Particpating teachers: Margherita Wischerth / Art, Charlene Levi, Nicole Gleizer, Ian Morzan / Social Studies, Arlene Laverde / Librarian
A team of four comprised of one art teacher and three social studies teachers who teach US History to 11th grade students came together to bring this exciting and significant project to life in the classroom. The collaboration and collegiate atmosphere of planning and executing the Women Leading the Way curriculum allowed for each student or student group to research, write and create artwork based on the list of women provided. The students’ written components indicated learning about history and connecting it to their own lives, especially their personal reflections. The artwork produced showed the varied avenues to present both historical figures and own family members in a truly individual approach. The students’ creativity is to be acknowledged based on their interpretation of the many mediums at their disposal to present the individual women as well as the historical Suffrage Movement.
This project was a great asset to the curriculum by allowing students to research and look deeply at the women who have made a difference and impact throughout the world. But, what made this project even more exciting is the fact that students had to sit down and interview their own family members leading the students to find how their own puzzle pieces, as small as they might think they are, fit into the larger picture making it the magnificent masterpiece that contributes to life. After 100 years, we are finally seeing the impact of women's voices being heard which demonstrates that this is not an overnight change, but rather a long journey with twists and turns. Successes and bright spots exist, even in the face of failure, and we have learned with our students that we should always be pushing to make our voices heard.
MY OWN PERSONAL STORY –
Unfortunately, those members of my family are no longer present to inquire and have this information known to myself. What I do know is that both my grandmother and great aunt, who were cousins, were part of the roaring 20s era. My grandmother went to Pratt Institute for Fashion Design and my great aunt spent her professional career working in politics within the borough of Brooklyn. Both women were trail blazers as my grandmother did not marry until the age of 27 and my aunt worked diligently to promote her political party agenda at the local and state level. Both women were adventurous as I was recently given my grandmother’s photograph album in which they travelled together to explore. There is a picture of them both on an adventure to Niagara Falls but the most impressive one is the image taken from an airplane as it flew above this historic site.
Also, I must admit by having the opportunity to present this opportunity to the students in our school, I realize that the Suffragists women included their maiden name which made me realize that it was something my grandmother did, as well as my mother and myself. For I was told by my mother that when I married, I did not lose my identity but was adding to it. I also have kept my maiden name legally to remember where I came from as well as to what I have built being married as a woman who was given both choice and opportunity.