January 19th, 2008

The Zombie

Passing of a Guiding Star

January 18 -  More comic book millionaires tomorrow, but I first have to say something about Father John Scott, who, I just found out, passed away at the end of last month.  Father Scott was a Physics teacher at Campion, the prestigious, now-defunct boys' preparatory school where my Mom was school nurse when I was a kid.  Often, after grade school was done for the day, my sister and I would have to wait for Mom to get out of work, spending several hours on the ivy-covered Campion campus.  As we waited, Father Scott, who'd been teaching there for thirty years by then, often took time out of his busy work schedule to "entertain" us with science experiments, physics lessons, and engaging conversations about looking for answers.  That this man - who was author to dozens of authoritative books, who was recognized as one of the nation's great thinkers, and who was an advisor to Werner von Braun and the early U.S. Space Program - should so enthusiastically spend his precious free time teaching two bratty little kids about the wonders of science, is a true testament to the kind of inspirational man that he was.  In fact, he was such an inspiration that a new school, John Scott Academy, has been named in his honor.  The school's Founder and Headmaster, John Overbeck, was also one of Father Scott's former students.  On the Academy's web-site, Mr. (Dr.?) Overbeck wrote the following...

Father John Scott, SJ, who taught me physics in high school, is the best teacher I ever had. He opened for me the door to the universe, invited me to walk through it with him, and pointed out the wonder, the challenge and the excitement of a life fully lived. His example—the gifted teaching, the invitation, and the mentoring—is the model for this school named in his honor. 

Father John Scott has been a Jesuit priest for more than 60 years, and in that time has touched for the better the lives of people numbering in the thousands. Father Scott taught physics for 30 years at Campion Jesuit High School, boarding prep school located in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Among his teaching honors is a Wisconsin Physics Teacher of the Year award and designation by the National Education Association in 1967 as one of the 40 “Impact Teachers” in the United States.He also spent many summers, at the request of the National Science Foundation, teaching institutes in physics at Creighton University for science teachers and supervisors.

With his booming bass voice, his vigorous and inventive teaching style, and eyes that communicated the intensity of his love of life and learning, John Scott opened the doors not only to knowledge, but to the challenge of lifetime learning.

In addition, John Scott has, over the many years of his intellectually active career, authored hundreds of articles and pamphlets, and 27 books.

I visited him this past May, to thank him for his kind permission to allow one of his students to name a school in his honor, and to ask his blessing on the work of the school and on the students it would serve. His health is frail, his energy is waning, and his eyes have failed him. But as we sat talking through the afternoon, a beautiful realization presented itself. My last day in his physics class at Campion was in May of 1959. And here we were, 47 years later almost to the day, and he was once again the teacher and I his student.

Father Scott is still the best teacher I ever had, still one of the guiding stars of my life, and I am still his student.

John Scott Academy is a non-sectarian school, but what more appropriate name could the school have than that of a teacher whose lifetime of touching the intellectual and spiritual lives of precocious young people defines what it means to be a teacher.

As that tribute indicates, the world has lost a great man.  Father John Scott was 94 years old when he passed.  With his Superior's approval, he donated his body to medical science.

Back to comics stuff tomorrow.  Here's your
Millionaire Comic Book Character of The Day -
Warren Worthington III!