Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award

This award is to be given annually in memory of my mother, Ruth Hart Jessee Strange. Mother was born and raised just outside of Kansas City in and around Liberty, Missouri. She was graduated from William Jewell College in 1927. She taught school in several Missouri communities and later became the secretary to the President of Kansas City Power and Light Company. After raising me and my sister, Catharine Hart Strange Stewart of Indianapolis, Indiana, Mother returned to work as Special Assistant to Dr. J. Willis Hurst, then Chair of the Department of Medicine at Emory University and the cardiologist of President Lyndon Johnson. Mother was the recipient of the William Jewell College Citation of Achievement, the highest award bestowed on an alumnus by William Jewell, in 1970. Her brother, Randall Smith Jessee had received the same award in 1956 and her sister, Mary Margaret Jessee Mayfield had received the award in 1948. Not many families have an entire generation who have received such awards from their alma mater!

The Hadley Harrington Strange Award

This award is to be given annually in memory of my father, Hadley Harrington Strange. My father did not graduate from college, nor even high school. The depression of the thirties! He worked in a tobacco factory instead of finishing high school. He had a job! It did not pay much, but it helped a bit in keeping food on the table. Later he was a "Reveneur," chasing moonshiners through the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. He then ran a filling station and garage in Newport, Tennessee. At my mother's insistence, so that my sister and I could go to "good" high schools, my father went back to work for the Internal Revenue Service, later becoming head of the Inspection Service for the southeastern region of the United States. He was a phenomenal story teller and teacher. Bridge, poker, fishing, marksmanship, detective work, solving riddles and puzzles were the primary subjects that he taught. He loved learning, and loved sharing that enthusiasm will everyone he encountered. Beginners welcome. And experts too!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award for 2010

The students and teacher (Miss Priscilla Lavakula) of Room 10, Pt. England School, Auckland, New Zealand in the Fall 2009 term and Ms. Dorothy Burt (on behalf of the Pt. England School technology efforts) have been awarded the Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award for 2010.

Room 10 is the recipient of this award because of the excellence with which the students and Miss Lavakula incorporated the use of technology into their learning activities, the extensive blogging and commenting on blogs in which they engaged with students of all ages, including students attending the University of South Alabama in the United States preparing to be teachers, and the excellent communication skills they demonstrated in their podcasts and videos. I have detailed many of the accomplishments of Room 10 in my article Kaia and Room 10: Why Blogs and Commenting on Blogs Are So Important.

Mr. William Chamberlain was the recipient of the Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award for 2009. He was one of those responsible for starting the comments4kids program which is how I came to know Ms. Burt and the kids in Room 10. My mother started her career as a teacher. She taught in small towns in Missouri, the same state in which Mr. Chamberlain teaches. She would have been thrilled to have been able to communicate with the kids of Room 10 and their teacher, Miss Lavakula, and to share in their excitement in learning.

Ms. Dorothy Burt, Pt. England School eLearning Facilitator, is a co-recipient of the 2010 Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award. This award is bestowed upon Ms. Burt for her outstanding leadership in infusing technology into the learning activities of Pt. England School. She is also the recipient of this award on behalf of all the students and teachers at Pt. England School who are changing the way teachers are recruited (I am thinking of Room 18), how students experience using technologies for learning at a very early age (I am thinking of Room 7 and Ms. Jenny She), and who make Pt. England one of the most exciting schools I know about!

Congratulations to Room 10 (Fall 2009), Ms. Burt, and to all of the students, faculty and staff of Pt. England School.


  1. Congratulations Room 10 and Mrs. Burt! You are definitely deserving of the honor!

  2. Kia ora!

    Wow, what an honour! When I read about Ruth Hart Jessee Strange, and the acomplishments of your family, I feel truly privileged that you have chosen me, Priscilla and the kids from Room 10 to be associated with her in this way. We are heading back into our new school year here as Summer holidays are over. As I have been speaking to teachers around the country in the past couple of weeks I have mentioned the work of Dr Strange with the students of the University of South Alabama. We are most envious that our pre-service teacher trainees do not have a programme of this kind to prepare them for the teaching profession - and the children of the 21st century.
    Kia ora