Accomplishments from 2018

When I have started each year, for at least the last five years, I have started with a list of things I would like to accomplish in that year. The number of accomplishments on that list corresponds to the year that it is, like 18 things in 2018, 17 in 2017, etc. It turns out I have yet to accomplish all of the things on the list that I have set out to accomplish in any of those years. So last year I started a tradition to recap at the beginning of a new year the things that I did accomplish in the previous year- some of them were on my list of things I aimed to accomplish, while others were not.

So here are the 18 things I did accomplish in 2018.

  1. I paid off my third loan. I’ve paid off 3/4 of my debt on my own and I’m really proud of that.
  2. I completed half of my requirements for graduate school and maintained a 3.5 GPA even though I was wedding planning and working full time while attending school.
  3. I read 64 books and got closer to my life goal of reading 1,000 books.
  4. I beat my addiction to calorie counting and learned to eat when I’m hungry.
  5. I said yes to my best friend and we planned a lot of our big day together. I cannot wait to marry him and share those moments with our friends and family! Only 166 days!
  6. I accepted a new job and left the comfort of my first big girl job.
  7. I went to Miss America for the first time (and got to watch one of my dear friends win!!).
  8. I learned to stomach tequila. Okay, that one may sound sketchy, but for a while I could not even smell it in my vicinity without being sick. So thanks to the best bridal shower for a friend, for helping me get over that one.
  9. I was part of my first protest. #RedForEd #MyBabiesDeserveBetter #WeDeserveBetter #NeverthelessWePersisted
  10. I found my voice, again, to speak up for injustice, and refused to let it be silenced, even if it was an attempt by someone I loved.  #MeToo
  11. I learned to walk away from friendships I wanted to maintain when that friendship was not healthy.
  12. I finished my year as Miss Capital City, and even though I did not get another chance to compete at Miss North Carolina, I was so proud of the way I represented that title, and all of the work I put into making a difference through my platform.
  13. I completed my graduate school internship at the Gaston County Museum. I learned a lot, and I gained new members of my family.
  14. I had worked with a lot of nonprofits before, but I had never done so with an official title, or for a prolonged amount of time leading up to an event that I helped bring to fruition, and I was so privileged to do that in 2018- and we raised thousands of dollars in the process!
  15. I judged and presented awards at National History Day, as Miss Capital City and as a student, at UNCC.
  16. I made my first bulletin board.
  17. I taught a new class where I was able to create the curriculum and actually had fun even though it was really hard.
  18. I made it to my five year recovery birthday.

There’s a lot I wanted to do in 2018 that I did not do, but that’s okay. I plan to write again in a few days letting everyone know the plan for 2019, and the list of things to accomplish and share some news.

For now, it’s off to start this semester of graduate school.

 

Books from 2018 & my suggestions for 2019

For my first blog of the new year, I thought I’d go over the books I read in 2018, and the ones I would suggest that others read in 2019.

  1. You’ll Never Know Dear
  2. More Happy Than Not
  3. Work Ethic in Industrial America, 1850-1920
  4. Giving Preservation a History
  5. Building a Nation
  6. Race and Reunion: US Civil War
  7. Murdering McKinley
  8. First Ladies
  9. Shattered Dreams
  10. Banana Cultures
  11. Hope in a Jar: making America’s beauty culture
  12. Goat Castle: Race, Murder in the Gothic South
  13. Warfare State
  14. Impossible Subjects
  15. Notes from the Cracked Ceiling
  16. Why Preservation Matters
  17. Bending the Future
  18. Women, Partisanship, and Congress
  19. Highest Glass Ceiling
  20. Thinking Small
  21. First woman cabinet member
  22. The woman behind the New Deal
  23. EMILY’s list
  24. Beyond Preservation
  25. From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime the Making of Mass Incarceration in America
  26. Dark Places
  27. Four Hour Work Week
  28. The Big Bad Wolf
  29. Salem’s Lot
  30. Gastonia 1929
  31. Martyr of Loray Mill
  32. The Latino Migration Experience to North Carolina.
  33. Gaston County Memories
  34. The Thirteenth Juror
  35. Latino Farmworkers in the Eastern United States Health, Safety, and Justice
  36. Making Time for History
  37. For Our Little Children
  38. Maya of Morganton
  39. Scratching Out a Living
  40. See Jane Run
  41. Sorority
  42. Roanoke Girls
  43. Latino Workers in the Contemporary South
  44. On the Line
  45. Voices from the Nueva Frontera: Latino Immigration in Dalton, Georgia
  46. The Baptism of Early Virginia
  47. Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England
  48. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America
  49. Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic
  50. Soul by Soul: Inside the Antebellum Slave Market
  51. Making Slavery History: Abolitionism and the politics of memory in Massachusetts
  52. The market revolution: Jacksonian America, 181501846
  53. Free soil, free labor, free men
  54. Revolutionary Mothers
  55. Disorderly Women
  56. Women of the Republic
  57. Claiming the Pen
  58. Mere Equals: The paradox of educated women in early American republic
  59. Liberty’s daughters: the revolutionary experience
  60. We have raised all of you
  61. Teaching History in the Digital Age
  62. Writing History in the Digital Age

