“Is Harvard on Halsted?”
The last semester at NEIU during the Fall of 1982 concluded in graduation after I completed Student Teaching at Lincoln Park Magnet School which included Middle School for grades 6th, 7th, and 8th, for Spanish with the teacher Manuel Verdugo, and French with Maureen Dolan and Maureen Breen. I was working with the NEIU Education Department and Foreign Languages Division under assignment by Dr. Bonnie Busse and Dr. Rosalyn O’Cherony who worked with Dr. Bruno Galassi, Chair of the Foreign Languages Department. In addition, I had already completed the French Program with Dorette Klein and other faculty there. The months of September, October, November, and December in 1982 took up all the time I had to finish my Bachelor of Arts degree in Education at NEIU and find a teaching job to place me in the working world after five (5) years of undergraduate studies at Northeastern Illinois University. I was pressured to finish school and get a job in the working world away from NEIU.
So I found my first teaching job at Holy Cross High School for Boys managed and owned by the Christian Brothers in River Grove teaching Spanish and French for Elaine, a Hispanic woman from Santo Domingo who was pregnant and wanted maternity leave to have her baby. I started teaching in January 1983, earning a mid-year teaching salary of only $12,000 which was below the standard pay for teachers in 1983, even for Catholic Schools owned by the Christian Brothers. Holy Cross High School expected the teachers to clean up the classrooms and desks after school, in addition to teaching five (5) classes a day with more than one hundred students daily including extra-curricular activities for the Athletic Department inter-scholastic games, soccer outings, Spanish and French Club field trips, Homeroom, Lunch and Hallway Supervision. Elaine wanted to return to her higher salary after maternity leave and the other teachers for Spanish and French were already earning more than the meager salary of $12,000, expecting than the new teacher would do all the work demanded for less. I decided that I had been hired to teach French and Spanish, and not to clean up the students’ desks with gum sticking inside and under the tables at Holy Cross High School managed by the Christian Brothers. I was being paid the lowest salary of $12,000 at Holy Cross High School by the Christian Brothers and the Foreign Languages Department for the Catholic High School which now has become Mother Guerin College Preparatory in River Grove, Illinois USA. Christian Brothers Parochial Schools have been under investigation for abuse, crime, and corruption in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
In the Spring of 1983, I enrolled at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus on Halsted St. by Greektown. “Is Harvard on Halsted?” There were many Harvard University professors teaching at UIC. I was referred to the Department of Communications and Theatre headed by Chairperson Anthony “Tony” Graham-White Ph.D., a British Shakespearean director, actor, and poet who provided recommendation for the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship at the University of Illinois Chicago campus. I was awarded the Lincoln Fellowship for Graduate Studies involving Communications, Rhetoric, Theatre, and Ethnography.
Anthony Graham-White placed me as a Graduate Assistant for Graduate School Communication Survey Research Methodology at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center, Emergency Room working with Elena Yu, Ph.D. Research Associate at the Pacific/Asian American Mental Health Research Center, with joint appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology in Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Anthony Graham-White, Ph.D., Thomas Kochman, Ph.D., Alfred Jones, Ph.D.
In addition, Anthony Graham-White also assigned that I provided community services as the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship Graduate Assistant for the Chinese American Service League in care of Bernie Wong, Director, in Chinatown Chicago, Illinois USA. Upon completion, I received a Certificate of Community Service from Bernie Wong, Director of the Chinese American Service League (CASL) in Chinatown Chicago.
Plus, I had to research, develop, and write the Graduate Thesis about “The Chinese in Cuba: Assimilation and Acculturation” advised by Anthony Graham-White and Tom Kochman who were recommended that I write the ethnography as a graduate thesis project.
The UIC Department of Communications and Theatre also required that I study Voice, Speech, Rhetoric, Theatre, Japanese, Portuguese, Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Ethnography, Anthropology, and other courses as a Graduate Assistant recipient of the Abraham Lincoln Fellowship.
During 1983, 1984, and 1985, I became involved with the cross-cultural history of my Grandmother Gertrudis Salustiana and my Chinese-Cuban relatives. My cousin José Alberto Fong García from Harrison, New Jersey was also involved in the theatre as an actor and manager. When the Broadway musical “Hair” was showcased in Chicago, my cousin José Alberto Fong García was performing as a cast member and manager of the theatre production and he called me to get together downtown. My Father and I invited my Cousin José Alberto to brunch at the Drake Hotel on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Cousin José Alberto met my Father and I in the Lobby of the Drake Hotel for a special brunch at noon. I have not seen my Cousin José Alberto Fong García from New Jersey who is my Mother’s first nephew and son of her second brother Alberto Fong Ramos and sister-in-law Mirtha, since the early 1980s. My Cousin José Alberto and his brother David used to live in Harrison, New Jersey, USA.
In the early 1980s, I completed my Graduate Thesis as an Ethnography about “The Chinese in Cuba: Assimilation and Acculturation” under advisement by Anthony Graham-White Ph.D. and Thomas Kochman Ph.D. at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus, also known by some as “Harvard on Halsted” for the number of faculty and graduates from Harvard University who share scholarly contributions and academic cooperation.
While I was a Graduate Assistant at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus, I began to write letters in correspondence to Nathan Scott Wittler who was in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Platte based in Norfolk, Virginia. I found his name on the Journal Français d’Amérique.
Gardenia C. Hung M.A., B.A.
Consulting Media Arts Communications