Thursday, October 22, 2009

Remembering Dani

I have gotten myself to the place where I vowed never to go, that of letting my blog languish. The way I do this to myself is that I get very busy and miss my internal deadlines. Then I feel guilty and tell myself that if I AM going to post something, it had better be significant to make up for the missed/lost time. Then I postpone because I cannot come up with a topic that makes up for my absence. But I am doing more here than just renewing my commitment to my blog...I am keeping my promise to start back with a very important post. For weeks I have been thinking about writing another bittersweet entry in which I remember a former student who was taken far too soon in life. So this blog is about Dani Faulk.

From the first session of the first class I taught with Dani, I recognized her as an exceptional student. She already possessed the confidence and ability that I seek to impart in students regarding technology. She was one of those students who would need extra freedom in order for her to develop her abilities. She did not take the easy route of doing assignments by putting to work what she already knew, but went beyond to learn new skills and explore new ideas. In short, she was the sort of student who was a natural for graduate studies without needing an explanation of what that means. Other qualities that made her special were her enthusiasm and her willingness to share. She was a leader in classes, and often took the role of encourager with students who were not so readily adept. Her sense of humor shone through in many of her assignments. In particular I remember a final project she did for the class I teach called Internet for librarians. She chose to explain “Netiqutte” to her staff and students. She created a powerpoint, which at that time was the tool assigned, and in her slides she used her Nancy Pearl, Library Action Figure doll. She knew, as do all my students, that Nancy is something of a doppelganger for me. In each slide, she would recommend “do's” and “don'ts” with Nancy delivering the admonitions. For the “don'ts” she armed Nancy with a little AK47 swiped from one of her sons. I loved the assignment and wished aloud for guns for my own Nancy. Within a few days, I received a greeting card with the guns enclosed. That was Dani, going beyond the expected in generosity as well as in her work.

I know her students loved her. I know in the short years after she finished her MLS she inspsired a lot of kids to read and helped a lot of people learn how to learn. What I don't know is why she had to leave us so soon.


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