April 12, 2014

A quiet boy

Filed under: My Life as a high school teacher — by sandrakhorn @ 2:17 pm

What if our society has gotten so mean that it is causing gentle souls to not be able to survive. I keep thinking about the young man in Pennsylvania who reportedly has no history of mental illness, no overt bullying has been done to him, his grades were listed as B+, and he has no history of discipline issues. Everyone is asking why.

Maybe in his quiet way he tried to fit in. When he did, he didn’t feel anyone noticed or talked to him. Maybe he asked a pretty girl out. She could have gently said no, but he thought asking her was a way to maybe be noticed. He could have made a team, but sat on a bench, again hardly noticed. Maybe he tried to be a student council rep, but was not voted in. He obviously is not one of our loud, robust fun loving types. He has not been reported as the self assured athletic type, or the troublemaker, or the class clown. He is not the brooding Gothic type painting his fingernails black.

He isn’t yet the brainy type with NHS credentials, IB friends, or even musical or artsy. He’s certainly not the type of kid that a disciplinarian in the school would even know his name.

The media describes his family as normal. They did outings together. His parents seem to be mystified because he didn’t cause any trouble or complain about issues at school.

I would like to know if any one has interviewed a teacher he would sit and discuss math with, or a cafeteria worker who knew he liked wraps with salami and cheese. Was there a history teacher or English teacher who debated issues with him? Or was he a kid who slipped in and out of classes everyday?

News items said he was not a loner. He had friends. But were they friends he hung out with at their house and had dinner with their families? Maybe was invited to go on vacation with their son? Was he the first friend they called when they wanted to see a movie? Or was he just someone they walked in the hall with, maybe included at their lunch table.

One day, maybe after a toss and turn night, he grabbed two steak knives on his way out to school. Feeling frustrated, lonely, and angry, he walked into school and made the news. Horrible. Now he can’t put into words why he did it. Now he doesn’t recognize the boy who did this atrocious thing.


August 25, 2013

Proud to be a part of the Worthington City Schools and WKHS

Filed under: My Life as a high school teacher — by sandrakhorn @ 5:09 pm
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WKHSFor all the pot shots that educators are currently weathering, I am so excited to see this grade card for Worthington Kilbourne High School. Our staff works so hard~ despite the constant interference of non-educators in how we present and assist our students in learning, Kilbourne’s staff helps kids learn.

In short, I am proud to be a wolf.

July 13, 2012

Newseum ~ a bit more credit and space please

Filed under: Women's Winning Ways — by sandrakhorn @ 8:22 pm
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The Newseum is such a wonderful place to remember special times in history. I was visiting my daughter who works in Washington DC and decided to spend a morning there. It was grand looking at Pulitzer Prize winning photographs. It disturbed me to see the blown up and bullet riddled vehicles that once carried journalists in Beirut and Iraq.

The wall of photographs of individuals who had lost their lives trying to cover the news, including three rows for just this year was shocking.

Sections of the Berlin Wall, pieces of the airplanes and rubble from 9/11, shots taken of the tragedies of the day minutes before the photographer lost his life crushed by the second tower falling were gut wrenching reminders of man’s inhumanity.

As I wandered past displays of Tim Russert’s desk and hilarious snatches of John Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s antics, I saw a section that was titled “Broadcast Makes Opportunities for Women”. Helen Thomas, retired AP reporter, famous for her front seat at White House press conferences narrated a documentary about Women in the News. But it struck me as so superficial. The video seemed to concentrate on the rise of the career of Barbara Walters. The whole four feet by 10 feet display struck me as almost an after thought. Katie Couric’s nameplate from the Today show was centered prominently in the glass case as well as pictures of Barbara Walters and Katie Couric. A red suit and turtleneck sweater that had belonged to Helen Thomas was also featured. But where was pioneer Dorothy Fuldheim who was one of the first women in TV news. She had interviewed Mussolini in her day, newsworthy in itself that a woman would be sent to do so. She was on the air in Cleveland (WEWS – ABC affiliate) doing commentary until her early 90s, only retiring after a tumor caused her to collapse. Where was Nellie Bly, Clare Booth Luce, Janet Flanner (Genet), Denby Fawcett, Jurate Kazicka, Kate Webb, Jane Pauley and Deborah Norville?

Fudheim through Flanner were the women I studied growing up. I was in awe of Fawcett, Kazicka, and Webb during Vietnam.

