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Thursday, August 24, 2023

Hopes and Dreams for Your Chapter

For many chapters, September signals a new year of meetings, programs, and projects.  Chapter schedules often reflect a yearly rotation of traditions long held by their members.  But is that the schedule that really needs to be followed?  Now is the time to ask yourself – What are my hopes and dreams for my chapter this year?  Now ask yourself – Why do I attend meetings?  What programs are of importance to me?  What projects attract my time and attention?  

As chapters begin their planning process, consider asking members the questions posed above.  Send out a survey asking members what their hopes and dreams are.  Schedule a planning meeting after you gather the responses from the survey and together with all members discuss what the year can offer.  When members feel like they have a say in chapter decisions, they form a personal connection to the chapter meetings, programs, and projects, thus increasing the chance for greater participation.  

During your planning discussion, your chapter can tap into the skills and expertise of your own members.  Members can step up to plan and present the desired programs.  In this way, the contributions of each member are valued and celebrated.  Members also have varied contacts with local community organizations that they can use to facilitate programs that highlight your own area. 

Have you ever teamed up with another organization to combine meetings?  An example would be The League of Women Voters where their program on legislative issues may be of interest to your DKG members.  Additionally, at the beginning of the school year, chapters often provide food and other information at orientation sessions for new teachers.  This collaboration offers visibility for DKG as well as offering assistance and support to other organizations. 

As important as traditions are in DKG, you and your chapter need to consider what members really want to do with those traditions.  If you have always gathered socks for Christmas gifts to the homeless, in what other ways can your chapter reach out to those in need?  As another example, what creative ways can your chapters highlight the Founders yet be current and relevant?  Chapter leaders need to be open to new and different ways of planning, conducting meetings, and participating with members. 

In a time when losing members is widespread, it is time to make sure  your DKG year is engaging, educational, and dare we say memorable.  What are your hopes and dreams for your chapter this year? 

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Art Gallery Spotlight: Helen Flagg, PhD

 D.C.S.O. – Delta Chapter

As an educator, I served as music teacher for a period of 17 years before becoming a local school administrator in the position as assistant principal and later, principal.  My experiences also included teaching on all grade levels, including elementary, middle, high school, and college/university graduate courses at two local universities.  My administrative work later included short stints as Executive Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent for Transformation Schools and later when this program concluded, I was serving as the Interim Assistant Superintendent for these schools.  

I graduated from Talladega College, in Talladega, AL with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.  After undergraduate school, I attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa and graduated with a Master of Arts Degree in Music.  Some years later, I graduated from the University of Maryland College Park having been awarded the PhD in Curriculum and Instruction.

I became interested in photography as a young college student when I received a gift of a Kodak camera.  I took numerous photographs of campus life, family, friends, travels, nature, and the like.  Since that time, I have expanded my love for photography through my participation in the DKG Arts and Humanities Gallery.

    The way I decide the kinds of images to photograph are based on things to which I am attracted in daily living, depending largely on the immediate availability of a camera.  Since owning a mobile phone containing a camera, I can capture images of nature, people, places, monuments, museums, friends, family, groups, scenes, animals, and in general, things around me.  I enjoy capturing images that brings a smile to someone’s face.

In this photograph, my ukulele and guitar have stood idly, side by side, in the corner of our family room.  So, since I thought about the fact that I had not played either instrument in many years, I would title this photograph, Two Sounds Waiting to Be Heard.  


    In Happiness Delivered, my husband and I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from a very dear couple in celebration of our 55th wedding anniversary.  I thought I would capture the image and send it to them to share what joy and beauty their gift meant to us.   

Currently, I am using my mobile phone camera, the Galaxy S21 FE 5G.  Prior to that, I was using the Samsung Galaxy4 mobile phone camera, as well as my Kodak EasyShare Z730. 

The advice I would offer to others about photography would be to take images of things that delight you personally.  As soon as you observe a beautiful sunset, snap it.  That is the beauty of a mobile phone camera. It is not bulky and does not take up a lot of space.  Take pictures of all the things you find to be interesting, like bugs on the ground, animals in your backyard, unusual sights, places, and architecture.  Once you arrive back at home, review and crop them, if necessary, and file them on your computer in a folder, or desktop where you can locate them.  Try to capture views and or images of things when you see them, especially on your travels around the world.  So many people have been traveling since COVID-19 and so, I believe that these are optimal times for photographing a variety of images. Take as many images as you can because the ones you do not like can be discarded very easily. These images taken by you will then become part of your historical collection of “keepsake” photographs and will afford you and your family a time to reflect on photo “memories.”

I believe that the Arts are valued highly in everyday society and makes a tremendous impact on education through the world of entertainment and the things we see and do in our daily lives, in our homes and places of work, as well as in the community-at-large. Social media platforms and other online technical platforms keep the Arts alive in front of us every single minute of the day, through the movies, cable television outlets, mobile phones, livestreaming, games, and on and on and on!  Now, we will have another innovation that will change our ways of viewing things, called “artificial intelligence.”  We may have difficulty determining what is real and what is not.  

Schools must be prepared to engage young people in all forms of the arts with the hope that they and we will be able to entertain ourselves through all the variety of art forms available to us, through public concerts/recitals, art museums, theaters, arenas, super domes, and so on.  Even at sports games in the arenas, entertainment with flashing lights and music add to the frivolity of the games, as entertainment with louder and louder music.

I have seen how the arts can change the lives of students through intellectual development and personal creativity. The Arts are magical in transforming the lives of people because the Arts are so diverse, one can spend a lifetime being creative in so many ways.  So, as we travel along life’s many paths, the world of the Arts becomes even more powerful and meaningful to us.  

