Teacher still holds students' attention

The members of Pearl Angelos' Sunday School class on the New Testament 21 years ago - who were high school juniors at the time - developed a closeness to each other and to their teacher that is still binding.

Eight members of that class met at Sister Angelos' home on Nov. 12 for their sixth reunion. They gathered for the first reunion in 1973, a year after leaving Sister Angelos' class in the Grant 12th Ward, Salt Lake Grant Stake.Sister Angelos started teaching the class of 19 after she was released from the ward YWMIA presidency when her husband, Gus, was called into the bishopric.

"Those kids drove away Sunday School teachers like crazy," she said. "But I loved them from the beginning. They were a real challenge and I needed a challenge in my life at that time."

At the end of the Sunday School year, Sister Angelos had the members of the class write a letter to themselves about their goals for the year to come. That led to the first reunion, organized so they could open their letters and see how they fared with their projections.

At that first meeting, they decided they wanted to get together again four years later and the tradition has continued every four years since.

Most of the young men in the class went on to serve full-time missions and class members have become business owners, school teachers, engineers, medical professionals, business managers and social workers. One is a special investigator for the federal government.

One of Sister Angelos' favorite reunion stories began with the first one as the romance between Tami Sperry and Lynn Morton started.

After the reunion activities that evening, some of the class members went for a car ride.

"After the ride, one of my girl friends suggested I let Lynn drive me home, so I did," the former Tami Sperry said. "We had a good talk on the way home, and during the summer we started to hang out together. Then he started asking me out."

Lynn went to England on a mission, returning home in April 1977. "Tami was a big factor in me going on a mission," he said. "She had good standards and was a good Church member."

They were married Sept. 23, 1977, and now have four children.

"Sister Angelos had a great influence on us," said Brother Morton, who is a partner with his brother in a printing business. "She put a lot into her lessons. Because of her, it sunk in. She had a great personality. She would talk 100 miles an hour. She'd even come and visit us at our houses."

Sister Morton said that Sister Angelos "had love for the whole class. She put a lot of love in her lessons."

Others in the class also continue to praise Sister Angelos.

"Pearl Angelos truly loved us and cared for us," said Gary Lind, now a physical therapist. "She put up with a lot and kept us together."

Karen Bodily, now a school teacher, said Sister Angelos brought a spirit into the class that drew the members closer together.

"We developed close friendships because of those spiritual experiences that bond us together," Sister Bodily said. "That personal closeness that developed at the first reunion has continued over the years."

"When Sister Angelos came into the class to teach us," Sister Bodily continued, "she seemed to be very interested in each of us. She related the lessons to things that were happening with us in our lives at that time and yet still taught us the New Testament. She taught us that we needed to develop our personalities and our lives to be like Christ's."

At their most recent reunion, the class members continued the tradition of enjoying a lasagna dinner prepared by Sister Angelos. Now in their late 30s, the class members also opened and read aloud the letters they wrote four years ago, and wrote another letter about their goals and dreams for the next four years.

"Everyone but two of the 19 I had in my class have come at one time or another," Sister Angelos said.

Class members have spread as far away as Columbus, Ohio, but most live along the Wasatch Front in Utah.

"I try to keep track of them," she said. "And some of them keep track of each other."

She said the class members remind her when the time is approaching for another reunion. Then she makes up invitations, writes a personal note on each, and sends them off.

"It's fun to be around the kids," she said. "I'm just surprised to see gray hair because I still think of them as young people. They're invigorating. And for the most part, they're active in the Church, and I'm very happy about that."

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