The Heroines

Anita Skeen

is honored with a Brick from Joyce Markley.

Four women teachers have inspired me, tested me, liked me, had faith in me, taught me how to be brave. I was not the only one. How great that many others had the same sentiments. This is why these women's names must be in the beautiful Plaza of Heroines.

From the fair Mrs. Decker of rural school days, to the retired teacher/neighbor Mrs. Rouser, who cheerily befriended me when I was a young teacher, to the enthusiastic Ms. Skeen and Ms. Konek of WSU days, their philosophies had a common tie.

Dispensation of basic facts and methods of transferring the knowledge into practical applications weren't all they were about as teachers. They seemed to relish indeed, they were not afraid of the diverse ways we students tried to express ourselves. Their rallying cry seemed to be: ideas must be heard, not ignored; expanded, not left to wither from lack of encouragement. They saw individuals, instead of students to be controlled in some fashion. They saw individuality, which meant diversity; variety and creativity could only thrive as those diverse dreams unfolded, numerous as the people in the room. Personalities bold and daring, others timid and fearful could sense acceptance. These teachers never lost an awareness of the human condition and the grave situations students are often forced to endure, or have willingly chosen to follow mere hours after yesterday's goodbyes.

But at the door of a new morning, some place, some time in many lives, stood these four. What made them special educators? I say it is because they were aware of the daunting task before them, and how because all people are teachers of sorts educators have an incredibly delicate, often mean tug of war in helping someone learn to trust again, or unlearn misconceptions and bad habits. Influence is the name of this game in life. And whether the influences are free or paid for, good or bad, small or mighty, young or old, someone must eventually teach the sorting lesson.

Whether it be from the school or the parent, the cathedral or the alley, the teaching of wise decision making and the joy of discovery propels others to have power over themselves. Good teachers like these four women prompt such eager searching because of their strong reverence for freedom of thought, and reverence for the human vessels of myriad colors and forms seated before them. They want to fill them with precious hope, energy, and everyday kinds of bravery with which to take on the world.

Proudly submitted by Joyce Markley

July 28, 1998