Students at Ward Elementary

Women’s History Month is an annual celebration commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history, and William B. Ward Elementary School students have taken part in several activities to understand their legacy.

The first-graders in Jennifer Rippa-Jones’ class marked Women’s History Month by writing about the women they admire. After learning about and selecting a woman, each child drew a portrait of the woman they chose, and then wrote a page about that woman and why she was so important. The reports and illustrations were collected and displayed in the hall for all to read and appreciate.

The second-grade students in Danielle Cavaluzzo’s class honored and celebrated many inspiring women in history. The students chose their own motivating women to research. Students explored the accomplishments of many women in sports, politics, science, and women who took part during the civil rights movement. One student, Amelia Parente, dressed in character as she presented her research project on Amelia Earhart to the class.

Other students followed, presenting projects on women including Helen Keller, Michelle Obama, Ruby Bridges, and Marie Curie. Many students were moved by the achievements of these impactful women. 

In Joyce Kinches’ art class, students learned about artist Alma Thomas. Thomas began to paint in 1960 when she retired from her 38-year career as an art teacher in the public schools of Washington, D.C. In the years that followed, she was regarded as a major painter of the Washington Color School, an art movement built of abstract expressionist artists. The students were inspired by her colorful masterpieces when creating their painted collages.

The students in Emmanuela Thomas’ class did a project on a woman that they admire. Some students wrote about famous women in history, including Jane Goodall, Earhart, Rosa Parks, Bridges, and Maya Angelou. One student, Olivia Pfister, wrote about her great grandmother, Elisabeth Louise Rhein, who lived to be almost 105 years old. She lived during World War I, World War II, and the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Rhein was a teacher for the deaf who taught sign language, and then later taught in high school. Pfister looks up to her great-grandmother, who inspires her to help others.

Through the #WardTechCafe for STEAM, Jeannine Shields has been highlighting Katherine Johnson, the American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee made travel to the moon possible. Shields put together a display with several resources and a Katherine Johnson Barbie doll. Next week, Shields is going to do a similar setup with Mae Jemison, American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut.