There’s an image of Louis Kokonis enshrined in the memories of a bygone generation of high school students in Alexandria, Va. It’s of the lanky 86-year-old math teacher, much younger, dressed in a suit and covered in chalk dust.
In the early 1970s, well before he was Alexandria’s longest-ever-serving teacher, Kokonis solved algebra and calculus equations on three blackboards in his Francis C. Hammond High School classroom. He worked from the front of the class, then moved to a blackboard fixed on a side wall before filling up the last slate in the back, recalled Chris Barquin, 64.
Chalkboards have gone the way of grade books and slide rules, replaced by computers and calculators, but Kokonis has remained a fixture in Alexandria City Public Schools — first at Hammond, then at T.C. Williams High, which became the city’s lone high school after three other schools combined when the district racially integrated.
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