Daniel Akaka is also a veteran, having served in the United States Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. When the war ended, he used his GI bill to enroll at the University of Hawaii, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in education in 1952 and his master’s degree in 1966. After earning his teaching credential, Daniel was employed as a high school teacher in Honolulu from 1953 to 1960;. In 1960 he was promoted to a position as a vice principal, and in 1969 he became a high school principal. In 1969, Daniel went to work in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare as a chief program planner.
A multi-talented individual, Daniel Akaka was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1976, serving seven terms. In 1990, Daniel was appointed to fill a vacant seat in the US Senate that occurred upon the untimely death of Senator Spark Matsunaga. Subsequently Daniel was elected to that position in his own right, and he served there until 2013 when he retired.
Daniel Akaka, an outstanding chalkboard champion who was also an outstanding politician.
Hunter College was established by Irish immigrant Thomas Hunter in 1870. The school functioned as the first teacher training institution in New York City. Julia Richman and Sandra Adickes, both distinguished educators, graduated from Hunter, and both are featured in my book. Julia Richman (1855-1912) was the first woman to be appointed superintendent of schools in New York City. She committed her entire professional life to helping Eastern European Jewish immigrants assimilate to American life. Sandra Adickes (1933-present), is a professor emerita from Winona State University in Minnesota and is known for her valiant work in 1964 in a Mississippi Freedom School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. You can read more about both of these remarkable teachers in Chalkboard Champions, available from amazon.
Dorothy was born the daughter of a minister in Brookfield, Missouri, on March 24, 1899. She graduated from Ottawa University in Kansas in 1920, earned her master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and was awarded her Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Dorothy taught in public high schools in her home town of Brookfield, in Renton, Washington, and then in San Bernardino, California. From there she joined the faculty of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, serving as the Dean of Women and an assistant professor of psychology.
When World War II broke out, Dorothy served her country as a member of the selection board for the WAC (Women’s Army Corps), and she also served as a lieutenant in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). In 1942 she went to Washington, DC, to organize the Women’s Reserve of the US Coast Guard. She served in this capacity until 1946, rising to the rank of captain. She was awarded a Legion of Merit award for her wartime service.
In her later years, Dorothy served from 1947 to 1950 as the director of personnel for the International Monetary Fund, and from 1950 to 1960, she was employed as the national executive director of the Girls Scouts of America.
Dorothy C. Stratton passed away in Lafayette, Indiana, in 2006 at the age of 107. In 2008, the US Coast Guard named a national security cutter, the third of its kind, the USCGC Stratton in her honor.
Steven, a native of Kentucky, attended Central Hardin High School and Volunteer State Community College. He was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in 2002, and was signed by the San Diego Padres in 2003, making his professional debut in 2004. He spent several years in the minor leagues.
Unfortunately, before he could work his way into big league play, Steven suffered a severe elbow injury in 2009 that appeared to end his career. Undaunted, he rolled up his shirtsleeves and started working on his teaching credential. He became a substitute teacher in the same school district where his wife was an educator, and accepted a position as an assistant baseball coach at John Hardin High School in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. While there, Steven helped implement a recently-developed velocity-improvement program for his student athletes. To test the program’s efficiency, he completed the exercises himself, and before long, Steven discovered that he could pitch as well or better than before his injury. When a scout from the Seattle Mariners watched the twenty-eight-year-old coach pitch in 2011, Steven found himself back in professional baseball as a minor league player. His potential was quickly realized, though, and that same season saw his major league debut. The next year, Steven became a Toronto Blue Jay. Steven Delabar is one of the few major league baseball players who have struck out four opponents in a single inning, and he also went to the 2013 All-Star game, striking out Buster Posey in only five pitches, an impressive feat.
Hopefully, Steven Delabar will enjoy a long and successful career as a professional baseball player, but it would not be a surprise if some day he takes his considerable talents and dedication to students back to the classroom as a full-fledged teacher and coach!