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Delta Kappa Gamma
International Society for Key Women Educators
 
Beta Bits
Beta Chapter, Alpha Iota State
Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor, Michigan
 
Winter 2018
Volume XXXIV, No. 1
 
 
President's Message
by Sue Smith
 
Be thankful for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow. We are always evolving as individuals and as part of groups. A special tribute to the friendships initiated and perpetuated as part of our DKG organization.
 
A warm welcome goes out to our three new members, Chris, Beth, and Nina.
 
 
September Meeting: Member Initiation at Sidetrack Grill
by Kathy Micallef
 
The September Delta Kappa Gamma meeting was held on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, at the Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Depot Town, Ypsilanti. We met in the upstairs room, a nice, quiet setting for our meeting and dinner. Members attending were: Christie McWilliams, Carol Osterling, Sharon Burnham, Linda Ichesco, Debby Wilbanks, Debby Rust, Barb Bassett, Judy Williston, Kathy Micallef, and our two new initiates, Chris Adams and Beth Wilkinson.
 
 
Members gathered at 5:00 and had social time with lots of chatting and laughing! We ordered dinner, and then Linda Ichesco began the initiation ceremony with a history lesson! She read some excerpts from the History of DKG book. The women who formed DKG were brave to do so during a time when women’s rights were not valued. How times have changed! Dinner arrived and was delicious as always!
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Chris Adams and Beth Wilkinson are initiated
 
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Judy Williston enjoys modeling the pencils we collected for Estabrook!
 
The initiation ceremony was more meaningful after Linda’s lesson. Members read prompts from the ceremony book. We are happy to have two new members join our Beta Chapter: Chris Adams and Beth Wilkinson.
 
Members brought pencils to donate to Estabrook for the use of their building. Debby Rust offered to drop off the pencils and check on meeting dates.
 
Christie McWilliams talked about possibly holding an Usborne Books & More book drive to earn money for DKG or books to donate to a school or Corner Health.
 
For our November meeting, we are asking members to buy and read, by March, the book, Between the Lines by Claudia Whitsitt. The book will be available at the meeting. She is speaking at our March meeting and will sign a book if you’d like. We are asking members to donate their book afterwards to make a class set, which we will give to Estabrook. This is our donation for National Reading Month in March.
 
Judy Williston and Nita Cox reviewed DKG materials that have been saved for decades. Judy suggested we have a “history meeting” where we come together as a group to decide what to save and what to pitch. There are some “treasures” in this material. We will explore giving this historic information to the Ypsilanti Archives.
 
Barb passed out and discussed the treasurer’s report. She reminded us that dues of $80.00 need to be paid by October.
 
 
October Meeting: Holiday Auction
 
For our October meeting, Beta members met at Sharon Burnham's clubhouse in Ann Arbor for our annual holiday auction. Christie McWilliams again served as the auctioneer. Treasurer Beth Lipton reported afterwards, “Good news about the auction! The preliminary total is $1,139.00, more than $200 ahead of last year, but still a bit below proceeds from years before that. Nineteen of our current 29 members (plus one guest) participated.” Thank you Sharon Burnham for organizing the event at your clubhouse, thank you Beth Lipton for all your efforts as treasurer, and thank you to all the members who attended, donated, and/or purchased!
 
 
November Meeting: Chris Adams Presents “Women’s Issues”
by Chris Adams
 
When Chris was asked to speak months ago she tossed around several topics including sexual harassment. No one could have guessed those months ago how timely this discussion would be.
 
Chris Adams retired after 31 years of working for Ford Motor Company. As a women manager in various areas of manufacturing, engineering and business planning, she was surrounded by men. Rarely were there other women at meetings or within her departments.
 
She cited examples of some of the times she encountered sexual harassment and had to make choices on how she handled it: confronting it herself, sharing the information with Human Resources or bringing a lawsuit. She stressed that all women were forced to make these decisions and did what they felt was right for them.
 
She noted that most people did not expect to be dealing with a woman and that gave her a bit of an advantage. She always signed her name on meeting minutes as C. A. Adams. When she introduced herself, she always referred to herself as Chris. Consequently, when people referred to her to others, gender was a non-issue. She followed that pattern naming her young daughter, Alexandra, by calling her Alex.
 