 

My suggestions in no particular order:

Murdering McKinley – despite a pretty significant knowledge of American history this was an insightful book to the way that Roosevelt reshaped the American consciousness once he became president and the author gives an interesting argument that I had never considered, that by trying to forget McKinley, Roosevelt effectively murdered him a second time

Women of the Republic – another book used in graduate school this semester, this was an interesting look at how women of the Revolutionary Era were useful as more than just housewives and how even just a housewife could have influence of the revolutionary mindset

Damned Women – a great read about the witch trials, nothing more needs to be said

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime the Making of Mass Incarceration in America- similar to “13th” on Netflix, I 10/10 recommend this and watching that together, you’ll have a new outlook on the mass incarceration and how the prison system is our country has become a for-profit industry

Hope in a Jar: making America’s beauty culture- how America has sold to women (and in some cases men) that they need particular products to be considered attractive, a great read for all my pageant folks

Goat Castle: Race, Murder in the Gothic South – written by a professor at UNCC (go niners!), this is a specific case exploration of murder in Mississippi and how a young African-American woman was accused and convicted when she had no connection. A strange, real-life crime story.

Notes from the cracked ceiling (also maybe add Emily’s List right after this)- eye-opening accounts of the struggle for women to earn a place in government and politics

 

 

What did you read in 2018? What are your book suggestions for this year?

Review of ‘Remembering Lincoln’ Project by Ford’s Theatre

Below is the assignment I was given for my graduate Digital History course, and my response to the assignment, as we have been asked to write it as though it were a blog post.

BLOG ASSIGNMENT: Write an evaluation (500-750 words) of one the following sites (each of you will sign up for one), using the Journal of American History evaluation guidelines. and, where relevant, drawing on the week’s reading. Note especially the questions in the key areas of content, form, audience/use, and new media. If you have a project site that you’d like to review but is not listed here, please let me know at least 5 days in advance of the assignment due date.

The project site that I chose to evaluate is “Remembering Lincoln.” I picked this site because I have always had a fascination with Abraham Lincoln. As a little back story, since this is written as a blog post, I actually was told in elementary school (a very small private school) that by third grade I had written too many reports on Abraham Lincoln and needed to write my next one on a female, especially because we would be dressing up as the subject of our next biography report. I was not a happy seven year old, and strongly protested this enough that they assigned me my biography subject, and called my parents. Eighteen years later, I still drag my family to Lincoln themed historic sites regularly, watch documentaries, read books, and clearly took John David Smith’s undergraduate course on Lincoln. I also regularly rant about Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln when given the chance, and sometimes even when I have to present myself with the opportunity just because I feel like talking about the Lincolns. So, long story short, ya girl is stoked to look at this site. Okay, that’s my unrelated, hopefully ungraded 🙂 rant, here we go.

 

The ‘Remembering Lincoln’ site is an Archive of responses to the Lincoln Assassination that is presented by Ford’s Theatre through various methods. The main tabs of the website are “Explore the Story,” “Browse Responses,” and “For Teachers.” Each of these tabs offers various other tabs within them once the visitor has gone into that tab. The purpose of the site is to trace the narrative of the reactions that citizens had to the shocking assassination of the President.