Grant it, fewer women have made it to the ranks of journalism history.  During Vietnam, General Westmoreland tried to ban women from war reporting, so the women had to buck protocol and generals to do their jobs. According to Media Report to Women, “Gender split in broadcast news reporting: Kathleen Ryan of Miami University of Ohio and Joy Chavez Mapaye of the University of Alaska, Anchorage, studied all news programming on ABC, CBS and NBC during one week in February 2007 and compared it to a similar survey done in 1987. They found that in 1987, men reported 73% of stories; in 2007, men reported 48% and women, 40% (the remaining 12% were team efforts featuring reporters of each gender).” (Electronic News, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2010)

But couldn’t the Newseum possibly give the women who did make a contribution a bit more space and at least a mention?


June 28, 2012

Angela Buckley ~ entrepreneurial spitfire

Filed under: Women's Winning Ways — by sandrakhorn @ 9:00 pm
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When she became one of the many engineers caught in the economic downturn, Angela Buckley decided to mix her love for competition with her creativity and add her knowledge of exercise.  To the average person, it looks as if she took a surfboard and placed it on balls. To stand on this, a person has to stay balanced or the board leans left or right, very much like what happens if a person is surfing on water. Buckley calls it Fit Board Fusion.


She was brainstorming marketing ideas with her brother for his handmade Stand Up Paddleboards when she thought of the concept for Fit Board Fusion.  Nate, an entrepreneur himself, operates Project 908.  Using her knowledge of fitness, Buckley developed routines based on enhanced yoga, Pilates, and interval training moves.


To help her business cut costs firefighter brother, Ben Wollenburg of Rocky River, Ohio makes her boards.  Buckley says, “He’s built himself a numerically controlled cutting machine referred to as a CNC.”  What this does is allow Wollenburg to cut the Fit Boards (a paddle board the width of a yoga mat) exactly alike in his own business called Bendeavors, LLC.  As Buckley was working with this new exercise concept, she noticed her own IT Band ailment starting to heal. This overuse injury had plagued her and kept her out of competition in the recent past.


In her shop, Fit Board Fusion on Glick Road in Shawnee Hills, Ohio, she holds classes with the help of other certified staff. She also sells the fitness boards for use at home and as equipment for other fitness organizations.   For Buckley, this is a business that “other people can benefit from through her invention” and also allows her to be the mom she wants to be to Brett, her 4-year-old son.


Buckley credits the Fit Board for her recent success in the Inaugural National Championship for Aquabike in Richmond, Virginia.  She came in third in her age class and 17/52 with the female overall. She started training in January using the Fit Board routines three times a week. Plus  she swam and biked once a week, strengthening her muscles and cultivating endurance. She and her fellow competitors are hoping Aquabike will be contested at a World Championship level.

June 9, 2012

Stone Soup Good Reminder of what we have won for our girls

Filed under: Women's Winning Ways — by sandrakhorn @ 4:10 pm
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I hate telling students about what was available in athletics for my sister and me when we were in high school and college.  Let’s see. We could be cheerleaders.  We could be on the basketball team called MidMets.  We wore our navy blue gym outfits that were one piece, had skirts, and bloomers underneath. Our girls basketball “team” put on those red practice vests that distinguished us from the other “team.” We played in front of the school as part of a pep rally.  The rules were different than today also. We could only dribble three times and then we were forced to pass. Can you imagine how slow the game progressed? No other schools. No rivalries.  No training.  No practices to speak of. No weight training.

That’s it.  Cheerleading or MidMets. There was club called GAA.  Girls Athletic Association.  But I honestly don’t remember what it was for.  There was a gymnastics club.  But it enhanced our cheerleading. There was no competition.

Okay, enough of the dark ages.

What about now?  There is so much more for girls not only in sports but countless educational and career opportunities.  But don’t think there is not resentment or need to rescind Title IX.  I hear conversation usually in the Spring when boys resent not receiving the amount of money in scholarships. If it wasn’t for Title IX, we would have more money.

I teach in a suburban high school in central Ohio. This past year our women’s teams did better than ever.  Basketball looked as if they were going to have a winning season, but they lost confidence.  Softball was really exciting.  Lady Wolves Lacrosse was dynamic.  They went to states in Ohio this year and lost to the team that would become the state champs.  I kept waiting for the excitement of the team to build.  The kind you see in movies. The kind I have seen for the Men’s Soccer and Lacrosse teams in the past.  But it never quite happened. When I would mention it in classes, guys would say, “They should play the guys’ team; they would destroy them.” or “But it’s just a girls team.”  I would wait for a bit before I would say anything, and the boys would back up and say, “We’re just teasing.” or “Yeah, they’re okay.” or “We just want to get to ya.”

Ah no. The truth is in the support in the stands.  Many girls’ sports have empty stands in comparison to the boys’ team.  Even when they have a better winning record.

We still have work to do.

