Distinguished Alumnus
Charter Class of 2013
Modesta Scott
(January 26, 1900 - February 3, 1995)

AHS Class of 1919

During her thirty-four years as social studies teacher at Arcola High School, Modesta Scott had the distinction of instructing hundreds of graduates in Geography, World History, American History, Civics, Political Economics and American Problems. Her students included many of the parents of the graduating classes in her later career, as well as faculty members and members of the Board of Education. She was also Arcola High School’s long-time yearbook advisor.

Modesta was born in Bourbon Township, the only child of farming parents Oliver and Lydia Rush Scott. She attended Chesterville and Arcola schools, graduating with the Arcola High School Class of 1919. Following high school, Modesta earned her teaching degree at James Millikin University in 1924, and later continued her education at the University of Illinois. While at Millikin, she received the Valley Forge Freedoms Social Science Award. She first taught three years in Greenville, West Virginia, and later at Brown’s Business College in St. Louis. Modesta then provided social services at St. Louis Provident Association before returning to Arcola in the early years of the Depression. When interviewing for the open position as history and geography teacher in the Arcola school system in 1930, Miss Scott told the school board she would love to teach for two, three or four years, but promised she would not be on their hands forever. She secured the teaching job and stayed until her retirement in 1964. At that time, it was reported Miss Scott had become an institution around Arcola High School and was also praised for her ability to work with younger faculty members. Former students report she was an excellent, unforgettable teacher and credit Miss Scott’s strict discipline and sense of humor for her success in the classroom.

Miss Scott traveled extensively during her teaching career and in her retirement, making trips to the Far East, countries behind the Iron Curtain, the Mediterranean, the Gulf region, the Caribbean and the Yukon Territory in Alaska. She made two South American trips and toured the continent of Europe, spending extensive time in England, Ireland and Scotland. Her students learned through the experiences of her travel.

Modesta was a member of the American Association of University Women, Daughters of the American Revolution, Illinois State Historical Society, Douglas County Historical Society, Douglas County Retired Teachers, Arcola Alumni Association and Arcola Women’s Club. She was an eighty-three year member and longtime Sunday school teacher at Arcola Presbyterian Church.

The Modesta Scott Social Science Award was created in Miss Scott’s honor and is awarded each year to the outstanding senior social science student at Arcola High School.

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Last Revision November 10, 2017