WATSONVILLE — Jean Pogue, who taught thousands of Watsonville High School students math from 1944 to 1982, turns 100 Friday.

Friends and family celebrated the milestone at a birthday party hosted recently by Patricia Lester of Aptos at her home.

After working for three years as a teacher in Northern California, Pogue said she was looking for a job closer to her Palo Alto home when she came over Hecker Pass for the first time.

It was that vista that helped inspire her choice to become a teacher at Watsonville High School, where she stayed for nearly four decades.

“As I started over the pass, I spotted the pullout and decided to stop for a while and enjoy the view,” she wrote in a biography for the Watsonville High School Foundation Alumni Hall of Fame. “I proceeded down the hill, found the high school and did my interview. I decided in my heart that this was the teaching job I wanted.”

In 2013, Pogue was named a “Friend of the Wildcatz” for the Watsonville High School Foundation’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

She helped form and became chairwoman of a math department at the high school, and also created the Watsonville Sno-Catz, the school’s ski club, which was created in part to give girls a sport they could play.

Mas Hashimoto of Watsonville said Pogue was his math teacher in 1949, and convinced him that women can “do everything the guys can do.”

“As a strong advocate for women’s rights, she continues to encourage all to vote,” he said. “She pointed out that women have had the right to vote for only 98 years in this country.”

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