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Glimpse into the lives and passions of the diverse group of women who comprise today’s DAR membership.
Take a step inside the DAR Museum for a closer look at its fascinating collection.
Learn about the interesting historical articles from this issue.
Details on exciting stories that will be featured in upcoming issues of American Spirit.
Reaching for the Stars
By Lena Anthony
Photograph courtesy of Carolyn Bushman
Volume 148, Number 2, March/April 2014, Page 5
When Carolyn Bushman first learned about the NASA Explorer School Project in 2004, she immediately thought about what it could mean for her low-income, predominantly Hispanic students in their small, rural town of Wendover, Utah.
"We're about an hour and a half away from the nearest city, and when you're that far away, there aren't a lot of professional role models," says Ms. Bushman, a math teacher at Wendover High School. "Too many of our students were dropping out to start working at the nearby casinos. We had to find a way to show them there were other opportunities out there."
She thought the program, which provided grant money and access to NASA's people, missions, research and facilities, would help inspire her students. Others in the school felt it was a long shot. The program, in its second year, was choosing just 50 schools nationwide, and the deadline to apply was three weeks away.
Wendover High School made the deadline and today its NASA Explorer School Project is thriving. In the past 10 years, Ms. Bushman and her students have traveled cross-country to witness two shuttle launches. Her students designed a flag that traveled to the International Space Station. Their experiments have been launched into space. They've shadowed NASA employees at the Ames Research Center in California. And they've had a number of discussions with NASA astronauts, including Sandra Magnus, who first visited the school the year the program launched and then spoke to students from the International Space Station in 2009.
"After that 20-minute downlink, the seniors came to me and said they wanted Astronaut Magnus to speak at their graduation," Ms. Bushman recalls. "I looked at them like they were crazy."
But then her students reminded her of something she often repeated to them: "Reach for the stars." And so she emailed Astronaut Magnus, who spoke at the graduation for Wendover High's 17 seniors in 2009.
To say that the program has exceeded Ms. Bushman's expectations is an understatement. "It truly has changed my life and the lives of many of my students," she says.
One of those success stories is that of Esmeralda Arreola—a promising student who was unsure how she could afford college. Because of the NASA program at Wendover, she was hired as an intern at the Ames Research Center for two summers and earned a full scholarship to Utah State University, where she's studying chemistry and has dreams of working for NASA someday.
"That's what it's all about—changing students' lives and making them aware that they can do anything they want to do," she says. "Now I have students wanting to be doctors, nurses, engineers or lawyers, whereas before I seldom heard students talking about wanting to go to college."
To recognize her efforts, the Bear River DAR Chapter, Logan, Utah, of which Ms. Bushman is a member, awarded her the Mary Smith Lockwood Founders Medal for Education in 2007.
"It was the first honor I received as a teacher, and I cherish it because it meant that people were recognizing what I was trying to accomplish and the difference I was trying to make," says Ms. Bushman, who also was named Teacher of the Year by the National Space Club in 2012. She has been involved in the NASA Solar System Ambassador and SOFIA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador programs.
Despite her excitement over the DAR award, she wasn't able to attend the ceremony. That's because on the same day, she and her students were in New Mexico at a rocket launch, where they conducted several experiments, including one on board the rocket.
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Photography by Courtney Peter
Volume 148, Number 2, March/April 2014, Page 6
This strange-looking contraption is actually a washing machine. Called the “Queen,” it was made in Reading, Pa., by the Knoll Manufacturing Company between 1910 and 1920. This early washing machine is essentially a cedar washtub with an agitator attached to a hand crank. Although this tub may have made scrubbing a little easier, the user still had to fill it, turn the agitator, empty the tub, and wring and rinse the clothes. The only “machine” here was the people power needed to turn the crank.
Before the introduction of electric washing machines, women faced the backbreaking task of washing clothes; there was nothing easy about it. Everything associated with this burden, including filling the washtub, was accomplished by hand. With no liquid detergents or spot cleaners available, a great deal of exertion went into scrubbing, wringing, and literally beating the dirt and grime out of garments, after which they had to be rinsed in a separate tub and hung up to dry.
In an effort to ease the laundering hardship, hundreds of patents were issued for all sorts of washing machines, many of which featured ingenious contraptions to agitate the clothes, thereby removing the drudgery of scrubbing. Still, these machines continued to be powered by foot or hand.
For more National Treasures, please visit the DAR Museum's Featured Objects.
Liberty for All: Elizabeth Freeman's Journey by Nancy Mann Jackson
Born a slave, Elizabeth Freeman sued for freedom in 1781, adopting the language of the Revolution to win her case.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: A Mother to Many Daughters by Courtney Peter
The first citizen born in the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, Elizabeth Seton was a pioneer in Catholic education.
Excerpts from Nancy Rubin Stuart's book, Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the Radical Men They Married, examine the initially parallel lives of Peggy Shippen Arnold and Lucy Flucker Knox.
Sarah Wilson, Colonial Imposter by Thomas B. Allen
An English indentured servant pulled off a grand hoax: convincing South Carolina colonists that she was related to royalty.
Spirited Adventures: Natchitoches, La. by Jeff Walter
The 300-year-old northwest Louisiana town continues to celebrate its French, Spanish, African, American Indian and Creole American influences.
Historic Homes: The Women of Laura Plantation by Sharon McDonnell
A restored 19th-century French Creole sugar plantation offers a detailed look at the strong-willed women who managed it.
Our Patriots: Nan-ye-hi, or Nancy Ward by Pauline Moore and Jamie Roberts
Born around 1738 in the Cherokee capital of Chota, Nan-ye-hi was well-respected by her people and settlers alike for her brave efforts for peace.
Plus: President General's Message and Whatnot
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Coming in May/June 2014:
Rediscovering Images of the Last Men of the Revolution
The Battle of Guilford Courthouse
Revolutionary War Battle Sites Endangered by Development
Our Patriots: Baron Von Steuben