Student Newspaper

PERSONALITY PROFILES

Centenary University has always welcomed students from faraway lands. One of our first international students was Tsuna Akira Kuchiki, who went by Daniel. Kuchiki, of Tokyo, Japan, was present for the dedication of Centenary Collegiate Institute’s building in 1874 and graduated from the College Preparatory Classical Course in 1877. Since then hundreds of international students have furthered or completed their post-secondary education here.

A series of newspaper articles called “Personality Profiles” were written by the student newspaper, Spilled Ink, to introduce students to the rest of the Centenary community. Students would be interviewed and asked about themselves and what they thought of Centenary. Many of those students were international students. Here are some of their answers:

elga-hilferding-2Elga Hilferding, 1942

“Who doesn’t know our petite and cute little Rumanina girl? She has a lot of interesting things to tell us about her country. Yes, she was born in Rumania…Did I tell you Elga lived in Bucharest? She says it’s very modern, too, and they even get our movies there as soon as we do…Elga says the average American likes an easy life, going to parties, eating, and not working too hard. Doesn’t that sound just like us…Elga likes American schools, too, because we don’t have to wear an awful uniform as Rumanians do…Goodbye to you all for now from Elga. In Rumanian, it would be “La Revedere.”

Dora and Erna Oskardottir, 1943

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Erna Oskardottir

“Dora and Erna were born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1924 and 1925, respectively…Upon their arrival at Centenary, Dora and Erna felt rather timid, but they soon learned that Centenary had many good friends awaiting them. Though it was only last week they started taking English lessons, they have made great strides in learning our language. Both girls intend to come back to Centenary next fall…Centenary welcomes you, Dora and Erna, and we hope you will enjoy your stay with us, as much as we are enjoying having you.”

genevieve-diazGenevieve Diaz, 1943

“In June, 1941, five feet two inches and ninety-six pounds of Genevieve Diaz (plus luggage) came to the United States from her native land, Puerto Rico…Jenny is very fond of American music, but she says she missed the ‘real’ South American rhumba…Reading is one of [her] favorite hobbies along with the music and horse-back riding, but she professes no great liking for ice skating and other winter sports. This is undoubtedly due to Puerto Rico’s milder climate…Genevieve is enjoying her stay at Centenary, but she is also looking forward to attending a larger institution. Centenary offers Genevieve best wishes for her continued success.”

Thorunn Thorsheimson and Josephian Johannessen, 1944

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Thorunn Thorsheimson

“These girls left their home in Reyhjavik [sic], the capital of Iceland, on July 14th…Prior to their arrival in this country, Jossa and Thorunn had never had occasion to speak English…They certainly are doing well since they came here…Quite by chance it was discovered that both Thorunn and Jossa are greatly interested in our America music, both popular and classical. They never heard much of this music until our American soldiers arrived in Iceland…The girls are rapidly acquiring a taste for our American dishes. The diet in Iceland consists chiefly of meat and potatoes. Fruit and vegetables are available only when a ship from our country carries such to them. Neither Jossa nor Thorunn expect to return home until they have completed their education here at Centenary. Let’s all hope that their college career in the United States is a most successful and happy experience.”

Foreign Exchange Students, 1945

personality profile triptych.jpg‘ “Martica Urrutia is a vivacious brunette from Cuba. She and Ninita Wood [sic] usually drive us mad at the dinner table by a confusing code they use. It goes something like this – ‘Pancho’. ‘Carl.’ Ninita has been here in school since she was ten years old and quite proudly says, ‘I am an American!’ From Holland we have with us Yvonne Goetz. She had lived in South America – principally Brazil and Venezuela – for the past ten years and is definitely an accomplished linguist, speaking English, Dutch, German, French, Portuguese and Spanish fluently. Personally, I think Yvonne’s heart really lies in Venezuela...And then there is Alyce ‘Sissie’ Robertson from Brooklyn. We are all learning to understand her dialect.” ’

So there are a few of our students from other lands! Let’s hope they enjoyed being at Centenary, as much as we enjoyed having them. Centenary will learn to appreciate lives lived in different parts of the world, especially with the presence of our foreign neighbors.’

*Ninita Wood is spelled Nenita Wood in the 1947 Yearbook.

“Personality Profiles: Elga Hilferding.” Spilled Ink 1942: 12. print.

“Personality Profiles: Icelandic Girls enjoying C.J.C.” Spilled Ink 20 February 1943: 1. print.

“Student from Puerto Rico enjoying stay at C.J.C.” Spilled Ink 15 December 1943: 1. print.

“Icelandic Students.” Spilled Ink 30 September 1944: 2. print.

“Four Foreign Students here.” Spilled Ink 1 November 1945: 3. print.

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CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD

Centenary’s history as a Methodist college meant that Christmas was traditionally the dominant winter holiday. In the 1940’s, the student newspaper interviewed foreign students to see how they celebrated Christmas.

