Viewpoint 181: Legendary women of Brainerd Public Schools
Taken literally, history never repeats itself.
But history always teaches us—if only we are willing to see—what can lead us to disaster or what can help us to secure a good life for today and an even better life for tomorrow. Winston Churchill perhaps said it best: "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see."
For the past 32 years, March has been designated by Congress as National Women's History Month, a time set aside specifically to honor women's contributions to American history, that is, to American life. It is a month when all of us should consciously pause to look back at the enormous contributions made by American women to the shining light America has been and will be, so that all of us can see "farther forward" in order to assure the brightness of America's "future history."
The names of our famous women, and what they stood for and now instruct us in what we can be, readily come to mind, including Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, Zora Huston, Margaret Sanger, Margaret Mead, Susan Anthony, Maya Lin, Helen Keller, Georgia O'Keeffe and Eleanor Roosevelt. These women were not alone and their descendants and sisters are among us today as part of the extended family of the many thousands of women graduates of Brainerd Public Schools.
An organizing committee of Brainerd Public Schools women, in collaboration with Brainerd Public Schools Archives, has looked backward at the history of Brainerd Public Schools to identify a "first class" of 20 "Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools" from an initial group of approximately 75 remarkable women. This gathering of women is characterized by their diversity of talent, walks of life, and ages and ethnicities, among their number being artists, educators, business leaders, research scientists, humanitarians, professors, pipefitters, military leaders, authors, academics, athletes, lawyers, doctors, judges, motivational speakers, and advocates for social justice, health care and a safe world, and more.
Each of these women graduated from Brainerd Public Schools carrying with her all of the learning, insights, experiences, skills and maturing personality she acquired there and within this community, then out into all parts of the world. These Legendary Women are from this place and from the education provided to them by this community and its committed educators, a community and public schools in existence for almost 150 years of history. "Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools" is also a major exhibit available to the public at Brainerd High School through the end of this school year. Look at the living history these 20 Legendary Women of Brainerd Public Schools individually and collectively are and by their aspirational examples, see what each of us can become and what our common future can be, and from the resonant histories of our Legendary Women, see how we can assist our legendary women and men of tomorrow, our youth, assure the better tomorrows of all of us.