Community remembers ‘Amazing Grace’

Former Ames High English teacher Grace Bauske died Tue. March 14 at the age of 83. Bauske taught at Ames High from 1962 until she retired in 1986 when she was 64. During her career, she taught English, honors English, composition, literature, and journalism, and she sponsored The WEB, SPIRIT, and the senior class. Those who knew her said Bauske was a warm and caring person who devoted her love of journalism and her dedication to helping others to teaching her students. “She was very visible with the kids because of her roles as adviser to The WEB, SPIRIT, and the senior class,” English teacher John Forssman, who taught next door to Bauske for 37 years, said. “Grace was a large person and a very intelligent person. She truly believed, ‘There are so many ways to filter the light of life.’” Bauske filtered her light through teaching English and journalism. “She was a journalist at heart,” Forssman said. “Grace always believed in the importance of the free press to the preservation of democracy.” Forssman also said Bauske loved language and its power of expression. “One of the things she always said, one of the things her students always remembered, was, ‘Words, words, words,’” he said. “Grace was very talented herself, and she did her best to bring out the best in everyone,” former associate principal Bill Ripp, who sponsored the senior class with Bauske, said. “She always tried to pack 25 hours into a 24-hour day. She was purposeful, but if she met someone along the way, she always had time to stop and talk to them.” Bauske used her talents to help nurture the same love of language in her students. “One of the things she always taught her students was to realize the ‘fabulous realities’ from Thoreau’s Walden,” Forssman said. “She encouraged the kids to see wonder in their everyday existences and to see that the smallest details of life are connected to something very big.” Bauske’s devotion to teaching was clear to everyone around her. “Grace held the saying that says, ‘teaching is the most noble profession’ close to her heart,” Forssman said. “Another saying that her daughter-in-law sent her also touched her deeply: ‘teaching is another form of love.’” “She was the kind of teacher you wish every student could have had,” Ripp said. Bauske helped determine the philosophy with which Ames High classes are taught. “Throughout the years, when the curriculum was discussed, she always added to the idea that the center of the curriculum is the student; she believed the center of the curriculum is the thinking, feeling student,” Forssman said. Art Staniforth, former editor of The WEB, said Bauske’s students appreciated her teaching efforts. “She challenged us all the time, yet it was always our decisions that prevailed,” he said. “Her class was hard work, but fun. The learning environment she created helped us take pride in what we were doing and maintain high standards.” Staniforth said Bauske’s goal of excellence enhanced her effectiveness as a teacher “She was a favorite teacher for so many, the kind of teacher you want to visit after graduating,” Staniforth said. “She had a smile on all the time, and in class, she never had any discipline problems. She was focused on teaching by being positive and motivating the kids, and it always worked. People in her department and in the entire school considered her a great resource and a great friend.” According to Staniforth, Bauske pursued excellence in The WEB and in the classroom with a positive attitude. “She was serious about The WEB, and there was a lot of hard work and high standards involved with it,” Staniforth said. “Still, it was a class and a responsibility that was sought after. She guided us, but she never dictated anything. In the end, our decisions that she cared about.” Even former Ames High students who did not have the opportunity to be taught by Bauske felt her influence. “She was a beacon of light, a real grace-filled woman,” Beth Fleming, an Ames High graduate, said. “She carried herself with such great dignity and a standard of excellence. Fleming said Bauske positively affected the entire school. “Everyone knew who she was, and she left her mark on every student,” she said. “Her reputation was sterling, and she truly raised the bar for the whole school. Ames High has had many shining stars, but Grace definitely stands out above them all.” Bauske’s legacy will be carried on through the Grace Bauske Journalism Scholarship. Bauske’s family and the Ames High School Alumni Association are working to establish this scholarship fund to help future journalism students. Contributions to the fund can be made to the Ames High School Alumni Association. Grace Bauske devoted 24 years of her life to teaching and advising students, and Ames High and the entire community were impacted by and appreciated her work. “I believe Grace died from richly living,” Forssman said. Bauske’s rich life is firmly planted in the hearts and minds of all who knew her. Those who knew Grace Bauske greatly appreciated all she did. Ripp said, “Grace Bauske was the song ‘Amazing Grace’ on the educational level.”