Every now and then, a teacher comes along who not only touches your life, but leaves an indelible imprint. During my time as a student, I’ve been blessed to have several such teachers. Sadly, last Saturday morning, one of them passed away after a battle with lung cancer.
Mr. Charles O’Donovan Evans, 80, was my western civilization teacher as a freshman at Mount de Sales Academy, an all-girls Catholic preparatory school. His class was by far the hardest class I’ve ever had–harder than my college courses. Mr. Evans gave me the first ‘C’ I’d ever received and I later found out this was a rite of passage at MDS. No one passed that first exam. I eventually passed the class, but not without hard work and countless hours of studying.
Mr. Evans was tough, but fair and he didn’t accept nothing less than the best from us girls. But that’s not to say we didn’t have our fun. One of our favorite past times was altering the outline on Mr. Evans’ chalkboard.
Just about every class included a “Pop Quiz.” Inevitably, someone would erase the word “quiz,” and replace it with everything from “tarts” to “music.” Of course, our goal was to distract Mr. Evans from giving us the quiz entirely, but it hardly ever worked.
Let’s be clear: history has never been my favorite class or my best subject by any means. Honestly, the only thing I really remember from west civ class was about Louis XIV and the palace of Versailles. But the life lessons will live on forever. Mr. Evans’ class made me a better student and, eventually, a hard working professional.
When the older girls told us we’d love Mr. Evans after we had him as a teacher, we didn’t believe them. But, nevertheless, they were right. At the end of my freshman year, I jokingly (but seriously) asked Mr. Evans not to leave until he taught my younger sister, who was in fourth grade at the time.
He kept his promise and, sure enough, after my sister had the please of experiencing west civ with Mr. Evans, he retired as a teacher and became the archivist for MdS–a position he would proudly hold until his death. Every time I returned to my alma mater, I would visit Mr. Evans and I’d catch him up on what I was doing in college and, later, in my career.
Mr. Evans was not just a teacher. He was (and still is) a Mount de Sales legend and institution. More importantly, he was like a grandfather to all of us, which made his death even harder. He can never be replaced and I speak for every member of the MDS community when I say he will be sorely missed.
Every Spirit Day, Mr. Evans would wear a tie with all of the class colors on it (blue, green, red and yellow). When asked which was his favorite class, Mr. Evans would always give the politically correct answer: “I love all of you girls.” And we loved him, too.