Participating Teachers: Elizabeth LeBrun (Lead Teacher), Janet Chandler (Global Studies), Linda Paquette (Global Studies) and Melissa Kristiansen (Art)
It was fantastic to watch these strong women of action come together to work on this project. It was also exciting to watch them be so excited while learning about the two Edna's. Students also acknowledged that they are surrounded by strong women who have encouraged them along the way. We learn so little about women in our history who have made a difference. But for this dynamic group of young women this experience gave them an historic perspective on two women who contributed to our society in significant ways. It opened their eyes to see that in the 1920s Edna Beard held an elected position and that Edna Fairbanks fought and gained economic rights for women, which have helped them have more opportunities in their own lives. The project also was an empowering experience because it brought together a group of ten young women from different social groups with different interests and they worked together to create a piece of art with a powerful and relevant message.
OUR OWN PERSONAL STORIES –
Melissa: My mother's family came from Sweden and I remember my grandmother saying she would be reprimanded for speaking Swedish in public places because she was now an American with American rights and should speak “the language of America”.
Janet: My maternal grandmother graduated from college in 1921 and became an English teacher. I do not know when she first voted, but she certainly passed down to my mother and then to me the importance of voting. It was never a question as to whether to vote or not. It was simply what you do.
Linda: I remember a time when my grandmother, a feisty Maine Downeaster, was rather frustrated with me because I was hesitant to express my opinion on a topic. She held my shoulders, looked me in the eye and said, “Dammit, Linda, you’ve got a voice, use it!!”
Liz: My mother has always been politically active and continues to be even in her 80s.