by Michael Moran

Michael Moran spent forty-four years at Little Rock Catholic High School for Boys, as a student and then a teacher. His book offers perceptive and wry observations about classmates, fellow teachers, and the legendary Father George Tribou. Proudly We Speak Your Name, which was written during Moran’s first year of retirement, examines student and teacher struggles alike.

The book, Moran writes, is “a testimony to finding what one loves to do and being smart enough to stay with it.” Moran, who taught everything from English to Latin to Driver’s Ed., is intrigued with the unpredictable nature of teenagers—a phenomenon that ranges from the baffling to the delightful. In this all-male world of short hair, khakis, and neck-ties, Moran was always ready to expect the unexpected. Student struggles, he believes, have changed little over the years. It’s still all about them finding out who they are and where they want to go.

Moran’s practiced and watchful gaze also falls on his colleagues, some of whom had their own ideas about curriculum. Father Gaston Hebert, for example, taught a speech class that included instructing the boys in how to operate a washer and dryer, the basics of cooking, table manners, and the game of bridge. Another colleague, in his twenties, had only a brief career at the school. Although a teacher by day, the school population learned he was also an exotic dancer by night.

The author doesn’t mind taking one or two for the team either, even from the students themselves:
“Mr. Moran,” he was once asked, “did you ever give a student 100% on an essay?”
“Yes,” Moran told him.
“Did it hurt?”
And, when Moran made it clear to his students that he didn’t carry a cell phone, one student was prompted to ask, “Do you have electricity?”
To influence the future through teaching is sometimes more easily imagined than experienced, Moran believes. “But if one teaches long enough, he or she is bound to get feedback from adults who were once one’s students. The gratitude expressed by them is payment enough.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that an institution often is best understood as the “lengthened shadow of one man.” In this case, that was Father Tribou, a no-nonsense administrator who was widely respected and feared by the student body. “His presence,” Moran recalls, “is still powerful in the lives of many of us who learned much from him in boyhood—and beyond.”Moran’s book is warm and witty, offering a luminous tribute to the patience and dedication of teachers everywhere.

April 2009; 128 pages; 12 black-and-white photographs; index, 7” x 10”

ISBN 978-1-935106-07-4 | 1-935106-07-4
$24.95 cloth