The Arts also prepares future generations of audiences to engage in the enjoyment of participation in forms of the arts, such as choral or musical groups, bands, combos, ensembles, or it can thrill us as consumers of the arts through our attendance at concerts, plays, musicals, live recitals, orchestral performances, and art museums and galleries.  As connoisseurs of the arts, we are always looking to continue growing in mind, body, and spirit.

We can learn so much about ourselves through the arts.  Playing the piano, singing, and moving helps one to gain confidence and perseverance.  The Arts also teaches us how to be patient with ourselves as we develop our skills of finger dexterity, if playing an instrument, for example.  After all, practice, practice, and more practice help to get our work “just right.”  Setting goals and high expectations also contributes to our personal development.   

In my view, the value of the Arts impacts education in all forms as I have tried to respond to this question.    The value of the Arts on education begins with our earliest experiences in life, in our homes, schools, and communities.  Also, as we travel around our country, its parks, and the world, these experiences may help to see the world through the eyes of those of us who appreciate and love the Arts.

As soon as I was invited to become a member of DKG in 2003, and the orientation and initiation (now induction) were completed, I was asked by Nu State President to serve as the music chairperson for our state organization (now District of Columbia State Organization) in the fall of my very first year as a DKG member.  Working together with the other members of the music committee, we planned for the music that was to be included in all of our state meetings and gatherings.  We encouraged the inclusion of music in all of our DKG events.

Diane Robinson, Northeast Regional Director for DKG, invited Norma Hunton (violin) and me (piano) to provide music at the Northeast Regional Conference 2005 in Cleveland, Ohio.  We performed on the first night for the NE Regional State Presidents and other dignitaries and guests; the NE breakfast, and finally for the NE luncheon.  It was a lot of fun!  We also participated in the Northeast Conference Chorus, all in the same summer. 

I have served as Delta Chapter president (2004-2006 and 2010-2012) and Delta Chapter Vice President (2009-2010).  I also served as DC State Organization First Vice President (2013-2015) and as DC State President (2015-2017) where I was honored to address the DKG Administrative Board at the meeting led by International President, Dr. Lyn Schmid, in Nashville, TN, in 2016.

I love DKG and want to see our local chapters and state organization be successful in all its endeavors.  I continue to serve as chairperson at varying times for my chapter’s committees. I have also served in the state organization as chair of bylaws/rules, recording secretary, state editor, educational excellence chair, and other duties as requested.

In uneven years, I have attended the Regional Conferences in Cleveland, Portland, Hershey Park, and Baltimore.  In even years, I attended International Conventions in Spokane, New York, Indianapolis, and Nashville.  Recently, during the COVID pandemic, I attended some international meetings virtually.

As State President in 2015, I appointed our state’s first Arts Liaison, Margaret “Peggy” Chambers.  Since that time, we have encouraged members to participate in the DKG Online Arts and Humanities Gallery as often as they are able. 

I also developed a list of Best Practices while serving as Delta Chapter President that continues to serve our chapter well. 

I recall fondly that Dr. Lyn Schmid encouraged each of us to think of ourselves as leaders in DKG and that each member was expected to contribute to the organization and to “be a contribution” to the organization by sharing talents, thoughts, and ideas.  Therefore, we encourage all members to get involved on a committee with a group of your peers and to do something special for DKG!

Monday, August 7, 2023

DKG Art Gallery Spotlight: Kelly McGuire

Alpha Mu Chapter, Colorado

As a middle school English Language Development (ELD) instructional coach, and having experience as a high school educator, Kelly McGuire’s “educator superpower” is helping kids to understand why they are learning what they are learning. Creative Kelly has various endeavors, including writing food stories for a local magazine, sewing and quilting, and canning food. She starts each morning (before school) with bursts of songs to get ready for the day. Kelly also enjoys hiking as well as photography.

With her recent photo submissions to the DKG Arts and Humanities, “Don’t Miss the Curve”, and “Don’t Breathe too Loud,” Kelly is excited to share her photos, and recognizes she is not an expert in photography, but enjoys it very much. She says: “Don’t Miss the Curve” is less perfect because you must take it through a window at the exact right time to see the train on the curve in the mountains.” Kelly is inspired by others who enjoy her photos and she values art, “in my day-to-day life as it is a source for many people.” As a first-time submitter to the Bi-annual Arts and Humanities Gallery, members can not only check out Kelly’s art, but also view arts and humanities submissions from members around the globe.

Some of the best advice that Kelly has been given is: “Make art even if you don’t think it will be good. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly — because those things have inherent value to the person doing them. Taking a 5-minute walk is better than no walk. Brushing teeth for 30 seconds is better than not at all. Taking bad pictures is better than no pictures at all because if you keep doing it, you will get better.”  To Kelly, creative arts are important because people can express themselves and how they see the world around them, “which is fundamental to what it means to be a human.” 

As a member of Colorado’s Delta Kappa Gamma Alpha Mu Chapter, Kelly shares that she is a member because, “I value advocating for education and other teachers. It is critical that we come together at this time in history to continue to advocate for educators, their working conditions, and education for every child.”

Well said Kelly! Congratulations on your photographs!

*To enter your submission into the Fall Arts and Humanities Gallery, submission is August 15-September 15 at

‘Don't Miss the Curve’: Photograph taken from the train's observation car in remote Colorado. 
‘Don't Breathe too Hard’: Serendipitous photo of Pear Cactus bloom taken while hiking in Western Colorado




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