In Memory

Nadia Tupica

Nadia Tupica was born 5 FEB 1910 in Chicago, Illinois, and died APR 1978 in Los Angeles, California. She was the daughter of  Harry Timofeovitch Tupica and Wanda Ivanova Yarotski.

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06/24/09 10:37 PM #1    

Emily E 'Bonnie' Tozer (VanAuken-Valleau) (1960)

Miss Tupica believed in me even when others didn't. She gave me a "C" in Spanish even though I didn't deserve it. She is the one who helped me become confident in myself. I shall always be grateful to her. Viya con Dios, mi amiga. Senorita "Tozerbird"

07/16/09 02:49 PM #2    

James R Pendlay (1963)

Miss Tupica was a prime example of the magnificent teachers and personalities I had the honor to know during my time at South Pas. I remember that she dominated the class seated on a four-legged stool in the front. I remember that she drove a classic Thunderbird Coupe. I was surprised to learn the she was born in Chicago in 1910. I thought she entertained us with stories of escaping the Bolsheviks during the Revolution. Whether I remember correctly or not, as the Italians say "se non e vero, e ben trovato". Anyway, no one slept during her classes. We always hoped -- usually correctly -- that we could get her to regale us with some story or discussion. Eventually, she always managed to get back to teaching Spanish. This she did very well. I think she was successful because she had that gift -- so common among our teachers -- of engaging our interest. The best of them each had some way -- unique to themselves -- of stimulating us to learn. I might have thought that all high schools were like that, but I found in my freshman year in college that others were not nearly as well-prepared as I had been.

I owe them (and her) a great deal.

05/28/11 12:41 PM #3    

Joan Carol Derby (Harlow) (1962)

Miss Tupica was a highlight in my high school career.  It was such fun to be in her classes and I learned easily from her.  I entered an oratorical contest at USC one year, along with some of Miss Burr's students and finished in second place for my category.  I was very happy to be a reflection of her teaching.  She was studying Russian during the time that she was instructing the class of '62 and we thought that it was just pretty fine that she was a student, too.   Who could foget that her approach to dealing with boys coming to class reeking of tobacco was to spritz them with apple blossom perfume!  

01/02/12 03:38 PM #4    

Ross Emory Diehl (1952)

      A true character, demonstrting that being a teacher could be a very rewording career. Vaya con Dios Miss Tupeeky.

02/24/18 01:22 PM #5    

Linda Johnson (Hernandez) (1963)


In spite of the fun teacher, Miss Tupica was said to be, I was glad to end up with Señorita Burr. Not so much personality, but a gifted and dedicated teacher of Spanish. Not one minute of class time was wasted on unrelated nostalgia. (I was fortunate to start SPHS as a Sophomore, as she had nothing but disdain for the Junior High Spanish Program and felt she had to unteach it.)

Back to Miss Tupica, I read in the LA Times that she had found a rare violin by the freeway and kept it under her bed for many years. A relative, it was said, discovered it upon her death. Did anyone else read this story and know what happened to the violin? Just curious.

Linda Johnson Hernandez

Class of 1963









10/14/18 02:43 PM #6    

Louisa Kline (Bergner) (1964)


To answer about the violin - from

One of the most unusual disappearances involved the 1732 ‘Duke of Alcantara’ Stradivari, on loan to UCLA’s resident Roth String Quartet member, David Margetts, in 1967. It vanished after an evening rehearsal in Los Angeles when the violin was either stolen from Margetts’s car, or, according to a police report, “[i]t is possible the violin was left on the back of the car and fell off.” Nadia Tupica, a Spanish teacher and string player, said she found it on the side of a Los Angeles freeway. She took the violin home and placed it beneath her bed, where it remained for years until she gave it to her nephew before she died. He passed it on to his ex-wife, who had the violin taken to the Joseph Grubaugh and Sigrun Seifert violin shop in January 1994. As with the discovery of the ‘Ames, Totenberg’, red flags were raised for Grubaugh and Siefert when they confirmed the violin’s authenticity using Goodkind’s Iconography and discovered from the stolen property registry maintained at that time by the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers that it had been listed as stolen 27 years earlier. They immediately reported their discovery to the owner, UCLA, which obtained the return of the Stradivari, but not before an ownership battle waged in court for nearly a year.

09/28/20 06:56 PM #7    

Tres Tanner (1966)

Nadia Tupica was one of several impactful teachers and professors throughout the course of my formal education.  But in her case (as a junior taking 3rd year Spanish), the reasons for my personal reaction were quite distinctive.  I need to preface my remarks with a couple of clarifications.  1) At SPHS, I had several teachers from whom I learned considerably more, and after graduating from SPHS, I earned three university degrees, in which several of my professors were considerably more demanding and from whom I learned considerably more than from Miss Tupica.  2) I never really learned to SPEAK much Spanish in 3rd year Spanish, (although 2 ½ years later I was involved in a highly intensive 3-month Spanish language program, in which I did learn a great deal, and more than 50 years later, I am still quasi-fluent in the language).  So here are the reasons I felt Miss Tupica’s class to be so memorable. . .Miss Tupica made our classroom experience to be TRULY ENJOYABLE.  Voodoo doll rituals prior to football games, her zany bursting into some romantic Spanish folk song. . .these were the things I recall which made me like having her as a teacher.  In my case, this motivated me to want to do the required classwork and homework which enabled me to learn what I needed to learn in that course, providing a solid background in the basics for learning a foreign language.  I am fully  aware that more mature and self-disciplined students can learn regardless of the teacher, but in my case, at that point in my life, it made a real difference to have a teacher who was rather creative, even though a bit wacky, and just plain ‘ol fun. 

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