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Velma Arosemena

Velma Arosemena, Panama: “Except for the warm weather, Christmas is almost the same in Panama as in the United States. A Christmas tree, imported from the States, is decorated with balls and an angel at the tip-top. Also, cotton is draped on it to give the effect of snow. The entertainment usually takes the form of an intimate family reunion, or a great party with the proper Christmas greetings. Everyone is anxious for the clock to strike twelve to utter Christmas greetings. It is customary to exchange gifts and greeting cards. A Christmas tree is decorated and gifts for all members of the family, from the youngest to the oldest, are on the trees.” Spilled Ink, December 20, 1944.

christmas round the world

All entries from Spilled Ink, December 10, 1949.

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Marita Ho

Marita Ho, China: “Most of the Chinese are not Christians. Christmas is a very quiet holiday. There are no parades or feasts on Christmas as on other Chinese holidays because so few celebrate Christmas. Those who do celebrate have a Christmas very similar to ours. They have a Christmas tree trimmed with glass ornaments and colored lights. They exchange presents and spend a quiet day at home with the family in remembrance of the birthday of Christ. The Christmas dinner in China…is a simple affair of only eight courses instead of the twenty-course banquets sometimes given. “

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Asta Tamm

Asta Tamm, Estonia: “Christmas in Estonia officially begins a week before December 25th with the traditional housecleaning. Everything from the rafters in the attic to the jars of preserves in the cellar is thoroughly scrubbed until the house glistens. After cleaning day the next two or three days are spent in the kitchen baking and preparing for the holidays. The day before Christmas eve is called ‘Big Friday’ no matter what day it happens to be…It is a quiet, holy day. The next day, called ‘Christmas Saturday’ is a busy one. The tree is brought in and trimmed…Christmas carols are sung and the grandfather or father of the house reads to his family the Christmas story from the Bible…Christmas itself is celebrated for two days, the 25th and 26th of December. The first day of Christmas is a quiet one. All the gaiety, feasts, parties, opening of presents, singing and dancing is done on the second day of Christmas.”

Hanna-Rose & Ruth Zimmerman, Germany: “Christmas is very similar…to Estonia. Preparations for the holidays are made weeks before. There are the traditional Christmas eve church services. There, however, presents are opened on Christmas eve around the tree. The Christmas party is usually held among the family. Two days of Christmas follow and are similar to those in Estonia.”

zimmerman hanna

Hanna-Rose Zimmerman

zimmerman ruth

Ruth Zimmerman

thoroddsen

Anna Thoroddsen

thorsteinsson

Lyda Thorsteinsson

Anna Thoroddsen & Lyda Thorsteinsson, Iceland: “Great preparations are made for the holidays. The house is cleaned, baking is done and the Christmas Men come. In Iceland there are not one…but nine Christmas Men. There is one who peeks in the window, one who licks the pot, one who deals with good children and one who deals with bad children. Children listen with wonder and fear to their parents about the Christmas Cat, the cat to which they will be taken if they are bad children. There are two days of Christmas in Iceland.”

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Tien Oei

Tien Oei, Holland (Dutch East Indies, modern day Indonesia): “St. Nicholas was once a very rich and kind and generous man. He loved children and during his lifetime constantly gave them presents in exchange for laughter and fun. He is always pictured dressed in a long purple robe. He has a white beard and on his head is a high headdress similar to those worn by bishops. With him always is Pieter, his helper. Pieter carries the presents in a huge bag in one hand, and a long switch for bad children in the other…On the eve of the 5th (of December) when St. Nicholas is expected the children leave their wooden shoes by the door filled with hay for St. Nick’s horse. This is the day when presents are exchanged in Holland, rather than on Christmas itself. The two days of Christmas, the 25th and 26th of December, are much more serious days.”

Pat Melarkey & Janet Bond, Hawaii*: “Of course there is no snow in Hawaii…On Christmas day, big luau parties, or feasts, are given. There are many all over the islands on Christmas day. They are given on a long table out of doors. Much singing and dancing accompany these feasts and it is a very gay affair. Everyone is dressed in bright clothes, either shorts and colored Hawaiian shirts or native costumes such as muu-muus or halokus, adorned with leis. The luau is for the family and friends, and the more the merrier! The feast consists of opiis, or a raw sea food, poi which is a pasty substance made from pounded tarrow root, lomi-lomi salmon. There is always a roast pig complete with head and an apple in its mouth…Of course there would be much pineapple and okolehau.”

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Pat Melarkey

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Janet Bond

 

Christmas celebrations even in America vary greatly, and yet Christmas itself does not. Everywhere one finds the spirit of peace and good will, of friendliness and giving.

The Centenary College of today welcomes all celebrations – not just Christmas festivities. During the holidays, sentiments of good-will and happiness can be found everywhere. The Taylor Memorial Library wishes everyone a wonderful holiday and winter break. See you in January!

*Hawaii became a U.S. state in 1959, 10 years after this article was written.