The quest to collect, archive, and document the evolution of advocacy groups for gifted education has been ongoing for decades. This month the urgency is reinforced by the loss of another of Wisconsin’s pioneers in the field. On March 18, 2021 Dr. Donna Rae Clasen, Processor Emeritus from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, passed away peacefully in her home at the age of 89.
There will be a more extensive memorial to her contribution to gifted education in a future edition of this blog. It is extensive, stretching from the early 1970’s to current days. Within the collection of WATG newsletters, the following paragraphs were found, with questions about gifted education in Wisconsin. We’re hoping to still answer some of these questions in 2021. The lines quoted were printed in the October 1992 newsletter of the Wisconsin Council for Gifted and Talented. This was the year before the merging of the Wisconsin Council for Gifted and Talented (WCGT) and the Wisconsin Association of Educators of Gifted and Talented (WAEGT) to form the current Wisconsin Association for Talented & Gifted (WATG).
“Our Historian, Bobbie Kinsinger and our Executive Secretary, Audrey Burkes, have been busy gathering and organizing memorabilia of the Wisconsin Council for the Gifted & Talented... Now we would like to ask for additional historical material. If you still have printed material...dating back to WCGT’s origins in the mid 1970’s, the office would be pleased to have it. We are especially looking for conference brochures, programs or photographs.” Do You Remember When?
Do you remember things that have happened ...regarding the early years of WCGT -- funny things, strange things, touching things? Do you remember the time years ago when the board had to take up a collection among themselves in order to put on the conference? Do you remember sitting on the floor of someone’s living room doing WCGT business? Do you remember a speaker or workshop that was especially memorable?”
Almost thirty years later, these questions remain valid and perhaps more ugent, because as pioneers age, collections are lost or destroyed and memories fade. The year 2023 will mark the 50th Anniversary Conference of our association. It remains a goal to have resolution to these questions and this process by that time. If you have connections with any of the early board members, activists, DPI personnel or local leaders, please contact them and share the information with the current Board. Our stories become our history.
Ruth Robinson, WATG Past President 2003-2004