Happy 97th Birthday, Mrs. Wollstein!
As we practice social distancing, the Priory ‘ohana are still managing to celebrate important moments in life.
On January 11, 2021, Dorry Wollstein, affectionately known to her students as “Mrs. Wollstein,” celebrated her 97th birthday at her Honolulu home. Amy Tamura Yonashiro ’81, who regularly visits Mrs. Wollstein, surprised her former Latin teacher with a virtual gathering of her closest family and friends. Imagine Dorry’s surprise when Amy arrived and opened up her laptop to reveal over a dozen people from near and far, singing “Happy Birthday.” And the party didn’t end there. Amy and friends shared messages of aloha expressing how Dorry is so very special to them. Amy also collected responses from Priory friends and classmates in honor of Dorry’s milestone birthday.
Former student Eileen Harada '81 said, “I can’t tell you how much your teaching has meant to me and remains with me still, over the past 45 years. Taking Latin from you got me through law school, where I felt like I had such an advantage because legal terms are mostly in Latin! I think of you always and absolutely love and adore you. Thank you for everything you’ve brought to my life.”
Her eyes shining bright and a huge smile on her face, the many messages of love and appreciation left Dorry practically speechless. “This is really special,” she said. “I just can’t believe it.”
In hearing from her former students, Dorry reminisced about her many wonderful experiences as a Priory teacher. Her favorite activity was being the faculty advisor of the Latin Club. With a room in Centennial Hall, the Club members created a reproduction of a Roman atrium, complete with low tables, cushions on the floor for the students to sit on, and decorated with Greek and Roman memorabilia. They went on unique field trips and learned through hands-on activities, such as following the ancient ways of making papyrus paper with leaves from the watershed in Nuʻuanu. “I absolutely loved being a teacher,” Mrs. Wollstein said. “It was the profession where I could truly be myself.”
Dorry’s friend Pastor Brandon Duran said, “Dorry, when I think of you, I think of light. The light was not external; it was within.”
Dorry, you certainly are a bright light for us at The Priory.
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Wollstein!
Dorry Wollstein’s Career at The Priory:
Mrs. Dorry Wollstein was the Latin teacher at St. Andrew's Priory from 1971 to 1979. She graduated from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 1970 with a Masters of Art in the Classics and a Bachelor of Arts in Greek. She began teaching Latin and Greek at St. Andrew's Priory with only two students in the class… but finished her eight years as a Latin teacher with the entire school enrolled in some aspect of Latin or Greek and founded the Latin Club. Her first two students, Dawn Pang '73 and Denise Pacarro, chose to major in the Classics in college and later returned to teach with Dorry at The Priory!
An inspirational teacher who noticed something special about each of her students, Dorry had an uncanny knack for bringing relevancy and fun to the otherwise humdrum Latin language and theoretical Classics. An unforgettable moment was in 1974 when Mrs. Wollstein needed to infuse some interest in Latin or the course would soon be cut. She planned a Roman circus event and invited former Honolulu Mayor Frank F. Fasi to attend the big Latin Day at school.
Upon arrival, Mayor Fasi was dressed in a toga and crown, and pulled in a chariot to the gym where the festival took place. After participating with the gladiators and the triumphant marches for an emperor, Fasi gave a short speech. He had just lost the race for governor to George Ariyoshi, and the newspaper quoted him as saying, "Who would want to be governor of Hawai'i when he can be emperor of St. Andrew's Priory?" That left 500+ people howling in laughter. The following year, the Latin class was full and the Latin Club reinvigorated!
Dorry knew how to make Latin fun with creativity and imagination, and academically relevant to professional fields such as medicine, law, and science. She deeply appreciated having the freedom to build the Latin program to a thriving school activity.
Because of you, Dorry, Latin continues to be taught at St. Andrew's Schools today!