PRINCETON — As soon as former students of Dolores Elaine McVety got word the beloved English and history teacher from Princeton High School had passed away, they took their mourning to Facebook where they shared sweet sentiments about the teacher best known for challenging and inspiring all students who took her classes.
McVety died Tuesday, Aug. 28. She was 67.
She was a school teacher for more than 30 years, having taught in Flint, Mich., before she came to the Tiskilwa School District and then finally to Princeton High School, from which she retired in May 2017.
While at PHS, McVety taught AP history classes, British literature and English I. She also served as the division chair for social sciences and foreign languages and was the adviser for food club and the teacher/mentor program.
As an educator, McVety touched the lives of many students. She was known to be one of the hardest graders in the school, but students respected her feedback and appreciated the hard lessons she taught that many carried with them long after high school.
PHS graduate Caleb Strom from the class of 2014 wrote on his Facebook and said McVety is the person who inspired him to become a language arts teacher where he now lives in Indiana. He said McVety was the most influential teacher he’d ever had.
“She treated us as intellectual equals instead of just another set of students who needed to learn the subject matter. She was the toughest grader who taught the hardest classes,” Strom said.
“Despite those factors, students lined up in guidance to sign up for any class she taught,” he said.
Strom can still remember being assigned double the amount of essays in history classes vs. English classes taught by McVety.
“She was the one who taught me how to write. ... Many times I couldn’t even see what I had typed on the page after being graded. But no matter how many times we screwed up on those papers, she let us rewrite. … She didn’t want us to become complacent.”
PHS graduate Megan Hendrickson from the class of 2015 wrote: “McVety was truly an amazing woman and touched so many lives through her career at PHS. Thank you for teaching me how to properly write, and passing on all of your love for teaching, knowledge and wisdom.”
PHS graduate Brooke Hieronymus from the class of 2016 saved the card McVety wrote to her for high school graduation, which she keeps with her at college.
When hearing of McVety’s passing, she posted a photo of the card on Facebook and wrote how McVety was “one of a kind, more than a history and English teacher.”
“Most of my memories are from her classes. The discussions on music, philosophy, history and literature of various cultures taught us to appreciate the world beyond us, and what it means to be human,” she said.
“She taught me that what I say and how I say it truly matters. Her discipline taught me dedication and perseverance. She helped me learn how to think critically, always remaining eager to share her vast wisdom without ever enforcing her beliefs on others.”
A memorial service for McVety will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Evangelical Covenant Church, with the Rev. Derek C. Boggs officiating.