MASTER TEACHER: VIRGINIA WIRTH WIEBENSON (1944-1975)
Every year the History Department would choose a history book for the recipient of the Virginia Wirth Wiebenson History prize. I never met this legendary teacher, but that prize represented her family’s belief that it was important to acknowledge the sterling contributions of this educator to our school. I recall many a conversation with Tom Rice as he strove to find the right book which would honor Mrs. Wiebenson.
John Comfort and Ben Duke’s speech honored Mr. Wiebenson at the first Masters’ Teachers reception. I hope it would have thrilled her:
“Her jubilant morning greetings preceded active and full days during which students would toil over math, read poetry, practice penmanship, and recite grammar rules. However, Virginia’s hallmark was her love of history. Each day, students discussed current events, tying them into the context of a constantly changing world. She helped her students to think seriously and deeply about current events and about the meanings of these events. Weekly class discussions and debates about the events of the week were often heated and often spirited.
“Yet, her greatest impact came from her devotion to Colorado history, exploration, discovery, Indian battles, the Spaniards, the fur traders, the miners, the settlers, the ranchers. Virginia brought every facet of Colorado’s past alive for eager students.”
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.