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despite my telling them I had never held a bowling ball in my life. But I learned quickly,” she shared with a smile. Learning quickly came naturally to Katherine Moak of Neshoba County. At age 4, she began her formal education and graduated high school at age 16. She then went to East Central Community College in Decatur that summer and graduated there in just two semes- ters. From there, she began her teaching career at Ackerman High School, and with her desire to con- tinue to learn, Katherine took 40 hours of corre- spondence courses at the University of Alabama. “At that time, the end of World War II, it was hard to find teachers. When I was about to finish up at East Central, a man from Ackerman, who was on the board at East Central, heard I wanted to be a teacher. He came by and of- fered me a job at Ackerman,” Katherine stated. Why was education the di- rection she wanted to go? “At that time, as a woman, you could work in a bank, be a nurse, or teach school.” Katherine remembers the first faculty meeting at her new job in Picayune. “Dr. Napier reminded all the women teachers that Mrs. Howell had invited us to tea, and we should wear hats and gloves. Then, the next night, Argie Stewart invited the entire faculty to a shrimp boil at his camp. I got there, and being a country girl from Neshoba County, I had never seen a shrimp, and when I saw those boiled shrimp eyes, I had a feeling like they were looking at me and I couldn’t eat anything like that. Instead, I ate crackers that night. But later in life, that changed,” she said with a laugh. “Many folks don’t know this: I came to Picayune as a math teacher and my first year I taught both 9th and 10th graders,” Katherine shared. But Katherine the math teacher did not last long. “A lady in the Business Department died, and they discovered I had more business knowledge than anything else, and it was like, ‘well, here I go!’” The official name of the coursework she taught was Commerce which included classes aimed at introducing students to typing, accounting, per- sonal finance, business math, and shorthand. While teaching at Picayune, Katherine continued to work toward her bachelor’s degree taking classes for 11 straight summer semesters. In her first year at Picayune, she was selected to Pi Omega Pi, the undergraduate business education honorary fraternity. Her business activ- ities included being a mem- ber of the National Business Education Association, the Southern Business Education Association, and the Missis- sippi Business and Office Ed- ucation Association. In 1952, Katherine was in- vited to join the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International (DKG) which promotes pro- fessional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. www.southernsenior.info 19