When asked what advice she would give mothers, she said, “Never steal their power or HOPE.
 
***Note: At this meeting, members purchased many children’s books from Christie McWilliams, and Usborne Books & More consultant. Members’ purchases helped raise over $250 in FREE Usborne books that will be donated to Corner Health for use in their store. Corner Health is very grateful!
 
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New Member Chris Adams
 
 
Member Spotlight: New Initiate Elizabeth (Beth) Lee (Ramsey) Wilkinson
 
After teaching three years in a self-contained EI classroom in Philadelphia, I accepted a job as a teacher-consultant in Ypsilanti. Half of my teaching career was in special education; the other half was teaching in the elementary classroom.
 
I did not plan to be an educator. I found the career through volunteering with special needs children. During college at W&M, students volunteered at the state mental hospital. Unfortunately, many children were “warehoused” there. Some were schizophrenic or autistic. Others had been through the foster care system. After working with these children, I found a mission to work in the field of education. I earned a masters degree in special education.
 
My most memorable moments in the classroom were creative, hands-on projects, sometimes the messier, the better. We enjoyed raising butterflies, gardening, and working with Monarch Watch and Journey North. Food-centered curriculum ideas appeared frequently in my room such as a Chinese banquet to culminate the Year of the Boar unit or a multicultural food fair highlighting the diversity of the students and demonstrating an economics unit. Also, working in a partnership with UM Matthaei Botanical Gardens on an Arts in Education project was a highlight.
 
I taught for 30 years and am now the shop owner of Artifact and Whimsy in Ypsilanti. In my free time I enjoy art and crafts and traveling with my husband and friends. My advice to beginning teachers is to truly know your students’ skills and challenges and be confident that they can meet high expectations. Love what you do and make that obvious to your students!
 
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New Member Beth Wilkinson
 
 
Our Beta Chapter History
by Linda Ichesco
 
When looking up information for the initiation of our newest members, I was struck by the ceremonial aspect of the process. It seemed outdated and, possibly, too formal for our chapter as we now function. However, I still felt a need for us to be reminded of Delta Kappa Gamma’s past and the reasons for its existence.
 
I referenced the wonderful history that our members, Irene Allen and the late Joanne Rankin published in 1988. It is a compilation of Beta Chapter’s first fifty years. It also contains historical information regarding the beginnings of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.
 
DKG International was formally established in 1929, just nine years after ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote in our country. Beta Chapter was officially organized just nine years later on May 28, 1938.
 
The atmosphere for women at the time was very different from now. Dr. Annie Webb Blanton was asked what first made her think of such an organization. Her response included the following recollection: “I evolved the idea that we might accomplish more through a special organization working together for what women teachers especially need.” And what was needed was “equality with men, educationally and politically.”
 
When Dr. Blanton reached out to women teachers in the state of Michigan, she stipulated that there must be at least twelve women to start a local chapter. She sent handwritten invitations to join DKG to representatives from each university and college in Michigan. You can imagine that there was pressure to have enough people interested if Dr. Blanton was coming by train all the way from Texas in those days!
 
Two groups actually had twelve or more women come forward to become members. On that day in 1938, in Lansing, two local chapters were formed. After the initiation, Dr. Blanton sent the people from Detroit to one side of the room and those from Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor to the other side. Detroit became Alpha Chapter and Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor was deemed Beta Chapter. Both were the first local organizations in the state. Alpha Iota State was established as our state organization on the same day.
 
While our purposes and activities have evolved over time, Beta Chapter and Delta Kappa Gamma International remain organizations for support of women educators and for educational institutions in which we work.
 
In light of the current resurgence of efforts supporting women’s issues in our country, our DKG organizations are even more vital for the advancement of women in our world.
 
And, there is still a need for a solemn initiation process to unite us and give us the opportunity to focus on our history, our goals, and our purposes. Thus, we welcome new members to join us in our quest for equality and excellence for women working in the field of education.
 
 
Member News
 
Christie McWilliams: My husband, two children, and I spent the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Orlando with a seven-day Disney World park hopper pass. Note to self: Never visit Disney during the most crowded time of the year. Seriously! Also, I recently have been selected to be a regular blogger for MSU’s GATE (gifted and talented) program and a speaker on gifted education at an upcoming MENSA conference.
 
