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Some lucky students remember a teacher who really made an impact during their school years.
For many Federal Way students, her name is Lois Gorne.
With Gorne, its not a three-year deal, said Wade Craig, a former student of Gornes who attended Federal Way High School in 1981.
Craig should know.
After 20 years, Gorne remains a close personal friend, the godparent of his child and an important influence on his childrens education.
Thanks to Gorne, my children and live theater are not strangers to each other, he said.
Teaching at Federal Way High for the past quarter century, Gorne leads speech, drama and leadership classes. She is also an active participant in school athletics and was even the cheerleader adviser for a year.
I approached cheerleading the same way I do speech and drama, she said. I sat high up in the stands, took lots of notes and we critiqued their performance afterwards. I thought theyd riot at first, but they got used to it.
For Gorne, teaching just comes naturally, Craig says.
Gorne doesnt think shes doing anything special, but she lives, breathes, eats, sleeps teaching and her students, he said. While shes directing the schools four plays, for instance, shes often there from early in the morning until 10 or 11 at night. Because of her example, her students put in the time also. And they excel because they want to do that for her.
In her time at the school, Gorne has developed both the schools speech and debate teams into strong, perennial competitors. In 1981, the team won its first state championship. Since then, the schools teams which compete with up to 60 of the states largest schools have won 10 additional state championships, placing second yet another four times.
The speech and debate team students, along with Gorne, travel most weekends from November through March, heading off to competitions as far off as Chicago.
Also under Gornes direction, Federal Way High School students put on four plays each school year. The productions, however, are not the usual high school dramas.
Bill and Kathy Harris are friends and former colleagues of Gorne who have attended many of her plays over the years.
The students are so well prepared. They stay in character. Theyre not nervous and silly, Kathy Harris said. The sets are terrific. She expects a lot from her students, but never more than she gives.
Asked for her age, Gorne dubs herself over 50. But nothing certainly not age has been able to slow her down. She still regularly visits an elementary school student and two high school teachers she taught as students in Minnesota.
They made a strong impression on methey treated me as a person, not just another student, she said.
Her daughter admires her as well.
Moms been a single parent since I was 2, said Gornes daughter, Robin. Ive always admired her energy and dedication. When I was younger, she always took me with her on trips; there were lots of students over at the house, and always fun and laughter. She always put me first it was me and it was teaching. And she has really transformed peoples lives.
Robin was actually a student in her mothers classes for up to three periods each day when she attended Federal Way High. In that time, she became aware of some of the things her mother did for students that others might not have seen.
She always stressed that students had to be well-dressed during speech and debate competitions, and many a time I saw her take a student shopping for a suit or shirt and tie who couldnt afford one on his own, Robin said.
But even lavished with praise, Gorne is ever modest.
If I do something, I want to do it well, Gorne said. I like to see kids succeed; it keeps them out of trouble; they feel good about themselves and develop confidence. I enjoy kids; they make me feel young. They are very inspirational. Teaching is a rewarding profession.