35th Annual Women Making History Awards
It was a full room Sunday to honor eight outstanding women. These women are recipients of the 35th annual Women Making History awards. Claire Crum, Cynthia DeFrancisco, Maggie Pozenel, Mollie Casson, Rhonda Hart, Terri Chavez, Karen Furr and Judy Lent are this year’s recipients. (Photos by Claire Whitley/Daily Miner)
I have met some remarkable people throughout my journalism career. There have been art students who want to share empathy, scientists who have raw passion for music, mathematicians, administrators, and so many more who have amazing stories.
And once a year, I get to meet eight more remarkable people who are, literally, women making history.
For two years, I have covered the Women Making History awards. I have met all kinds of women from a young health caregiver, to a Middle Eastern dancer, to a woman who is truly the kindest, most generous soul I have ever met.
It is amazing to be part of a community that has recognized women like this for 35 years. It is an honor and a privilege to cover the event and to share these stories.
I can say with confidence that these women are some of the most extraordinary people I have met. They epitomize why I wanted to be a journalist: Everyone has a story, and everyone can learn from that story.
I have learned so much from them, even in the short interviews and interactions I have had.
The first thing that I learned is to do what I love. My career is mine alone to pick, and I should only pick something that I truly love to do.
I learned that there is always time to volunteer. We spend so much of our lives saying “I can’t” or “I don’t have time.” And frankly, that’s a lie. There is always time to give back to the community in some way, shape or form.
I should never be afraid. I was told that if I want something, I should never be afraid to get it. I will accept failure, and the next day, try again. I learned that I can do better each day. “If it can be, it is up to me.” I can do whatever I want to do, and the only person who can stop me is me.
One kind act can make a world of difference. When I wake up in the morning, I want to decide to do one kind thing for someone. Every day. Every morning. Plan to do something nice and kind and genuine for another.
The last piece of life advice I learned was that I don’t need anyone’s permission to be who I am. I don’t need to ask for permission, and I shouldn’t ask for permission. Who I am is a blessing that I should always keep exploring.
And the list could go on.
One of my biggest flaws is that, even as an independent adult, I don’t think I’m grown up yet. I look at these women, and talk to these women, and I can’t help but think: “I want to grow up to be like you.”
I truly stand in awe of what these women have done, the lives they have lived, and how honored and humbled and genuine they all are.
So thank you. To the women I interviewed this year and the ones I interviewed last year.
If I ever truly grow up, I would be grateful to be half the woman any of you are.