The Timeline features moves through photos and quick captions that range from one sentence to one paragraph. The timeline features the assassination, the chase and apprehension of John Wilkes Booth, the funeral trains, trial, and the executions of the conspirators in July.

The Map feature lets you click on different cities to see responses to the assassination. Diaries, memories, public statements, newspapers, letters, sermons, photographs, and speeches are all featured. There is also a browse feature for responses that has 39 pages of pieces submitted.

The Funeral Train tab goes to Google Arts and Culture that allows the user to click through photos and a virtual tour of the current sites that stand where Lincoln’s body was viewed by citizens on the funeral train stops.

The lesson plans tab has resources for grades 6-12 on various parts of the assassination.

Based on the Digital History Review Site, after generally browsing the site, I went back and looked for the categories that the DHR noted for reviews.

Content: The scholarship is sound in the fact that it features primary sources from around the country. This gives varying viewpoints, and the point of the site is to give reactions to the assassination at the time of the assassination. The project is current because it does have a section for teachers that features lesson plans that have been recently updated to align with national standards that are ever changing for both social studies and language arts educators. The flaw I saw in this category is the display of content communication to users. Three mains tabs are featured at the top of the site, but unless the visitors clicks in and explores, it is difficult to realize what all the site features (browse items, funeral train, explore the manhunt, meet the people, lesson plans, etc).

Design: As previously addressed, the design initially makes the site look much simpler than it is. However, if an user makes a simple click into one of the tabs it does feature what the site does have to offer, so it is not difficult to navigate. The only feature that did not function as expected was the “use History Pin” button for the interactive map of where photos and documents were submitted from, but the map was also featured on the project site, so I was unclear why an user needed to go onto a separate site to view the items to begin with. The site loads quickly, even with my affinity to have 50 tabs open at any given time, which I did while I was working on this assignment (yes, I know, my first period class yells at me daily, but it’s the way my mind works).

Audience: The project is presented by Ford’s Theatre, so theoretically it is someone who is interested in Lincoln’s assassination, assassinations in general, or is in an American History course. I was impressed of how well it addressed the goals of high school and middle school curriculum goals in addressing primary sources, then using analyzing, creation, comparison, writing skills, and comparison with those primary source items. If they intend for this to be used by educators, then they have done an excellent job and I would definitely use it in my classroom.

Digital Media: The project uses interactive mapping and Google Arts/Culture to interactively involve users in Lincoln’s assassination and the aftermath.

Creators: The site uses multiple contributors. Including teachers, digital strategists. They have a curator, website manager, interns, art directors, and digital public historians. They also have multiple advisors from various backgrounds including Dr. David Goldfield from UNCC, Jennifer Rosenfield from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and the director of National History Day that we host at UNCC, Kim Fortney.

Midterms & Chronic Illness

I just wrote the following blog post (yes we blog in my digital history class) to my classmates:

If this was my actual blog, I would be a big cheerleader and tell everyone how wonderful they did. So I’m going to a little off the book here and tell everyone how wonderful they did. I thought each of the projects were unique and exciting. I thought each of the projects showed that there are distinct interests and personalities in our classroom, and that excites me. I think there were so many interesting takes on how we were meant to interpret our assignment here. I think group work has its place alongside individual work, when done correctly, and I think these proposals were examples of how it can be done well. Literally all of them were something I was interested in in some way, shape, or form (especially the Korean War- because my grandfather fought there, and I happened to read it first).

As for the individual proposals, again, I want to be a cheerleader here. I get to spend the rest of my week telling students what they need to work on. As everyone has such different interests, I think it is so cool to see the different interpretations of this project assignment and I am so excited to see what everyone comes up with at the end of the semester. As we’ve been talking this semester about different ways to use digital media to enhance your work or spread it to wider audiences, I thought it was really neat to see different ways that everyone in class wanted to go about forming their idea, researching their topic, and creating their product. Although let me not lie, you all may me feel a little inadequate that my idea was not as well formed as yours were. So keep doing awesome.

