Admirable Women: A Reflection
Sandra Day O’Connor once said, “We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone. Whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life…” During March, the world celebrated Women’s History Month – honoring and recognizing the greatness of the women that contribute to our accomplishments and celebrating the legacy of that greatness upon which we stand.
My story contains many threads, but today I celebrate just a few of the remarkable women who stand out and help me aspire to greatness.
I recall learning about Susan B. Anthony as a fourth grader. I remember learning that she was told she did not need to learn math because she was a girl. I was a feisty 10-year-old and that riled me up, probably as much as it riled up Susan B. Anthony.
Luckily, Anthony met another outspoken woman – Elizabeth Cady Stanton – and with equality on the brain, these two worked together for women’s suffrage. I honor these women, their work, and my resulting right to participate in the democratic process. I admire and respect them, their tenacity, and their willingness to fight for equality.
I was in middle school when Bill Clinton first came into office. I was not particularly political, so elections didn’t mean much to me at that time. Soon, though, Hilary Clinton came to be a woman I admired and respected. Her conviction and absolute determination to work on behalf of the underserved has helped shape my convictions, both political and personal. I admire and respect her dedication and pursuit of justice.
Like many other women, Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk captivated me back in 2010. I have read her book (twice, actually), have viewed all of her YouTube videos, and have preached the “Lean In” message whenever it’s appropriate. Sandberg is unapologetically successful and equally inspirational. She inspires me and reaffirms my belief that I should “sit at the table,” and even invite myself if necessary. I admire and respect her courage and voice.
I did not have my first real mentor until I started my student teaching experience. Karen Rezendes was Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year in 2001 and decidedly did not want a student teacher. I was, however, absolutely insistent on learning from the best. From the first interaction with her students, Rezendes taught me what it means to be a teacher: meet students where they are, touch hearts, and transform lives. From that moment and to this day, I’ve never met a person who dealt with people with the same level of kindness, grace, and compassion. I respect and admire her for teaching me what it really means to be an educator, an advocate, and an advocate for change.
Who has helped you aspire for greatness? I encourage you to consider the threads that create the tapestry of your life; it is a humbling and wonderful journey.