April 7, 2012

Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America

Filed under: Her Story — by sandrakhorn @ 1:26 pm
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Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America” by Charlotte Waisman and Jill Tietjen

I knew when I chose the name of my blog it wasn’t all that unique.  This book is quality.  It represents so many of us.  Be prepared to see quotes from this source if you read more from me.

February 18, 2012

“Where are the Women?”

Filed under: Her Story — by sandrakhorn @ 2:16 pm
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I have just finished a unit on Women’s Literature with one of my classes when this incident in congress occurred.
I shared it with my students. One young woman gasped, “It’s still going on?”
This may be hard to fathom for a modern young woman of 17. I would like to believe that we are at a time in history when young women can take for granted the rights that women have won. Take this incident of our “leaders” and combine it with the aspirin comment of Rick Santorum backer Foster Friess and more than a “oh my goodness” escapes many women’s mouths.
(Friess has apologized for his national insult on CNN but how can you apologize away an attitude.)

It shows why I still need to teach Women’s Literature, why more women’s history needs to be taught, and why I need to continue writing this blog.

December 30, 2011

Iron Jawed Angels: Alice Paul and Lucie Burns

Somehow in 2004 the HBO movie Iron Jawed Angels slipped by my attention.  An official choice for the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, one of its actors Angelica Huston earned the honor of best supporting actress in a motion picture made for television.  The content of the movie describes how patient one faction of women was as men kept skirting the issue (pun intended) about women obtaining the right to vote.  But there was a younger group of women, who took on another attitude and pushed those men and sacrificed so much to give us that right so many of us take for granted.

Alice Paul and Lucy Burns attracted the attention of a president and congress to finally move forward with our right to vote.  Alice Paul seemed destined to take her place in history as if her Quaker upbringing, education, and experiences were road signs to guide her down this path.  Her family believed in gender equality, education for women, and making contributions to improve society.  Her education credits look more as if they were accumulated in a much more modern time than the early 1900s.

Paul was steered in the direction that made her contribution grab attention by Emmeline Parnkhust.   Parnkhust was the founder of the British suffrage movement, who Paul met in 1907 while she studied at the Woodbrook Settlement for Social Work, and at the University of Birmingham and the London School of Economics. Parnkhust believed in “taking the woman’s movement to the streets.”  While in England, Paul participated in hunger strikes, radical protests, and served three prison terms.

Lucy Burns had a completely different type of upbringing.  Irish Catholic and from Brooklyn, she sported fiery red hair and reportedly a matching disposition.  She also was well educated and met Alice Paul when they were arrested at a suffrage demonstration in front of Parliament.  She became a force supporting Alice Paul’s leadership.

The two women first worked with the National American Suffrage Association (NAWSA).  They were appointed to lead the Congressional Committee. Later, these two women formed the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CU).

It was while they worked together under this moniker that what they were taught in England started to emerge.  The organization started picketing Woodrow Wilson’s White House and embarrassed the president when they held banners declaring America was not a free democracy as long as it does not allow women the right to vote.  Burns was arrested with several supporters for blocking traffic.

During one of six arrests, Burns declared herself and her fellow supporters political prisoners. It was during her incarceration at the Occoquan Workhouse (now the Lorton Correctional Complex) that Alice Paul and she started hunger strikes and, consequently, were placed in solitary confinement.  One night, which became known as the Night of Terror, thirty-three women were brutally beaten.  Lucy Burns was among those women, but she was also handcuffed and left to hang by her wrists for the night.

News reports across the nation let people know about the force feedings that were ordered due to the hunger strikes, the worm infested foods, and the indignities that were suffered by the suffragettes.

In a modern television script, we would expect the ratification to take place as soon as the women were released from prison, but this did not happen.  It finally took until the 1918 election, a year later, leaving Congress with mostly pro-suffrage members for the House to vote for passage 304-89.   But there was still the Senate that had voted down the amendment less than a year before.  This time the Senate passed the amendment by one vote.  In August of 1920, Tennessee became the last of the needed 36 states to ratify the amendment.


A biography of Alice Paul notes, “ The fight took 72 years — spanning two centuries, 18 presidencies, and three wars.”


Alice Paul


Alice Paul


Iron Jawed Angels (2004)


Lucy Burns


Walton, Mary A Woman’s Crucade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot Macmillan


October 16, 2011

HeLa aka Henrietta Lacks ~ An unknowing angel

Filed under: Her Story — by sandrakhorn @ 8:46 pm

I’ve been reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  Spoiler: It is upsetting. She knew when David, her husband, drove her twenty miles to John Hopkins that something was wrong. She had told her girl friends and cousins that she had a knot inside her. She went to John Hopkins because it was the only major hospital that would treat black patients. Now Henrietta was the wife of a steel worker in Baltimore.  Her grandfather in Virginia brought her up in a four-room log cabin that was once a former slave quarters.  She knew “how to harvest tobacco and butcher a pig, but she’s never heard the words cervix or biopsy” (16).