Here is what I wanted to actually write, considered sending it to my thesis advisor/professor of the class/head of the department (he wears all the hats and survives- you go, Shapiro, go), then realized it doesn’t make a different:

If this was my actual blog, I would be honest here. One of the biggest consistencies I push on my blog is vulnerability. So that’s where I’m going to go this week. Reading everyone’s project proposals I don’t feel like I’m anywhere close to what everyone else has prepared. On my blog, I’ve been honest about my struggles with my health issues, and the last week has been the most difficult, as I had some serious tests done, and I’m waiting for the results to come back- it could be nothing, but it could be something. It also has made me question what I want to do with my life if it is “something.” I’ve wanted my masters for years. And some of you in this classroom are busting your ass for it. I want to be at that level. But I don’t really know what to do to get there. And I’m struggling to juggle all the stuff I do have on my plate. So this is me sharing. This is me saying yall kicked this assignment’s butt, and I am so proud of you, and telling Nick thanks for helping me when my first draft contribution to ours wasn’t up to par. If this was one of my students in my situation, I would tell them to ask for help from their colleagues and from me, so here I am; how do you do it?

I don’t want to be the whiny person. I don’t want to quit. But I am also overwhelmed. I don’t know how to finish this one strong. I don’t know how to do ALL the things. Venting here. 

 

Who have you become, America? Who will you become?

*trigger warning: assault*
When the letter accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct came out I thought that there’s no way we will move forward with this man as a potential for the Supreme Court…. and then we did and that’s where my disappointment has stemmed from for weeks. I have tried as a teacher, and when I was a public figure in the Miss America organization to keep my mouth closed, and I have finally read enough arguments on Facebook that I can no longer do so. This will be my last statement on the issue. Any negative comments will be deleted.

My social media from this point forward will not address political issues unless they are positive it will be used to talk about my volunteerism which is a big part of my life, to talk about family and friends, and clearly to talk about my excitement for my upcoming wedding next summer to my sweet, handsome Caleb.

I do reserve the right to unfriend any family or friends who choose to continue the discussion over Brett Kavanaugh’s accusations against his sexual misconduct.

Now let me pause there, I know this unfriending business is a sensitive subject for some people…and I’ve seen this increasingly particularly on Facebook lately. I actually see posts about it in more being a sensitive subject for generations older than me. I get being unfriended or uninvited or whatever can be upsetting, however, I do think that everybody has a right to unfriend somebody. Just as everyone has their own opinions. I have actually in the last few weeks unfriended some family members and friends, myself because of some of the stuff they have said has been very reminiscent of what I encountered in the first few months of coming forward about the assault I dealt with in high school and it has been a little triggering for me. it’s been very upsetting to me and so I didn’t want to continue to read those things. 

Now when I created my social media it was with the purpose of seeing friends and family‘s post about babies, dogs, you know, what they’re doing with their lives, not their political opinions so I will go ahead and say that I have gone full-blown political the last few weeks was never my intention; but it seems to me that that’s the only way to get into a few thick skulls (sorry if that’s offensive to you, probably lost people right there but that’s what it is). I do think however that no political candidate is ever going to read your Facebook post or your Instagram post. They do not care. If you want to change a congress member’s opinion write them a letter, give them a call, that is the way you make the change; this post is not for them, this is for you who are reading it on my Facebook list or whoever they’ve shared it to.

So let me jump into the meat of the argument. I think quite a few of you already know where I stand on this. It’s been very difficult for me to be non-partisan on the Brett Kavanaugh accusations of sexual misconduct. I’m a social studies teacher and I should be non-partisan but this one’s really tough for me because we already have a President in office who has been accused of sexual misconduct, that we still put in office and now he is trying to put someone on the Supreme Court to make decisions for us nationally who also is being accused of sexual misconduct, and it’s not only of one woman it’s now, I believe up to, what four women, so that’s not just one woman seeking to further herself. I just lost some of you, but I promise this is not a rant on Trump. This has a legitimate point.  

