It's great to be back in "Old Virginny" after my month in
Cortona, Italy. I love both places, and I know how blessed I am to be
able to live in both of them, along with St. Petersburg, Florida.
My last week in Italy was loads of fun. Mariann Peterson, who is the
past-president of the P. Buckley
Moss Foundation for Children's Education, came with a group of her
friends and stayed a week at my house. During the P.
Buckley Moss Society's 20th Anniversary year in 2007, Mariann was
the high bidder during a fundraising auction for the Foundation on a
one-week stay at my house in Italy. I'm so glad they were able to come
while I was there!
I went with Mariann and her friends to dinner at La Locanda del
Loggiato Restaurant in Cortona (one of our favorites). Mariann is second
from left, standing next to me. I'm in the red jacket.
Seeing Mariann and her friends off to their next destination.
When I returned to Mathews, I found a wonderful pile of birthday cards
waiting for me-a big thank-you to each and every one for remembering
my special day! My daughter Becky and I got our hair cut together in
Cortona on my birthday to celebrate.
Walking around the mountain on my birthday.
While I was away, the Moss on the James Chapter of the Society held
its third annual fundraising tea party and raised $7,600 for Riverside
School in Richmond, Virginia. Riverside School is a nonsectarian, nonprofit,
private, coeducational day school approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia
as a proprietary school. The school provides a multisensory, structured,
and rational education for dyslexic children and children with specific
language-based learning differences in grades 1-8. Mrs. Pat DeOrio,
founder of Riverside School and a nationally recognized educator for
dyslexia, is a charter member of Moss on the James. The money raised
during the tea party will be used to purchase a SmartBoard for a classroom
L. to R.: Mrs. Pat DeOrio, founding member of Moss on the James
and founder of Riverside School; Ms. Karen Lukard, specialist in learning
disabilities and guest at the tea party; and Dr. Joyce Steeves from
England, former head of technology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore,
Md., and consultant to Riverside School.
Last year, Moss on the James raised $2,500 during its 20th Anniversary
Party and donated it to Riverside School to start an endowed scholarship
to be given annually to a deserving student in need of financial assistance
to attend the school. Over the past twenty years, the Chapter has supported
the school and many other community organizations in the Richmond Metropolitan
Area. Thank you so much, Moss on the James, for all you do on behalf
of others and especially for children!
I'm very pleased to announce the winner of this year's Judith
Cary Leadership Memorial Scholarship, which is administered by the
Society. The Society initiated this scholarship in 1999, and it is awarded
to a student who is working either full-time or part-time toward special
needs certification or an undergraduate or graduate degree in some field
of special education. This year's recipient is Autumn Henderson of Anderson,
Indiana. Autumn is currently a master's degree student in the Department
of Special Education at Ball State University and is pursuing an educational
administrative license to be a Director of Exceptional Needs. In addition
to working toward her master's degree and administrative license, Autumn
has a young family and works as a Resource Teacher at Yorktown Middle
School in Indiana. Of her teaching philosophy, Autumn says, "I
have always been empowered by people who achieve great success when
starting from humble beginnings-the underdog...I feel through teaching,
especially special education, I can give that empowerment to my students.
My philosophy is to pass on knowledge and specific concepts, including
life skills, based on the students' needs to help them achieve their
dreams and aspirations."
Autumn Henderson is the recipient of this year's Judith Cary Leadership
Autumn has long-term goals of pursuing a doctoral degree and becoming
a university professor. "At this level, I will create a professional
development curriculum to provide teachers with the tools required to
help their students be more successful. This will allow me to work with
aspiring teachers and help shape their teaching philosophies and prepare
the next generation of special needs educators."
is this Sunday, May 30, with the federally recognized holiday being
Monday, May 31 (always observed the last Monday in May). So many of
us take this day for granted as being "a day off," and we
usually celebrate it by doing something fun. The true purpose of Memorial
Day is much more serious, and we should take a moment to remember its
Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance
for those who have died in our nation's service. Many towns and cities
have laid claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day, and there is
evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating
graves before the end of the Civil War. However, Memorial Day was officially
proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander
of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and
was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the
graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
After World War I, the holiday changed from honoring just those who
died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting
in any war. Memorial Day is May 30; but, since Congress' National Holiday
Act of 1971, it has been observed on the last Monday of May.
Please join me this weekend in remembering those who have given the
ultimate sacrifice for our country and also in praying for the safety
of our soldiers who are defending us today.