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Christie’s Family at Epcot with “Joy” and “Sadness”
 
Elaine Found: (Elaine Found and Judy Williston always put a short message in their Christmas letters about their childhood. Elaine graciously shared her early years with us.) Most people’s growing-up years are steady, stable, and suitable. Mine was unusual. I started out being born in Kongju, Korea, where my parents were medical missionaries. Dad delivered me, the first unusual event. My parents went on furlough when I was three months of age and took off for Canada where we five stayed for about a year. That trip is only recalled by stories, told over the years. Hong Kong, Singapore, Bombay, Aden, Suez Canal, Marseilles, London, New York . . . finally Canada. I don’t remember a bit of it. My sister was born in Seoul just weeks after arriving back in Korea.
 
The family’s second trip home to Canada was seven years later and was by train rather than boat, though we had to use the S.S. Antonia to get across the Atlantic. Leaving Seoul at 3:30 p.m., we headed for Pyongyang (now the North Korean capital) by train, then entering on the Manchurian border. Going across Manchuria was the most dangerous area in our two weeks of travel to Vienna, Austria. We hit a group of wild horses that stopped the train. I can still see the injured mother horse and her pony beside the stopped train. Crossing into Siberia at Manchouli meant thorough examination of our 21 pieces of baggage. Stopping at several stations across Siberia, we got hot water for heating our meals, for that was the cheapest way to feed our family. Also the children in our group got a chance to exercise at these stops
 
The day in Moscow was controlled by an Intourist guide; we did ride on the newly opened subway for free. The beauty of the underground was simply unbelievable: beautiful lighting, huge paintings, shiny marble, but crowded. Passengers went on to different cities in Europe, our family to Poland’s capital. We stayed in a hotel and played with boxes that “mooed” like a cow. Lots of laughs for us four children.
 
On to Vienna for a four-month stay while Dad went to school. It was a great summer, though there were hints of problems to come. We heard Hitler speak over the radio several times; we were also told by police to hang a black flag outside our apartment to honor a man who had been murdered a year before. We saw many bed bugs in our apartment and were blamed for their presence . . . not true. Fumigation of our apartment took place.
 
It was on to Paris and London. At the British Museum I remember seeing Queen Victoria’s signature at four years of age. Glasgow was our next city to visit, and then we left by boat for Montreal in Canada. It was a rough ten-day crossing. I remember picking out my grandmother standing on the dock. She had lots of very white hair that made her stand out.
 
That winter our family stayed on the farm of my maternal grandparents to decide what would happen after a year’s furlough. We stayed in Canada! Many years later, Judy and I returned to Korea to complete my second time around the world.
 
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Elaine Found in Seoul, Korea, around 1932
 
 
Reminder: Please read Claudia Whitsitt’s book Between the Lines by our March meeting and bring it with you! We will donate our books to Estabrook as a class set.
 
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Upcoming Beta Chapter Meetings:
 
•   Wednesday, February 21, 5:00 p.m.: DKG history meeting at Estabrook Elementary (Bring snacks to share.)
•   Thursday, March 22, 5:00 p.m.: Presentation by teacher and author Claudia Whitsitt at Estabrook Elementary (Bring snacks to share and read the book Between the Lines ahead of time.)
•   April: Tour of “Found,” an eclectic store in Kerrytown, details TBD
•   Thursday, May 17: Dinner meeting at Washtenaw Gold Club in Ypsilanti
 
 
Alpha Iota State Events
 
•   May 4-6, 2018: Executive Board and Alpha Iota State Convention at the Marriott Auburn Hills Pontiac at Centerpoint in Pontiac, MI
•   September 28-29, 2018: Executive Board and Alpha Iota State Fall Conference at The H Hotel in Midland, MI
•   May 3-5, 2019: Executive Board and Alpha Iota State Convention at The Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, MI
 
Upcoming DKG International Events
 
•   July 16-20, 2018: DKG International Convention at the JW Marriott in Austin, Texas
•   August 29-September 8, 2018: DKG Alaskan Glacier Cruise (click “here” for more information)
 
The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.