Like everyone else I knew, I was in awe of Mr. Georges' prowess as a teacher as well as his personal charisma. He was
able to habituate his students to the relentless rigor of his quizzes and essays in part because he exemplified such quiet
strength of character. Whenever I get together with old friends from Escondido, we often talk about how the foundation in
English mechanics, writing, and literature we received in Mr. Georges' classes prepared us not only for college English courses,
but also for clear thinking and writing in every other discipline as well as in life.
Dr. Steve Sangren, Professor of
Anthropology, Cornell University
Class of 1964
was a young Vietnamese refugee when I started school as a senior at Escondido
High in 1975. Having been in this country for barely a few months, I did not
speak English well- more like not at all. Mr. Georges helped me a lot and even
gave me some personal tutoring after school…he prodded me on and gave me that
extra boost and encouragement. I
am very honored to be one of Mr. Georges' students. He gave me both a
foundation and a love for the English language.
Class of 1976
I owe my career to Mr. Georges. Right now I am grading end of semester exams for graduate and undergraduate students. There
is not one I read that I don't hear Mr. Georges' grammar rules in my head, such as "elements equal in thought must be
equal in structure." The man lives!
Class of 1977
We (all five Sarno siblings) will always remember Mr. Georges with love and respect!
Tina Sarno Inscoe
Class of 1968
I had to talk my way into Mr. Georges' class because my language skills were not up to the challenge. I have always been
thankful that he gave me the chance to try. My only regret is that he passed away before I could tell him how much I appreciated
all I learned in his classes. I remember a poster he had on the wall that said (paraphrased): "Do not ask for lighter
burdens, ask for a stronger back." It has been a long time, but I will never forget this great teacher.
Beth Calvert Wanberg
Class of 1968
I wrestled for Mr Georges for four years and had him for English for one year. I don't which was harder: one year of
English or four years of wrestling. I guess the most I learned from him was how to be a good human being, honesty, and to
treat others as you would want to be treated. I found out that these were his most important lessons. What a great man. It
was my benefit having him as a mentor.
Class of 1955
Hard to imagine that an English teacher could change lives... but this man did. He did so much more than teach
us grammar. He taught us to think, to question, to stretch our intellect. How blessed we were that he chose to devote his
life to us.
Mary (Burns) Fenton-Lee
Class of 1964
My class only got to have Mr. Georges for one semester. The first semester
he was recovering from his open heart surgery. In just the few short months I had him as a teacher, I learned study skills
and writing techniques that got me through college and law school. He had an amazing ability to challenge a student and show
that student exactly what he or she was capable of doing.
Class of 1978
Mr. Georges demanded excellence. He fired up our imaginations and taught us to excel. He made
such an impression on my life. I have carried the love of the English language with me to this day. Thank you for that gift!
Kathy Peterson (Hagberg)
Class of 1976
Mr.Georges was by far the best teacher I ever had, including my college years at University of San Diego. He was tough but
encouraging and a real "Renaissance man." I remember well placing number one out of my freshman class as USD on
a standardized English exam they gave us at the beginning of the year, and I have no doubt it was due to the quality of his
instruction and the CONSTANT repetition of diagramming those sentences! I remember the old phonograph playing in between passing
periods as we entered 49A - especially the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B!" Great memories of a great man.......
Carol (DiStefano) Maletich
Class of 1977
Mr. Georges remains my favorite teacher and one of the main influences on my life. He expected the best from us, not for his
own aggrandizement (he was probably the most humble man I ever met) but for our own benefit. The main message I took away
from his classes was that if you have precision in expression, you will have precision in thinking. Even today I can't appreciate
literature without remembering his lessons. How many teachers can still influence you some thirty-six years later? My whole
life experience was enriched for my having been one of his students.
Class of 1969
I don't think there has been a year in my life since having Mr. Georges that his memory hasn't influenced me in some way.
Probably the greatest influence was in my career choice. I am now an educator (principal) in part because of my respect for
him as well as other teachers that came into my life. What a blessing this man was to so many.
Leila VanderLyke Sackfield
Class of 1979
I loved Mr. Georges' classes. I am a lawyer today and have been known for my writing skills. Where did I develop these skills?
As my mother would say, "Three guesses and the first two don't count."
Kathleen King Worthington
Class of 1964
Mr. Georges was a gem! I talk of him often, as I am now teaching full time. While I teach middle school science, we do the
Greater San Diego Science Fair which includes a research paper. I could not have taught this without Mr. Georges teaching
us. Thank you to a wonderful teacher!
Patricia Greeley Paluso
Class of 1966
I'm so happy to find and read this website. Beyond my immediate family, there was no single individual who so positively influenced
my life as John Georges. I chose for myself a career in communications (Public Relations, freelance writing); there is no
doubt that my profession -- and whatever skills I brought to it -- were result of John Georges' teaching. On my first day
of Junior English in Room 49A, Mr. Georges read down the alphabetical list, taking roll. When he called my name, and I responded
"Here!", Mr. Georges glanced over the top of his glasses at me and snarled "We're not going to have the same
trouble with you that we had from your father, are we?" He was speaking of my dad Roy Hanscom, Class of '51. I don't
think Mr. Georges ever forgot a student, nor underestimated his or her importance. And we all felt the same about him.
Class of 1975
Thanks so much for this site. It brought back a lot of great
memories. I think I spent three hours reading every item on the site the first time I visited. John Georges was the best teacher
I ever had. I learned more in his class than in any other high school or college course. I have had other great teachers and
professors, but none ever quite as good as Big John Georges... I have had many college courses in which much less was taught
in a semester than he taught in a week. During my years as a science and math teacher Lincoln Middle School (formerly Vista
High,) I modeled my teaching on his example. I was not half as good as he was, but I think I was at least twice as good as
I would have been had I not had his example.
Class of 1971
Today I make my living as a writer, and
I find myself using the knowledge given to me by Mr. Georges literally every single day. I hope that when my daughter gets
to high school, she is lucky enough to have a teacher as effective and influential as John Georges.
Class of 1980
Mr. Georges was not just the best English teacher any of us ever had. He was a tough combat veteran, athlete,
rugged physical presence and disciplinarian. He was also warm, sensitive and reflective -- a lover of the arts with deep spiritual
convictions. He was all this without the self-absorption, vanity, and self-promotion we see in so many supposedly great and
important people. In short, Mr. Georges was an ideal role model for a teenage boy who was always sizing up the men around
him, consciously or subconsciously wondering what kind of man he could and should become. My world got vastly bigger after
high school, but Mr. Georges remains a towering figure for me, and a model of what a man should be.
Class of 1967
What I find truly remarkable is the number of people whose lives were substantially impacted by Mr. Georges. He is one
of the best friends I have ever known and the best teacher I have encountered.
Dr. David Sisson
Professor and Head,
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
Oregon State University
Class of 1968
(Click on 49A Photo Album for a great picture of Dr. Sisson with Mr. Georges.)