior year. So, of course, I told him I’d have to think about that. And I did, and then I accepted. So it was the fall of ‘64 that I came into the School of Education. He was the first one and I was the second member. And we started the program.

Dutka: What was it like? How was the response of the students to the program?

Stike: They were very pleased, but I had been working on my Master’s degree from East Carolina two years prior to that. So I had completed my Master’s degree in supervision, so that qualified me for this position.

Dutka: Now, why do you think that Dr. Hulon went to you? What was your reputation?

Stike: Well, I’ll let you answer that!

Dutka: (Laughs).

Stike: I’ll let you answer that.

Dutka: Okay, okay.

Stike: But I was then teaching at what we call Chestnut Street School. Since that time the name has been changed to Snipes Elementary. But I was here at the University twenty-one and a half years.

Dutka: What was the biggest change you saw during your... what comes to mind when you think of your first day on campus to the last year you were on campus. What was the biggest change?

Stike: Well, when I came in the summer of ‘64, my office was just a little cubicle over in what is now the Hoggard Building. That housed the offices for education, for business, for history, for science, for psychology, and of course our offices were in a large area where we only had cubicles. So, I’ve seen it grow from three buildings to what it is now.

Dutka: What are some of the students or maybe other faculty members that come to mind that you especially like to remember? Or some good stories or some funny anecdotes about the staff here. Anything?

Stike: Well, I think, perhaps one of the interesting things is the student who graduated in the School of Education who went on to teach at Rocky Mount, and she endowed some money for the foundation in memory of her mother. Or, I believe it was her father, and she said she did that because she enjoyed working with me so much in the School of Education.

Dutka: That’s wonderful. That’s a nice tribute. Very nice. What were some of the classes that were being taught during the initial years of the School of Education? Some of the curriculum, and things like that?

Stike: Well, we had a foundations course which every student had to take, and that went into the history, a historical perspective. Then every student, of course, had to have the proper psychology courses that would go with it. And then we had the methods courses. Every student had to have so many hours of methods before they went out to do their student teaching semester. Back then, when I first came it was quarters, and then it was later changed to semesters. Semester hours.

Dutka: Now, do there any particular...can you describe your first day on campus to me? In the fall of 1964?

Stike: Oh, yes.

Dutka: What do you remember about that day?

Stike: I had no problem finding a parking place, and the steps were easy to climb at Hoggard Hall, and all of my classes that I taught, the class I taught in ‘64 was on the second floor of Hoggard.

Dutka: Uh-huh. Now, how big was the class? Did you have a lot of students then?

Stike: I think I perhaps had thirty-five. Thirty to thirty-five students.

Dutka: Mrs. Stike, can you tell us a little bit about Dr. Randall and the story regarding your brother?

Stike: Well, the earliest story that I remember of Dr. Randall... and this was before the college was started, my brother was living at Holden Beach in the mid forties. He had just come back from service. He served in the Air Force. He was in business in Holden Beach, and he was coming up from the beach one day, and he was the first one that appeared on the scene when Dr. and Mrs. Randall had their accident on Highway 17. Of course, he was brought into our hospital here, and many other community people went to see him. And of course, Dr. Hoggard was there and learned that... learned of his background and it was there that he was asked to consider helping to organize Wilmington College.

Dutka: Some amazing story. Can you tell us a little bit about the surroundings and the architecture on campus, and some of the stories why the architecture stayed the same throughout the years?

Stike: Well, I’ve heard this story all through the years, and I thought it most interesting. When Dr. Graham was on the Board of Trustees … Mr. C.G. Berry was one of his neighbors, and when Mr. Berry heard that they were planning another building, it was more on the contemporary side. And Mr. Berry didn’t like this, so he immediately called Dr. Graham and said, “Look, I think we need to keep it the early Georgian architecture”. And we’re all pleased.

Dutka: And can you tell me a little bit about how the surrounding community was here before when it was Wilmington College, and now it the University and it’s a lot bigger, what are some of the changes you’ve seen, and some of the other changes you’ve seen.

Stike: Oh, I’ve seen so many changes. It’s grown so much here on College Road. When I came to the University, and I was living over in College Acres, I had little difficulty coming out on College Drive, and coming into the University, but now it’s quite different.

Dutka: It’s quite different. Mrs. Stike, tell us about the actual physical location of the School of Education... where it’s been on campus.

Stike: Well, our very first beginning was over in Hoggard Building where we had classrooms up on the second floor, and our office was in the little cubicles. But then we outgrew that. So we were moved over to the music building, and we shared the back part of that building with the Music Department. Well it wasn’t long before we outgrew that because our staff was beginning to grow. And so we were told that we would get a new education building. So Dr. Hulon and the architect started working on it. And, of course, we were all so proud and we started packing. And I remember the day we moved. The University sent the trucks over and so the boxes came over. And the School of Education is now in King Hall.

