Isaac Sorensen and the Sorensen Family : Veda Sorensen
Veda Sorensen was born July 22nd, 1911 in a little red brick house in Mendon, Utah, a small town of five hundred people, west of Logan, Utah. Veda was the first born of five children, two girls and three boys. She was educated in the schools of Cache Valley. Her elementary years were spent in the old red brick school house with a bell in its tower which was rung every school day at eight-thirty a.m., by grandfather Ladle, to tell people come to school and then again at nine to let everyone know school had commenced. During her eight years of school at Mendon elementary she had three teachers. Miss Jennie Richards was her first and second grade teacher. Miss Gladys Hughes, was her third, fourth and fifth grade teacher. Mr. H. G. Hughes was the principal as well as teacher of the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Later Jennie Richards was replaced by her aunt Olive Sorensen, who married H. G. Hughes.
Veda attended South Cache High School and seminary, graduating in 1928. These years were full of adventure and excitement for local people. They traveled by way of the U.I.C. train, which left Mendon, Utah every morning at seven a.m. They lived through snow blockages and the cars jumping the tracks. Her youth was spent in Mendon, Utah doing what most people at the time did, such as driving cows, working in the beet fields, hauling hay, picking raspberries, working in the garden, feeding pigs and chickens, carrying wood and helping with house work. When she was seven, their family built and paid for a new home.
Veda always had a desire to teach so at the age of fifteen she became a teacher of the Kindergarten class in Sunday school. She taught with many teachers and learned from them the principles of good teaching. Later on, she entered Utah State College at eighteen years old and graduated two years later. Veda and her friend Fern Buist moved to Logan, Utah and lived in a rented apartment and both families furnished them food and coal. Their main objective was to become good teachers and earn their own living. Often times, Veda and Fern Buist went to the movies with her uncle A. N. Sorensen who was a professor at the Utah State College. A.N. Sorensen gave them free passes for college drama which Fern liked better than Veda. Veda graduated in 1930, but a crisis had developed in teaching and there were a hundred applications for one job. Consequently, Fern and Veda didn’t receive a teaching position, and ran out of money for another year of college.
In 1932 they received their first teaching assignment, which happened to be in Mendon, Utah. Veda taught first and second grades and Fern taught the third, fourth and fifth. Their philosophy for teaching was inherited from former teacher H. G. Hughes. Veda wrote:
"I had the good fortune of teaching my own brother (Eldon) and all my relatives. They immediately pitched in and taught their own kids. The only parent trouble I had was with my own father and mother who questioned my procedures daily. I was called Miss Sorensen for two years at home and learned not to believe everything children reported about their teachers. After three years in the old red brick schoolhouse we moved into a new school, this was such a relief as old pot bellied stoves adorned our previous rooms. It was our responsibility to keep them burning all day. This was a staggering job and mine would run out of fuel often and we would build the fire from scratch. I used so many kindlings that my grandfather, the custodian, began to complain. So my father furnished the school with a load of railroad ties split into the proper lengths. The new school was beautiful as well as having everything we needed to provide good educational learning. I taught ten years in Mendon under very favorable conditions, I won the towns approval and when I moved away to teach in Tremonton, Utah, the towns’ people signed a petition to get me to stay, but the urge to move on was greater and I thought it wise to depart. During my ten years in Mendon I had three principals, H. G. Hughes, Sylvestor Anderson and Durrell Hughes, (who is the present coach of Bear River High School) for eight years. They were great men and let me teach the way I chose, supporting me all the way.I taught at the McKinnley School, in Tremonton for two years under Mr. Frank Stevens and a tremendous faculty. I learned so much those two years that I began to think my brain would pop. I only wished I could have shared my knowledge with my past students. Six teachers lived at Dr. White’s Hospital, as that was the only living quarters available. We worked at school from eight a.m. to six p.m. every day and visited or went to movies every night. It was during World War II so in the fall we took our turns at the tomato cannery every night from four until one p.m., till the harvest was completed. These two years were very special and I made lasting friendships, Frank Stevens was a dedicated fun loving man and each day was a joyful experience.In 1945 my mother became ill and I moved back to Cache Valley, where I could be close and assist when I was needed. I lived in Logan for the next four years. Fern Buist and I shared an apartment together for one year, on East Center, when I moved to the Wilson School we lived with my Principal, Miss Adams and her sweet mother Patience Adams. When my mother passed away in 1950 I returned to Mendon and took care of my father, traveling to school every day I was very fortunate in getting a position in the Logan Schools under Superintendent Bateman. I was assigned to the second grade at the Woodruff School; Mr. Henry Cooper was my principal. Henry was already established as a fantastic educator and I was welcomed with open arms by the faculty and him. The faculty was very close and I loved them all. After one year I was snatched away from Mr. Cooper and put at the Wilson School in the second grade under Miss Hazel Adams. I soon learned to love the Wilson School as much as I had the others and Wilson School parents and kids became the best in the world. I have taught with many faculties, all of them great. I learned from them all and my experiences are some of the most cherished memories I have".
Veda belonged to the Mormon Church and was Sunday school teacher for forty-seven years. She also served on the Sunday school stake board at the same time for seventeen years, and taught Primary one year in Mendon and Mutual one year in Tremonton. Veda belonged to the P.T.A. and was a charter member of the Mendon first P.T.A. She also belonged to the American Childhood Education Association while in Logan and Delta Kappa Gamma and was a member of A.U.W. for one year. Later on, she was a visiting professor at U.S.U. during the summer or 1959, and taught a first and second grade, during that quarter under Arthur Jackson. Veda was a life member of U.E.A. and joined the Logan Teachers Association as well as the Utah State Association. She was a member of the state math committee for four years, and vice president of the Logan Teachers Association as well as classroom teachers’ president; she served on all the committees on the advisory committee for the superintendent, as well as on the retirement committee. Veda served on all the committees of the Wilson School, as well as district committees. Moreover, she attended the American Childhood Association, National Convention in Los Angles California, and the Class Room Teachers National Convention in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Veda also attended the Delta Kappa Gamma national convention in Houston, Texas in 1971.1
1. History of Veda Sorensen, Veda Sorensen, unpuplished mamuscript.