So if you read my Facebook post, you know I have already made the argument that women do not come for sexual accusations in this type of arena for fame. Take for example the Larry Nassar or the Bill Cosby accusations or even Kevin Spacey. Men and women who have come forward are not getting fame for this; I’m willing to bet that you can’t name the women and men who are coming forward with these accusations; I’m willing to bet without googling it, you cannot name five of Bill Cosby’s accusers and he’s been convicted recently.  The only reason that you may be able to name more than a few of Larry Nassar’s survivors of his assault and molestation women is because they already had fame these women picked themselves up and kept moving forward and were able to achieve amazing things but they didn’t get there because they came forward and said “Hey, Larry Nassar did this to me and I want him put away.” Their achievement had nothing to do with that; they had already achieved their moment in the spotlight it was not about getting fame for them and that’s not what Christine Blasey Ford is doing. She already has a career, she already has the money, she already has her degrees.

So my question to everyone who has argued well why didn’t she come forward sooner is: if it was you, if it was your son, daughter, or your cousin, or your aunt, uncle, mother, father, whoever it is that you value most in your life, would you force them to come forward, if they were uncomfortable doing so? Which clearly Dr. Ford was not comfortable at the time. She was embarrassed. She was scared, which most victims whether male or female are at the time. Even the statistics from the National Assault Hotline/RAINN say that most people who were calling in I have not told someone before. I’m one of those people. When I came forward two years after my assault it was the first time that I had chosen to talk about it since it happened. I had told one person and I didn’t use the word assault at the time. I didn’t say what he had done to me. I said he did something I didn’t want him to do and do not ever tell anybody. The whole reason I did not come forward at the time is the questions and victim blaming I knew I would get, and I then got when I finally did come forward. The questions most victims are asked, that I was asked, is exactly what we’re pulling today, it is exactly what you people are putting on social media right now about Dr. Ford and it’s disgusting. 

I don’t care what it a male or female had on, how drunk they were or were not, if they had ever had contact with the assailant, or if the assault was at random. For the record: tennis shoes, jeans, sweatshirt, I did know him, and he had no right to lay a finger on me. It is never a victim-survivor’s (whatever term you want to use) fault and how dare any of you blame this woman of it being her fault or her seeking fame, you all are enablers.

The next piece of the argument I want to address is that Mr. Kavanaugh is innocent until proven guilty. That’s fine. But someone who is innocent would have said from the get-go to do an investigation because you will find nothing. Which that has been Mr. Kavanagh’s last resort which tells me that something is not right. “If something does not feel right, something is not right.” if Mr. Kavanagh does truly believe that he is innocent he doesn’t act like it and the fact he has allowed the attacks on Dr. Ford continues to prove to me that he is not innocent, or he at least is not a reputable man who cares nothing about anyone but himself and his own pocket/power/reputation.

Now. Maybe I’m sensitive because I had this argument about a year ago with someone that survivors are not actually talked about it, that the result is nobody knows; but let me tell you people knew, even though I didn’t talk about it, he told people that I had done things with him, that I had not done by choice, and I just kept my mouth shut, I knew I would be victim blamed, and rumors were spread about me. I kind of now equivocate it in my mind to like on “13 reasons why” if you’ve watched that show. So for me, in my head, Mr. Kavanagh is pretty similar to that kind of situation so if he was innocent he would lay this to rest and do so in a respectful way of Dr. Ford insaid of letting her reputation as a woman be blown to shit.

Now I do understand that Mr. Kavanagh may believe in his head he is innocent and he wants the respect of his family and his children and wants this justice position. I’ve got that. But if he is this “respectable man” that you all believe that he is he would help this woman through this time, help her find who did actually assaulted her (use that law degree, boo boo), he would lay this to rest, he would go through the investigation he would prove to his family that he is, in fact, innocent instead of continuing the barrage of misconduct against Dr. Ford and her psyche.

I also cannot bring myself to believe that Dr. Ford is just out to get Kavanaugh when she sent the letter a year ago. She tried a year ago to prevent this entire incident when he was on the shortlist. Ours being the rape culture that we live in she was ignored, now she’s being questioned, now she’s being blamed, instead of being believed as a survivor who has a dealt with this in silence and alone for almost 4 decades that’s indicative to me of the direction that our country is headed. And it’s not the direction I want to go in.

