This is my aunt, Pauline Hawkins Bruce, my father’s one and only sister (he had six brothers). Pauline was one of the best and largest influences on me when I was growing up. She was a teacher – a great teacher. Over a career of more than 40 years, she taught Latin, English, and French to high school students in Rappahannock and Fauquier County high schools in Virginia. Her passion, and the subject for which she was trained, was Latin. She passed her love of Latin on to me. She had studied Latin all 4 years in High School and for 4 more years in college. She had an amazing enthusiasm for the language that I caught even before I took my first Latin class as a High School Freshman. I was away from home after my first year of high school, and I had to keep in touch with my family by letter. Pauline and I would write to one another in Latin. . . her Latin elegant, mine pedantic at first and more like hers later on. I studied Latin also for 8 years, winning a New York State Latin competition in my senior year of High School. Pauline couldn’t have been prouder of me if I had won an Olympic gold medal! She was an amazing woman and a teacher without many equals.
Last week, my brother sent me the following tribute to Pauline, written by a former Latin student who studied with Pauline at Fauquier County High School in Warrenton, Virginia. This man’s tribute says it all.
Paulina! non scholae sed vitae discimus (we do not learn for school but for life).