Dutka: And what kind of office did you get. Did you get...

Stike: Nice new office with a window.

Dutka: Wonderful!

Stike: We were all so pleased to have windows.

Dutka: (Laughs). That’s wonderful. So now, what did you look for in your student teachers?

Stike: Well, first of all, they need the academic background. Then they need to be... they really have to have the love for teaching. They have to enjoy what they’re doing, and they have to have this feel for teacher-student learning. I think they also need a sense of humor. I think this makes the day for the classroom.

Dutka: (Laughs) uh-huh uh-huh.

Stike: Students enjoy seeing a teacher that is a real person. And I think you have to have an appreciation from where this child comes from, their parental background as well as the student background and the home environment. Then the teacher takes it from there. Most rewarding profession there is.

Dutka: When you went from teaching at the school to the college, how did you have to adjust to the change of coming over to a different institution?

Stike: Well, when I left the public school classroom, I saw the child as a learner there. When I came to the campus I saw a student teacher getting ready to go out and teach this level. I was in elementary education. But then the certification was moved up so that I not only supervised the elementary level up through sixth grade, but on into the junior high level. Back then we called it junior high. Today it’s middle school. And I was one of the first ones to teach a middle school curriculum over in our School of Education, because I saw the need for it so much. We all talk about the middle school concept now which is what we need.

Dutka: And you pioneered that here, teaching that.

Stike: I did the first course.

Dutka: Really. Now, you said you keep in touch with some of your student teachers.

Stike: Yes. I guess the one that I keep in constant contact with out of town is the one who lives in San Antonio. Her husband is in the Air Force and they have three children and both of them are very active in the community life there. I look forward to hearing from her. She writes letters and tells me all about them.

Dutka: That’s wonderful.

Stike: And then, of course, I’m in touch with many other student teachers here in this locale, and I know where many are teaching. I see them out of the county, across the state. I hear about their work. Many of them have already completed masters work. Some of them have completed their doctoral work.

Dutka: I’d like to change the focus a little bit now. When you first set foot on campus back in 1964, did you ever think it would grow this way? When you started the program to how it is today?

Stike: Well, I had the vision of it growing, but I wasn’t aware that it would grow quite this fast. The whole university, I didn’t know that it would grow in this proportion this soon. But we’re delighted. I know the growing pains are hard for the university to work with, but we’ll get there. We’re just so grateful that we have the land here and that the first ones who came on the campus had the vision to develop it into what it’s being developed today.

INERVIEWER: When you first came on campus, you had the input to develop the curriculum. Is that right? You developed the curriculum.

Stike: Yes.

Dutka: What were some of the goals that you had for the students then? Do they change through the years?

Stike: Oh yes, they’ve had to change, because our public school system is changing. The State Department of Public Instruction is handing out new rules and regulations. We have to keep in step with them. So the curriculum is under constant change. And, of course, the Master’s program has been added here in the School of Ed. since I left the campus. Well, I think it had started before I left, but it’s grown in so much proportion since I left.

Dutka: I’d like to also comment a little bit or ask you, let’s see. We discussed your feelings, when you started on campus there were only three buildings, and you were here when they started building more.

Stike: Yes. The School of Education moved from Hoggard Building where we were first located, then we moved to King Hall, and then, no, our second move was to the Music Building- and we shared with the Music Building and then we moved over to King Hall. And we did our packing, but Dr. Hulon and I had to leave the day of the move because we were in Asheville for a state North Carolina Education Association meeting.

Dutka: So the school’s moving and you’re not there (laughs).

Stike: That’s right. We were gone that two or three days and when we got back, we went in our new offices and we started unpacking.

Dutka: Wonderful.

Stike: And at that time we had one secretary who was Neal Eakins.

Dutka: Could you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now?

Stike: Oh, I just enjoy every day. My days are varied which I like it that way. I’ve been retired since... I retired in ‘83, but they asked me to stay on two more years and I did. So I left the campus in ‘85. Since then, I’ve been busy with different organizations. I’m now on the Board of Directors for Friends of UNC-Wilmington. I’m active in Sorosis North Carolina Sorosis which is the women’s club here in Wilmington, which happens to be the oldest club in North Carolina. We’re proud of the Sorosis because it started our library in New Hanover County and it was the start of lots of our community activities. I’m very active in Alpha Delta Kappa which is an educators group international. And I do a lot of church work, community work. I spend the summers at Holden Beach. Go down the last of May, and come back around Labor Day. And I just enjoy. I recommend retirement.

Dutka: (Laughs). Okay. Thank you very much for meeting with us today. Thank you.

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