I was asked not that long ago by a student, if I were to look back at all the teachers that I had while in school, which one had the greatest impact on my life.
I did not even have to stop and think; it was Ruby VanDeventer. While at Del Norte I took two years of German from her plus U.S. History and Civics.
She was a tough teacher but fair. It was not so much what I learned in her classes, but what I learned from her while she was the advisor to the “D” club, which was the varsity letterman’s club.
In my senior year I was elected “D” club president, a position I was proud to have been chosen for, but it was definitely out of my comfort zone.
Ruby spent a lot of her own time helping me overcome my fear of being in front of a group in a leadership position that did not involve making a tackle on the football field or hitting a baseball. It was her influence that gave me the confidence to later run for and be elected president of the Humboldt State Letterman’s Club.
Since I first wrote about Ruby, I have learned a lot more about her.
Ruby was a 1910 Del Norte High School graduate. She was elected the school’s first student body president.
In her senior year Del Norte had 87 students and three teachers. After graduation she attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with her teaching credential. After graduation she first taught elementary school in Los Angeles, then went to Brookings, Ore.
During World War I she taught in Nevada for a period of time. She then moved back to Del Norte County and taught in the old Redwood Elementary School that was located on North Bank Road, not far from where Ruby VanDeventer Park is now located.
In 1930 she came to Del Norte High School. She helped to organize the first “D” Club and was its first advisor. In 1933 she helped with the senior play “The Hardy Family” and later directed the play “Convention Go Hang.” For many years she almost never missed a Warrior athletic contest no matter where the Warriors played or what the weather was like.
I feel real fortunate to have had the privilege of being one of Ruby’s students, and will always treasure what I learned from her.
At times she may have seemed tough, but you always knew she really cared about the students. She may be famous for her work with wildflowers, but to Warrior students she is famous for being a great and caring teacher.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was football head coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.