Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Women of Wednesday: The Next Generation

In working on the America's Notable Women series, I usually look to the past. With the exception of Maria Shriver, all of the women I've profiled are in their graves. I recently finished writing bios for Margaret "Pepperidge Farm" Rudkin and Rosa "I-Sing-Like-An-Angel" Ponselle for the Connecticut book. At the moment, I'm working on Sarah "I-Opened-A-School-Before-You-Did-Andy" Porter. Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Dorothy Bush, Gloria Vanderbilt and Julia Child all attended Miss Porter's School. Talk about a breeding ground for notable women!

It got me wondering which of my former students are on the ascent. I didn't have to wonder very long. Meet Katie Dawley, Hogarth Country Day School Class of 1998 and soon-to-be Annapolis plebe. I haven't seen Katie since her family moved out of town around 11 years ago, but I never forgot her.

What was Katie like at 5 and 6-years old? She was one of those uniquely joyful kids who is game for anything. She smiled the biggest, sang the loudest, and loved every moment of every day. Katie was an effective communicator. She knew how to listen, ask questions, and get her point across. If that isn't the key to success in school, or for that matter success in life, I don't know what is.

Out of all of Katie's great qualities, I think her voice was her biggest asset. I'm not talking Rosa-Ponselle-singing voice. I'm talking I've-got-something-to-say-and-you-will-listen voice. Katie knew how to be heard. As writers, we know the importance of finding your authentic voice. Katie has had hers since preschool.

Last Wednesday, Mur wrote, "Those of us that went on to further schooling generally became teachers or nurses. In our neighborhood filled with adults who had had to skip high school to survive the depression, that fact was a big deal. Move ahead one generation. The majority of my daughters’ friends went on to 4 year colleges and became scientists, executives, artists, and researchers among other careers."

Katie is the poster girl for that next generation Mur referenced in her post. She's the woman people will be talking about tomorrow. Heck, Foster's Daily Democrat has already written a feature story about Katie. And she even mentioned me. It almost makes me feel like a Woman of Wednesday.

[Photo of Katie Dawley was taken by EJ Hersom and first appeared in Foster's Daily Democrat.]


Diane Mayr said...

Way to go, you must be doing something right in that school of yours.

Barbara said...

"And she even mentioned me!"

How cool is that! I've always thought that had to be the best thing about being a teacher - that you made a difference in someone's life. It probably happens more times than you know, but you never get to hear it. I'm glad you did!

I'm Jet . . . said...

Crisp and sharp . . . sounds like Katie herself.

And it is a complete joy when a student thinks you're the best -- and also mentions it.

Congratulations on being a mentionable, Andy! And you're definitely a Woman of Wednesday in my eyes!


Andrea Murphy said...

Aw, thanks, sisters! I actually received a note from another former parent yesterday. Her daughter was graduating from high school, and she just wanted to thank me for the good start I gave her back in kindergarten. It made me all misty! Those kinds of acknowledgments really and truly mean so much.