Girls Study Women of Ww II Rosati-Kain Students Use `Rosie the Riveter" in Project

By Post-Dispatch, Barbara Yount | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 22, 1995 | Go to article overview

Girls Study Women of Ww II Rosati-Kain Students Use `Rosie the Riveter" in Project


Post-Dispatch, Barbara Yount, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


From a poster pinned on the wall of a second-floor classroom at Rosati-Kain High School, Rosie the Riveter, the famous World War II heroine, stands with her arm flexed beneath a bold "We Can Do It."

In the 1940s, Rosie's determination came to symbolize the strength of American women during the war. In the 1990s, 25 seniors at Rosati-Kain have focused on women's roles in a new class called Women in History and Literature.

Teacher Connie Williams said that combining the history and literature components "was a natural fit. History tends to focus on men. We saw this as a way to teach about women's roles."

With only a couple of weeks of school left, students took turns one Friday morning reading reports of oral histories taken from women who were neighbors and relatives and who remembered World War II.

Tricia Schneider interviewed her neighbor and wrote about how she was forced to quit school and take a job at a factory that made hats for servicemen.

"I was only 14, so I lied about my age," Tricia quoted the woman as saying.

Her neighbor recalled huge U.S. Service Organization dances at Union Station and how "everyone grew up in a hurry, and we all prayed a lot."

Michaela Werp wrote about her grandmother's travails at age 15 caring for seven children. She recalled Saturday mornings of waiting in long lines that wrapped around the block for rationed groceries.

She described the difficulties of stretching food to last an entire month and at the end of one month boiling carrots and adding chicken bouillon for food for the children.

Kari Osmundson says she likes that the class has been all about women. She particularly enjoyed a field trip to the History Museum in Forest Park to see an exhibit celebrating the 75-year history of women's suffrage.

"I didn't realize how many women were involved and how different life was," said Kari. "They couldn't vote, and jobs for women didn't pay as much, and they were dirty jobs. I never thought of that."

Liz Morr says that she sees equality for women improving. …

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