As a teacher, as a female, as an active citizen, as someone who has believed in the American ideals and in the American dream for her 25 years I’m scared for the direction our country is headed. Because I know that we can do better.

I know that there were issues when we are founded. I know that there were things that our founding fathers did that we would prefer not to talk about. I know that there are things that have gone on in our 242 year history that we would prefer not to talk about as a country, that we have worked as a country to correct. I know that there are things as a country we are still working on; but as someone who believes in what this country can be, Brett Kavanaugh is not the answer.

Our founding fathers created us to be a republic, that included a representative democracy, (if you don’t know what it means, please tell stop by my Civics class and I’ll explain, seriously). That means this country chose Donald J Trump as our president whether I disagree with that choice or not. That means our military fights for the right for me to write this post, for Colin Kaepernick to kneel in front of the American flag during the national anthem, for Donald Trump to violate Twitter user policy literally every day. 

For me to continue to believe in this country we cannot put another man who committed a crime of sexual assault on our Supreme Court. We did it almost 30 years ago but I will not stand for it a second time. I had nothing to do with who was elected or appointed in the 1990s because I was not born. I have a say so now. I have a voice. I intend to use it. This will not stand for.

I am devastated by the rape culture that has been created in our country. I am devastated at my own treatment. I am devastated at the treatment of women I have gone to high school, church, college, with. I am devastated at the treatment of women I have worked with. I’m devastated at the treatment of some of my own family members and friends. I am completely and utterly devastated at the treatment of Dr. Ford by my fellow Americans and people on my Facebook and Instagram friend list.

If you wouldn’t want it done to you, if you had had a man or woman do that to you don’t do it to her, don’t do it to any other survivor. I’ve seen people say how Ford is somebody’s mom, friend, daughter, but she’s more than that, she is SOMEBODY. I just wish everybody would think about that.

As America wishes to be respected internationally, I hope everyone who is trashing Dr. Ford and praising Brett Kavanaugh and playing into rape culture continues to think about how they are being viewed internationally as well, because I can only imagine what people in other countries will think if we put yet white male sexual assault assailant in power in this country.

Trump had a shortlist for the Supreme Court nomination that Brett Kavanaugh was only one of. If you trust Trump, if you’re conservative, why do you not trust that some other person on that list is also reliable? Why is Brett Kavanaugh the only option to you? Is it just about being right? Or what is the purpose of having this man on the Supreme Court?

I am completely and utterly devastated, I’ve used that word already in this post but that is the only word I have for what I feel in the situation. The other day I caught myself sitting at the gas station unable to drive off because I was literally just crying at what this woman is going through, what she is being put through nationally and it’s phenomenal and not in a good way.

God promises in Psalm 10:14-18, that those who have been attacked will be restored. I fully believe Dr. Ford will have an extra jewel in her crown for standing up for survivors internationally. I am proud of her. It has given me a little bit of extra strength although it has also saddened me beyond compare.

So I’ll end with this: What is the point of having Kavanaugh, is it just “the win?” How are you treating other people? How would you feel if it was someone you loved? What do you want for America?

 

 

P.S. If you’re reading this, as a survivor, and you have been overwhelmed at the barrage of media and the treatment of Dr. Ford….please accept my virtual hug and my whisper that it is in no way, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, your fault. I wish I could tell sixteen-year-old Logan that, so I’m telling 25 year old, Logan, and I’m telling you, whoever you are. I hope you hear me loud and clear.

 

“For the Lord is righteous,
    he loves justice;
    the upright will see his face.” Psalm 11:7

Why “thinking like a teacher” isn’t a bad thing.

Many of you know I’m currently in graduate school. I was over the moon when I got the acceptance letter that the school where I transferred to then completed my undergraduate education to become a TEACHER. I was accepted into their Public History graduate program, after being encouraged for years by a staff member that whenever I was ready, I would definitely succeed.

