Thursday, October 1, 2009

Founding SISTER PROFILE: Deborah Allen Wirth

Please share a little about yourself: I live in Mechanicsburg PA with my husband, Bill, and two children, Chelsey and Mitch. My husband was a high school friend of my brother's whom I had secretly admired from afar. Ten years later, we "remet" each other in my brother's apartment. That evening, I joined my brother and Bill for a night out. A few years later, we were married. Our children are in high school now and are involved in many activities. Chelsey plays the mirimba in the marching band and indoor percussion. She sings in the choir of her church and also plays the bells. During the fall she enjoys playing soccer for our recreation league. She is a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. Mitch, on the other hand, is a huge Pittsburgh Steeler supporter. (As you can imagine, football season is a very interesting time in our family.) Mitch also plays soccer and also enjoys playing golf, baseball and tennis. Recently, Mitch went on a missions trip to Honduras. It was a life-changing event for him. He enjoys singing and acting, and plays in the school's orchestra. Both kids have taken piano lessons since kindergarten. Speaking of kindergarten, I will be starting my 25th year of teaching (first through third grade) and feel truly blessed that teaching is one of God's callings for my life. Everyday has been filled with smiles, surprises, and celebrations. I am also an instructor for the Bureau of Education and Research (BER) and do independent consulting seminars. I have authored "35 Independent Math Learning Centers" - a teaching resource published by Scholastic.

What was SHIP like? What differences have you seen? SHIP is an amazing college. It offered so much diversity and choices for activities in which one could get involved. Of course, being an elementary education major, I absolutely loved the fact that the lab school was on campus. It made the coursework authentic. I believe SHIP is a top-notch university for education and recommend it highly. Obvious differences include the growth within the campus. It's amazing to see all the new buildings and all the state-of-the-art equipment. My daughter plans to become a special education teacher. Mitch has always wanted to be in the science field, but has recently talked about becoming a middle school life science teacher. If either or both decide to definitely major in the education field, I certainly hope they consider SHIP as an option for college.

What is your favorite AOII memory? My most favorite AOII memory is of Rosamond Bratton. Rosamond was the initiation sponsor for my (blood and AOII) sister Karen and me when Tau Lambda was first founded on the Shippensburg campus. Our relationship continued for many years, and the three of us developed such a deep bond of friendship and love. Karen and I, along with our (then) toddler children, would visit Rosamond frequently when she moved to a nursing care facility in Elizabethtown. The six of us would walk Rosamond around town in her wheelchair. She loved getting outdoors. She loved everything about life. I am reminded of her often as I view the tender flower in painting she gave to me so many years ago - her gentleness, her grace, her glow, her beauty. Rosamond was our angel on Earth and has inspired us both so very, very much. Rosamond was the epitome of AOTT's legacy.

What is your most meaningful AOII moment? My most meaningful AOII moment was being initiated with my (blood) sister, Karen Allen Anthony. It was fun being a legacy right off the bat! Karen and I have always shared a special bond. Having AOII be a part of that during our college and alum years was icing on the cake.

What were the challenges for AOII in the beginning? The biggest challenge for AOII was gaining acceptance from the other fraternities and sororities on campus. It didn't seem to take too long for the relationships to develop, however. Another challenge I remember is when we had to determine the offices and roles within the sorority.

What was your vision for this new sorority? The vision I had for this new sorority was to encourage a sisterhood that had its foundation in trust and friendship - something I felt could be hampered with hazing rituals. I truly appreciated the "fresh" perspective that AOII offered to college women.

What do you remember most about your SHIP days? When I think about my SHIP days, I smile. It is truly breathtaking to me to drive into campus and see the beauty that it holds. Although my memory continues to fade, thinking of SHIP blankets me with warmth and fondness. Being at SHIP was a wonderfully exciting time for me. It was the place where I truly spread my wings.

What funny story can you share with us? During my freshman year, there was another girl (I'll refer to her as Mary) who had the same exact schedule/classes I did. She, too, was in elementary education. Although Mary did extremely well academically, many times, she lacked common sense as evidenced by the following vignette: Mary and I were in the same dorm (Kieffer Hall), same wing, but different floors. Upon exiting out the same doorway as the fire alarm was sounding, she says to me, "Oh, did you have a fire drill too?" Scary to know she's a kindergarten teacher isn't it??????

What is your most proud accomplishment since college? My most proud accomplishment is one I share with my entire family. A little over three years ago, our entire family was baptized together at the Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ Church. It was truly a surreal moment that Easter Sunday morning when the four of us affirmed our love for Jesus Christ. We have become a much more spiritual family and enjoy the presence of God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit working within our lives.

What advice can you give our current sisters? Allow yourself to take some time to sit quietly, count your blessings, and relish the relationships you have developed.

Other comments? A fun tidbit ... this coming up school year, I will have a student from Shippensburg do her observations in my classroom for her profession semester. The following school year, she will student teach with me. This is nothing unusual as I have had several student teachers from Shippensburg and other colleges. However, this Shippensburg senior is a former second grade student of mine! How strange it feels to have come to this point in my career!


Donna Eltringham said...

Dear Deb,

You continue to amaze me with your genuine heart, articulate words, and impressive dedication to AOII and the people you touch. I'm glad that you shared your profile with us.
Roses to you and all the Founding Sisters out there!


Anonymous said...

Dear Deb,
You ROCK!!!
I love you,

Linda Jones said...

I love your inspiration. It has been a really long time since I have been back at ship or spoke to any founding sisters. Thanks for sharing your profile. Hello to all the founding sisters! Hope everyone is doing well.

Linda Temoyan Jones