Dancing With The Stars & The Meredith Connection

April 9th turned out to be a special day all around.  Not only did I get to attend Dancing With The Stars with my daughter but I was also able to meet Miss North Carolina – Hailey Best.

Between dances at the Dancing With The Stars set, the emcee walked up to this group of women (no sashes…just group of beautiful women sitting on the 2nd level) and while talking to them, he mentioned the different ladies (Miss NC, Miss….). I then perked up when I heard “Miss NC”.

Afterwards, I happened to find myself standing next to this group so I asked, “Where is Miss NC?” and Hailey spoke up!  We were unable to take a photo at that time because all cell phones and cameras are confiscated before entering the set.  As we chatted and I learned that she was from the Sanford, NC area (she also said that she was awarded her a car for the year of her reign – so Sanford!).  As we continued talking, I discovered that she currently attends Meredith!  No matter where you are in this world, when you meet a fellow Meredith “sister”, it feels like family!  We then ended up at the Dancing With The Starts after party where this photo was taken. She is a doll and we all had a great time…what a small world!

– Sharon Nixon-Escochea, ’79

Sharon Nixon-Escochea, ’79 and Miss North Carolina, Hailey Best, ’14

We’ve come a long way, baby — but we have far to go

Dear Readers,

I recently read this article by Lara Pingue of Reuters and thought it worthy of reprint here.    Enjoy.

We’ve come a long way, baby — but we have far to go.

– Elizabeth Dove, ’84, President, Meredith College Alumnae Association


March 8, 2011

Lara Pingue is a Personal Finance producer for Reuters.com. The opinions expressed here are her own.

A coworker recently sent me a YouTube video of a 5-year-old girl declaring to the world her intention to get a job before she gets married. It’s a funny clip, filled with the kind of urgency and drama only a pre-teen girl can muster. But something about it made me uneasy: Isn’t getting a job before marriage a given? Since when is this decision worth broadcasting on the Internet?

It seemed fitting that this video would go viral in time for International Women’s Day, a time to look back on just how far we women have come. Fifty years ago, would it surprise anyone if a little girl talked about landing a husband – not a job – right out of high school or college?

I’m grateful times have changed for most of us, but we can’t be smug. Yes, women are making impressive strides in the workplace. And yes, we’re juggling it all: marriage, kids, career and dazzling social lives. But a recent White House report on the state of women in America is a wake-up call for anyone who thinks the struggle is over.

Consider this: after all the fighting for gender equality, women are still earning 75 percent as much as their male counterparts in 2010, the White House report finds. And women’s career choices are partly to blame: we’re still working as secretaries, nurses, teachers and cashiers more than men, who are busy launching careers in science, technology and financial services – careers that pay serious cash.

And guess what else? When times get tough, women – not men — are more likely to bear the brunt of it. In 2010, 28 percent of working women who were unmarried with children had incomes below the poverty level, compared to only six percent of male workers.

Women’s health is another cause for concern. While it’s true that women outlive men, the gap is narrowing. More alarming, women are more likely to suffer chronic conditions such as asthma, depression, arthritis and emphysema.

That’s not to say women don’t have plenty to be proud of. We’re trumping men in post-secondary education, outpacing them in high-school education and outscoring them on reading assessments (though lagging in math scores). More women than men between the ages of 25 and 34 have a college degree, reversing the norm 40 years ago.

So where does this leave us? The short answer is we have our work cut out for us. President Obama has already made it his mission to encourage women in “STEM” — science, technology, engineering and math. But real progress is our own responsibility. Women encouraging other women to challenge themselves, to pursue the jobs they wanted when they were young, be it engineering, science and yes, even teaching.

It also means we need to take care of our health. Something as simple as reducing obesity rates can add years to our lives and reduce the chances of life-threatening illnesses including diabetes and heart disease.

None of this will come easily. But the next 50 years of women’s progress should be marked by healthier, wealthier women who are taking control of their lives and their futures. With any luck, the 5-year-old YouTube sensation will make good on her promise.

Two Wake Teacher of the Year Finalists Are Meredith Alumnae

Two of the 12 finalists for the Wake County Public School System’s 2012-13 Teacher of the Year award are Meredith College alumnae. Finalists were named during a reception held on April 18, 2012. The Wake County Teacher of the Year will be announced on May 17, during a banquet honoring each Wake County school’s nominee for Teacher of the Year.

Kristin McCormick, the nominee from Cary High School, earned an undergraduate degree at Meredith. Charlotte Roberts, the nominee from Jeffreys Grove Elementary School, earned a Master of Education from Meredith.

Each Wake County school’s nominee for Teacher of the Year will be honored at a banquet on May 17, at which time one of these finalists will be named Wake County Teacher of the Year.

– Karen Dunton, Marketing

Tony Award-Winning Alumna Appearing in Steel Magnolias

Meredith alumna and Broadway star Beth Leavel, ’77, is starring in the NC Theatre production of “Steel Magnolias” this month. The production runs April 20-29, 2012, at Raleigh’s Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts.
Click here to read a Q&A with Leavel from The News & Observer.

In 2006, Leavel won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Her most recent Tony nomination was in 2011 in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical for her work in “Baby It’s You!”

Leavel is an accomplished Broadway actress, dancer and singer. During her senior year at Meredith she decided to pursue an acting career. While a student, she performed in Meredith productions “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” “Come Blow Your Horn,” “Blithe Spirit,” “The Bald Soprano” and “Cabaret.”

She received her degree in sociology from Meredith, and then earned an MFA at UNC-Greensboro. Leavel first gained national exposure as an understudy to Lucy Arnez in “I Do, I Do,” which led her to a role in “42nd Street,” where she appeared in its Broadway production, its National Touring Company and a run in Japan. Later she starred in “Crazy for You” as Tess and as Ellie in “Show Boat.”

For more about the NC Theatre production of “Steel Magnolias” visit nctheatre.com/shows/steel-magnolias.

– Melyssa Allen, Marketing

Photo of the Week!

During registration, students were to line up hours in advance with their desired schedule and wait until they could register for classes. If classes were full, they had to find another course they wanted and line up again.

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