The Grapevine: Looking at Area Women for a Celebration of Women from March

By Rosalyn Queen Alonso on April 04, 2019 from The Grapevine via

Several columns ago I wrote an article on women calling attention to the fact that March is the Month of the Woman.  I received a reply from my former RW classmate and good friend Larry Jett who is a retired college professor in California.  He stated that if he was grading my submission he would give me about a C.  He noted that there were at least three women who needed to be mentioned and I had neglected to do do.  As most of you know I try not to get to personal in this column, but thought I would take Larry's advice and kind of highlight them in this last column for March.
First he mentioned my mother, Florence Roberti Burnett.  She attended North View Junior High and married my father at the age of 16.  At 17, she became a mother. And this highlighted the rest of her life.  She was kind of a trail blazer for her time but most of her efforts were geared to projects that would improve life for her family.  I even remember that at one time she entered into the Mrs. West Virginia contest.  Most of the particulars I do not remember but I do know she submitted a loaf of homemade bread for her competition. Well she did not win but we were still very proud of her. 
My mother's most acclaimed projects were her cooking talents.  If unannounced guests arrived at our home, within a half hour she had a table set fit for a king.  She was famous for her canned peppers, her meatballs and her chocolate cake.  My siblings always knew that we came first in her life and her pride in us was without measure.  I know that most of you could also list your mothers in March's women celebration.
Second, he listed my sister, Joan Burnett Smith.  Joan graduated from R W went to Business College.  She worked at various clerical jobs, married and started her family.  The tasks of working and raising a family seems monumental, but not to Joan. While she continued to work, Joan attended college and graduated as a teacher.  Due to her work experiences she felt that she  could do the most good in a technical school. 
Joan eventually was hired to work as an assistant director of United Technical Center.  All the while continuing her education, when the position of director became available, she got it.  Joan was probably the first female to serve In this position and at her retirement was recognized for having served the longest.  She had the distinction of spearheading many changes in the technical programs and served on several state education committees. In Charleston a party in her honor was filled with accolades about her service to vocational education. She is still very respected throughout the state.
And last he listed my youngest sister, Cathy Burnett Fisher. Cathy sort of followed the traditional path. After graduating from high school she went on to attend WVU.  After graduating from college she got married and followed her husband, who was in the service, to Virginia where she continued her education.  Upon returning home she was immediately employed in the Harrison County school system where she taught special needs children.  Cathy continued her education and soon moved into a principal's position.  The challenges were many as a principal but she met every one. 
A big believer in continuing education, Cathy continued her education while still serving as a principal. Our entire family was so proud of her when she achieved her doctorate degree in education.  After several years she retired and immediately turned her attention to the church where she and her husband are very active on different committees.
March is gone but what women have done to pave the road for future generations is unbelievable.  I urge you to take a minute and think about the women who have helped make it easier for you.  I am sure that perhaps you are a trail blazer.  I salute the women of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Take care, keep in touch and until next week " Now You Have Heard It Through The Grapevine."

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