The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 15, 2013

Finding his niche: Loretto resident ‘got into teaching by accident’

Kelly Urban
kurban@tribdem.com

EBENSBURG — Raymond Seymour has been teaching for 45 years, and it’s a profession he pretty much stumbled into.

The 67-year-old Loretto resident, who teaches Spanish and Latin at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, said when he started college at

St. Francis University he wasn’t sure what career path he wanted to take.

“I took some education classes and got into teaching by accident,” he said.

He eventually decided to focus his studies on German, but St. Francis didn’t offer a German major so Spanish became the next choice.

“I knew no Spanish, but I picked it up quickly,” Seymour said.

He received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish.

After student teaching at Blacklick Valley High School, he was hired by the district and spent two years in the high school as a Spanish instructor.

Along the way, he completed a teaching assistantship at the University of Massachusetts and received a master’s degree in Spanish from IUP.

How Seymour found his way to Bishop Carroll was another chance encounter.

“I was out of a job and I knew the principal at Bishop Carroll at the time and he said they needed a Spanish teacher and asked if I’d want the job,” he said. “I’m still here, so I can’t complain.”

Currently, Seymour teaches five classes a day in Spanish I, III and IV and Latin I and II.

In addition, he volunteers two days a week at St. Michael School in Loretto teaching eighth-grade Spanish.

“That’s really a lot of fun to teach at that level,” Seymour said.

And every two years he’s asked by St. Francis University to serve as an adjunct professor and instruct Latin courses.

“I look at teaching as a vocation rather than a job,” Seymour said.

He said he has two jobs in the classroom, one is to convince the slower students that they are capable of more than they think they can do, and on the flip side to convince the smarter students that they’re not as smart as they think they are.

“I know more than they do,” Seymour said with a laugh.

“I have fun with what I’m doing and we have intelligent kids here. I want the best for them.”

He has seen many students come and go through the years, and he said he keeps in touch with some.

“I’ll get messages from them and some who are in college will email and ask me something about a class they’re taking,” Seymour said.

As for retiring, he said he would like to teach another year or two.

“I don’t think I’d be bored if I retired, but I’m healthy and enjoy what I’m doing so who knows,” Seymour said. “When a freshmen class comes in, I think about what I can do with them over the next four-year period and that keeps me going.”

Seymour also works on translating Latin documents that are being used in the efforts to canonize Prince Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin.

“Some of them go back to 1808,” he said.

Through the years, Seymour has made numerous trips to northern Mexico to visit friends. At times, he has been accompanied by his wife, Patrica. He also has traveled to Madrid, Spain.

The couple have five children and 12 grandchildren.

“It’s been a good life and I’m blessed,” he said.

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