Teaching more than education
After more than 28 years in Graham ISD, Dorthy Lane has made an impact on the history of district and the community.
Dorothy Lane began her teaching career in 1958 when she became a teacher at Lincoln School, the black elementary school in Graham prior to integration.
H.A. Hefner was the Graham superintendent at the time and she said to him that her being able to work in her hometown was “divine intervention.”
“I was thinking, I’d have to move out of Graham to find a teaching job right out of college. I married Benny my senior year of college, and he had been shipped overseas. But I was led to call the superintendent and see if there was a place available,” Lane said, in a presentation to the Rotary Club of Graham. “So I called, he gave me an appointment and I came in thinking ‘Oh my goodness, what shall I say?’, don’t show that I’m nervous. He was the nicest man that I’d ever met.”
Hefner allowed Lane to go through the interview process before offering her the position at Lincoln.
“I thought, ‘Boy, I didn’t know I was that good’. In the end I said to him, ‘I’m a Christian and I really believe I was led to do this,’” Lane said. “And he said, ‘You know Ms. Lane I am a Christian too, and I know for a fact you was led to do this.’”
The night before their meeting, the Graham school board told Hefner he needed to find a teacher for Lincoln and they had recommended for him to go look for one within the Metroplex.
Lane said that her whole life has been about these “divine interventions.” After her husband had returned from the military, the couple taught at Lincoln School. They taught there until integration in Graham, but even after integration Lane said they were asked to keep Lincoln open.
“To have a successful integration, Benny and I were asked to keep Lincoln School open for one year, so that our community could get a clearer understanding of the goal and all their questions answered,” said Lane. “This was unheard of, but this community did it. And we had a very successful integration.”
After teaching at Lincoln, Lane went on to teach at Shawnee Elementary.
“Being transferred to Shawnee school was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Lane said. “I had made many friends that I have today.”
While teaching was both her and her husband’s passion, they knew something that was just as important.
“Benny and I grew up in a home that taught us to be helpful,” Lane said. “So when I was asked to integrate the ASCS office, oh I immediately said yes; not realizing I would then do the integration for the local drug store also (...). That, too, went very well.”
That lesson from home is still spoken through Lane and her husband as they continue to help others and encourage others to be helpful.
“Now you can see that I don’t have any enemies, my friends just kind of take care of me,” Lane said. “I don’t know what they see or what they think they see in me, but I think they finally realized that I just can’t say no, if I think I can help something.”
Lane said that everyone can impact one another by just doing one thing, and sometimes people do not understand the impact they are having.
“Now I am telling you this because most of us do not realize how helpful we really can be,” she said.
Lane will tell more of her story in honor of Black History Month at NCTC’s Graham Campus during their Mix & Mingle and Movie Night on Tuesday Feb. 18 at 5 p.m.
For the full story, see the Saturday, Feb. 15 edition of The Graham Leader.