Newsmaker: Hero in Education

When Karen Call started teaching at Dorothy Stinson School in Safford, Arizona, she worked in a federally funded program with first and second graders who struggled with math, reading, and language arts skills.

“I was in a room with six children at a time for half an hour,” she explains. “Within a year I knew that I either needed to get out of education or dedicate myself to improving the program.”

Sister Call chose the latter and has spent the last seventeen years developing a program that “meets the needs of the children,” she explains. “Not just educational needs, but their need to be cared for and to value themselves.”

The program she developed has earned her the Reader’s Digest “Hero in Education” award, a recognition given annually to only ten teachers in the United States.

“If there is one accomplishment that singularizes Karen Call,” wrote her principal, who nominated her for the award, “it is her astounding range of service; from local to national, from three-year-olds to adults, from remedial to accelerated programs, from English as a second language to reading, from skill development to whole language—all are pulled together into an integrated program to help students improve.”

During the years Karen has been at Dorothy Stinson, she has initiated a thirty-minute before-school reading session; she has organized an at-home preschool for low-income families; she has proposed, coordinated, and taught summer school sessions; she has provided a monthly newsletter for parents and involves parents in their children’s education; and she has conducted national, regional, and local reading workshops.

As one of the winners, Sister Call will have her work featured in a brochure developed and distributed by Reader’s Digest to educators throughout the United States.

“Of course, it’s been an honor,” says Sister Call, a member of the Safford Fourth Ward, Safford Arizona Stake. “But it’s really a recognition of our entire school as much as recognizing me.”

When talking about education, Sister Call quickly recognizes the impact the gospel has had on her teaching style. “While we can’t preach the gospel in the classroom,” she explains, “deep down I know that these students are children of God. They are children of worth. They can grow. They have potential. And they need our love and concern. Those beliefs are the driving force behind my teaching style.”

[photo] Photo by Maren Younce Mecham

Water, Shelter, and Love

The sun hasn’t even risen over Seoul, Korea, but Hwang Hyon Ook is awake. He’s making his daily trip from a mountain spring, toting ten gallons of fresh spring water. Before anyone else arrives, he places the water at the annex of the Seoul Korea Temple, anonymously providing fresh spring water for temple workers and patrons. He asks no thanks, and few people know of his labors.

Near the main entrance of the temple is an umbrella rack with a supply of umbrellas. In a land of frequent, unexpected rains, umbrellas are almost a necessity. Many of the umbrellas are tagged with a label inviting patrons to use them if they’re caught at the temple in a storm. Again, the grateful beneficiary never sees the man who gathers discarded and broken umbrellas—taking a stem from one, material from another, and restructuring them into workable protection from the storm.

Yet many patrons do recognize Brother Hwang as the man who is eager to help visitors to Seoul, giving directions in broken English or Japanese to various sites. Especially aware of patrons from other countries, Brother Hwang often invites visitors to his sukso, where his lovely wife, Lee Kyong Ki, prepares delectable Korean fare. On Brother Hwang’s desk is a thick journal, full of notes, letters, and pictures reminding him of many newfound temple friends.

At the temple, says Brother Hwang, these patrons get a “good feel of the house of God. They never forget.”

And many remember Brother Hwang as well, who explains his philosophy in simple words: “Don’t love by mouth. Love by behave.”Clare Judy, Seoul, Korea

Sharing Her Vision

Ten-year-old Brie Neipp wanted a dog. Eventually her desire for a canine pet motivated her to volunteer as a guide dog trainer for the blind. Over the past four years, Brie has worked with several different dogs. She receives a dog when it is about eight weeks old and keeps it for six to ten months, taking it everywhere. It’s not uncommon for members of the Branham Ward, San Jose California South Stake, to see a dog sitting quietly at Brie’s feet during Church meetings. The teenager also takes her dog to school, on the bus, and on shopping errands. “Basically we have to train them to be good citizens,” Brie says.

Brie herself had to attend several training sessions to qualify as a guide dog trainer. But nothing could train her for the moment when she turns the newly trained dog over to its new owner. “I’m usually so choked up I can’t talk,” she says. “But I really feel good about doing this. I know a blind person will love and appreciate this special dog. But it is hard to give them up.”Beth Saville, San Jose, California

Roomful of Love

I’ll never forget my first visit to that cozy, busy room. Hanging in the doorway was an unfinished, elegant wedding gown. Next to it was a baby’s christening dress, delicate and lacy. Two pairs of hand-crocheted booties and a handmade doily were on a small table. A vibrant rug made of hundreds of pieces of fabric lay across the back of a chair. And a carefully folded colorful afghan sat atop a cuddly baby quilt.

This is Laura Henrie’s room, full of scraps of fabric and piles of yarn, the room where she can create beauty from what others throw away. Laura’s “projects,” as she calls them, keep her busy. She gets up early in the morning and often works well past midnight on things she never keeps. Her greatest delight in the world is to give away her treasures that take hours to complete.

Special occasions always provide motivation for 89-year-old Sister Henrie to start a project. Every newborn baby in her ward, the Windsor First Ward in the Orem Utah Windsor Stake, receives a pair of booties and sometimes a baby quilt or a christening dress if the family is in need. Weddings call for temple dresses, aprons, or hand-crocheted temple recommend holders. Afghans and rugs are made by the dozens.

This cluttered room is full of much more than rugs, slippers, blankets, and dresses. It’s a room full of love.Maxine Wight, Idaho Falls, Idaho

In the Spotlight

  • W. Ray Luce, Young Men president in the Columbus Ohio East Stake, is serving as the president of the U.S. National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. Brother Luce is chief of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office and is a former historian for the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Janryll F. Fernandez, a member of the Malolos Second Ward, Malolos Philippines Stake, won first place in the National Oratorical Competition sponsored by Lions Club International. Brother Fernandez has accumulated thirteen plaques, trophies, and medals in various regional and national oratorical competitions.

  • Luis Alfredo Vidal de Carvalho, counselor in the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Stake presidency, has been recognized by neuroscientists for his research. He recently published a paper in an international scientific journal on how the brain perceives, regulates, and stops painful sensations coming from peripheral organs.

  • Robert A. Price, patriarch in the Phoenix Arizona North Stake, has been named Physician of the Year by the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians. Brother Price has been practicing in the Phoenix area for more than forty years.