Forever a Role Model

It’s Women’s History Month, which has got me thinking about women I grew up admiring. 

One of my earliest “famous” role models was Sally Ride. Famous, as in I could find a listing for her in our World Book Encyclopedia. (And I say “famous,” because in terms of role models, I looked up to my mom.)

From the time I was in fourth grade until the time I was a senior in high school, I wanted to be an astronaut. No one told me I couldn’t. After all, I was smart. I was good in math and science. And, Sally Ride had done it first. Other women had followed. There was no reason I couldn’t. 

I admired Sally Ride so much, and tried to learn as much as I could about her. I remember saving up my money to purchase To Space and Back, a book Ms. Ride wrote with Susan Okie. 

My goals and career dreams changed. But my admiration for Sally Ride never did. Inside the copy of To Space and Back, I have a ticket stub from 2005. A ticket stub that allowed me entry to hear Sally Ride speak at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, when it was held on the UCLA campus. 

It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book. I used to bring it into my classroom, and share it with my students. My son and I have read it together. But for quite a while now, it has sat on a bookshelf (along with other space-themed books).

And that’s the power of role models – and books. They stay with you, and keep a special place in your heart. 

By the way, in case you missed it, you can click here to read my blog post from November 2020 about my autographed picture of Sally Ride. 

Readers, I’d love to know. Who is a woman you admire? A woman you consider a role model? Let me know in the comments section.

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