I felt ready. I felt like I was at a steady place in my career. I felt like I was mature enough to begin this next step. I felt like I had a passion for this area. I had just been honored to earn two scholarships as Miss Capital City through the Miss America Organization at both the Miss Capital City Scholarship Pageant, as well as receiving the Kate Peacock Teaching Fellow Scholarship at the Miss North Carolina Pageant. I had money to start funding the education I wanted to continue to pursue….and that scholarship had the word teaching in it, mind you.

I was so excited to begin my pursuit of my Masters in January. But, to my great disappointment, it hasn’t been what I expected. There have been a lot of issues. One of the biggest being that many times it has seemed that the right-hand does not know what the left is doing at this university. As someone who likes organization, that bothers me. But, I digress from the subject of this post.

The other issue that has stuck out to me is that more than one professor has told me to stop thinking like a teacher and to think like a historian.

I think I can be both. I think I am both. I fully believe that I am an academic, an explorer, a writer, and an educator, simultaneously. And you will not convince me otherwise. *Insert me singing “Defying Gravity” here*

I have been frustrated many times in my education by the things that my professors have told me. But this one has disillusioned me. It has made me question continuing my education.

If you have ever met me, you know that I believe wholeheartedly in who my Creator sculpted me to be. I believe in constructive criticism, sure. But I also don’t believe in changing the core of myself just because someone does not think or feel that way themselves.

So. At the risk of my professor or classmate thinking I’m cocky, let me tell you why you should let me be a teacher and a historian. It can be summed up in one sentence, I’m learning from them too and I can share that knowledge with the historian community, and it will help us grow, but below is also a breakdown,  

  • I can reach a wide audience. I know how to reshape a question, if necessary, to speak to more people and actively engage them in a conversation (my pageant experience is super helpful in this aspect, as well)
  • I know how to scaffold material. It’s part of my training. Again, wider reach. People are increasingly disengaging with history, folks. Why would you push them away because you are doing something they consider too hard?
  • If you can’t teach it to a seven-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself. I am a FIRM believer in this. And I may not be teaching elementary kids, but I know how to break down ideas, and no offense to any of you historians, but some of you do not. Let me help you with that. 
  • I can tell you what is SUPER BORING for them to read, some of your syllabus material, again, no offense, but IT SUCKS. Like, dude, I’m a reader, and I don’t even want to read it. They are not going to read that at any given point. Or show up to your lecture on it. Sorry, not sorry. Let me help you find RELEVANT material on that same subject. Again, I can help.
  • Learn to be the bigger person. Sometimes I make mistakes, sometimes so do you, sometimes so do they. If you treat them badly, correct it, apologize, move forward. Don’t be snooty. It isn’t cute. They can also smell fake from a mile away. I promise.
  • They are the future of America. Help them make it a good future.
  • If you aren’t willing to open up to them, they will not open up to you.
  • I know your future audience, college professor, museum runners, any public historian, or public figure. They are sitting in my classroom or they are friends of the kids in my classroom. Let me tell you about them and their interests and how to engage them. I learn from them every day just like they learn from me.
  • On this same note, do NOT assume because you have a higher degree that you are smarter than them on everything. You aren’t. Sorry.
  • Be willing to mix things up. Lecturing for your entire class every class is boring. Do something different. They all learn differently.
  • I care. This is my human nature. I have a story. So do you. So does everybody. Fill a bucket. Let somebody talk. Tell them you care. Love well. This matters. It’s what I do.

I believe, as much as it saddens me, without changing to value opinions of others, history will die. This is a higher level of disengagement and disinterest. I see it in the classroom. I see it at the college level. I see it at the graduate level- I see it in myself right now, that I want to disengage because of the rudeness of some college and some staff members.

If there isn’t care to make it accessible to all audiences, then it dies. You can disagree, but this is my opinion. And I hope that historians will open their hearts and minds to reach out to audiences they may not have intended to originally and engage wider audiences, but it does not start out by shutting down those who are trying to bring a different (and helpful) perspective. 

 

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Picture after winning Kate Peacock Teaching Fellow Scholarship at Miss North Carolina Scholarship Pageant, June 2017. I was excited to have my teaching excellence recognized, but also to be able to fund the beginning of my graduate education.

