Catholic High School Information Guide
Moreau Catholic joins
'Teachers Righting History'
"Focusing the lens on the contributions of historic American women goes beyond partisanship, gender and religion," says former United States Treasurer Rosie Rios. It is a human issue and one at the center of her "Teachers Righting History" initiative recently launched at her alma mater, Moreau Catholic High School.
The Hayward school is the only West Coast school selected to pilot the initiative that launched with its website (www.teachersrightinghistory.org) on Aug. 26, to coincide with Women's Equality Day.
Rios, who considers the Bay Area her home, says she was "overwhelmed by the Moreau community's response (to the initiative) and how creative it was to interpret the role of American women in history."
The program on the Hayward campus is essentially "giving the students a new lens through which they can view history," says Katie Teekell, the Moreau Catholic vice principal who is coordinating the program that is spanning several departments.
The college prep curriculum already focuses on developing students' critical thinking skills and what it means to be a part of the community. This program allows students to look at traditional ways history has been written and gives them an opportunity to tell a new story.
Teekell's mass media students, for example, are using the database created by the US Treasury Department for the currency redesign process to study how the media has portrayed historical women in the past and present. Students will select one woman for a project that showcases her accomplishments and her impact on history that may have been missed.
Students in Henny Chen's Honors Chinese class are looking at the historical and cultural impacts of female political figures in Taiwan and China.
In the honors dance program, the only UC-approved Honors Dance program in the state, teachers Angela Demmel and Elizabeth Zepeda are building the upcoming dance concert on the theme of Equity vs. Equality in women's history. Dancers in the advanced dance classes are creating research-based choreography to showcase compelling stories like the struggles of Margaret Hamilton or to look at the concept of the wage gap between men and women.
Demmel says her students are very excited about the initiative because, "it is so relevant to them right now." Impressed by their "level of articulation and creative inquiry," Demmel adds that the students don't see this as "just another assignment" but are embracing the concept on a personal level.
Teachers Righting History is an extension of the public discussion that started with the eight-year currency redesign process that Rios spearheaded before she resigned from the Treasury Department this past July.
The announcement of the redesign of the currency, prompted Phil Wilder, American history teacher to send a congratulatory email to his former student for her efforts. It also caused him to look around his history classroom and notice for the first time in 35 years that there were no images of historic American women on the walls. Thanking Rios for making a difference in the "largest classroom, the nation itself," Wilder vowed to make some changes on the home front. Rios' portrait now hangs with the portraits of other historical women including Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman.
"I can't think of a better case study than Moreau," she says and adds that Moreau Catholic's enthusiastic response is "going to blaze the trail for other schools to get involved" and release their own creativity.
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