‘Miss Ab’ trust money going for auditorium improvements

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 12, 2009

Teaching is often an under-appreciated job, but one teacher atBrookhaven High School has definitely left a legacy for manyyears.

In 1979, the class of 1949 established a trust in honor ofTheresia Abshagen, or “Miss Ab” as she was fondly known. The fundswent to establish a scholarship for a BHS student each year, saidclass of 1949 representative Velma Myers Robicheaux.

At Friday afternoon’s Homecoming festivities, which honoredevery graduating class in a year that ends in 9, the class passedon what was left of the trust to BHS.

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Robicheaux presented a plaque and a check for $15,450 to BHSPrincipal Dr. Jay Smith. She said the class hoped that the moneywould be used to upgrade the stage and auditorium areas.

“The class of 1949 established this trust in honor of and tohonor Theresa Abshagen and her remarkable career at Brookhaven,”she said. “Probably everyone in the 1959 and 1969 classes knew MissAb.”

Smith said Saturday that school administrators are grateful forthe donation.

“Anytime someone wants to donate funds to the school, we’reready to accept it, especially with the economy like it is,” hesaid. “We greatly appreciate their thinking about us. This was agreat gesture on their part.”

Smith said the money will go to improvements in the lighting inthe auditorium, as a new system will be put in that is moreenvironmentally friendly and can be controlled by a computersystem.

Robicheaux said Abshagen was the originator of the currentyearly homecoming celebration that BHS puts on, honoring eachdecade of graduating classes, dating back to the 1930s.

“She directed and supervised everything that took place on thisstage,” Robicheaux said. “And Miss Ab was also the driving force inestablishing our homecoming celebration that we all knowtoday.”

And the beloved educator’s influence went beyond that,Robicheaux said.

“Even after she retired, she helped us out for a few years,” shesaid.

Robicheaux thanked the group for allowing her to give the schoolthe check and plaque, saying that it was a special year for theclass of 1949.

“I hope every ‘9’ class here today will some day be able tocelebrate their 60th homecoming too,” she said.

Smith said the plaque will be put up in memory of Miss Ab.

“I believe it’s going to go in the library …” he said. “Andthat’s probably fitting since she was an English teacher.”