This year marks two milestones in Wisconsin’s gifted history:
· 40 years ago the Wisconsin Council for Gifted and Talented was formed, the first state advocacy organization.
· 20 years ago Wisconsin parents and educators joined their separate advocacy groups to form WATG.
We are thrilled to be working with archivists at the Wisconsin Historical Society to preserve our history. Ruth Robinson, WATG board member and past president, is meeting regularly with our “History Hunters,” the group of Wisconsin gifted education pioneers who are collecting and recollecting the stories of our work.
As I listen to their tales of struggle from 40 years ago I’m saddened that the same struggles exist today. Yet I’m also encouraged. For I remember that it was they and their efforts that made all the difference for my own kids over 25 years ago. And it was their voices I heard and responded to, their research I relied on and their organization that supported me when I began my own professional journey into gifted education.
I’m reminded of the butterfly effect: What may have begun with just one small flutter of wings in 1973 changed the history of gifted education in Wisconsin. It also changed my life and my children’s lives . . . and no doubt the lives of thousands of others throughout the years and throughout the world.
And what about the future? Rather than feeling disheartened by the struggles that lie ahead, I’m energized. For today we parents and educators continue to work together for the sake of our gifted children. We have successes; we have failures. But I believe those seemingly small steps we take each day for the sake of one child . . . those little wing flutters in the Wisconsin wilderness . . . will also impact lives around the world.
We stand on the shoulders (or maybe we fly on the wings?) of some very wise, resourceful and passionate people.