Throwback Thursday- Teacher Edition: Marilyn Byrum

Grace Schuetze, Managing Editor

In this week’s edition of Throwback Thursday, I interviewed one of MHS’s most notorious teachers: Mrs. Byrum. Surprisingly enough, someone who is known for her high expectations and challenging her students to their best possible potential, was once a high school student like everybody else.

What type of student were you in high school?
 Nerd, goody two shoes, people pleaser. I wasn’t completely totally nerdy. There were more nerdy people than I.
What were you involved in in high school?
I was a trainer for field hockey. I needed a PE credit. I hated PE because Dr. Dixon ran PE and he was a task master. He was also our AP history teacher. This same teacher made a lasting impression on me when the space shuttle Challenger exploded. It was one of those moments where you remembered where you were when a big event happened. I was in Dr. Dixon’s room taking notes in U.S. History, and Dr. Dixon, with his feet on his desk, arms crossed, looked around the room and said “children, accidents happen. Now, next in history,” and I’m like “what a jerk!”
What did you do for fun when you were in high school?
 I would ride my bike many miles on the Trinity Trails. I was very involved in my church in their youth group so I did the youth activities. Between church and school, that was pretty much my life. Church was my social outlet.
What was your favorite fashion trend from high school?
[In high school] we wore uniforms that made us look like pregnant teenagers. They had a horizontal seam a few inches below the collarbone and an inverted pleat that went out into a tent. So we wore wind shorts underneath them and oxfords under our jumpers. The biggest thing that we could do to show our personal expression was bows, and there were some girls who had really big bows. I was not a bow head; I refused to be called a bow head. 
What type of music did you listen to as a teenager?
Journey and Michael Jackson.
What were some of your favorite books in high school?
I really liked Inherit the Wind- it’s a play. I really enjoyed that play and read it multiple times. Very rarely do I read things more than once. I also loved Madeline L’Engle and I read two books by Catherine Marshall, Christy and Julie- multiple times also. Some of the weird things that I read were my mom’s professional nursing magazines. I actually read those “drama in real life” articles for fun. The other thing that I read regularly was my Bible.
Why did you want to become a teacher?
In high school we had the option after lunch to help in the elementary school. Since the elementary school was connected to the high school, I could just walk over, and I apprenticed there for two years. I really enjoyed the teacher I worked under, and I also enjoyed it because I was accepted for who I was.
I also wanted to be an English major and my dad said “well you can be an English major but you need to get something that you can earn a living with because an English major cannot earn any money.”  Since he was paying for my tuition I said “yes sir.” So I am an English major first and then on the side I got my teaching certificate because I refused to be known as an Education major because Education majors at Baylor were only out to get a Mrs. degree. And once I graduated, I needed a job, and I tried it and liked it.
Why did you want to teach English?
I love to read. I read 50-60 books a year. At the public library when I was little, you could check out boxes of books and my mom would check out a box of books, I would read them and return them within two weeks. My library card split in two because it was run through the machine so much. 
Not only was the elementary school experience at Fort Worth Country Day helpful in pushing me towards education, my high school English teachers were very influential in that fashion. One of them-even though I hated his guts- did make me learn how to write and he praised me in front of class and said that I had a point that no one else had which made me feel really good. The other teacher was an AP teacher there for years; I took two English classes my senior year just so I could have her twice. When I became an AP teacher, she mentored me, and she continues to mentor me. 
What is the most shocking thing about yourself in high school?
Yes, I had a boyfriend in high school. Yes, he was a college student, he was a computer science major, a complete nerd, a redhead, we were pen pals for multiple, multiple years and there was even talk of marriage. Obviously, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I did go visit him up in Kansas over spring break during my senior year; I’m sure my parents cringed the whole week. Only within the last five or six years did I throw all the letters away that I had left at my parent’s house. 
I also won Tarrant County’s region science fair in 1985 for analyzing the effects of soda on human teeth that I obtained from my dentist.
Why did you choose to go to Baylor University?
Baylor had a well rounded Bachelor of Arts program and Baylor was well known. Plus, the campus was pretty and it was far enough away from home but not too far. College was the best four years of my life.