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By John Kelley

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Whatever happened to…?
Stephanie Cowern is a 2009 graduate of Ashland High School currently attending Framingham State University, and she is on track to graduate after the fall semester this year. She is a history major, and feels she is thriving in the small campus environment. She had studied for several semesters at UMASS Amherst, but thought the change to FSU would allow better opportunities for work, and be closer to home.
That’s what she answered when asked what Ashland meant to her, “home.” Besides the rigors of her studies, she has two jobs, one a waitress, and the other as a leader in an after-school program for middle school students in Framingham. In that program, she plans a one-hour activity for her group two day a week, and then assists them with their homework for an hour. Most of her students happen to be girls, but there was a boy who was not adapting well to participating, being a bit of a disturbance. She took him aside and talked to him about many things that were affecting him, including his diet. She pointed out that there are places where wholesome and nutritious food can be obtained. For some reason, that caught his attention, and little-by-little, Stephanie’s coaching helped him to pay better attention in class. That was a very rewarding experience for both of them. It confirmed in her mind that it is possible to find ways to reduce the dislike of school for children who can be pointed toward interesting things within a curriculum, and receive some earnest guidance along the way.
When Stephanie has time to herself, she likes to read science fiction, and is quite a Harry Potter fan. However, on a more academic and serious level, she read, “Twenty Years at Hull House”, the autobiography of Jane Addams who founded the first settlement house in the US in 1889. Addams exposed the abuses of poverty and the effect of the Industrial Revolution on American society. She has also done some reading on Iran and the effect of sanctions on that nation. Stephanie is currently taking an art elective and finds drawing might be a new hobby in bloom.
Stephanie just loves kids, and she wants to make a difference each day in whatever works she eventually finds herself. She would like to work in the development of educational policy for public schools, or perhaps be involved in studying and researching the ways to improve education. Keep up the great work, Stephanie!!!

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