Tag Archives: Northwest Classen High School

Yoga in the Classroom, part 2

Mr. Decker's ELD Class

The morning after the November 8 election the Northwest Classen hallways were ripe with sorrow. “How is it?” I asked. “Everyone is in a state of shock,” Mr. Decker replied. “Half the students in my previous class stayed home.” We watched his English Language Development students enter the room in silence. I considered the Maya Angelou poem Human Family we studied the week before and the closing lines: “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” I surveyed the somber faces then asked, “How do you feel?” In […]

Yoga in the Classroom, part 1


I was shocked to learn that the majority of students in OKC Public Schools receive food assistance, meaning they live below the poverty level. I asked a yoga friend, who teaches English Language Development at Northwest Classen, my old high school, if it was that bad. “It’s probably closer to 90%,” she said. “Our students rarely have guest speakers. Why don’t you teach a class?” I did not hesitate. After reviewing their English textbook I outlined a six-week program entitled Writing for Results and entered a classroom filled with polite […]

Eulogy for Frank J. Cissne


My brother’s life is a love story so it is appropriate that we gather on the eve of Valentine’s Day. Frank was born in Beaumont, Texas January 29, 1939. Life expectancy then was 59 years. Average monthly rent was $28 and you could buy a new car for $700. Gone with the Wind won the Oscar that year as the world prepared for the war that defined America’s greatest generation, which included our parents. Our father was an Air Force officer. Frank inherited his hairstyle and asymmetrical sense of humor. […]

On the Passage of My Brother Frank

Frank Cissne circa 1952

One of the great characters in my life died early Saturday, surrendering to a lengthy battle with bladder cancer at age 76. Frank was staying with our sister Carol so we could look after him. When she called at 7 a.m. I knew his time had passed. An indifferent north wind hurled snow into my face as I crossed her lawn. I walked slowly, taking in each step, knowing Frank was my biggest fan and that I would never hear his praise or see his smiling face again. At the […]