Miss Riggio not only taught us to write, but she inspired a love of great literature! Who doesn't remember how she had us all memorize the Prelude to Evangeline by Longfellow?
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct
in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and pro-
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neigh-
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail
of the forest.
This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts
that beneath it
Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland
the voice of the huntsman?
Where is the thatch-roofed village, the home of Aca-
Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the
Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image
Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers for-
Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts
Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them
far o’er the ocean.
Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village
Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures
and is patient,
Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman’s
List to the mournful tradition still sung by the pines
of the forest;
List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the happy.
We all memorized this song.
Many who read this will be shocked because Miss Riggio did not show her soft side very often. She was a stern disciplinarian, and a perfectionist! Everyone got a protractor in the beginning of the year, and we all used them to make sure that every word was properly spaced on the papers we turned in. If it wasn't perfect it was handed back to you and you promptly fixed it before turning it in again! She wanted us to do our very best!