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Garma Kinhofer spent 43 years teaching biology to over 4,000 students. When she died in 1994 at the age of 93 she continued her legacy of education. She named Peoria High School as a major benefactor in her will. The school will receive approximately $50,000 to be used for scholarships and other educational resources.

Garma Kinhofer spent 43 years teaching biology to over 4,000 students. When she died in 1994 at the age of 93 she continued her legacy of education. She named Peoria High School as a major benefactor in her will. The school will receive approximately $50,000 to be used for scholarships and other educational resources.

 

Miss Kinhofer was a graduate of Metamora High School in 1918 and the University of Chicago. After teaching at Hickory Point, a small country school, she started at Peoria High School as a substitute biology teacher, although her degree was in English.

At the end of the first year she was offered a permanent post in the English department. She had, however, become so interested in biology that she asked to be allowed to continue teaching in the science department, offering to add more science courses to her resume. She taught biology at Peoria High for over 40 years.

 

She was known as a tough disciplinarian. She challenged students to work up to their potential and was known to say, in an encouraging way, I know you can do better than that.  “She initiated Doctor of Frogology awards which were given to biology students who successfully dissected the central nervous system of a frog”.

Miss Kinhofer spent her summers pursuing her two passions-education and travel. She studied at the universities of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Southern California, Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Biological Station. She traveled extensively throughout the United States. In 1959 she took a six-month leave-of-absence from teaching to travel around the world. She crossed the Pacific Ocean on a freighter to Japan, took a passenger ship to Indonesia, flew from Singapore to Bangkok, and traveled to Greece, through central Europe, and to Portugal and Spain.  Peoria High School was an important part of her life. Even into her 90s she seldom missed a class reunion.

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Miss Kinhofer spent her summers pursuing her two passions-education and travel. She studied at the universities of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Southern California, Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Biological Station. She traveled extensively throughout the United States. In 1959 she took a six-month leave-of-absence from teaching to travel around the world. She crossed the Pacific Ocean on a freighter to Japan, took a passenger ship to Indonesia, flew from Singapore to Bangkok, and traveled to Greece, through central Europe, and to Portugal and Spain.  Peoria High School was an important part of her life. Even into her 90s she seldom missed a class reunion.

Tributes to Garma Kinhofer:

'The mold. was broken. Someone must have known Garma Kinhofer!

 

There never was and never will be anyone quite like her! Hers was a stature with characteristics that are seldom seen in an individual. She was always held in the highest regard by her students and peers alike. There was an aura of authority tempered with gentleness that continually exuded to those around her. One was always conscious of her empathy toward others and of her professional demeanor. She was a strong disciplinarian. For example, there was a boy in study hall who was continually disruptive and extremely audacious. until the time Garma took him by the collar and flung him down the aisle! Needless to say, Garma had no more trouble in that study hall or any subsequent ones. Garma was a master teacher the caliber of Florence Giles, Georgia Coppock, Mamie McGrath, Y.A. Heghin and James McCormick. Each was unique in his/her own way leaving indelible imprints on individuals whose lives they touched-especially those connected with Peoria High School."

 

-Florence I. Poshard, August 1996

Choral Music/Dean

"In November of 1936, Mr. Epstein of the science department at Peoria High School was made the principal of Washington Grade School so an opening in the science department at Peoria High School was created.

 

I was called from Junior High to fill the opening. That was when I first met Garma Kinhofer. She impressed me immediately. She had a sweet smile and gave the impression she knew what she was doing. That continued the rest of the years we taught side by side. We were assigned study hall watches together and that was a great break for me, because Garma had the ability to impose her will on restless students.

 

Her students in biology were very impressed with her knowledge and gentle determination, and when I would pick them up in my chemistry classes, they would talk about how good Miss Kinhofer was, so I knew I had to be good to stay current.

 

Garma Kinhofer had the respect of her students and those of us who taught along side of this great lady.'

 

         -Ted B. Fluegel, July 1996

         Chemistry /Physics Teacher

"In everyone's life there is usually one or two people who have influenced their lives.

 

Garma Kinhofer's total dedication to the high principles of education had a great influence on my adult life as an educator. I have never forgotten the 'Doctor of Frogology' that I earned as a student of hers, nor have I forgotten as a teacher her strong discipline as a study hall supervisor. She was truly a master teacher."

 

         -W. C. "Corky" Robertson, August 1996

         PHS Student 1945-49, PHS Teacher 1956-64,

         PHS Principal 1972-87

"When I think of Garma Kinhofer, I think of a dedicated teacher who was much admired and respected by her students.

 

They enjoyed and learned much from her. Then I remember her interest in sports and a group of teachers going to the high school games and cheering for the teams with as much enthusiasm as that of the students. Garma traveled around the world on a freighter and came back with wonderful pictures which she shared. Garma was a devoted person and an excellent teacher who set a fine example for young people."

 

         -Muriel Peterson, August 1996

         English Teacher

I was just out of Bradley, back in 1928,

 

when I came to Peoria High to join Garma in teaching biology. She was most gracious in helping me get started, and she was most helpful in our years at Peoria High. She was a very fair teacher and her students admired her for it; however, she was also a firm disciplinarian. There was no nonsense in her classes. As I look back at her record as a teacher, lam reminded of a verse in the Book of Micah (Micah 6.8) which says:

 

         He hath showed thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy Lord?*

 

         Joseph B. Sommer, July 1996

         Biology Teacher/Counselor

"Garma Kinhofer was a masterful biology teacher.

 

Each year when students received their schedule they looked to see if they had been aligned to Miss Kinhofer's class. They were thrilled when they discovered they were.

 

As a fellow faculty member, I was greatly impressed be the respect shown to her by students and her peers. The kind of admiration she received is often sought but seldom attained."

 

         -Harry F. Whitaker, August 1996

English/Physical Education /Coach/ Counselor/ Principal

Garma Kinhofer could only be described as a truly dedicated teacher; one who demanded that every student in her classes do his very best, 

 

My orthopedic students in her daises always studied biology first during their study periods to be sure they were always prepared for the next day's class. I still have vivid recollections of drilling my students on the bones of the body. No student could pass her class in biology until he could name and locate the bones of the body. The generous donation from her estate actually underscores the qualities I remember best- her devotion to learning her high expectations from every student, and her special place in the annals of Peoria High School.*

 

         B. Theoline Chamness Benn, August 1996

         Special Education Teacher

"Garma Kinhofer was always interested in the activities of other departments of learning besides her own at Peoria High School.

 

In 1960 a twenty-eight-member committee of ambitious, intelligent students from her biology classes and from the Latin classes compiled a Biology-Latin Dictionary. Encouraged by their teachers, these students with much research and effort created an attractively arranged, illustrated and technically correct book showing the large number of words in biology derived from Latin roots. This is an excellent example of Garma's support and involvement in a variety of school projects."

 

         Glyda Swisher, August 1996

         Latin/French/English Teacher

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