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Dear Friends:

It's great to be back in "Old Virginny" after my month in Cortona, Italy. I love both places, and I know how blessed I am to be able to live in both of them, along with St. Petersburg, Florida.

My last week in Italy was loads of fun. Mariann Peterson, who is the past-president of the P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children's Education, came with a group of her friends and stayed a week at my house. During the P. Buckley Moss Society's 20th Anniversary year in 2007, Mariann was the high bidder during a fundraising auction for the Foundation on a one-week stay at my house in Italy. I'm so glad they were able to come while I was there!

I went with Mariann and her friends to dinner at La Locanda del Loggiato Restaurant in Cortona (one of our favorites). Mariann is second from left, standing next to me. I'm in the red jacket.

Seeing Mariann and her friends off to their next destination.

When I returned to Mathews, I found a wonderful pile of birthday cards waiting for me-a big thank-you to each and every one for remembering my special day! My daughter Becky and I got our hair cut together in Cortona on my birthday to celebrate.

Walking around the mountain on my birthday.

While I was away, the Moss on the James Chapter of the Society held its third annual fundraising tea party and raised $7,600 for Riverside School in Richmond, Virginia. Riverside School is a nonsectarian, nonprofit, private, coeducational day school approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia as a proprietary school. The school provides a multisensory, structured, and rational education for dyslexic children and children with specific language-based learning differences in grades 1-8. Mrs. Pat DeOrio, founder of Riverside School and a nationally recognized educator for dyslexia, is a charter member of Moss on the James. The money raised during the tea party will be used to purchase a SmartBoard for a classroom at Riverside.

L. to R.: Mrs. Pat DeOrio, founding member of Moss on the James and founder of Riverside School; Ms. Karen Lukard, specialist in learning disabilities and guest at the tea party; and Dr. Joyce Steeves from England, former head of technology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., and consultant to Riverside School.

Last year, Moss on the James raised $2,500 during its 20th Anniversary Party and donated it to Riverside School to start an endowed scholarship to be given annually to a deserving student in need of financial assistance to attend the school. Over the past twenty years, the Chapter has supported the school and many other community organizations in the Richmond Metropolitan Area. Thank you so much, Moss on the James, for all you do on behalf of others and especially for children!

I'm very pleased to announce the winner of this year's Judith Cary Leadership Memorial Scholarship, which is administered by the Society. The Society initiated this scholarship in 1999, and it is awarded to a student who is working either full-time or part-time toward special needs certification or an undergraduate or graduate degree in some field of special education. This year's recipient is Autumn Henderson of Anderson, Indiana. Autumn is currently a master's degree student in the Department of Special Education at Ball State University and is pursuing an educational administrative license to be a Director of Exceptional Needs. In addition to working toward her master's degree and administrative license, Autumn has a young family and works as a Resource Teacher at Yorktown Middle School in Indiana. Of her teaching philosophy, Autumn says, "I have always been empowered by people who achieve great success when starting from humble beginnings-the underdog...I feel through teaching, especially special education, I can give that empowerment to my students. My philosophy is to pass on knowledge and specific concepts, including life skills, based on the students' needs to help them achieve their dreams and aspirations."

Autumn Henderson is the recipient of this year's Judith Cary Leadership Memorial Scholarship.

Autumn has long-term goals of pursuing a doctoral degree and becoming a university professor. "At this level, I will create a professional development curriculum to provide teachers with the tools required to help their students be more successful. This will allow me to work with aspiring teachers and help shape their teaching philosophies and prepare the next generation of special needs educators."

Memorial Day is this Sunday, May 30, with the federally recognized holiday being Monday, May 31 (always observed the last Monday in May). So many of us take this day for granted as being "a day off," and we usually celebrate it by doing something fun. The true purpose of Memorial Day is much more serious, and we should take a moment to remember its origins.

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Many towns and cities have laid claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day, and there is evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War. However, Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. After World War I, the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war. Memorial Day is May 30; but, since Congress' National Holiday Act of 1971, it has been observed on the last Monday of May.

Please join me this weekend in remembering those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country and also in praying for the safety of our soldiers who are defending us today.


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©P. Buckley Moss 2010

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