Journey of learning

Published 2:17 am Wednesday, June 21, 2006

By Staff
Story and photo by Lydia Grimes
Most people find new things to do when they retire from a job. But there are those who just can't give it all up.
Harriett Godwin is that type of person.
She taught school at T.R. Miller High School for about 15 years.
In that time she saw a good number of youngsters come in and out of her classroom, but some of her favorite moments with them has been outside the classroom when they travel to Europe.
In 1996 she heard about a teacher who was taking a group of students to Europe and it gave her an idea.
She loved to travel and thought that she would like to try that idea with some of her students.
That was the beginning of her spring break trips to various countries in Europe with a group of students. It is not a school-sponsored project, so she will be continuing the trips now that she has retired.
She has been in charge of nine trips so far and has the next one well planned. The students who plan to go have already been accepted.
The group travels to major attractions such as the Louvre museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Vatican and the Eiffel Tower.
One lucky connection that Godwin made on one of her family trips has secured an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Godwin believes the trips are opportunities for the students to get to know how other people live in the world. She said she always warns the students not to be surprised and by all means, to not complain about anything. This is because their cultures are different.
Godwin was born in Brewton to Lee and Mary Frances Otts as the oldest of four girls. He father was an attorney who practiced law here in Brewton for many years.
She attended school in the Brewton City School System and graduated in the top 10 of her class in 1969. She participated by working on the yearbook and in student government. She was always interested in government and went to Mississippi State College for Women.
She majored in political science, minored in history and graduated in 1973.
After she graduated from college she backpacked across Europe and fell in love with the countries and the people.
She came back from her trip and took a job with Chief Justice of Alabama, Howell Heflin. She stayed there about a year and then moved back to Brewton in 1975.
She took a position with Brewton Middle School teaching social studies to seventh graders. She married in 1975 to Mike Godwin, whom she had known since grammar school.
She worked at BMS until her children, Liz, Michael and Mary, were born, and then she stayed home with them until Mary entered kindergarten.
She went back to teaching and moved from BMS to T.R. Miller High School to teach history.
She introduced humanities into the classroom and started the Scholar's Bowl at the school in 1994, which still continues. The team has gone to state six times in a row.
When she is not involved with her travel plans, Godwin loves to work out of the YMCA. She also loves to read and belongs to a book club. Her main interest right now is to take photographs. She and her husband are members of First Presbyterian Church in Brewton.
Their children are all out of the home living their own lives.
Liz is married to John Wilson and is a social worker in Tallahassee, Fla.; Michael is in law school at Jones School of Law in Montgomery and is engaged to Allison Irvin and Mary is in law school at Washington-Lee School of Law in Lexington, Va.