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AUTOBIOGRAPHY James Gilbert Lyerly - page 3 / 8





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At Mount Pleasant I took the usual recommended courses, but especially I took Math, Latin and Greek. The Superintendent of the school was Col. G. F. McAllister, who was also my Mathematics teacher. I remember the last year in Math, either Geometry or Trigonometry, at the end of the course he told the class he was giving the class a problem to solve in two days time and that no student had solved it for twelve years. The problem was very complicated involving multiple axioms and rules of the subject. I kept my nose to the book and worked it out and submitted my answer. The professor was surprised that I had worked it out, the first in twelve years.

I took two years of Greek under Dr. R.A. Goodman, Lutheran Minister. I do not know why I took Greek, but it seemed to be a language I would like to study. At the end of the course, the second year, Dr. Goodman said Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute always gives a gold medal to the student who makes the best grade on a comprehensive exam. I took the exam and won the medal, which I still have.

My father and mother came to my graduation at Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute. I remember Col. McAllister telling my father about me being a brilliant student, and that I should go on through college and get a degree.

The school was sponsored and supported by the Lutheran Churches and the Lutheran Synod. It started out as a college and a Lutheran Theological Seminary about 1838. When it changed from a theological seminary to a two year preparatory college I do not know. After Col. McAllister died probably ten to twenty years ago, it ceased to exist. Now the brick buildings have been taken over by the Cabarrus County Historical Society as Historical Museum Buildings.

Being Lutheran, I decided to go to a Lutheran College, either Roanoke College at Salem, Va. or Newberry College in South Carolina. Roanoke College was six miles from Roanoke, Va. and had a higher collegiate rating and their graduates could go to any of the leading universities for post graduate work. Roanoke College gave me a scholarship which meant I did not have to pay any tuition the two years I would be there for graduation. Therefore I entered Roanoke College in the Fall of 1913 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1915. To save expenses of room and board, etc., I would get a job during the Summer to reduce the expense money I had to get from home. One of the places I worked was on the street cars for the Washington D.C. Electric Company where I operated electric street cars all over Washington, working at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving where the paper money was made. He had the most perfect penmanship I ever saw, somewhat like was seen on paper money.

At Roanoke College they recognized the subjects taken at Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute if I continued the courses at Roanoke College, or take an entrance exam. That is the reason I continued Latin, Greek and Math through the senior year. That is, I would end up taking five years of college Math, five of Latin and four of Greek. I also took courses like Philosophy, Religion and Pedagogy to prepare me for teaching. I had practically give up the idea of studying medicine because of the expense it would take. Dr. F.V.N. Painter, the professor of Pedagogy told me after graduation I should apply for a teaching position as a principal in High School.

At this time I might mention as I said I took the Greek courses, including the study of the New Testament in the Ancient Greek Language in the senior year. Dr. Hildreath, the Professor of Greek, said in the last of my senior year he gave a gold Greek medal to the student who did the best in competitive exam. I took the exam and won the medal which I still have. Also in Mathematics, Professor Carpenter said he would give a gold medal to the student who did the best on a competitive exam at the final examination. I took the final and won the medal which I still have.

As I look back on achieving these gold medals, I wonder if it was the best thing to do. It created some jealousies with the other students who might have thought they were due some credit. I will say the

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