#Scholarship, and nonprofit full time volunteerism

 

If you have never heard my story of how my heart for volunteerism developed, I would love to share it with you sometime, maybe even over a cup of coffee; it’s one of my favorite stories to tell, and we all know how I love to talk.

But the point of this story is that I’ve been given the opportunity to do something that has been on my list of aspirations for years.

I have wanted to be an official part of a nonprofit organization, like on the board, not just an occasional volunteer; and I am a strong believer that when God placed a desire in our hearts, He will open the doors to fulfill the desires we just need to be willing to step forward to do our part.

In May, I received an email asking if any Charlotte area Kappa Delta alumnae would like to be part of an event called “Bre Fest.” It was going to be a fundraiser for the Breanna Ringersen Memorial Scholarship which is a 501(c)(3) established scholarship through Kappa Delta, that will ultimately go to an UNCC student.*

God and I wrestled with this decision for a few days. I had only been reinstated to Kappa Delta as an alumna in August. I knew I was transferring schools to teach in the fall. I was beginning an internship for graduate school. I am still battling this (seemingly never-ending) autoimmune disease. (I didn’t know about the upcoming engagement, but God did). But God whispered, “Will you regret it if you say no?” And I knew my answered, so I simply said, “Hey, I’m interested in serving on the committee.”

Now, let me briefly rewind, while trying to keep it brief. I volunteered with 16 nonprofit organizations while I was Miss Capital City 2017, and I set all of those up on my own. So I’ve handled communication to volunteer and then done the volunteerism aspect the day of the event.

I have never been involved in the minutia of the planning of a nonprofit event.

But at the risk of tooting my own horn. Teaching and Miss America have prepared me. and I am LOVING EVERY SECOND.

We’ve had one in person meeting. The rest of communication has been over email and phone- but this is coming together and I am stoked. We went and saw the space on Sunday and the visualization I have of this event now is even more real and exciting.

I have been able to use my communication and networking skills like never before. And it has helped me grow for the future I hope to have professionally, as well. I have sent more emails than I can count.

I am still speechless at the positive responses. I am overwhelmed with the gratitude for every donation. I am also endlessly grateful for the sisters who reached out to include me in this and the fact they’ve let me just run with it.

This is where I want to put in a little plug to the sponsors we’ve confirmed: Nothing But Noodles, the Southern Christmas Show, Howl at the Moon, DogTopia, Lucky Dog Bark and Brew, Pure Pizza, Opera Carolina, Tin Roof, The Comedy Zone, Zootastic Park, the Carolina Renaissance Festival, 704 Shop, Blumenthal Arts, CRIV Boutique, Smoothie King, Tin Roof, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Montford Misfits, Pizza Peel/Improper Pig/Flying Biscuit, Choplin’s, Hype Fitness, and AR Workshop Belmont.

Our in-kind sponsors are: Sunshine Beverages and Domino’s.

Our advertising sponsors are: Beasley Media Group and Orange Barrel Media.

Tickets go on sale to Bre Fest on September 1st. It’s going to be amazing. You should be there.

If you have a business, you should consider being a silent auction donor, monetary donor to the scholarship, or donor for supplies for the day of the event. As a 501(c)(3) any donations are tax-deductible and all sponsors will be promoted leading up to the event and on the day of the event.

The scholarship also stays in the Piedmont because it will go to an UNCC student.

And the last little tidbit of a plug, no matter what you donate, if you can, I promise nobody has ever donated to a great cause and said “Wow, I really regret donating to that philanthropy.”

I am so excited to share this with you guys, and I would love to have you be a part of this special day to honor Bre.

If you have any questions, let me know. Message me, text me, call me, whatever floats your boat! Here’s the link to the website with a little more of Bre’s story: https://brekdscholarship.wixsite.com/1897/donate

*Bre was a Kappa Delta sister at UNCC, who we unexpectedly lost in the fall of 2017. The scholarship was founded in her memory as Kappa Delta honors sisterhood forever and we believe that Bre truly pursued that which is honorable, beautiful, and highest.

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