Miss Virginia Sheppard ’41 passed away on January 13, 2020. In addition to being a proud alumna, Miss Sheppard shared her talents with the WT community from 1961–1983 as an ancient and European history teacher. Miss Sheppard left a lasting impact on the lives of many of her students, some of whom shared their thoughts below. Her teaching influenced their academic successes, career choices, and love of art and history.
Miss Sheppard was also a member of the Miss Mitchell Society. We are extremely grateful for her gift and for the fact that her legacy will continue in perpetuity.
My enjoyment for history is something that I received from Miss Sheppard’s teaching. It led to my decision to pursue an Art History degree and to my continued love and appreciation of history today.Maria Matheny Chapman ’65
She was the best. She taught us to use critical thinking skills. I wish the rest of the country had the privilege of listening to her lessons in this crucial time in our history.Roberta Felman Lewis ’68
I took Miss Sheppard’s European History class which was most challenging. First story: I needed emergency surgery in eleventh grade but refused to go to the hospital until I could take my midterm test for which I had diligently crammed! (Got an A). Second story: scored a 5 on my AP European History test because I had to compare Erasmus and Marx, which due to Miss Sheppard’s tough standards was easy as pie! The toughest teacher who demanded excellence! A great lady!Ellen Regenstein Spyra ’71
I loved history and especially art history. Miss Sheppard must have taught us well because just two weeks ago my seven-year-old grandson was given an old art history book by his Dad. We were visiting with my daughter and her family in their lovely historic town of San Miguel D’Allende, not far from the Mexican Pyramids. Together, my grandson and I poured over the book, and I was amazed I remembered it all and was able to share my love of art with my grandson who was smitten especially with ancient art. So, thank you Miss Sheppard for drilling us well in the history I loved so much. May you rest in peace knowing you gave to so many young students. Yes, a life well lived and a job well done.Lucy McDowell Karrys ’68
Miss Sheppard inspired in me a deep fascination with history and a lifelong passion for learning. She was a tough yet warm-hearted teacher, holding us to the highest standard because she believed we could reach it. For this, we loved and revered herKerry Walk ’79
Virginia Sheppard inspired me to major in American History (more specifically, American Intellectual History) at Brown University. She excelled in teaching us to think rather than memorize, avoiding an occupational hazard in those days for history teachers. Miss Sheppard connected to us as individuals, encouraging our personal interests and unique explorations. She rewarded unconventional interpretations of historical events, and she rejected the option of producing little robots who would parrot back the concepts and analyses she imparted. Virginia Sheppard was a highlight of my WT education.Karen Wolk Feinstein ’63
Miss Sheppard was extraordinary. An exemplary teacher who truly inspired learning! I have very vivid memories of walking into ninth grade’s ancient and medieval history class…Taking copious notes throughout the entire class and hoping that she would not call on me. When she did call you and you knew the answer to her satisfaction, what a wonderful day that was! On occasion, we were able to have her talk about her collection of pigs that sat on the side of her desk including one named ‘Hammurabi.’ She was ‘old school’ and we loved her for it! I feel privileged to have known her and fostered a love of history through her. What an amazing WT legacy.Allyson Baird Sveda ’84