Maggie's Minute: Nov. 25

Maggie's Minute: Nov. 25, 2013

"The new frontier is not a set of promises, it is a set of challenges."

During the City of Dallas' ceremony this month in commemoration of President John F. Kennedy's death 50 years ago, author and historian David McCullough reminded us of the young president's hopes for the cause of peace on earth, his summons to serve, and his advocacy for striking out on paths of discovery. Mr. McCullough said that President Kennedy spoke of all that needs to be done, of so much that matters: equal opportunity, unity of purpose, education and the life of the mind and spirit. He recounted the president's stirring words about educating our children as our most valuable resource, honing their finest talents to the keenest edge not only as scientists, mathematicians and technicians, but as people skilled in the humanities. President Kennedy believed the arts and humanities to be very close to the center of a nation's purpose, and a test of its civilization. Mr. McCullough quoted our 35th president, "I look forward to an America who commands respect around the world not only for its strength, but also for its civilization."

Dec. 10 is Colorado Gives Day, Community First Foundation's third annual push for Coloradans to combine efforts in support of the state's nonprofits by giving online during a 24-hour period through Our profile is there and we'd love to surpass last year's contributions, so be sure to mark you calendar for donating online that day (or go there now and schedule a donation to be made on Dec. 10).

A few updates for celebration:

While continuing work on our five-year impact study for Motheread/Fatheread Colorado, we've held eight training institutes since August for educators in Akron, Coal Creek, Colorado Springs, Fort Morgan, Ignacio, Steamboat Springs and Yuma. Motheread/Fatheread Colorado, a semifinalist for the Library of Congress literacy award, the American Prize, is referenced as one of the "high-achieving nominees" that "inspire others to embark on the important work of combating illiteracy and aliteracy" in the Library of Congress publication, Best Practices, which discusses eight best practices for programmatic strategies and approaches to combating illiteracy.

The Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), an association of about 1,700 arts and sciences deans at more than 500 baccalaureate-granting institutions, awarded its 2013 Arts & Science Advocacy Award to the Federation of State Humanities Councils (FSHC) during the 48th annual CCAS meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 8. Colorado Humanities, an FSHC member since the Federation was founded in 1977, is proud to share in this accolade with 54 other state and territorial humanities councils. The award commends the humanities association for "advocating the value of the humanities in all of our lives," stating that FSHC has "worked tirelessly ... to foster the humanities generally and engage the public as to the value of the humanities in our everyday lives." As noted by the CCAS president during the award ceremony, the Federation has, with only a limited budget, made a big impact.

More than 200 people joined us in October at History Colorado for the launch party of 20 new volumes of our Great Lives in Colorado History set. A total of 33 little biographies designed for elementary readers are now available. Written in English and Spanish through our education resources program, Writing Bios for Young People, each book contains a wealth of information, including historical photos, glossaries, timelines and bibliographies for further reading. We provide full sets to schools in our Young Chautauqua program, and Denver Public Schools distributed them to all its 3rd grade classes. Interested? Filter Press has them for sale-great gifts for parents, children, grandchildren! Know of a waiting room, library or youth center that could use a set?

A few program snapshots:

  • Our Chautauqua festival events drew 8,660 attendees this year. High Plains Chautauqua, held in Greeley each August, celebrated the theme "Exploring Boundaries" with professional portrayals of historical notables such as Andrew Carnegie, Carl Jung, Amelia Earhart, Mary Shelley and Booker T. Washington. We're particularly proud of our Young Chautauqua alumna Amelia Newport Wagner, who returned to HPC to bring us Margaret Mead. We also applauded Jane Adams' long service as our Weld County coordinator for High Plains Chautauqua, and welcomed incoming coordinator Gina Huett. Two Rivers Chautauqua, held in September in Grand Junction, celebrated "Colorado Riches" with professional portrayals of Molly Brown, Theodore Roosevelt, Otto Mears and El Vaquero Diego Martín. In Pueblo this October, Voices of the Valley, featuring César Chávez, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, was held as part of All Pueblo Reads. 50 students from our Young Chautauqua program also brightened the Chautauqua big tents.
  • With the help of a $250,000 grant from NEH, we've started work on a collaborative and authoritative online resource for scholars of all ages, our newest program, the Colorado Encyclopedia.
  • We're now calling for entries in the 2014 Colorado Book Awards. If you've published a book this year, don't delay. Entry deadline is Dec. 31, 2013. We're also recruiting statewide for volunteers to be CBA selectors and judges.
  • Letters About Literature and River of Words are also accepting entries for the 2014 competitions. K-12 students have a great chance for national recognition of their creative expression by entering either or both of the free contests. The deadline for River of Words entries is Dec. 1, 2013. The two Letters About Literature deadlines are Dec. 10, 2013, for grades 9-12, and Jan. 10, 2014, for grades 4-6 and 7-8. Help us spread the word to schools, libraries and others who may be interested in promoting the creativity of Colorado students.
  • Centennial Statehouse has received an Emmy! The Havey Productions documentary, which we sponsored and helped to distribute to all Colorado school and public libraries, received the award for Historical Documentary. We're now working with Havey Productions on The Great Divide, a comprehensive and objective film about Colorado's water heritage, to premiere in 2015 in conjunction with discussions by water experts throughout the state.

Here's to the humanities, the heart of the matter!