What's she learned from students in her 40 plus years of teaching is what author/educator Mary Ann Sunyoger shared as the guest speaker for the Nov. 4 meeting of the GFWC/Ohio Woman's Club of Steubenville.
The Steubenville Country Club was the setting for the luncheon and business meeting where Sunyoger, a professor of English at Franciscan University of Steubenville, talked about some of the impressions students have left with her - impressions that translated into her recently published book, "Life Lessons: A Connection of Souls Throughout Life's Journey."
Introduced by Donna Keagler, club vice president and program chairman, Sunyoger made her way through the club audience in teacher strolling fashion - despite a cast on a broken ankle - explaining all the while that her book that celebrates her students and the life's lessons she has learned from them during more than 40 years of teaching took her eight years to write.
Kathy Mills, left, club president, and Donna Keagler, right, club vice president, with guest speaker Mary Ann Sunyoger, author and teacher
-- Janice Kiaski
Four years into the project, she switched her focus to zero in instead on what the students in her classrooms helped her to understand, appreciate and apply long after the lectures, homework and exams were over.
Each chapter is devoted to a particular student, ending with a reflection on what Sunyoger took away from the classroom relationship.
Sunyoger presented a few examples from the book, but in the broader sense challenged club members to reflect on people they've crossed paths with on their life journey and the lasting impact it's had.
"What ordinary acts did they do that became extraordinary for you?" she asked.
Published through Tate Publishing, Sunyoger's book is available online at drmaryannsunyoger.tateauthor.com. Hard copies are $25, soft copies $16.
Carole Gaston and Shirley Valuksa served as greeters and hostesses at the meeting; Jane Agresta offered the meditation where Kathy Mills, club president, presided. Reports were read by Eleanor Weiss, minutes, and treasurer Karen Majoris-Garrison.
Mills singled out two members for recent honors: Eileen Krupinski as Ohio's Democratic Woman of the Year and Jane Agresta as Jefferson County Caregiver of the Year.
The meeting was occasion to officially bring in four new members in Linda Wells, Terri English, Becky Bryan and Patricia Fletcher.
And it also was the forum in which the club voted on donations to benefit various charities with the Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center getting the lion's share at $2,500. Other beneficiaries of the club's generosity are: Urban Mission Ministries, $500; Salvation Army, $500; Red Cross Jefferson County Chapter, $300; and Grand Theater Restoration Project, $200.
Other projects for the club include:
-- A $300 donation to Shot@Life through the United Nations Foundation in what is a new campaign to expand access to lifesaving vaccines for children in developing countries;
-- A collection so far of $287.09 for Hounds' Haven Inc. through "Pennies for Puppies;"
-- Collecting canceled stamps to be sent to World Gospel Mission, American Indian Field at Peoria, Ariz. The new project is one being done in partnership with the local International Order of Kings Daughters and Sons Laura E. McGowan Circle; and
-- Bringing nonperishable food items and hats and gloves for Urban Mission Ministries.
Mills said a slate of officers will be presented at the next meeting for the 2014-15 club year.
The club's Dec. 2 noon luncheon and business meeting at the Steubenville Country Club will have a holiday theme that will feature musical entertainment for the members. Country singer Jeannie Slusarek of Weirton, who has recorded with Megalith Records in Nashville, will present a "Country Christmas."
Greeters and hostesses will be Eileen Krupinski and Marlene Rheuff.