I arrived at Aquinas my senior year after transferring from Fermin Lasuen in San Pedro, California. My father had just returned from overseas duty in Taiwan and was stationed at Norton AFB, in San Bernardino.
I can say with absolute certainty that Father LaRiviere had a great impact on me. One thing that I remember was that he pushed you to be the best that you could be and was a stickler when it came to completing your assignments on-time, but also in accordance with his standards of excellence.
The thing that I remember most was that we all had to do a term paper our senior year on Chaucer's Canturbury Tales. For the assignment, we were to pick one of the tales and then do extensive research to determine whether or not the tale had some historical basis. For that assignment, I chose the "Wife of Bath Tale". The assignment was made in September or October, and it was due in the January/February timeframe.
When I arrived home from school, I told my dad about the assignment and his comment was, "Great, let's go down to the library and checkout some books and get started." I looked at my dad like he was crazy and said, "Why, it isn't due for months." My dad told me, that it was best to get started now because he expected a draft term paper from me before Thanksgiving.
As part of the assignment, we could not have any grammatical or spelling errors, and no errors regarding citations for material used in research and development of our term paper. Also, it had to be a minimum of 25 type written pages. So, I suspect there are still a few of us who remembered this assignment and the stringent requirements that Father LaRiveriere laid on us.
I completed my first draft just before Thanksgiving and handed it into my dad for his review. When I got it back, it looked like someone had committed ritual seppuku over the top of it as there was more red than there was black on my paper. My dad then told me that my next draft was due to him before Christmas break. That would have been December of 1967. Shortly after I turned that draft into my dad, he returned it to me and it still had quite a bit of red, but not near as bad as the previous draft. His instruction for me was to have my final draft one week after we returned to school from Christmas vacation. So, I turned in my next draft and to my surprise, no "red".
My dad then turned it over to my mom so that she could type it up in preparation for submission to Father LaRiveriere. The paper was submitted on time; and about a week later Father LaRiveriere returned the papers to us. When I first got my paper, there was not grade on it, simply a check mark in the upper right hand corner of the paper. I looked around the room to see if anyone had received a graded paper and saw none. It was shortly after that Father LaRiveriere announced that I had submitted the only passing paper and that the rest of the class would have to redo theirs, with the caveat that it would be on a different subject.
I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I was when I found out that I didn't have to do another paper. It was one of the few times that I went home and thanked my dad profusely for helping me through the process and making me work. I also never forgot that lesson from Father LaRiveriere as he was one of those teachers who shaped my life and a person that I will never forget.