Our Stars – In Memory of Harry Heileman

(Died 8/23/09)
A Good Friend and a Special Assistant

By Joyce Rogers

I taught as an adjunct faculty member at Cincinnati State College off and on for sixteen years while working elsewhere most of the time. As a teacher of English Composition, and sometimes psychology, I learned a great deal from my students. Many were struggling, working hard, and succeeding in making a better life for themselves and their families. I think they learned a few things from me also besides using correct punctuation, writing dramatic narratives, and constructing effective arguments on controversial topics. Sometimes, my students would wonder how I corrected reams of essays for English Composition and all those quizzes and tests in psychology. Sometimes, they assumed that I just turned over my papers for someone else to correct. Surprisingly enough, none of my hundreds of students over the years had another teacher like me who knew a retired gentleman named Harry Heileman, who served as a reader for me once a week or maybe twice a week if I was overwhelmed with both essays and tests to correct in the same time frame. Being a teacher of English Composition and psychology and being a teacher who was totally blind was quite an adventure for my students and for me, and people like Harry Heileman made it all easy and fun.

I think I was known as a teacher who readily gave praise for good work and who also caught every spelling error, wrong punctuation mark, and who readily gave back unacceptable papers for resubmission.

From 1994 to 2004, Harry Heileman and I made quite a team and kept my students on a track of doing well and feeling good about their success. Yes, all my former students reading this, I heard every word, phrase, sentence, and answer you wrote; and I directed Harry and my other wonderful and quite intelligent readers to put all those red marks on your papers. I reviewed and evaluated every paper and made those, I hope, helpful comments. I listened, evaluated, and gave my students the message that I really cared because I did care. In truth, Harry and my other readers were invaluable, too. Isn’t interdependence what we are all about after all?

Well, now for you, Harry, it is “no more papers, no more tests, no more teachers in distress.” Thanks for being a good friend and a special assistant. Some day when I join you in heaven, I promise not to bring any student essays with me.