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How timely that our newspaper has a front page article with some pretty bleak statistics about the poverty and trauma experienced by children in Kentucky on the day that I would be writing a post on how grateful I am for the education and lifelong learning experiences that I have had all these years. According to the front page article, half of the state's children live in poverty. Sixty years ago I would have been one of those statistics. Thankfully, through education I was able to escape that life of poverty and build a very satisfying, economically secure, and sometimes exciting life.
My love of learning began at Mullins Elementary in eastern Kentucky. I was thrilled to learn how to read and be able to check out a book every week from the school library. And then there were making "pigtails (cursive "e")and other letters of the alphabet. Early on I also discovered that I liked to write and by the time I was in high school a few teachers praised my writing and encouraged me to do more. When I looked through the Mullins High School annual, my picture wasn't in any clubs or after school activities. I did win the English award from the senior graduating class and was voted girl "most likely to succeed" from the senior class. That probably means I was an original nerd!
By the time senior year came around I was determined to continue my education despite having no money. And thanks to encouraging teachers and student loans, I was able to move away from home and enroll in college. I earned undergraduate degrees in English and home economics and a master's degree in American literature from Morehead State University. Those were heady times and I loved everything about student life. And, to this day, I feel like education is like an insurance policy, or a survival tool that can't be taken away from you. Even after I started working, I still wanted more education. I became interested teaching adult basic education and volunteer leadership development and earned further credentials in these areas.
After graduating from college where I earned a secondary teaching certificate, education was still the focus of my work. As you can see below, I've ranged around: middle and high school English and reading teacher, Peace Corps volunteer teacher in the West Indies, adult learning center director, consultant for the Kentucky Department of Education, and volunteer development trainer for Kentucky Farm Bureau.
And finally, when I retired in 2006, I didn't stop learning. Only then I could be very selective about what I learned and how I did it. It was then that I got interested in technology. Truth be told, it was blogging that got me hooked so I started learning about computers in order to natter with social media friends every day! :-) I've taken classes in special interests such as watercolor painting, writing and gardening. I do international learning vacations as often as I can afford. Lately I'm trying to learn digital photography and birding.
I feel like I will not need to write a memoir by the time I finish this month of gratitude mosaics! When you start trying to figure out the things in your life for which you're grateful, it leads to a lot of navel gazing and some REALLY long posts! If you're still reading, thanks. There will be some lighter subjects coming up!
Linking to November Blog a Day at Myanderings .