She knew before her last son was born she had something wrong. But in the doctor’s report she had had a term delivery September 1950.  They had not detected the abnormality that Henrietta knew was there.

At the time, Henrietta Lacks walked into Hopkins to be treated, Dr. Howard Jones (Henrietta’s doctor) and his boss, Dr. Richard Wesley TeLinde were involved in a national debate about cervical cancer and its treatment. When TeLinde tried to promote his theory, it was not well received.  He returned to Hopkins to prove his theory correct.  He turned to another associate for assistance.  George Gey, head of the tissue culture research at John Hopkins, had been trying to grow cancer cells outside of the human body for testing.  His wife and he had not yet been successful.

TeLinde and quite a few scientists at the time, believed they had the right to use the patients at Hopkins who were being treated for free in the public wards, as research subjects. They felt the specimen which were collected were payment for services.  Henrietta Lacks was one of these patients.  She signed an operation permit. Before her first radium treatment, Dr. Lawrence Wharton Jr. “shaved two dime-sized pieces of tissue from Henrietta’s cervix” (33).  The samples went into a glass dish and were sent off to Gey’s lab.  No one had asked Henrietta if she wanted to be a part of a test, nor had she even been told that anyone was collecting samples for any reason.

As 30-year-old Henrietta went home, her cells were the first to not only survive but multiply in Gey’s lab. They became the first immortal human cells. These cells became known as HeLa cells.

The advances in cancer research which includes many famous discoveries: that cigarettes cause lung cancer, how X-rays and specific chemicals can change healthy cells to cancerous cells, and the National Cancer Institute use of cells, including HeLa cells to determine if chemicals and natural extracts could be used to cure cancer (138), all started with Henrietta Lacks.

No one knows for sure that Henrietta knew that her cells would save millions of people’s lives.  A microbiologist, Laure Aurelian, is said to have witnessed Gey telling Henrietta about her cells making her immortal, and Henrietta’s comment that she was glad her pain would bring “some good for someone” (66).  When Henrietta died, she was buried in the Lacks cemetery in an unmarked grave.

September 5, 2011

Anne Bradstreet First poet to be published in America and Great Britian

Filed under: Her Story — by sandrakhorn @ 10:26 pm
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America's first poet

Her story tells of many women who made a good life for themselves even though it did not initially turn out the way they thought.  For all of us who are being challenged in this era of recession, maybe we could take notes on how they managed.

Anne Bradstreet (nee Dudley), our first published and notable poet, is an example.  She was raised as a noblewoman in England in the early 1600’s.  She married at 16.  Simon Bradstreet was a ward of the Dudleys and together they all migrated to the colonies on the Arabella, one of the first ships to bring Puritans to the shores of New England. The three-month journey was terrible for many of the future colonists and many did not survive.  For Anne Bradstreet is was no different. Schooled in several languages, history, and literature, this journey was extremely difficult for her.

Even with her husband becoming Chief Administrator to the Boston settlement’s governor, John Winthrop, life was a daily struggle.  Anne handled the daily challenges of the colony by praying; believing God had not abandoned them.  She also chose to go remember easier times in England.

If all the threats to life, the challenge of finding food, surviving small pox was not enough, ,Anne came down with a paralysis that left her joints weak.  She still didn’t give up her passion for living.  She and her husband managed to have eight children and built a home around them.

In her poem, Upon the Burning of Our House, she once more shows how she managed to keep herself sustained.  Thanks to Simon’s standing in the community, they soon recovered.  Anne spent many days and nights alone due to Simon’s position.  She kept herself busy reading her father’s many books and teaching her children.  From these books, she learned about medicine, religion, science and the arts, which helped her survive the life in New England.

Anne loved poetry and started to write herself.  At this time, it was considered wrong for women to air their opinions or pursue learning.  To accent this situation one of her closest friends, Anne Hutchinson made her opinions public, and she was banished from the community.

Without her permission, her brother-in-law copied her poems and took them to England for publishing.  Her poems contain her love for her God, her family, and her husband.  A reader can also read how she valued intellect and knowledge making her one of our earliest feminists.

Her father and husband were involved in the organization of Harvard University.  A Bradstreet gate is dedicated to our first poet by the Harvard Community and is located at Canaday Hall.

Anne Bradstreet died at the age of 60 succumbing to tuberculosis.

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